The rise and fall of civilizations has been a fact of history since before it was recorded. It is a normal process. So what is the particular significance of Egypt’s descent from a wealthy, organized, sophisticated society into the chaotic milieu that reigns today? Perhaps it relates to the nature of the yawning gap that exists between that sophistication that endured for more than four thousand years and earned Egypt the title, om el donya, mother of the world, as Egyptians refer to her, and the social and cultural degradation over the last two thousand years since the last pharaoh, Cleopatra, departed the scene.As the living gods, the pharaohs were the pivots around which all social institutions turned, creating stability, prosperity, and security for four millennia. The death of the last pharaoh, therefore, was not merely an event that signaled loss of independence and a transfer of power to Rome. It signaled the collapse of the foundations of society and the beginning of a steep decline into chaos.For the following two millennia, a succession of foreign occupations and despotic rulers undermined Egypt’s national identity, exported her wealth to far away seats of power, imported a new language and culture and spawned social values that are inimical to the very notion of modernity. Understanding these developments provides one possible route to getting a handle on the social and cultural deterioration and its effects in Egypt. This may also allow insight into developments today not only in Egypt, but also in the greater Middle East that surrounds her.