Official 51 Passage 1


Memphis: United Egypt’s First Capital


According to paragraph 3, recent research into the topography of the Memphis region in ancient times suggests which of the following?

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  • A
    The level of the Nile floodplains was much higher in predynastic and dynastic times than in later times.
  • B
    The sediment deposits of wadis were not as noticeable in predynastic and dynastic times than in later times.
  • C
    The Nile valley at the point of Memphis was narrower in predynastic and dynastic times than it was in later times.
  • D
    Frequent rainy periods may have caused a significant reduction of trade traffic during the predynastic and dynastic times.
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。



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    答案: C

    题型: 细节题


    通读第三段内容后,定位到本段后半部分Surveys and drill cores have shown that the level of the Nile floodplain has steadily risen over the last five millenniums…

    选项A:信息与原文“When the floodplain was much lower, as it would have been in predynastic and early dynastic times”不符;

    选项B:信息与原文不符“the outwash fans of various wadis would have been much more prominent features on the east bank.