Nomes, derived from the Greek ‘nomos’, meaning ‘law’, were the administrative divisions of Ancient Egypt, with this system of division dating back to the Old Kingdom (2575 BCE). There were 22 nomes in Upper Egypt and these are numbered mostly sequentially along the fertile flood plain of the Nile valley. An official, called a nomarch, was appointed by the pharaoh and represented him locally. The nome system helped the country’s administration to run smoothly and in a uniform manner. It meant that taxes were collected and local issues addressed, even in nomes with low population density. The drawback of the nome system was that if there was weak central government, the provincial capitals tended towards autonomy, posing a potential threat to the king. In areas of medium and high population density, this would be more of a concern.
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