Corvée

French corvée
Egyptian peasants seized for non-payment of taxes during the Pyramid Age.
Paul I's edict, the manifesto of three-day corvee
C. 1000 BC clay bowl, one day corvée ration(?) Marlik, Iran
Amarna letter 365, Nuribta

Form of unpaid, forced labour, which is intermittent in nature and which lasts limited periods of time: typically only a certain number of days' work each year.

- Corvée
French corvée

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The pyramids of Giza are among the most recognizable symbols of ancient Egypt civilization.

Ancient Egypt

Civilization of ancient Northeast Africa, situated in the Egyptian Nile Valley in the country Egypt.

Civilization of ancient Northeast Africa, situated in the Egyptian Nile Valley in the country Egypt.

The pyramids of Giza are among the most recognizable symbols of ancient Egypt civilization.
Map of ancient Egypt, showing major cities and sites of the Dynastic period (c. 3150 BC to 30 BC)
A typical Naqada II jar decorated with gazelles (Predynastic Period)
Early tomb painting from Nekhen, c. 3500 BC, Naqada, possibly Gerzeh, culture
The Narmer Palette depicts the unification of the Two Lands.
Khafre enthroned
Amenemhat III, the last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom
The Egyptian Empire c. 1450 BC
Four colossal statues of Ramesses II flank the entrance of his temple Abu Simbel
Statues of two pharaohs of Egypt's Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and several other Kushite kings. From left to right: Tantamani, Taharqa (rear), Senkamanisken, again Tantamani (rear), Aspelta, Anlamani, again Senkamanisken. Kerma Museum.
Assyrian siege of an Egyptian fortified city, a scene from the Assyrian conquest of Egypt, probably referring to the capture of Memphis in 667 BC. Sculpted in 645–635 BC, under Ashurbanipal. British Museum.
Portrait of Ptolemy VI Philometor wearing the double crown of Egypt
The Fayum mummy portraits epitomize the meeting of Egyptian and Roman cultures.
The pharaoh was usually depicted wearing symbols of royalty and power.
Painted limestone relief of a noble member of Ancient Egyptian society during the New Kingdom
Punishment in ancient Egypt
The Seated Scribe from Saqqara, Fifth dynasty of Egypt; scribes were elite and well educated. They assessed taxes, kept records, and were responsible for administration.
A tomb relief depicts workers plowing the fields, harvesting the crops, and threshing the grain under the direction of an overseer, painting in the tomb of Nakht.
Measuring and recording the harvest is shown in a wall painting in the tomb of Menna, at Thebes (Eighteenth Dynasty).
Sennedjem plows his fields with a pair of oxen, used as beasts of burden and a source of food.
Hatshepsut's trading expedition to the Land of Punt
Hieroglyphs on stela in Louvre, c. 1321 BC
The Rosetta Stone (c. 196 BC) enabled linguists to begin the process of deciphering ancient Egyptian scripts.
Ostrakon: hunting a lion with spear and dog
Lower-class occupations
Egyptians celebrated feasts and festivals accompanied by music and dance.
Ruins of Deir el-Medina. A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Bust of Nefertiti, by the sculptor Thutmose, is one of the most famous masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art
The Book of the Dead was a guide to the deceased's journey in the afterlife.
The Ka statue provided a physical place for the Ka to manifest.
Anubis was the ancient Egyptian god associated with mummification and burial rituals; here, he attends to a mummy.
Pharaohs' tombs were provided with vast quantities of wealth, such as the golden mask from the mummy of Tutankhamun.
A chariot
Glassmaking was a highly developed art.
Ancient Egyptian medical instruments depicted in a Ptolemaic period inscription on the temple at Kom Ombo
Edwin Smith surgical papyrus (c. 16th century BC), written in hieratic, describes anatomy and medical treatments.
Seagoing ship from Hateshepsut's Deir el-Bahari temple relief of a Punt Expedition
Astronomical chart in Senemut's tomb, 18th dynasty
Model of a household porch and garden, c. 1981–1975 BC
The Temple of Dendur, completed by 10 BC, made of aeolian sandstone, temple proper: height: 6.4 m, width: 6.4 m; length: 12.5 m, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
The well preserved Temple of Isis from Philae is an example of Egyptian architecture and architectural sculpture
Illustration of various types of capitals, drawn by the Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius
Egyptian tomb models as funerary goods. Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Kneeling portrait statue of Amenemhat holding a stele with an inscription; c. 1500 BC; limestone; Egyptian Museum of Berlin (Germany)
Fresco which depicts Nebamun hunting birds; 1350 BC; paint on plaster; 98 × 83 cm; British Museum (London)
Portrait head of pharaoh Hatshepsut or Thutmose III; 1480–1425 BC; most probably granite; height: 16.5 cm; Egyptian Museum of Berlin
Falcon box with wrapped contents; 332–30 BC; painted and gilded wood, linen, resin and feathers; 58.5 × 24.9 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Frontispiece of Description de l'Égypte, published in 38 volumes between 1809 and 1829.
Tourists at the pyramid complex of Khafre near the Great Sphinx of Giza

Farmers were also subject to a labor tax and were required to work on irrigation or construction projects in a corvée system.

Suez Canal

Artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez and dividing Africa and Asia.

Artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez and dividing Africa and Asia.

The southern terminus of the Suez Canal at Suez on the Gulf of Suez, at the northern end of the Red Sea
Aerial view of the Suez Canal at Suez
Canal of the Pharaohs, that followed Wadi Tumilat
Bathymetric chart, northern Gulf of Suez, route to Cairo, 1856
Suez Canal, 1869
Opening of the Suez Canal, 1869
1881 drawing of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal, Egypt. Early 1900s. Goodyear Archival Collection. Brooklyn Museum.
Nautical chart of the Suez Canal published shortly after the inauguration, with survey data from HMS Newport under George Nares.
Suez Canal, c. 1914
A ship sailing down the Suez Canal in 1955
Smoke rises from oil tanks beside the Suez Canal hit during the initial Anglo-French assault on Port Said, 5 November 1956.
Egyptian vehicles crossing the Suez Canal on 7 October 1973, during the Yom Kippur War
Israeli tank crossing the Suez Canal, 1973
2015 additions to the canal
Satellite image of Ever Given blocking the canal in March 2021
The canal in 2015
The old port of Trieste, one of the economic hubs in the 19th century
A graphical comparison between the Northern Sea Route (blue) and an alternative route through Suez Canal (red)
Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE)
Suez Canal in February 1934. Air photograph taken by Swiss pilot and photographer Walter Mittelholzer.
{{USS|America|CV-66}}, an American aircraft carrier in the Suez Canal
Container ship Hanjin Kaohsiung transiting the Suez Canal
Ships moored at El Ballah during transit
Predominant currents in the Mediterranean Sea for June
Post-deepening, a capesize bulk carrier approaches the Friendship Bridge
Northbound convoy waits in the Great Bitter Lake as southbound convoy passes, October 2014

The excavation took some 10 years, with forced labour (corvée) being employed until 1864 to dig out the canal.

Egypt

Transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula.

Transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula.

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Temple of Derr ruins in 1960
The Giza Necropolis is the oldest of the ancient Wonders and the only one still in existence.
Egyptian soldier of the Achaemenid army, c. 480 BCE. Xerxes I tomb relief.
The Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII and her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion, at the Temple of Dendera
The Amr ibn al-As mosque in Cairo, recognized as the oldest in Africa
The Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo, of Ahmad Ibn Tulun
The Al-Hakim Mosque in Cairo, of Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the sixth caliph, as renovated by Dawoodi Bohra
Napoleon defeated the Mamluk troops in the Battle of the Pyramids, 21 July 1798, painted by Lejeune.
Egypt under Muhammad Ali dynasty
Muhammad Ali was the founder of the Muhammad Ali dynasty and the first Khedive of Egypt and Sudan.
The battle of Tel el-Kebir in 1882 during the Anglo-Egyptian War
Female nationalists demonstrating in Cairo, 1919
Fuad I of Egypt with Edward, Prince of Wales, 1932
British infantry near El Alamein, 17 July 1942
Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in Mansoura, 1960
Smoke rises from oil tanks beside the Suez Canal hit during the initial Anglo-French assault on Egypt, 5 November 1956.
Egyptian tanks advancing in the Sinai desert during the Yom Kippur War, 1973
Celebrating the signing of the 1978 Camp David Accords: Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat
Cairo grew into a metropolitan area with a population of over 20 million.
Women in Cairo wear face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt in March 2020.
Egypt's topography
The Qattara Depression in Egypt's north west
The Eastern Imperial Eagle is the national animal of Egypt.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the current President of Egypt.
Egyptian honor guard soldiers during a visit of U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
President el-Sisi with US President Donald Trump, 21 May 2017
The High Court of Justice in Downtown Cairo
Protesters from the Third Square movement, which supported neither the former Morsi government nor the Armed Forces, 31 July 2013
Prominent Egyptian dissident Alaa Abd El-Fattah was sentenced to five years of imprisonment in December 2021.
1. Matrouh
2. Alexandria
3. Beheira
4. Kafr El Sheikh
5. Dakahlia
6. Damietta
7. Port Said
8. North Sinai
9. Gharbia
10. Monufia
11. Qalyubia
12. Sharqia
13. Ismailia
14. Giza
15. Faiyum
16. Cairo
17. Suez
18. South Sinai
19. Beni Suef
20. Minya
21. New Valley
22. Asyut
23. Red Sea
24. Sohag
25. Qena
26. Luxor
27. Aswan
Change in per capita GDP of Egypt, 1820–2018. Figures are inflation-adjusted to 2011 International dollars.
Smart Village, a business district established in 2001 to facilitate the growth of high-tech businesses
The Suez Canal
Tourists riding an Arabian camel in front of Pyramid of Khafre. The Giza Necropolis is one of Egypt's main tourist attractions.
An offshore platform in the Darfeel Gas Field
The Cairo Metro (line 2)
The Suez Canal Bridge
Green irrigated land along the Nile amidst the desert and in the delta
Egypt's population density (people per km2)
St. Mark Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria
Cairo University
Egyptian literacy rate among the population aged 15 years and older by UNESCO Institute of Statistics
Children's Cancer Hospital Egypt
Al-Azhar Park is listed as one of the world's sixty great public spaces by the Project for Public Spaces.
The "weighing of the heart" scene from the Book of the Dead
Naguib Mahfouz, the first Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature
Salah Zulfikar, film star
Soad Hosny, film star
Tanoura dancers performing in Wekalet El Ghoury, Cairo
The Egyptian Museum of Cairo
Tutankhamun's burial mask is one of the major attractions of the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.
Kushari, one of Egypt's national dishes
A crowd at Cairo Stadium watching the Egypt national football team

Muhammad Ali Pasha evolved the military from one that convened under the tradition of the corvée to a great modernised army.

Inca Empire

The largest empire in pre-Columbian America.

The largest empire in pre-Columbian America.

The Inca Empire at its greatest extent c. 1525
Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, children of the Inti
Manco Cápac, First Inca, 1 of 14 Portraits of Inca Kings, Probably mid-18th century. Oil on canvas. Brooklyn Museum
Inca expansion (1438–1533)
The first image of the Inca in Europe, Pedro Cieza de León, Crónica del Perú, 1553
Atahualpa, the last Sapa Inca of the empire, was executed by the Spanish on 29 August 1533
View of Machu Picchu
Sacsayhuamán, the Inca stronghold of Cusco
"The Maiden", one of the Llullaillaco mummies. Inca human sacrifice, Salta province (Argentina).
Diorite Inca sculpture from Amarucancha
Illustration of Inca farmers using a chakitaqlla (Andean foot plough)
Inti, as represented by José Bernardo de Tagle of Peru
The four suyus or quarters of the empire.
Inca tunic
Tokapu. Textiles worn by the Inca elite consisting of geometric figures enclosed by rectangles or squares. There is evidence that the designs were an ideographic language
Quipu, 15th century. Brooklyn Museum
Inca Tunic, 15th-16th Century
Camelid Conopa, 1470–1532, Brooklyn Museum, Small stone figurines, or conopas, of llamas and alpacas were the most common ritual effigies used in the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. These devotional objects were often buried in the animals' corrals to bring protection and prosperity to their owners and fertility to the herds. The cylindrical cavities in their backs were filled with offerings to the gods in the form of a mixture including animal fat, coca leaves, maize kernels and seashells.
Coca leaves
The Battle of the Maule between the Incas (right) and the Mapuches (left)

Spanish colonial officials used the Inca mita corvée labor system for colonial aims, sometimes brutally.

ASIMO (2000) at the Expo 2005

Robot

Machine—especially one programmable by a computer—capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically.

Machine—especially one programmable by a computer—capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically.

ASIMO (2000) at the Expo 2005
Articulated welding robots used in a factory are a type of industrial robot
The quadrupedal military robot Cheetah, an evolution of BigDog (pictured), was clocked as the world's fastest legged robot in 2012, beating the record set by an MIT bipedal robot in 1989.
KITT (a fictional robot) is mentally anthropomorphic.
iCub is physically anthropomorphic.
Al-Jazari – A Musical Toy
Su Song's astronomical clock tower showing the mechanical figurines which chimed the hours.
Model of Leonardo's robot with inner workings. Possibly constructed by Leonardo da Vinci around 1495.
The Brennan torpedo, one of the earliest 'guided missiles'
W. H. Richards with "George", 1932
U.S. Patent 2,988,237, issued in 1961 to Devol.
A scene from Karel Čapek's 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), showing three robots
A laparoscopic robotic surgery machine
A pick and place robot in a factory
TOPIO, a humanoid robot, played ping pong at Tokyo International Robot Exhibition (IREX) 2009
An android, or robot designed to resemble a human, can appear comforting to some people and disturbing to others
A general-purpose robot acts as a guide during the day and a security guard at night.
An intelligent AGV drops-off goods without needing lines or beacons in the workspace.
A U.S. Marine Corps technician prepares to use a telerobot to detonate a buried improvised explosive device near Camp Fallujah, Iraq.
The Roomba domestic vacuum cleaner robot does a single, menial job
The Care-Providing Robot FRIEND
Toy robots on display at the Museo del Objeto del Objeto in Mexico City.
Italian movie The Mechanical Man (1921), the first film to have shown a battle between robots.

The word robota means literally "corvée", "serf labor", and figuratively "drudgery" or "hard work" in Czech and also (more general) "work", "labor" in many Slavic languages (e.g.: Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Polish, Macedonian, Ukrainian, archaic Czech, as well as robot in Hungarian).

Karel Čapek

Czech writer, playwright and critic.

Czech writer, playwright and critic.

House of Čapek brothers in Prague 10, Vinohrady
Tomb of Karel Čapek and Olga Scheinpflugová at Vyšehrad cemetery

The word robota means literally "corvée", "serf labor", and figuratively "drudgery" or "hard work" in Czech.

The Blau Monuments combine proto-cuneiform characters and illustrations of early Sumerians, Jemdet Nasr period, 3100–2700 BC. British Museum.

Sumer

Earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia , emerging during the Chalcolithic and early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of the first civilizations in the world, along with ancient Egypt, Elam, the Caral-Supe civilization, the Indus Valley Civilisation, the Minoan civilization, and ancient China.

Earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia , emerging during the Chalcolithic and early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of the first civilizations in the world, along with ancient Egypt, Elam, the Caral-Supe civilization, the Indus Valley Civilisation, the Minoan civilization, and ancient China.

The Blau Monuments combine proto-cuneiform characters and illustrations of early Sumerians, Jemdet Nasr period, 3100–2700 BC. British Museum.
Enthroned Sumerian king of Ur, possibly Ur-Pabilsag, with attendants. Standard of Ur, c. 2600 BC.
Portrait of a Sumerian prisoner on a victory stele of Sargon of Akkad, c. 2300 BC. The hairstyle of the prisoners (curly hair on top and short hair on the sides) is characteristic of Sumerians, as also seen on the Standard of Ur. Louvre Museum.
Pottery jar from Late Ubaid Period
Golden helmet of Meskalamdug, possible founder of the First Dynasty of Ur, 26th century BC.
Stele of the Vultures; c. 2450 BC; limestone; found in 1881 by Édouard de Sarzec in Girsu (now Tell Telloh, Iraq); Louvre
Sumerian prisoners on a victory stele of the Akkadian king Sargon, c. 2300 BC. Louvre Museum.
Gudea of Lagash, the Sumerian ruler who was famous for his numerous portrait sculptures that have been recovered.
Portrait of Ur-Ningirsu, son of Gudea, c. 2100 BC. Louvre Museum.
Great Ziggurat of Ur, c. 2100 BC, near Nasiriyah, Iraq
A reconstruction in the British Museum of headgear and necklaces worn by the women at the Royal Cemetery at Ur.
Tablet with pictographic pre-cuneiform writing; late 4th millennium BC; limestone; height: 4.5 cm, width: 4.3 cm, depth: 2.4 cm; Louvre
Standard reconstruction of the development of writing, showing Sumerian cuneiform at the origin of many writing systems.
Akkadian cylinder seal from sometime around 2300 BC or thereabouts depicting the deities Inanna, Utu, Enki, and Isimud
Sumero-early Akkadian pantheon
From the royal tombs of Ur, made of lapis lazuli and shell, shows peacetime
An account of barley rations issued monthly to adults and children written in cuneiform script on a clay tablet, written in year 4 of King Urukagina, c. 2350 BC
Gold dagger from Sumerian tomb PG 580, Royal Cemetery at Ur.
The Great Ziggurat of Ur (Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq), built during the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2100 BC), dedicated to the moon god Nanna
Bill of sale of a male slave and a building in Shuruppak, Sumerian tablet, c. 2600 BC
The etched carnelian beads with white designs in this necklace from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, dating to the First Dynasty of Ur, are thought to have come from the Indus Valley. British Museum.
The trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus would have been significantly shorter due to lower sea levels in the 3rd millennium BC.
Early chariots on the Standard of Ur, c. 2600 BC
Phalanx battle formations led by Sumerian king Eannatum, on a fragment of the Stele of the Vultures
Silver model of a boat, tomb PG 789, Royal Cemetery of Ur, 2600–2500 BC
Map of Sumer
Early writing tablet for recording the allocation of beer; 3100–3000 BC; height: 9.4 cm; width: 6.87 cm; from Iraq; British Museum (London)
Cuneiform tablet about administrative account with entries concerning malt and barley groats; 3100–2900 BC; clay; 6.8 x 4.5 x 1.6 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Bill of sale of a field and house, from Shuruppak; c. 2600 BC; height: 8.5 cm, width: 8.5 cm, depth: 2 cm; Louvre
Cylinder seal and impression in which appears a ritual scene before a temple façade; 3500–3100 BC; bituminous limestone; height: 4.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Ram in a Thicket; 2600–2400 BC; gold, copper, shell, lapis lazuli and limestone; height: 45.7 cm; from the Royal Cemetery at Ur (Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq); British Museum (London)
Standard of Ur; 2600–2400 BC; shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli on wood; length: 49.5 cm; from the Royal Cemetery at Ur; British Museum
Bull's head ornament from a lyre; 2600–2350 BC; bronze inlaid with shell and lapis lazuli; height: 13.3 cm, width: 10.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art

The government required individuals to work on the canals in a corvée, although the rich were able to exempt themselves.

Mit'a

Mandatory public service in the society of the Inca Empire.

Mandatory public service in the society of the Inca Empire.

Mit'a was effectively a form of tribute to the Inca government in the form of labor, i.e. a corvée.

Aswan High Dam, crown jewel of the Egyptian Public Works

Egyptian Public Works

Established in the early 19th century, and concentrates mainly on public works relating to irrigation and hydraulic engineering.

Established in the early 19th century, and concentrates mainly on public works relating to irrigation and hydraulic engineering.

Aswan High Dam, crown jewel of the Egyptian Public Works
French engineer Pascal Coste (1787–1879). First Chief Engineer for Lower Egypt (1819–1829)
Nile Barrage in 1906, with its distinctive architecture
The Ismailia Canal
Replaced Nile Barrage at Damietta Nile Branch (from downstream)

It should be mentioned here however that the entire canal was constructed using the hated corvée system, which Muhammad Ali and his successors used extensively and which was finally abolished under Khedive Ismail during the digging of the Suez Canal.

Conscription

State-mandated enlistment of people in a national service, mainly a military service.

State-mandated enlistment of people in a national service, mainly a military service.

Painting depicting a battle during the Ōnin War
Ottoman janissaries
Conscription of Poles to the Russian Army in 1863 (by Aleksander Sochaczewski)
Young men registering for conscription during World War I, New York City, June 5, 1917
USSR conscripts, Moscow, 1941
Conscription in Iran
Female Israeli soldiers
A terracotta soldier with his horse, China, 210–209 BC
Conscription duty as Royal Life Guards in Copenhagen
Finnish conscripts swearing their military oath at the end of their basic training period
Evzones of the Presidential Guard in front of the Greek Parliament armed with M1 Garands
Swedish conscripts in 2008

Corvée