What is the backstory of Upper and Lower Egypt?


Ancient Egypt was divided into two civilizations: Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt. The difference was only due to geographical factors: Lower Egypt occupied the more northern broad Nile Valley. Geographical isolation has brought cultural differences; however, in 3100 B.C., there was a conquest of the northern lands as a result unification of Upper and Lower Egypt happened.


Egyptian civilization emerged in northeast Africa in the Nile Valley due to its abundant seasonal spills. The ancient Egyptian civilization has existed almost 7000 years: about the fourth millennium B.C., the primitive communal tribes wandering on Nile valley for hunting and gathering were transformed into small settlements that received the name Noma. Gradually, the Nomas united into two large kingdoms called Upper and Lower Egypt. The borders of Ancient Egypt are sharply outlined by nature itself: from all sides, the state was limited to natural areas such as desserts or the Nile. Below the first thresholds of Nile carried the waters strictly to the north on a long narrow valley where Upper Egypt was. However, in some places, the river valley expanded, forming the famous Nile Delta known as Lower Egypt.

From an aesthetic point of view, due to a similar geographical situation, the tribes of different states did not differ much. Typical monuments of land communities in Lower Egypt are settlements along the shores of Lake Fayoum. Inhabitants of Fayumsky settlements bred cattle and small horns, stored grain in pits. As in Lower Egypt, around the same time, tribes of pastoralists lived in Upper Egypt, cultivating wheat and barley, raising small cattle, and making clay vessels in which they stored their stocks. They grew not only small cattle but also cattle. They kept barley and wheat in clay-covered closures.

Approximately in 3100 B.C., the people of the Horus from Upper Egypt in the south went on an expedition north to meet the people of Seth. According to mythology, Horus fought with the usurper god Seth, his younger brother, for the throne, the center of the Seth cult was concentrated in the north. Like their god, the northerners intended to conquer what was rightfully theirs. The ruler of Upper Egypt, Menes, led the people of Horus in the battle against the people of Lower Egypt, from where Menes came out victorious. By marrying the northern princess Neithhotep, Menes legally bound the two countries and became the person who united Upper and Lower Egypt.

The conquered Lower Egypt was long unwilling to admit defeat, and there were bloody military clashes during almost the entire Early Kingdom. With time, however, the fighting subsided, and cultures were reconciled. This conquest of Upper Egypt by the Delta civilization probably explains so radical changes noted by ethnologists and archeologists. These changes have affected the population and monuments of Upper Egypt in the period before dynastic. There was a mix of inhabitants of the Upper and Lower Egypt, their physical characteristics, but some part of the cultural code of Lower Egypt has nevertheless remained. Menes was the same charismatic political figure as he was an experienced and influential general. He allowed northerners to observe their religious customs, including the Seth celebrations. This gesture was perceived as a sign from the gods that the Southerners would not harm the Northerners. They only wanted to take their place as legitimate rulers of united Egypt and establish discipline and order. To centralize the two kingdoms, Menes founded a new city between them, Memphis. Created in the floodplain of the Nile River, the town became prosperous because of its abundance of food and thriving trade, promoting civilization where the government was located. It was also a place where North and South could meet culturally.

Answer by Academic.tip's expert
An answer to this question is provided by one of our experts who specializes in history. Let us know how much you liked it and give it a rating.

Cite this page

Select a citation style:


Academic.Tips. (2020) 'What is the backstory of Upper and Lower Egypt'. 11 April.


Academic.Tips. (2020, April 11). What is the backstory of Upper and Lower Egypt? Retrieved from https://academic.tips/question/upper-and-lower-egypt/


Academic.Tips. 2020. "What is the backstory of Upper and Lower Egypt?" April 11, 2020. https://academic.tips/question/upper-and-lower-egypt/.

1. Academic.Tips. "What is the backstory of Upper and Lower Egypt?" April 11, 2020. https://academic.tips/question/upper-and-lower-egypt/.


Academic.Tips. "What is the backstory of Upper and Lower Egypt?" April 11, 2020. https://academic.tips/question/upper-and-lower-egypt/.

Work Cited

"What is the backstory of Upper and Lower Egypt?" Academic.Tips, 11 Apr. 2020, academic.tips/question/upper-and-lower-egypt/.