Agriculture and the Origins of the State in Ancient Egypt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In Egypt, state formation occurred much more rapidly after the adoption of farming than in many other parts of the ancient Near East. Furthermore, the Egyptian state lasted longer and was more stable than most Empires established elsewhere. This paper argues that successful states in the ancient world depended on the ability of elites to extract a surplus from farmers and other producers. This ability was greatest when the population was immobile. The success of the Pharaohs was due to the geography of Egypt - the deserts bordering the Nile meant that habitation was confined to the valley. Farmers could flee tax or rent collectors only along the river. The population control problem was, thus, simpler than elsewhere and was the reason a unified state was created and lasted for millenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-154
Number of pages20
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1997

Fingerprint

Ancient Egypt
Farmers
Agriculture
Egypt
Population Control
Nile
Geography
Ancient Near East
Elites
Farming
Egyptians
Collectors
Rent
Millenium
Tax
State Formation
Rivers
Surplus
State formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this

Agriculture and the Origins of the State in Ancient Egypt. / Allen, Robert (Bob).

In: Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 34, No. 2, 01.04.1997, p. 135-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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