|Life In Ancient Egypt
Work and Family Life
When farmers produce food surpluses, the society’s economy begins to expand. Cities emerge as centers of culture and power, and people learn to do jobs that do not involve agriculture. For example, some ancient Egyptians learned to be scribes, people whose job was to write and keep records.
What is a scribe?
As Egyptian civilization grew more complex, people took on jobs other than that of a farmer or scribe. Some skilled artisans erected stone or brick houses and temples. Other artisans made pottery, incense, mats, furniture, linen clothing, sandals or jewelry.
What did artisans in Ancient Egypt create?
A few Egyptians traveled to the upper Nile to trade with other Africans. These traders took Egyptian products such as scrolls, linen, gold, and jewelry. They brought back exotic woods, animal skins, and live beasts.
What did the Egyptians trade and what did they trade for?
Rulers and Priests
As Egypt grew, so did its need to organize. Egyptians created a government that divided the empire into 42 provinces. Many officials worked to keep the provinces running smoothly. Egypt also created an army to defend itself.
One of the highest jobs in Egypt was to be a priest. Priests followed formal rituals and took care of the temples. Before entering a temple, a priest bathed and put on special linen garments and white sandals. Priests cleaned the sacred statues in temples, changed their clothes, and even fed the animals.
Together, the priests and the ruler held ceremonies to please the gods. Egyptians believed that if the gods were angry, the Nile would not flood. As a result, crops would not grow, and people would die. So the ruler and the priests tried hard to keep the gods happy. By doing so, they hoped to maintain social and political order.
What tasks were Priests responsible for?
What did the Ancient Egyptians believe would happen if the Nile would not flood? And what would be the cause of the Nile not to flood?
Slaves were at the bottom of society. In Egypt, people became slaves if they owed a debt, committed a crime, or were captured in war. Egyptians slaves were usually freed after a period of time. One exception was the slaves who had to work in the mines. Many died from the exhausting labor.
Who was usually a slave in Ancient Egypt?
Life for Women
Egypt was one of the best places in the ancient world to be a woman. Unlike other ancient African cultures, in Egyptian society men and women had fairly equal rights. For example, they could both own and manage their own property.
The main job of most women was to care for their children at home, but some did other jobs too. Some women wove cloth. Others worked with their husbands in fields or workshops. Some women, such as Queen Tiy, even rose to important positions in the government.
What separates ancient Egypt from other ancient civilizations?
Children in Egypt played with toys such as dolls, animal figurines, board games, and marbles. Their parents made the toys from wood or clay. Boys and girls also played rough physical games with balls made of leather or reeds.
Boys and some girls from wealthy families went to schools run by scribes or priests. Most other children learned their parents’ jobs. Almost all Egyptians married when they were in their early teens.
What did Egyptian children do for fun?
When did most Egyptians marry?
As in many ancient societies, much of the knowledge of Egypt came about as priests studied the world to find ways to please the gods. Other advances came about because of practical discoveries.
Egyptian priests studied the sky as part of their religion. About 5,000 years ago, they noticed that a star now called Sirius appeared shortly before the Nile began to flood. The star returned to the same position in 365 days. Based on that, Egyptians developed the world’s first practical calendar.
How did the Egyptians develop the world’s first practical calendar?
The Egyptians developed some of the first geometry. Each year the Nile’s floods washed away land boundaries. To restore property lines, surveyors measured the land by using ropes that were knotted at regular intervals.
Geometric shapes such as squares and triangles were sacred to Egyptians. Architects used them in design of royal temples and monuments.
How did the ancient Egyptians develop geography in their society?
Egyptian doctors often prepared dead bodies for burial, so they knew the parts of the body. That knowledge helped them perform some of the world’s first surgery. Some doctors specialized in using medicines made of herbs.
Egyptian medicine was far from perfect. Doctors believed that the heart controlled thought and the brain circulated blood, which is the opposite of what is known now. Some Egyptians treatments would raise eyebrows today. One “cure” for an upset stomach was to eat a hog’s tooth crushed inside sugar cakes!
What did Egyptian doctors first perform?
What were two beliefs that doctors held in regards to the human body and treating illness?
Beginning about 3,000 B.C., Egyptians developed a writing system using hieroglyphs. Hieroglyphs are pictures that stand for different words or sounds. Early Egyptians created a hieroglyphic system with about 700 characters. Over time, the system grew to include more than 6,000 symbols.
What are hieroglyphs?
The Egyptians also developed a paper-like material called papyrus, from a reed of the same name. Egyptians cut the stems into strips, pressed them, and dried them into sheets that could be rolled into scrolls. Papyrus scrolls were light and easy to carry. With them, Egyptians created some of the first books.
How did Egyptians create papyrus and what did they use it for?
Beliefs and Religion
We know from their writing and their art that, in general, the Egyptians had a positive view of life. The black land provided most of the Egyptians’ needs. As a result, they did not have to struggle to make a living.
What was the black land?
Life After Death
Their positive outlook shaped their religion and led them to believe that the gods favored them. Egyptians believe that their prosperity could continue with a happy afterlife. An afterlife is a life believes to follow death. Not every ancient culture shared Egyptians’ beliefs. For example, the Sumerians thought that the afterlife was miserable.
How did the ancient Egyptian view on Afterlife differ from other ancient cultures?
Polytheism is a belief in many gods. The Egyptians worshiped gods that were related to the afterlife and to parts of nature- such as the sun, the river, and plant life. Some of the most important Egyptian gods included:
Re (ray)- the sun god (later called Amon-Re)
Osiris (Oh-SY-rihs)- a god who judged Egyptians after death.
Isis (EYE-sihs)- a fertility goddess who was Osiris’ wife.
Anubis (uh-NOO-bihs) – a god of the dead.
What is Polytheism?
Egyptians thought they would need their bodies in the afterlife, so they would embalm dead people. Embalm means to preserve a body after death. First, embalmers removed all organs except the heart. Next, they filled the body with a mixture of salt and herbs to create a mummy. A mummy us a body that has been dried so it won’t decay. When dry, the mummy was wrapped in hundreds of yards of linen strips. The whole process of embalming and wrapping took about 70 days. Embalming was expensive, and not everyone could afford it.
The mummy was placed in a coffin inside a tomb. The tomb also held everyday objects, furniture, and food. Scenes from the person’s life were painted on the walls. The Egyptians expected these pictures to become real so that the dead person could use them in the afterlife.
What is Embalming?
What is a mummy?
21. Explain the process of mummification and what objects were in the tomb.
Summarize in 2 paragraphs, using your own words, the daily life of Ancient Egypt: