Life in Ancient Egypt

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The Main Greek Currency (in silver)


Equals 4 drachmae

About 14-17 grams


Equals 2 drachmae

About 6-8.5 grams


Equals 1 drachmae

3-4.2 grams


Equals 1/6 drachmae

0.5-0.7 grams

If you have 6 Obol coins, than how many Drachmae coins would that equal?


About how heavy would it to be to carry 3 Tetradrachma coins in your pocket? (round to the nearest number) __________________________________

Coins, Coins, and more Coins!

In Egypt, Roman coinage was based on the Ptolemaic system until AD 296. Many Roman coins depict the portrait of the emperor or members of his family.

The symbol “L” on the coins is usually used for the word year and is followed by the year of the Emperor issuing the coins. Knowing the years of an emperor’s rule, it is possible to calculate the year the coins were made.

If you were Emperor, then what would your coin look like? What year would it be made in?

Draw what your coin would look like and discuss with the class why you chose to draw it this way.

As a class: Why would this be significant to know?

In AD 296 there was a system change - the emperor Diocletian changed the coinage system in the entire empire. Old coins were now gone!

Then under Heraclius (610-640 AD during the Byzantine period) a new system was introduced:

One gold bullion tetradrachm = 6 bronze drachms

6 bronze drachms = 12 bronze diobols

12 bronze diobols = 24 bronze obols

How many bronze obols equals one buillion gold tetradrachm? _____________

True or False: Does 6 bronze drachms equal 20 bronze obols? ______________
Gods and Goddesses

The Ancient Egyptians had many gods and goddesses. At one point they had over 2,000 deities worshiped; and at one point they only worshiped one. Here’s a list of some of the more well-known gods and goddesses held by the Egyptians.


God/Goddess of…



Embalming and the dead. Guardian of the City of the Dead

Head of a jackal


God of the sky. Protector of the Egyptian peoples. The pharaoh is believed to be the “living Horus”

Head of a hawk


God of the sun

Head of a hawk with a sun disk headdress


Believed to be the mother of Horus and a protective goddess.

Woman with a headdress in the shape of a throne


God of the dead and ruler of the underworld

Mummified man wearing a headdress with feathers


Dwarf with features of both a man and lion, or a dwarf wearing a lion skin

Protector of families


A protective goddess. Believed to be a daughter of Ra

Head of a cat


Goddess of moisture (i.e. air, dew, rain)

Head of a lioness


God of the Nile and protector of the pharaoh.

Head of a crocodile


Creator god and “King of the gods”

Man wearing an ostrich plumed hat

Gods/Goddesses and Religion

If the Egyptians once worshipped over 2,000 deities. Then what is a deity?

Deity is another term for god or goddess. Usually they are seen as supernatural beings and have power over some aspect of the world or nature.

In today’s world, what types of deities would be the most important to the environment, culture, and the society?

As a Class: Why would they have more than one god? Which gods do you think would have been more popular?

The Narmer Palette

Hello, I am the Narmer Palette! I am extremely important in Egyptian history because I celebrate the victory of King Narmer uniting Upper and Lower Egypt as one! The hieroglyphic inscriptions on me are some of the oldest ever found. I date back to 3200 BCE. Today I can be found in the Cairo Egyptian Museum. However there is a cast version located at the Petrie! Can you find me? Here’s a hint: I am near stairs.

As a palette, I am decorated on both sides. The images on both sides represent the story of unification of Egypt. Each object or hieroglyph means something important to the story.

Palettes were typically used to grind food or cosmetics, however it is likely that I was a ceremonial object.

What would your palette look like?

Would it be used for food or cosmetics?

What images would you want on it?

My Personal Palette

Take a moment and think about what

your life would be like if you lived in Ancient Egypt.
Below draw what you believe your palette would look like if you lived in Ancient Egypt. Either create a story or draw items that you believe would be important in your daily life._pic2

Useful Resources

Recommended books

  • British Museum Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ancient Egypt by Harris and

Pemberton (British Museum Press), 1999, ISBN 0714121282, £14.99

  • The Ancient Egyptians Activity Book by Manniche (British Museum Press),

1999, ISBN 0714121754, £2.99

  • Amazing Facts about Ancient Egypt by Putnam and Pemberton (Thames &

Hudson), 1994, ISBN 0500016291, £5.95

  • DK Eyewitness Guides: Pyramid by Putnam (Dorling Kindersley), 2002, ISBN

0751347442, £5.99

  • DK Eyewitness Guides: Mummy by Putnam (Dorling Kindersley), 2003, ISBN

0751364754, £5.99

  • DK Eyewitness Guides: Ancient Egypt by Hart (Dorling Kindersley), 2002,

ISBN 07511320749, £5.99

  • Ancient Gods & Goddesses by Hart (Taylor & Francis Books),1986, ISBN

0415059097, £12.99

  • The Ancient Egyptians by Shuter (Hodder Wayland), 2002, ISBN 0750242086, £4.99

  • Everything Ancient Egypt: Dig into a Treasure Trove of Facts, Photos, and Fun (National Geographic Kids) by Crispin Boyer (National Geopraphic Society), 2012, ISBN 10: 9781426308406 £15.40 (library binding) £6 (paperback)

  • Ancient Egypt (Eyewitness Project Book) by Dorling Kindersley, (DK Eyewitness), 2009, ISBN-10: 1405334940, £2 (paperback) **compilation of quizzes as well as info pages to help students either get a base of learning about Anicent Egypt or build upon that knowledge**

Recommended Websites

  • - There is an online catalogue here of images and information about all 80,000 objects in the Petrie Museum. It is ideal for researching a topic, downloading pictures or getting pupils to create their own online gallery

  • - This is the British Museum’s website on ancient Egypt for children. It’s got some great online activities including information about Egyptian life and death and a comparison of the life of a rich and a poor Egyptian

  • - A colourful American website that provides information about Egyptian kings and queens, pyramids and temples and hieroglyphs. Pupils can also send ancient Egyptian e-cards

  • - A learning resource developed by UCL for the Petrie Museum of Archaeology including art and architecture, communications technology, archaeological records, ideology and beliefs, social history, exact sciences and timelines.

Other Museums in the UK with Egyptian collections on display

Horniman Museum and Gardens; Sir John Soane's Museum

  • Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

  • Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

  • Manchester Museum

  • Liverpool: Liverpool Museum; Museum of Archaeology

  • Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

  • Egypt Centre, University of Swansea

  • Royal Museum, Edinburgh

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