By Max Weber
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However, wlien the early and late rains fail, the absolute drought of summer makes all the grass wither and the devastation can extend over more than two thirds of the year. Then, the herdsmen, especially of sheep, had to purchase foreign grain, in Antiquity, from Egypt, or they had to emigrate. " 7 Obviously date honey is meant, which the Bedouins knew even at the time of Thetmosis, perhaps also fig-honey in addition to the honey of wild bees. 8. The Bedouins THE naturally given contrasts in economic conditions have always found expression in differences of the social and economic structure.
Between fully established householding, on the one hand, and tent nomadism, on the other, were found all conceivable transitional and unstable combinations. At present, as in Antiquity, there occur transitions from nomadism to tillage caused by population increase and the concomitant need for bread and the reverse, the transitions from fellahhood to nomadism caused by sandy soil. With the exception of the quite limited lands irrigated from springs, the entire fate of the year depends upon the amount and distribution of rainfall.
And, for their part, the Egyptians considered barbarous all neighbors who did not share the divine gift of the Nile floods and the royal administration of scribes. The religiously influential strata in Palestine, above all, rejected the cult of the dead, the decisive religious foundation of Egyptian priestly power, as a frightful depreciation of their own thisworldly interests. This attitude is characteristic of peoples free of hierocratic rule and comparable to the manner in which, at times, the Egyptian Dynasty itself under Amenophis IV strove in vain to escape the power of the priests even then so firmly established.