|The Nile River
courtesy and © 1992 Steven Beikirch, Ancient
The Egyptians believed the earth looked
like a pancake. In the center flowed the Nile River. They thought that around the Great
Circle was the ocean. They also believed the sky was flat like the earth and that it was
held up with four poles so that the air could flow between the earth and the sky.
Hapy was the god of floods. He was
always dressed as a boater or fisherman. He carried a platter of wheat, barley, dates, and
The Nile River begins in the mountains
of Africa and flows north to the Mediterranean Sea. It flows through thousands of miles of
desert. After thousands of miles the river has many waterfalls and rapids called
cataracts. At the delta the Nile calms down. It branches into many small streams before
flowing into the Mediterranean.
Every summer the Nile flooded the river
valley. After three months the water would recede leaving behind a thin, rich layer of
The Nile was the fastest way to travel
through Ancient Egypt. Traveling on the Nile River was an easy task for the Egyptians. The
currents flowed north. Boats could let the currents carry them to their north destination.
When the boat wanted to return south, the winds carried them southward. When the winds
were not blowing the Egyptians used paddles or long poles to move them forward.
Most of the boats were made from giant
papyrus reeds tied together. The royal family and the priest had wooden boats made from
cedar wood. It came from Syria. The large wooden boats owned by the royal family were more
than 100 feet long. Cargo boats carried granite, cattle, and food to people along the
river. These were pulled by teams of men with many sets of oars. When the wind died down
the men had to tow the boats along the river with long ropes from the banks.
Traders used the Nile for
transportation. They would carry products such as coffee beans, wheat, or furs. Traders
bartered to gain the best deals.