by John Bellinger

FOREWORD by Kay Bellinger

Ancient Egyptian Gardens considers how the ancient Egyptians' effective management of the land led to the success of their country, in spite of having a difficult climate. Their civilisation lasted for three millennia. The great diversity of plants available to them was due not only to the indigenous plants, which covered the three terrains of the desert, Delta and Nile Valley, but to their foresight in developing and importing foreign plants. Egypt lies on the borderline between African and the Mediterranean climates; they also had access to the Middle East.

The value they held for their plants and agriculture is clear to see on the walls of temples and tombs; for example, the ceiling of a tomb belonging to a royal vintner is decorated with hanging grapes, and his wife is shown picking them. What a lovely sight for him when he awakes in the afterlife.

The importance of agriculture is obvious from the many scenes of the working countryside, painted for the dead, so when they awake they would come to life and provide sustenance. The ancient Egyptians used their plants to enhance festivals and, as today, to decorate their coffins. The land to them was of prime importance and they believed that the afterlife was just like Egypt, but better. Unlike today, the ancient Egyptians were bonded to nature.

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