The Egyptian civilization, which flourished along the banks of the Nile for about 3000 years, was one of the most extraordinary and enduring of the ancient world. Even today, after two thousand years since its setting, it continues to exert considerable charm. The Egyptians left many traces of their culture, thanks to the climate dry desert that has preserved over the centuries. The Sphinx and many pyramids, mummies, funerary masks, funerary decorations, the papyri, have thus been preserved from destruction, the common fate of many ancient remains. Egypt is in fact also known as the "gift of the Nile", because the flooding of the river deposited on the fields a layer of fertile silt, vital for the growth of crops. Already in prehistoric times, the first settlers learned to sow and plant their crops in the fields still covered by mud after the waters had receded. I collected, almost always abundant, they allowed that civilization to thrive and achieve a brilliance never known before. The ancient Egyptians called the fertile valley of the Nile kemet, "black earth", and themselves remet-en-kemet, "the people of the black earth", while the desert surrounding the town was said deshret, "red earth."
English summary: The names, origins, and by ways in the west, and the uses and 'imaginary' symbolism that has for centuries distinguished the commerce in incense, cinnamon, and myrrh from the far away regions of the orient to the merchant's stalls of the Greeks and Romans. This is an ideal journey through the centuries of classical antiquity following the caravan routes, legends and the Levantine enchantment that instill an atmosphere of dreams around the commercial and cultural exchanges between the Orient and Occident, prior to the advent of the great Islamic civilization. Italian description: I nomi, le origini, le vie di penetrazione in Occidente, gli usi e il simbolismo immaginario che ha contraddistinto per secoli il commercio di incenso, cinnamomo, mirra dalle lontane plaghe d'Oriente ai banchi dei mercati greci e romani. Un viaggio ideale nei secoli dell'antichita classica al seguito di vie carovaniere, di leggende e magie levantine che infondono un'atmosfera di sogno agli scambi commerciali e culturali tra Oriente ed Occidente, prima dell'avvento della grande civilta islamica.
The essays included in this volume analyze important historical texts from various regions of the Ancient Near East. The distinguished Italian historian Mario Liverani suggests that these historiographical texts were of a "true" historical nature and that their literary forms achieved their intended results. Liverani focuses on two central themes in these texts: myth and politics. There is a close connection, Liverani finds, between the writing of history and the validation of political order and political action. History defines the correct role and behavior of political leaders, especially when they do not possess the validation provided by tradition. Historical texts, he discovers, are more often the tools for supporting change than for supporting stability. Liverani demonstrates that history writing in the Ancient Near East made frequent use of mythical patterns, wisdom motifs, and literary themes in order to fulfill its audience's cultural expectations. The resulting nonhistorical literary forms can mislead interpretation, but an analysis of these forms allows the texts' sociopolitical and communicative frameworks to emerge.