Official 51 Passage 1

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Memphis: United Egypt’s First Capital

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According to paragraph 2, when did Egypt import goods from the Near East?

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  • A
    Once internal trade was fully controlled from Memphis
  • B
    Not until early dynastic Egypt established its state-directed economy
  • C
    As early as predynastic times
  • D
    Only when local supplies of those goods had been completely used up
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正确答案: C

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  • The city of Memphis, located on the Nile near the modern city of Cairo, was founded around 3100 B.C. as the first capital of a recently united Egypt. The choice of Memphis by Egypt`s first kings reflects the site`s strategic importance. First, and most obvious, the apex of the Nile River delta was a politically opportune location for the state`s administrative center, standing between the united lands of Upper and Lower Egypt and offering ready access to both parts of the country. The older predynastic (pre-3100 B.C.) centers of power, This and Hierakonpolis, were too remote from the vast expanse of the delta, which had been incorporated into the unified state. Only a city within easy reach of both the Nile valley to the south and the more spread out, difficult terrain to the north could provide the necessary political control that the rulers of early dynastic Egypt (roughly 3000–2600 B.C.) required.



    The region of Memphis must have also served as an important node for transport and communications, even before the unification of Egypt. The region probably acted as a conduit for much, if not all, of the river-based trade between northern and southern Egypt. Moreover, commodities (such as wine, precious oils, and metals) imported from the Near East by the royal courts of predynastic Upper Egypt would have been channeled through the Memphis region on their way south. In short, therefore, the site of Memphis offered the rulers of the Early Dynastic Period an ideal location for controlling internal trade within their realm, an essential requirement for a state-directed economy that depended on the movement of goods.



    Equally important for the national administration was the ability to control communications within Egypt. The Nile provided the easiest and quickest artery of communication, and the national capital was, again, ideally located in this respect. Recent geological surveys of the Memphis region have revealed much about its topography in ancient times. It appears that the location of Memphis may have been even more advantageous for controlling trade, transport, and communications than was previously appreciated. Surveys and drill cores have shown that the level of the Nile floodplain has steadily risen over the last five millenniums. When the floodplain was much lower, as it would have been in predynastic and early dynastic times, the outwash fans (fan-shaped deposits of sediments) of various wadis (stream-beds or channels that carry water only during rainy periods) would have been much more prominent features on the east bank. The fan associated with the Wadi Hof extended a significant way into the Nile floodplain, forming a constriction in the vicinity of Memphis. The valley may have narrowed at this point to a mere three kilometers, making it the ideal place for controlling river traffic.



    Furthermore, the Memphis region seems to have been favorably located for the control not only of river-based trade but also of desert trade routes. The two outwash fans in the area gave access to the extensive wadi systems of the eastern desert. In predynastic times, the Wadi Digla may have served as a trade route between the Memphis region and the Near East, to judge from the unusual concentration of foreign artifacts found in the predynastic settlement of Maadi. Access to, and control of, trade routes between Egypt and the Near East seems to have been a preoccupation of Egypt`s rulers during the period of state formation. The desire to monopolize foreign trade may have been one of the primary factors behind the political unification of Egypt. The foundation of the national capital at the junction of an important trade route with the Nile valley is not likely to have been accidental. Moreover, the Wadis Hof and Digla provided the Memphis region with accessible desert pasturage. As was the case with the cities of Hierakonpolis and Elkab, the combination within the same area of both desert pasturage and alluvial arable land (land suitable for growing crops) was a particularly attractive one for early settlement; this combination no doubt contributed to the prosperity of the Memphis region from early predynastic times.


  • 孟斐斯市坐落于尼罗河流域,位于现今的开罗附近,它大约在公元前3100年被建成,是近代埃及王国统一后的第一个首都。埃及的第一批君王们选择孟斐斯作为埃及的首都,反映出该地区的战略重要性。首先,最明显的一点是,从政治方面考虑,尼罗河三角洲的顶端是国家行政中心的极佳位置,它处于埃及联合王国上半部分和下半部分的中间,可以随时进入这两片区域。旧王朝(公元前3100年之前)埃及的两个政权中心,This城和Hierakonpolis城(耶拉孔波利斯),距离广袤的尼罗河三角洲太遥远了,而这片区域已经被并入了统一后的埃及王国中。只有当一个城市既距离尼罗河谷南部地区很近,从那儿又能很容易地到达更远的,地形复杂的北部地区时,它才能够为早期埃及王朝的统治者们提供政治统治的必要条件。

    孟斐斯地区也必然是交通运输和通讯的重要枢纽,即使是在埃及统一之前也是如此。即便不是在所有情况下,孟斐斯地区也可能在很大程度上是一条连接埃及北部和南部地区河流贸易的通道。此外,埃及前王朝时代,上埃及地区的宫廷从近东地区进口商品(如酒、油和金属)时,在他们向南行进的过程中会穿越孟斐斯地区。简而言之,因此,孟斐斯的选址能够给早期埃及王朝时代的统治者们提供控制国内贸易的理想地理位置,而控制国内贸易,是建立依赖货物流通的国有经济的必要条件。

    对国家管理来说,同等重要的是掌控埃及国内通讯的能力。尼罗河提供了最便捷和最快速的通讯渠道,而国家的首都,再次,很理想地坐落在尼罗河流域。最近对孟斐斯地区所进行的地质调查揭示了很多关于该地区古代地形的信息。由此看来,孟斐斯的地理位置对控制贸易、运输和通讯来说,可能比人们之前所认为的还要有利。地质调查和钻探显示,尼罗河泛滥平原的地平面高度在过去的五千年中稳步上升。在埃及前王朝时期和埃及王朝早期,泛滥平原的高度要低得多,那时候各个河谷(只在雨季才有水流通过的河床和渠道)的冰水扇(扇形沉积物堆积体)在河的东岸体现得更为明显。Hof河的冰水扇扩展到了尼罗河的泛滥平原上,在孟斐斯城附近造成了挤压。这个山谷在当时变得很窄,宽度仅为3公里,这也使它成为了控制河流交通的理想地点。

    此外,孟斐斯的地理位置不仅有利于控制河流贸易,而且还有利于控制沙漠贸易路线。该地区的两个冰水扇使人们能进入到东部沙漠广阔的河道系统中。在前王朝时代,Digla河可能是一条孟斐斯地区和近东地区之间的贸易路线,在马迪地区的埃及前王朝时代的聚居点中发现的大量外国文物能够证明这一点。能够进入并控制埃及和近东地区之间的贸易路线,似乎是埃及统治者们在国家刚建成时的当务之急。想要垄断对外贸易的渴望,可能是埃及政治统一背后的一个主要因素。在重要贸易路线与尼罗河谷的交汇处建立国家首都绝非偶然。此外,Hof河和Digla河为孟斐斯地区提供了沙漠牧场。以Hierakonpolis和Elkab城为例,沙漠牧场和冲积耕地(适合耕种农作物的土地)在同一片区域的结合,使这片地区成为一个特别有吸引力的早期定居点;这样的组合无疑促进了前王朝时代早期孟斐斯地区的繁荣。
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    答案: C

    题型: 细节题

    解析:根据题干信息Egypt import goods from the Near East”定位到第二段第三句“Moreover, commodities (such as wine, precious oils, and metals) imported from the Near East by the royal courts of predynastic Upper Egypt would have been channeled through the Memphis region on their way south.”对应选项信息C

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