Did the Kingdom of Egypt collapse due to volcanic activities?

The Kingdom of Egypt (Ptolemaic Kingdom), especially BC. It was famous for its last queen, Cleopatra, before it was conquered by the Romans in 30 BC. But the domination of the Greek-Macedonian Ptolemies over this country on the banks of the Nile goes back 300 years.

After the death of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies claimed the throne and made Alexandria their capital. Alexandria, the largest city in the Mediterranean region, was famous for its library and lighthouse. In addition, the city, which was the center of creativity and invention at that time, also housed geniuses such as Euclid and Archimedes. But no matter how advanced the civilization was, it still had a weak side. As a matter of fact, all the agricultural and food needs of the country depended on the Nile river and its floods. The floods carried fertile mud to the fields and provided sufficient water for planting. Thus, the ancient Egyptians depended on the Nile floods triggered by the East African monsoons.

According to Yale University’s Joseph Manning, the Ptolemaic Kingdom’s dependence on the floods of the Nile also determined its fate. Researchers have determined that the volcanic activities experienced at that time changed the climate several times and also affected the African monsoon. After the volcanic eruptions, the Nile floods, which were of great importance for the country, did not occur for two years. Researchers have “revived” the link between volcanic eruptions and Nile floods from different sources. Historical records were evaluated for the chronicle of the Nile floods. Reconstructions of major volcanic eruptions in the last 2500 years have been made with ice core samples. Climate models thus show how volcanic sulfur gases weaken the African monsoon and prevent Nile floods.

Comparing the periods when the Nile floods decreased with historical events, the effect of climate change on the Ptolemaic Kingdom was revealed. BC After the strong eruptions of 46 and 44, there were no floods. Although Cleopatra temporarily relieved the people’s deprivation by scattering the grain in the royal warehouses, a rebellion soon broke out. In fact, the uprisings in Thebes, which continued for twenty years starting from 207 BC, may be related to a series of volcanic activities and the resulting loss of floods, the researchers say. Because the riots increased during the years of eruptions. BC While it is mentioned in a priest’s declaration in 238 that there were no floods, another papyrus mentions an “Egyptian uprising”. In fact, volcanic eruptions may have been effective in the success of the Ptolemies in wars.

As a matter of fact, it is said that historical data point to an overlap between the years of intermittent wars and volcanic activity. Egyptian rulers had to stop wars frequently because of the uprisings in their countries. For example, III. Ptolemy BC. In the third Syrian war in 245, he had advanced as far as Babylon, but then he had to return to Egypt due to the unrest in his country. A Roman historian wrote that if he had not had to return to Egypt, he would have ruled over all the Seleucid districts. Even the war of Antony and Cleopatra against Octavius ​​was prevented by the uprisings in Alexandria. The latest research is important in terms of revealing how the Ptolemaic state and its people reacted to the disappearing floods.

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