Builder of Pyramids
Egypt is a country in North Africa, on the Mediterranean Sea, and is home to one of the oldest civilizations on earth. The name 'Egypt' comes from the Greek Aegyptos which was the Greek pronunciation of the ancient Egyptian name 'Hwt-Ka-Ptah' ("Mansion of the Spirit of Ptah"), originally the name of the city of Memphis. Memphis was the first capital of Egypt and a famous religious and trade center; its high status is attested to by the Greeks alluding to the entire country by that name.
To the ancient Egyptians themselves, their country was simply known as Kemet, which means 'Black Land', so named for the rich, dark soil along the Nile River where the first settlements began. Later, the country was known as Misr which means 'country', a name still in use by Egyptians for their nation in the present day. Egypt thrived for thousands of years (from c. 8000 BCE to c. 30 BCE) as an independent nation whose culture was famous for great cultural advances in every area of human knowledge, from the arts to science to technology and religion. The great monuments which ancient Egypt is still celebrated for reflect the depth and grandeur of Egyptian culture which influenced so many ancient civilizations, among them Greece and Rome.
One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of Egyptian culture is its emphasis on the grandeur of the human experience. Their great monuments, tombs, temples, and artwork all celebrate life and stand as reminders of what once was and what human beings, at their best, are capable of achieving. Although ancient Egypt in popular culture is often associated with death and mortuary rites, something even in these speaks to people across the ages of what it means to be a human being and the power and purpose of remembrance.
Egypt has a long history which goes back far beyond the written word, the stories of the gods, or the monuments which have made the culture famous. Evidence of overgrazing of cattle, on the land which is now the Sahara Desert, has been dated to about 8000 BCE. This evidence, along with artifacts discovered, points to a thriving agricultural civilization in the region at that time. As the land was mostly arid even then, hunter-gatherer nomads sought the cool of the water source of the Nile River Valley and began to settle there sometime prior to 6000 BCE.