Talk - Ancient Egyptian Gardens

The great River Nile once made the area around it the most fertile in the world, and allowed the great ancient civilisation to flourish in the period between 3000 and 30BC. While Western Europeans were scrabbling around in the late Stone Age, the Egyptians were developing a complex society. They were an inventive lot. It is likely that they brought us paper, the bucket, the armchair, the sieve, the whisk, the axe, skirts, sandals, board games, plumb-lines, set squares, hoes and rakes, as well as countless other inventions. From a number of tomb paintings and manuscripts we also know that the Egyptians invented what we now think of as the garden.

One of the most important deities worshipped by the Egyptians was the goddess of Ma’at, who symbolised truth, order, balance and harmony. Ma’at was more of a philosophy to the Egyptians than a mere goddess, a philosophy which can be understood from the ordered symmetry of most artefacts and monuments that we have discovered from that period. The garden was no exception. Homes, temples and tombs were built within wall-enclosed gardens. These spaces divided into separate rectangular sections with ponds, flowers and trees. There were gardens for every purpose: for medicine and food, for recreation and worship. The garden became an earthly paradise, a shady retreat from the hot sun. Today’s talk on the subject is by Lindsay Harman of the Sussex Egyptology Society. AG

Fork like an Egyptian: a Nileside garden circa 1500BC

Crypt Gallery, Seaford
When? 7.30pm
How Much? £7.50
Crypt Gallery
(t) 01273 484400