The Nomes

Ancient Egypt History

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Already, by 4000 B.C., these Pyramid Builders of the Nile had forged a form of government.

The Nomes of Ancient Egypt

The population along the river was divided into "nomes," in each of which the inhabitants were essentially of one stock, acknowledged the same totem, obeyed the same chief, and worshiped the same gods by the same rites.

Throughout the history of ancient Egypt these nomes persisted, their "nomarchs" or rulers having more or less power and autonomy according to the weakness or strength of the reigning Pharaoh.

As all developing structures tend toward an increasing interdependence of the parts, so in this case the growth of trade and the rising

costliness of war forced the nomes to organize themselves into two kingdoms one in the south, one in the north;

A division into nomes probably reflecting the conflict between African natives and Asiatic immigrants.

This dangerous accentuation of geographic and ethnic differences was resolved for a time when Menes, a half legendary figure, brought the "Two Lands" under his united power, promulgated a body of laws given him by the god Thoth.

He established the first historic dynasty, built a new capital at Memphis, "taught the people" (in the words of an ancient Greek historian) "to use tables and couches, and . . . introduced luxury and an extravagant manner of life.

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