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Does Western Philosophy Have Egyptian Roots?
Peter Flegel highlights possible connections between early Greek philosophy and the ideas of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.
Just over a year ago an eager team of archaeologists scoured through the mud and groundwater of a slum in Cairo erected on the ruins of the pharaonic city of Heliopolis. There they uncovered a gigantic statue, which they believed represented the pharaoh Ramses the Great. Euphoria soon gave way to slight disappointment when it was discovered that the statue was not of Ramses but a lesser-known seventh century BCE ruler of Egypt, Psamtik I.
While almost forgotten by the modern world, Psamtik was once revered as a decisive ruler who boosted trade and diplomatic relations with Greece. His policies allowed the Hellenes to establish colonies on Egyptian soil for the first time, opening the door to a trading and cultural relationship that would endure for more than three hundred years.