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An ivory label from the tomb of Narmer shows a Palestinian dignitary stooping in homage before the Egyptian king.

At the same time, in the real world, Egypt and Palestine were busy engaging in trade.

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"The inscription at Gebel Sheikh Suleiman which shows a giant scorpion holding in its pincers a defeated Nubian chieftain, is a graphic illustration of Egyptian policy toward Nubia.A second inscription nearby, dating to the threshold of the First Dynasty, completes the story.Following Egypt’s decisive early intervention in lower Nubia, this stretch of the Nile Valley---though it would remain a thorn in Egypt’s side---would not rise again as a serious power for nearly a thousand years."Secure in its borders, with hegemony over the Nile Valley and flourishing trade links, the early Egyptian state witnessed a marked rise in overall prosperity, but the rewards were not evenly spread across the population.Governments seek to manipulate livelihoods as well as lives.

The development in ancient Egypt of a truly national administration was one of the major accomplishments of the First to Third dynasties, the four- hundred- year formative phase of pharaonic civilization known as the Early Dynastic Period (2950-2575).Thereafter, the event was combined with a formal census of the country’s agricultural wealth.) From the third reign of the First Dynasty, the Palermo Stone also records the height of the annual Nile inundation, measured in cubits and fractions of a cubit (one ancient Egyptian cubit equals 20.6 inches).The reason why the court would have wished to measure and archive this information every year is simple: the height of the inundation directly affected the level of agricultural yield the following season, and would therefore have allowed the royal treasury to determine the appropriate level of taxation.It shows a scene of devastation, with Nubians lying dead and dying, watched over by the cipher (hieroglyphic marker) of the Egyptian king.The prosperous city- states of the Near East, which were useful trading partners and geographically separate from Egypt, could be allowed to exist, but a rival kingdom immediately upstream was unthinkable.It allowed the monarch to be a visible presence in the life of his subjects; enabled his officials to keep a close eye on everything that was happening in the country at large, implementing policies, resolving disputes, and dispensing justice; defrayed the costs of maintaining the court, and removed the burden of supporting it year- round in one location; and, last but by no means least, facilitated the systematic assessment and levying of taxes.