quinta-feira, 4 de abril de 2013


One theory put forward by researchers to explain the peopling of Egypt part of the ecology of northern Africa. For millennia, the current Sahara Desert was a region of grasslands, inhabited by hunters and fishermen and later by farmers and ranchers. A climate change caused the dryness of the land, being responsible for the formation of deserts in the region today. Insofar as desertification progressed, a growing share of people, coming from all quarters, settled on the banks of the Nile. The Nile is a river of perennial water, wedged in the middle of the desert. Their annual floods fertilized the land located in the delta and along its banks.

Egypt can be considered a so-called "river civilizations", similar to the Mesopotamian civilization, which grew in the triangle formed by the Tigris and Euphrates, the Chinese civilization that centered around the river Yang-tzu and civilization of the Indus River in the subcontinent Indian. Often we speak of Egypt as a "miracle of the Nile," as if all the richness of their culture should only be to the advantage of nature. But Egypt resembles all those civilizations that might arise and thrive under a centralized government thanks not only to a great river, but also the thousands of men who used their ingenuity and their workforce to organize agricultural services and resolve the human problem of hunger, without which no cultural development is even imaginable.

Without the administrative centralization and division of labor that would be impossible. To the Nile valley and flocked heterogeneous populations of different origins, composed of Saharan whites who abandoned nomadism, proto-Semitic and Semites from Asia western and blacks who got into the valley from sub-Saharan Africa. Egyptian civilization is a mixture, a cultural synthesis between values ​​of these populations.

But that explanation can be found for the fact that these dispersed and heterogeneous groups of hunters, fishermen and farmers primitive, who settled on the banks of the Nile, have given rise to a Egyptian single kingdom, with a centralized state and a complex social stratification, although persistently dual in character? The causal hypothesis hydraulic One hypothesis to account for this fact is called "causal hypothesis hydraulic" theory elaborated by historian Karl A. Wittfogel (1896-1988).

According to this theory, to secure the services of irrigation needed for large-scale agriculture, the state had to organize tyrannically compulsory labor of populations subjected. This required a complex bureaucracy specializing in the service of a central power, which exercised a despotic command over society, inhibiting any manifestation of independence or individuality. Wittfogel coined the term "Asiatic despotism" to characterize these "hydraulic empires", characterized by immobility and stagnation, as opposed to the dynamics and mobility of Western societies. So, according to this theory, the unification of Egypt should be the need for a centralized management of irrigation works for the functioning of complex agricultural system in a country of desert climate. There would be evidence of a growing desertification in North Africa, which have led many people to focus on the banks of the Nile, in a period when rainfall decayed and required the adoption of a system of irrigated agriculture controlled by a centralized and despotic state.

But the causal hypothesis hydraulic does not solve the problem. Recent studies have shown that irrigated agriculture was initially only local, controlled by village communities, who always enjoyed a relative autonomy. Can not be attributed to state centralization and training of Egyptian civilization exclusively to this need for public works irrigation. This irrigation system emerged late as a result of the existence of a strong state.

The hydraulic causal hypothesis is no longer accepted by the community of researchers. It is always dangerous to reduce the complexity of historical processes to rigid schemes postulating hypotheses monocausal. Without concrete research, Wittfogel reduced the richness of Eastern civilizations and a schematism economic concept of "Asiatic despotism" smacks of Eurocentrism (Western societies, modeled are the Greeks, would be dynamic and creative, while Asian societies tend to despotism and stagnation).

Often, cultural prejudices are apparent in glaringly hypothesis elaborated by historians. It is for this reason that history is always under construction a discipline that continually puts in question their own assumptions. There is no theory that explains everything.

Our knowledge of the past is necessarily fragmentary and only concrete research can make our knowledge about the past forward.