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The economy in ancient Egypt

  • 05 16, 2023

The economy in Ancient Egypt

The maintenance of the irrigation network allows us to obtain a sufficient agricultural surplus to feed the population and to have safety supplies in large barns. For this reason, the public management of the irrigation network is entrusted exclusively to the central government.

In addition to agri-food and lotus cultivation, Egyptian agricultural production also includes the cultivation of papyrus, a vegetable fiber used by the Egyptians to manufacture the paper on which to write the first documents in history.

Astronomy is of fundamental importance for the creation of the first agricultural calendars and the ancient Egyptians are the first to use a calendar year divided into 365 days. Finally, public management of major works and the irrigation network allows Egyptians to develop advanced knowledge in the hydraulics and engineering sector.

Industry and commerce:
The secondary sector of the Egyptian economy is based on metalworking (silver, gold, tin, copper) and the production of jewelry, textiles (cotton, wool, linen), ceramics, and perfumes. The trade and activities of the secondary sector are, however, left in the hands of foreign merchants.

Ancient Egypt has stable commercial exchanges with the Phoenician merchants and subsequently also with the Greeks. Trade and the calculation of goods in stock push the Egyptians to study mathematics, geometry, and writing.

The Egyptians are unaware of the use of money. Trade and taxes are paid with the delivery of the goods.


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The economy of Ancient Egypt was primarily agrarian. It relied heavily on agriculture, with the Nile River playing a crucial role in providing fertile soil for farming. The ancient Egyptians cultivated crops like wheat, barley, and flax, and they also engaged in trade, exporting goods like grain, papyrus, and precious metals.


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