Egytpian Agricultural achievements
|Early Dynastic Period||- River irrigation 4000 BC
- Wine cellars, world's earliest known 3100 BC
|Old Kingdom||- Beekeeping 2500 BC|
- Beer production 2200 BC
|Middle Kingdom||- Fayum Irrigation - 1st man made water reservoir 1900 BC|
Comparison Between Egyptian and Greek Agriculture
|Criteria||Egyptian Agriculture||Ancient Greek Agriculture|
|Land Fertility||- Fertile Nile valley - the annual flood rejuvenates the soil
- The rest of the country is barren desert
|Poor land, stony quality. Only a few rare plains such as those of Messenia qualify as being fertile.|
|Land Cultivation||- Single crop every season||Biennial crop rotation - alternating from year to year between fallow and cultivated land|
|Land Ownership||Property concentrated among few land owners: The local nobility, temples and State officials.|
These landowners employed Farmers in return for food, clothes and shelter
|- Ownership widely distributed - Most citizens of hoplite rank owned some land. For Example during the classical period, the wealthy Alcibiades possessed only 28 hectares|
The shaduf was ideal for irrigating higher land. A large pole balanced on a crossbeam with a rope and bucket on one end and a heavy counter weight at the other. By pulling the rope it lowered the bucket into the Nile and the counterweight would raise the bucket to a level where it could be emptied into a channel at the edge of the field.
- In most lands the fields were irrigated by natural rainfall - Mediterranean climate with rains coming chiefly in Autumn, Winter and early Spring.
- Rivers and springs dry up in summer making droughts a frequent problem
- In low plains Greeks dug canals to channel water from springs to farms.
- Archimedes developed a spiral structure in a cylindrical casing that could lift water when it was spun. It was used to raise water from a stream or irrigation ditch to the fields. This device, known as Archimedes' Screw, is still by Egyptian farmers to draw water from the Nile today.
|Crops||- Wheat and barley were the most important components of Egyptian Food||- Barley in plains|
- grapes in hills
- olives in poor rocky soil
|Harvest||- Harvests in May and June.
- The whole population took part on harvesting teams
- Supervisors and inspectors measured the size of the fields and estimated the quantity of grain. These officials fixed the taxes land owners had to give up to the royal treasury or local temples.
Peasant farmers were only given enough food to keep them within subsistence level.
|- Harvests from late Autumn to the beginning of Winter|