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History Of Aswan

Aswan in Ancient History

Swenett was equally important as a military station, maintaining its role as a frontier garrison town for the Romans, Turks, and the British. It provided a great first defensive line against any attacks coming from Nubia or the rest of Africa to the south. During the height of the Middle Kingdom era, Egypt began a successful military campaign to occupy Nubia, Sudan, and Ethiopia, and Swenett provided an important stronghold and gathering place for the ancient Egyptian armies. At the end of the Middle Kingdom period, when the Hyksos conquered Egypt, Swenett was a focal point in the struggle to free the county from foreign rule. Ahmose, the Egyptian king who led the armies to defeat the Hyksos was said to come from the region of Swenett.

Throughout ancient Egyptian history, Swenett retained its important status in Egypt and was mentioned by numerous ancient writers, including Herodotus, Strabo, Stephanus of Byzantium, Ptolemy, Pliny the Elder, Vitruvius, in the Antonine Itinerary, and in the Bible, in the books of Ezekiel and Isaiah. Today, Aswan holds one of the most impressive Egyptian achievements. The High Dam, constructed in the 1960s, helps store the water of the River Nile in Lake Nasser, while its hydroelectric power plant provides Egypt with more than 85% of the electricity consumed by the country.

Ancient Science in Aswan

Ancient geographers believed that Aswan was located immediately under the Tropic of Cancer, where the sun would pass directly overhead during the summer solstice (which happens around June 21st). Their crude tests seemed to prove this to be true, although we now know Aswan is just over ½ a degree to the north of the Tropic of Cancer. However, in the 2nd century BC, Eratosthenes used this assumption along with measurements of the shadow length on the solstice at Alexandria to perform the first known calculation of the circumference of the Earth.

Religion in Aswan

When the Ptolemies conquered Egypt in the 4th century BC, they wanted to appease the Egyptians and make them happy with their rule, so they rebuilt and restored the Philae Temple in Aswan, and at that time, the worship of the gods Osiris and Isis were at their most glorious stages in history. The Romans followed the example of the Ptolemies and continued to pay special attention to the temples of Isis. Roman Emperor Trajan even built a small temple dedicated to Isis within the Philae Temple. When Christianity spread to Egypt in the fourth and fifth centuries AD, the Roman Emperors’ did not view it favorably, and treated Egyptian converts (especially the Copt sect) poorly, even executing some of them. Despite this, many of the ancient Egyptian Pharaonic temples were transformed into churches. Philae Island itself became the center of one of the Bishoprics, and Christianity kept spreading towards the South until it reached Nubia.

After the emergence of Islam, it started spreading in and around Aswan, and in the 10th century, trading caravans began to pass by Aswan before going to Aydhab, an old port situated on the shore of the Red Sea, before reaching Hejaz, Yemen, or India.

 

Updated on april 25 2020