Bruce's Hieratic (Middle Kingdom)

Math of Egypt UGLY Page.

Created: January 2000

Last modified: June 28, 2003

Wouldn't life be grand if someone just told you what this says?

Translation of the EMLR

Some interesting notes on the calendar.

A close shot of the walls of the Temple at Komombo (picture one) .  Crocodile Mummies were found here in great quantity.  Also, note the kid with the blue hat who would not get out of the way!  I'd like to wrap him a few times!
This image shows a portion of the Priestly Calendar.
I have calculated that this calendar, much like a watch that is not running properly, was innaccurate (fast) by about one month per century.  By comparison our "modern" calendar is only fast by about one day per century. Given that the Egyptians were sustained by the Nile and fascinated by stars, they probably had an alternate (lunar and variable solar) calendar for more accurately predicting the Nile's flood season. [The rise of the star Sirius or Draconis]
Another interesting note on the Egyptian perception of time:
The hours of each day were different in length.
Take that - Timex!
The daylight portion of time (sunrise to sunset) was divided by 12 to determine the length of each sunlit hour. Presumably the Priests were adept at this calculation or regularly made corrections to their standard daily adjustment.
The effect of this system is that Winter hours are shorter!
How do you know when it is your birthday? [Someone brings you a cake?]
How do you know when you are late for work? [Someone kills you?]

Picture One [Kom Ombo]

 

Some ironic notes on Egyptian Construction Techniques.

Saqarra (picture two)
A ~5000 year old steppe pyramid composed of stone.  I think a primitive mix like portland cement could have produced composite bricks that may have hardened to stone.  5000 years in the hot sun might harden you a bit!
Regardless of the material composition, considering Saqarra's age and size, this pyramid is a marvel even now.  Saqarra's completion gives us a glimpse of the determination, coerced or otherwise, of the labor force.
It is a celebration of the organizational talents of upper management, a testament to the stability of the territory, and an icon representing the Pharoah's bond with his People.

Picture Two [Saqarra steppe pyramid of Zoser [AKA Djoser]

A developing modern area (picture three) in southern Egypt (near Elephantine Island) composed (mostly) of mud bricks.  Almost no infrastructure, minimal plumbing, no traffic lights.  Streets are regularly cleaned by men with brooms.
The use of mud bricks here is economically motivated.  Labor is dirt cheap and dirt is free.
It rarely rains, so if the roof leaks how often will this bother you?

The following is a description of how a "house" is constructed and purchased in this region:
1. For about $8,000 you can purchase a lot (100 feet by 40 feet) including a reinforced concrete skeleton (see the foreground of picture three).  The structural members and reinforced concrete slab floors are all you get. No windows and no doors, and no plumbing and no electrical distribution.  Just a feed from the available power lines and a tie-in to available waste lines.
2. If you do not finish the roof then your taxes are much lower.  These houses typically have the third and top floor completely exposed to the elements, forever.  This space is often used for gardening.
3. Over time you can make your own mud bricks and use them to fill in the rectangles of the skeleton and create and define your living space.  Attention to detail is not required.  Some of the mud brick ramps that were temporarily constructed to give access to the walls of the Temple Complex at Karnak (called Thebes by the Greeks) have survived over 1500 years, even after having been repeatedly submerged by the Nile! Things just last longer in Egypt.
4.  If you are some kind of primadonna you can stucco and even paint the exterior!  
5. Your neighbors and the many generations that preceeded them are accustomed to living in mud brick houses with thatched roofs.  They wont ever complain that the neighbor's house is grotesque.
6. Finishing the roof of your house with terra cotta is an economic privilege reserved for persons of higher social status.
7. You are finished.  Sip tea and rejoice.

Picture Three [Modern construction; near Elephantine Island]

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