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Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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Interior of Nilometer in Cairo. Source: rninov / Adobe Stock.

Muslims Used the Nilometer to Tax the Ancient Egyptians (Video)

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In 639, Arab Muslim forces arrived in Egypt, swiftly gaining control of the Nile and, within two years, the capital, Alexandria. Egypt fell entirely under their dominion. Notably, the first structure they erected was not a place of worship, but a facility for tax assessment, known as the Dialogic. This historic edifice, possibly Egypt's oldest Islamic building, served as the epicenter for fiscal calculations. The Nilometer, a remarkable device, quantified the annual water levels of the Nile. As waters flowed in from a designated aperture, the surrounding area filled up.

The column, bearing cubit measurements, was meticulously scrutinized daily. This meticulous attention to detail was imperative, as the year's water levels had to be compared with those of previous years. A favorable Nile level ensured efficient irrigation, bountiful crops, robust trade, and timely tax collections. This systematic approach allowed the Islamic state to optimize its revenue, ensuring the longevity of its empire. Egypt, with its bounteous Nile, became the cornerstone of this enduring dominion.

Top image: Interior of Nilometer in Cairo. Source: rninov / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

 
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Robbie

I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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