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Egypt is a country in the North East of Africa, better known for its ancient civilisation than its medieval one. Under the Roman Empire it was one of Rome's main sources for grain, was an Imperial province (rather than a Senatorial), and held a garrison of one or two legions. After the fall of Jerusalem to the Roman legions, Alexandria became one of the principal centres of Eastern Mediterranean Christianity, spawning the Coptic Church, as well as a number of heretical sects, many of a Gnostic or mystery nature. Egypt was the site of two of the Seven Wonders of the classical world -- the Pyramids (still extant) and the Pharos of Alexandria, the prototype lighthouse (the wreckage of which has recently been discovered just off-shore).

Egypt was a largely Christian nation when it was conquered by Arabs in 641. The Coptic church continued to be significant even under Muslim rule. Over time Egypt became more and more entwined with the Arab world. The Crusade of Alexandria in 1365 led to the sacking of that city, and probably contributed to stronger identification with the Arabs.