THE 'Legacy of Egypt', as applied to Mechanical and Technical Processes, should strictly mean such processes as have passed directly into medieval and modern Europe almost unchanged. Stone building certainly seems to have originated in Egypt, but the methods of construction used then have no connexion whatever with those of the Greek or Roman architects. Mathematics, Astronomy, Art, Science, and Literature can be shown to have left a more or less direct and definite legacy, but to trace the practical means of their expression--which is the aim of this chapter--is a complicated task. Herodotus, who visited Egypt about 450 B.C., is astounded ( Book II, 35) at the extraordinary difference between the manner in which the Egyptians did the everyday things of life, and that adopted by his own countrymen, and this difference appears to apply even more to the mechanical and technical processes, of which he speaks little except as regards weaving. Glass-making seems undoubtedly to have originated in Egypt, but blown glass, which is the basis of most medieval and modern glass-work, definitely did not originate among the Egyptians. The cire- perdue process of casting seems to be the only exception.
The method which I propose to adopt in the following pages is to describe briefly the rise of the crafts as civilization progressed in early Egypt, and discuss how the technical and mechanical processes were carried out during the whole of Egyptian history (for there was little radical progress from the Third Dynasty until nearly Ptolemaic times); and from this survey perhaps an estimate can be formed of our debt to Egyptian craftsmanship.
The literature dealing with the mechanical and technical