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Near Girgeh (Abydos) begins the Bahr-Yûsef, Joseph's Canal. The various articles found in these royal tombs point to a high degree of civilization by no means inferior to that of the immediately following dynasties.It was formerly a branch of the Nile; it runs parallel to the main stream at a distance of from 5 to 6 miles along the left bank, and empties into the Fayûm (home of Arsinoe). Religion in general, and the funerary rites in particular, were already fixed, and the hieroglyphic system of writing had reached its last stage of alphabetic development (Maspéro, loc.Its strata are gently inclined to the northwest, so that the highest level is in the south, near Luxor, where the oldest (lower Eocene) strata appear, and valleys (Bibân-el-Molûk) take the place of the cliffs, undoubtedly for the same reason as in the Arabian desert (see below). This radical change had the advantage of brining Nubia within closer range, and it may have contributed substantially to the conquest of that province; but it weakened the northern border, which was now too far from the center of political life.East of the Nile the limestone formation originally presented much the same appearance as in the Libyan counterpart. The pharaohs of the Thirteenth Dynasty (most of whom were called Sebek-hotep or Nofir-hotep), without abandoning Thebes, seemed to have paid more attention than their predecessors to the cities of the Delta, where — at Tanis in particular — they occasionally resided, and it was from Xois (Sakha), a city of Lower Egypt that the next following (Fourteenth) dynasty arose.This lake once occupied almost the entire basin of the Fayûm, but within the historical period its circumference does not seem to have exceeded 140 miles. A little before reaching Cairo the Nile flows along the rocky and sandy plateau on which the three best-known pyramids stand. In current literature Dynasties Three to Eleven are often variously referred to as the Old Kingdom ().It lay 73 feet above the sea level, and was very deep, as shown by its last vestige, the Birket-el-Karûn, which lies 144 feet below the same level (Baedeker, op. There, too, the two ranges of Arabian and Libyan mountains, which above this point run for many miles close to the river, turn sharply aside in the direction of the north-east and northwest, thus forming a triangle with the Mediterranean shore. The simpler division which we propose here seems to us more rational. — During this period Egypt and the Asiatic empires never, so far as we know, came into contact, except possibly in a pacific and commercial way; their armies never met in battle.Near Edfu the sandstone is replaced by nummulitic limestones (Eocene) of the Tertiary period, which form the bulk of the Libyan desert and a considerable portion of the Arabian desert as well. Occasionally the Egyptians resorted to counter-raids on the Syrian territory, as in the case of the Amus and Hirûshaitus under Pepi I, but, the punishment inflicted, they invariably returned to their line of defense.

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At Luxor (part of Thebæ) it again narrows for a few miles, but after that it maintains a respectable breadth, averaging between twelve and fifteen miles. Their tombs, however, have since been discovered at Ûmm-el-Ga'âb, near Abydos, in the territory of the ancient This (Thinis), and the names of Menes, Zer, Usaphais, and Miebis have already been found.The Fayûm, in fact, is nothing but such an oasis on a larger scale. During the Ninth and Tenth Dynasties, Heracleopolis, only a short distance south of Memphis, became the official seat of government, for no special known reason — perhaps simply because the pharaohs of the reigning dynasties had originally been natives and princes of these nomes.