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In ancient Egypt, food crises were most often occasioned by bad harvests following low or destructive inundations. Food crises developed into famines when administrative officials—state or local—were unable to organize storage and redistribution systems. Food deprivation, aggravated by hunger-related diseases, led to increased mortality, migrations, and social collapse. In texts and representations, the famine motif is used as an expression of chaos, emphasizing the political and theological role of the king (or nomarch or god) as “dispenser of food.”

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