Egypt: Engineering an Empire

92 min

Five thousand years ago, when

Greece and Rome did not pass ...

of distant dreams, a civilization

conceived the impossible ...

and built the unimaginable.

For millennia, the Egyptians

built in dimensions ...

much larger than all the others.

Enriched by his conquests

and strengthened by their gods ...

the indomitable pharaohs erected the first

monolith stone of the ancient world.

The tallest building.

The oldest dam.

The most impregnable fortress.

The largest city.

And the supreme monument

the ego of a ruler.

The message is clear:

Do not mess with Egypt.

The Egyptian engineers

redefined the boundaries ...

of architectural possibility.

But his path to eternal glory

was permeated with blood ...

betrayal and disaster.

Summer 3000 year. C. ..

Rain clouds were forming

above the Ethiopian ...

1.280km south of the Egyptian border.

Before long, a drizzle

became torrent ...

streams and awakened dormant

with a furious flurry ...

red as blood, due to sludge

darkened by the sun of East Africa.

Downhill, these currents were

joined to form the Blue Nile ...

that sped before 1.360km

colliding with his brother ...

the White Nile in Sudan

States, both advancing northward,

Egypt inside, like the Nile ...

a central river

ascending civilization.

If the flood did not occur

that year, there would be famine.

No one would eat.

All Egyptians would be hungry.

If the flood was very strong,

could destroy everything.

In late July, the Nile

overflowed its banks ...

and consumed the whole valley,

leveling everything in its path.

Over 960km south of Egypt ...

to the Mediterranean Sea,

villages were flooded ...

and thousands were homeless.

In Egypt, the flood

is an annual event ...

but the effects of the devastation

could last a lifetime.

Excess water caused disasters

of unimaginable proportions.

Fields were submerged

and rotted.

Children surely die ...

there was no possibility

feeding families ...

and even, as we know

by some literary texts ...

the worst times of hunger

Cannibalism was ...

and other terrible disasters.

While the flood swallowed

every corner of Egypt ...

his new capital, Memphis,

remained dry ...

thanks to the dam 16m

that surrounded her.

It was the first dam

recorded by history.

The force behind the

dam and the city that protected ...

Menes was the first pharaoh

the first Egyptian dynasty.

He was a warrior

passionate about building ...

and his army recently unify

Upper and Lower Egypt ...

into one great kingdom.

The first king of Egypt was

much more powerful than ...

because previous leaders had

all Egypt under control.

The king was placed

on earth by the gods ...

to help maintain order ...

and operation

correct universe.

And he gives the Egyptians

not only this life ...

but also the afterlife.

In Memphis, Menes imposed his will

on mother nature ...

with the aid of an innovative

building technology.

Hello, I'm Peter Weller.

The flood that describe

happened several times .

in 5000 years

history of Egypt.

There are few archaeological records

the reign of Menes ...

but we know that he gave

very important steps ...

prevention of major floods.

His engineers built

a set of barriers ...

to protect Memphis


And this dam should be firm

enough to change the course of the Nile ...

and ensure the safety of Memphis.

The idea that a civilization

of 5000 years ago ...

has achieved this effect

is simply outstanding.

Today, the dam built by Menes

lost in the dust of ages ...

but another old dam

survives east of Memphis.

Known as El Sadd Kafara

and dated 2700 BC, this ruin ...

gives us an idea of the techniques

Egyptian construction of dams.

Consisted of two massive walls

stone with 11m height ...

5m unless the dam Menes.

The width of each wall ...

was 24m at the base

and 12m at the top.

Earth and boulders

filled the space between them.

100 tons of stone

and gravel were extracted ...

and transported to

build this dam ...

and even more so

that Menes built.

Five thousand years ago,

a project of such magnitude

required work

and effort incalculable.

Today, if you say

someone to carry ...

a block of ten tons,

this person ...

will immediately hire a crane.

200 years ago,

this was not necessary.

Three thousand years ago,

it was also not necessary.

People did not think

in machinery ...

but in terms of skilled manpower.

The dam Menes lasted millennia but

second archaeological evidence ...

Sadd El Kafara was

monumental failure.

There is a range of 35m

at its center ...

This suggests that broke under the

water pressure should dam.

May have occurred a flood

in some crucial ...

dam construction.

The water entered ...

and ruined absolutely everything.

For the ancient

Egyptian engineers ...

pioneering projects

never designed ...

disasters were part

the learning process.

There was no precedent for the kind ...

Construction they created.

They knew they wanted

represent the power of the pharaohs and ...

to look at the world around,

had only nature as a guide.

It was necessary to use your imagination ...

and use many natural materials.

The mysterious pharaoh Menes was

fundamental transition in Egypt ...

a coalition

of tribal farmers ...

for a regional superpower.

They say that his reign lasted 62 years.

ended abruptly

when it was ...

injured by a hippo

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