A Gift of the Nile. The Power of Water in Ancient Egypt (PREVIEW)
The Greek historiographer Herodotus is credited with the statement that Egypt was "a gift of the Nile". The annual flooding of the Nile, submerging large areas of arable land and leaving behind a rich mud as fertiliser when it receded, shaped the rhythm of life and work, as well as the religious ideas of ancient and medieval Egypt, and ensured prolific harvests and thus prosperity for the country.
The new special exhibition at the Papyrus Museum of the Austrian National Library presents unique papyri from the Greco-Roman period that document a large-scale, state-controlled water management whose aim was the fair distribution of the precious Nile water not only for agriculture but also for numerous other areas of life, such as for the transport of people and goods or for hygiene and the bathhouses.