Watching coursing rivers is exhilarating. You excitedly watch the constantly changing water, and you know that the interminable drops aren’t going to stay in their place forever.
Rivers can witness stories while flowing around the world. However, some rivers have their very own stories, including the Nile River. It is one of the longest and most significant rivers in North Africa.
Aside from looking quite beautiful, it has seen tales as old as history, for it is considered one of the ancient rivers around the world. This river has been passed by some of the prevailing figures in the world’s history.
It has always been part of great political and economic deals. You will definitely enjoy having a mind tour around the history and the significance of the Nile River.
The History of the Nile River
The Nile River is not only a substantial river coursing through Africa, but also it was one factor of building up the civilisation of Egypt. It has been playing a great role in the history of Egypt since ancient times.
Above and beyond, it is also one of the ancient rivers that the world has ever come to know. It is famous for being the longest river in the world. It passes through most countries of North Africa. In Ancient Egypt, the Nile River was called Iteru. However, the name “Nile” comes from a Greek word, which is Neilos; which means the valley.
The Nile’s history can form a long timeline, for it has been around since the Stone Age. Yes, it is that old. The Egyptian civilisation came into being right by the shores of the river. It played a great role in the foundation of this great culture.
Egypt was originally a deserted area. It was a large landscape that was full of desert, known as Sahara in Arabic. However, it was still inhabited, but there were more than a few scattered oases that no one seemed to care to reside in. Without the Nile, the land of Egypt was a Saharan open space where dust storms can freely play around. That is exactly when the story of the Nile River surfaced up. It started out in the Western Desert of Egypt.
The Nile River’s Significance to Egypt
The Nile’s history includes the fact that Egypt has become a great part of the world, for most of its population started out resting along its shores. The river courses throughout most of the cities in Egypt and all the way to the north of Aswan. Definitely, it does not stop there; it actually keeps on flowing, pouring through the lands of Libya and the Gulf of Sidra.
One of the Greek historians once said: “Egypt was the gift of the Nile.” When the Ancient Egyptian started building up the land of Egypt, they respected the Nile. Mainly because they were totally aware of the Nile River’s significance. They had even worshipped the Nile for rituals that solely belonged to them. Hapi was the Nile god they believed in. They prayed every year to god Hapi during the flooding of the Nile River. It was the time when they grow crops.
The Nile River’s significance also lies in the fact that it provided Egypt with life and civilisation in so many ways. There was also a blessing trending among the Egyptians that said: “May you always drink from the Nile.” The Ancient Egyptians used the Nile to get their food from the fishes. Besides, they used the mud that came from the riverbanks; they used it for bricks and papyrus. That was how they got themselves boats and books and coped with the rest of the world.
Religion in Ancient Egypt
The Ancient Egyptians had their own religion and it happened to be highly related to the Nile. In fact, their religion was all about the Nile. The Nile was a god to them; God Hapi. They believed that Hapi was the reason behind the flood that took place every year. The Ancient Egyptians respected the Nile for being the reason to found their civilisation. On the other side, part of that respect was due to the fact that the Nile was God Hapi who helped in providing them with life. For them, God Hapi came every year flooding their lands, so they were able to grow crops and cultivate.
The God of the Nile (Hapi)
According to the Ancient Egyptians’ beliefs and rituals, God Hapi had the look of human beings; however, they had a bit different illustrations. Hapi was neither a female nor a male god; he was an intersex person. Hapi had the features of both genders; he was a person with a large belly and sagging breasts.
That depiction conveyed an important message; the female part of Hapi was a symbolisation of being caring that he cultivated the harvest. On the other hand, the male part was for being a compassionate predecessor who kept the balance of the universe. All of those beliefs made Hapi “The father of Gods,” according to the Ancient Egyptians.
To be more precise, the Ancient Egyptians did not regard Hapi as a god of the Nile itself. In point of fact, the event, which was the flood, was the Egyptians believed that Hapi was the god of. Moreover, they also believed that Hapi was a friend of two other Egyptian gods; Geb, God of the earth, and the Lord of Neper, the God of the grains.
The arrival of Hapi took place during the flood of the Nile that happened on an annual basis. The flood was actually the reason that the land of Egypt was fertilised. After being once a desert, Hapi came to nourish it up, so he was believed to be a symbol of fertility.
Other Representations of God Hapi
The Ancient Egyptians illustrated God Hapi as an intersex human being. However, there were other attributes that they linked to their god; those attributes varied from one region to another.
Basically, God Hapi’s skin was either green or blue, for it represents the colour of the water. That was a general belief that was all across Egypt. Conversely, folks of Lower Egypt kind of believed that God Hapi was someone embellished by the plants of papyrus and that frog found him very approachable. This notion came from the fact that frogs and that specific type of plants surrounded people in Lower Egypt.
The Nile also contained a bunch of crocodiles and the lotus, but that was mainly in Upper Egypt. Successively, their surrounding impacted their depiction of God Hapi as well, thinking that those symbols were all about his presence him.
In most of the Ancient Egyptians illustrations, God Hapi was usually holding different kinds of offerings, either food or water. That illustration of holding water was mainly all about being the giver of the bliss called water. The pictures usually involved God Hapi pouring water; a representation of being a ceaseless supporter.
On the other side, during the Nineteenth reign, those representations changed into a bit of twisted belief. God Hapi during that time was portrayed as two different figures. Those figures held a long stem of two plants and tied them together. Logically, those two plants were a metaphor for Lower and Upper Egypt.
Interesting Facts about the Nile River
The Nile’s history happens to have a handful of great tales to tell. Luckily, they have lived long enough for everybody to know about. Conversely, there are a handful of facts about the Nile other than being the longest river in the world and once being a god.
Do you know that the Nile River flows all the way to the Mediterranean Sea? Well, most of the people actually have no idea either. Right before pouring into the Mediterranean Sea, the river starts dividing into two different branches. These branches flow in two different directions; the Rosetta Branch courses to the west while the Damietta Branch courses toward the east. Both branches pour into the Mediterranean Sea at the end.
Another fact that most of the people don’t know about is the source of the Nile River. As a matter of fact, rivers tend to have more than one source, or else they wouldn’t be persistently flowing, right? Conversely, two of the major sources of the Nile River are Lake Tana and Lake Victoria. Each of them flows to pour into a different branch. Lake Tana pours into the Blue Nile branch while Lake Victoria pours into the White Nile Branch.
You may have realised the fact that this river has actually gotten crocodiles. Especially, that God Hapi was usually depicted that way. Well, what may be interesting here is the fact that they are abundant. There is a lot of crocodiles in the Nile, even more than people know about. Besides, these crocodiles happen to be the largest ones all around Africa as well. Above and beyond, crocodiles are not the only animals around; there also hippopotamus frogs, turtles, baboons, mongooses, and several species of birds.
Read more Facts about the Nile River.
The Nile is actually an amazing river that you shouldn’t miss while in Egypt or any other country around Africa. Besides, there are other interesting places around the Nile to visit in Egypt, including Downtown Cairo. You wouldn’t want to miss this out.
Have you ever visited the Crocodiles of the River Nile? Let us know in the comments below.