Egypt in the Fourth to Third Millennium BC

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Separated from the Levant by the Sinai wilderness, the climate, landscape and annual rhythm of the Nile meant that Egyptian society and culture was shaped by singular forces. By the late fourth millennium, the world’s earliest territorial state emerged revolving around the unifying figure of a transcendent king. He stood at the apex of a social hierarchy that was served by a literate bureaucracy overseeing a centralised agrarian economy. Many of the ancient cultural, social, political, religious, and economic settings of the Egyptian state familiar to ancient and modern audiences developed at this time. This included an ideology of the ‘other’, defining foreigners as enemies of Egypt. Yet this national exceptionalism masked the reality that the state vigorously prosecuted its interests abroad, and itself received foreigners deliberately or though porous borders. Indeed, from the late fourth to third millennium, Egypt was a key state actor in the geo-political affairs of the eastern Mediterranean.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Ancient Egypt and the Hebrew Bible
Place of PublicationOxford ; New York
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Feb 2020


  • Egypt
  • Old Kingdom
  • Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt
  • Levant
  • Old Testament
  • Foreign relations
  • Archaeology and art--Egypt


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