Ancient Egypt Transport
Postal Services, Commerce and Finance
"Trade was comparatively primitive; most of it was by barter in village bazaars"
There was a regular transport and postal service in Ancient Egypt; an ancient papyrus says, "Write to me by the letter-carrier."
Communication, however, was difficult; roads were few and bad, except for the military highway through Gaza to the Euphrates; and the serpentine form of the Nile, which was the main highroad of Egypt, doubled the distance from town to town.
Trade was comparatively primitive; most of it was by barter in village bazaars.
Foreign commerce grew slowly, restricted severely by the most up-to-date tariff walls; the various kingdoms of the Near East believed strongly in the "protective principle," for customs dues were a mainstay of their royal treasuries.
Nevertheless Egypt grew rich by transport raw materials and exporting finished products; Syrian, Cretan and Cypriote merchants crowded the markets of Egypt, and Phoenician galleys sailed up the Nile to the busy wharves of Thebes.
Transport, Commerce and Finance.
On Commerce and Finance: Coinage had not yet developed; payments, even of the highest salaries, were made in goods corn, bread, yeast, beer, etc.
Taxes were collected in kind, and the Pharaoh's treasuries were not a mint of money, but store-houses of a thousand products from the fields and shops.
After the influx of nrecious metals that followed the conauests of Thutmose III.
Merchants began to pay for goods with rings or ingots of gold, measured by weight at every transaction; but no coins of definite value guaranteed by the state arose to facilitate exchange.
Credit, however, was highly developed; written transfers frequently took the place of barter or payment; scribes were busy everywhere accelerating business with legal documents of ex-change, accounting and finance.
Every visitor to the Louvre has seen the statue of the Egyptian scribe, squatting on his haunches, almost completely nude, dressed with a pen behind the ear as reserve for the one he holds in his hand.
He keeps record of work done and goods paid, of prices and costs, of profits and loss; he counts the cattle as they move to the slaughter, or corn as it is measured out in sale; he draws up contracts and wills, and makes out his master's income-tax; verily there is nothing new under the sun.
He is sedulously attentive and mechanically industrious; he has just enough intelligence not to be dangerous.
His life is monotonous, but he consoles himself by writing essays on the hardships of the manual worker's existence, and the princely dignity of those whose food is paper and whose blood is ink.
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