Egypt and the Nile – Gabor Bedo
On 4 July Gabor gave us another of his excellent talks, this time on Egypt and the Nile. With less than 10mm of rain per year, Egypt has been, is and will be dependent on the Nile river. It is vital for the country’s yearly deposit of silt, fish, fresh water and for irrigation and transport. Most of the water comes from the Blue Nile in Ethiopia.
At the crossroads of North Africa and west Asia. Egypt has always been an important strategic point.
The building of the High Aswan dam has interfered with the annual floods. Silt used to regularly flow down and cover the valley thus enriching the soil for agriculture. Today with flood water controlled, a lot of expensive artificial fertilisers are necessary.
In ancient times, Thebes was the capital of Upper Egypt, while Memphis was the capital of Lower Egypt. Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great and became a major Mediterranean port. The present capital, Cairo, was established by the invading Arabs in the 2nd century AD. Alexandria is noted for its Great Library and Museum, one of the first in the ancient world. It was a centre for scholars and researchers. It was dedicated to the Greek Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts and from which we get the word museum. Many famous people studied there including Euclid, the Greek mathematician, often referred to as the ‘founder of geometry’.
One of the last great thinkers of ancient Alexandria, was Hypatia, female philosopher, astronomer and mathematician. She was dramatically murdered at the hands of Christian fanatics who objected to her Neoplatonic teaching.