The ‘nomes’, or administrative
divisions of ancient Egypt, are named after the Greek nomos, meaning ‘law’. The number of nomes and their boundaries changed over time, and the location of some are still uncertain. Each nome was represented by its own symbol, often depicted on temple walls. The capital city of each nome was also its religious and economic centre, and may have acted as a military centre during periods of conflict. Lower Egypt, with its mild climate and fertile soils, was well placed for trade with the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East, and supported relatively high population density.
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