In the history of civilized mankind, one of the most identifiable cultures is that of the Ancient Egyptians. The distinctive culture of Ancient Egypt, coupled with their many accomplishments (pyramids, Sphinx, etc.) makes this civilization one of the most fascinating cultures in the history of not only Africa, but the world. Despite the magnitude of studies focused on Egypt, many historians still fail to acknowledge the dramatic impact Ancient Egypt has had on Western civilization, even into the present day. Ancient Egypt has effected Western civilization by: the many inventions that Egypt created, by creating the first large scale system of governance, and by their introduction of a complex series of writing.
Though Ancient Egypt has had a variety of effects on Western civilization, perhaps the most evident of these effects was the creation of several inventions which would greatly effect Western civilization. One such invention was the system of irrigation that was utilized by the Egyptians. This system allowed the citizens of Ancient Egypt to utilize the Nile River in order to supply their farmlands a distance away. (James 39) This is important as it allowed the Egyptians to move to areas outside of the immediate vicinity of the Nile, therefore allowing for a significant population increase. This system of irrigation would later be utilized by many Western cultures, most specifically the Roman Empire. The Romans would adapt the Egyptian system of irrigation in order to build their famous aqueducts. (James 41) This is one example of how an Ancient Egyptian invention has had a profound effect on Western civilization, in this case that of the Roman Empire.
Another large impact that Ancient Egypt has had on Western civilization was that it produced the first system of governance on a large scale. Ancient Egypt is often referred to as “the first civilization” due to the fact that they were the first culture to have a complex system of government for a large population of people. (James 103) This fact has obviously had a large effect on not only Western civilization, but human civilization as a whole. By providing a working system of government for such a large population of people, Ancient Egypt was able to create a blueprint of sorts for other civilizations to follow. Were it not for the creation of Egypt’s government, it may have taken significantly longer for such civilizations as Macedonia or Rome to develop. In this way the government of Ancient Egypt has had a profound impact on not only Western Civilization but the world.
The final effect that Ancient Egypt has had on Western civilization is that it created the first complex system of writing. This writing method, called hieroglyphics, made the Egyptians significantly more complex than their neighbors, establishing their power and influence in the region. (James 77) This development is critical to Western civilization as it obviously was the precursor to any modern system of writing. Much the same as with the government system, were it not for the Egyptian development of hieroglyphics, it could have taken significantly longer for these Western civilizations to develop their own writing systems. In this way the writing system of Ancient Egypt has had a profound impact of the history of Western civilization.
Ancient Egypt continues to be one of the most studied aspect of the ancient world. Despite all this study, it is impossible to oversell the importance of Ancient Egypt to Western civilization as a whole. Ancient Egypt has effected Western civilization by: the many inventions that Egypt created, by creating the first large scale system of governance, and by their introduction of a complex series of writing. Though I have pinpointed these as the most important effects of Ancient Egypt on Western civilization, there are a plethora of aspects of Egyptian culture that are still utilized by Western civilization today. Furthermore, as we continue to learn more about Ancient Egypt, it will become more and more apparent the drastic impact that it has had on Western civilization.
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