Egyptian civilization begins with the unification of the two Lands, namely Upper and Lower Egypt, under one king. A date is often used is 3000 BC, largely arrived at by working backwards from known astronomical dates, tied in with such early regional dates, or sequences, that are known. The essential question is who was the first king who unified the two kingdoms? Tradition ascribes this feat variously to Narmer or Menes, who may well have been one and the same person. There is also a king “Scorpion” who appears on the scene. Some would place him and Narmer sequentially in “dynasty 0”, from c. 3150 to 3050 BC.
Before we look at the surviving record of the battle leading to the unification of Egypt we must ask ourselves if its possible to deduce any factors which might have given impetus to the struggles of about 3000 bc. It seems to me that underlying the grand strategy of welding upper and Lower Egypt into one kingdom were ecological pressures. There is every indication that the climate became much dryer during the early third millenium BC. A hyperacidity that resulted in the loss, from Egypt to Nubia, to the Saharan rainbelt and to the east African savanna, of the elephants, giraffe and rhinoceros. In addition, to flood water was covering almost a third less arable area then previously. Water for crops was now therefore at a premium and made demands on the ingenuity of the canal managers. A larger labor force and more systematic layout of channels feeding water to the fields became paramount. Cooperative expansion over local territorial divisions in the south pushed the domain of the overlord of Upper Egypt to the borders of the Northern Kingdom. Conflict was inescapable. The ancient Egyptian civilization starts its record at about 3150 BC. The first era of the civilization is known as the “0” dynasty and is represented by the “scorpion” and the Pharaoh who has united upper and Lower Egypt. The “Scorpion” appears for the first time on the fragmented so called “scorpion” macehead, a kind is seen in full ritual dress with ritual bulls tail hanging from the back of his belt, wearing the tall White crown (hedjet) of upper Egypt and performing a ceremony using a hoe or mattock. This most probably represents opening the dykes ritually to begin the flooding of the fields or he could be cutting the first furrow to the foundation of either a temple or of a city.
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