Option c egypt: Society in New Kingdom Egypt during the Ramesside Period, Dynasties XIX and XX principal Focus



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Egypt Ramesside Period Summary
Option C Egypt: Society in New Kingdom Egypt during the Ramesside Period, Dynasties XIX and XX
Principal Focus: The investigation of key features of New Kingdom society during the Ramesside period, through a range of archaeological and written sources and relevant historiographical issues

Option C Egypt: Society in New Kingdom Egypt during the Ramesside Period,

Dynasties XIX and XX

Principal Focus: The investigation of key features of New Kingdom society during the

Ramesside period, through a range of archaeological and written sources and relevant

historiographical issues

Students learn about:

1 The geographical environment

– geographical setting, natural features and resources of New Kingdom Egypt and its

neighbours

– significant sites: Memphis, Thebes, Per-Ramesses, Deir el-Medina, Abu Simbel,

Valleys of the Kings and Queens

2 Social structure and political organisation


  • roles and images of the pharaoh; concept of maat

  • roles of the vizier and members of the religious, administrative and military elites

  • nature and role of the army

  • roles and status of women: royal and non-royal

  • scribes, artisans and agricultural workers

3 The economy

  • importance of the Nile: agriculture, animal husbandry, transport

  • crafts and industry: wood, stone and metal

  • economic exchange: unit of value (deben), taxation, tribute and trade

  • technological development: tools, building materials, techniques and construction, shadouf

– workers’ strike, tomb robberies and corruption

4 Religion, death and burial

  • gods, goddesses, cults and priesthoods: Amun, Re, Ptah, Osiris

  • personal religion: magic and personal piety

  • festivals: Opet, Beautiful Feast of the Valley, Heb-Sed Festival

  • funerary customs: afterlife concepts and mummification

  • funerary texts: The Book of the Dead and the Am Duat (Book of What is in the

  • Netherworld), The Book of Gates

  • temples: architecture and function: Karnak, Luxor, the Ramesseum, Medinet Habu

  • tombs: architecture and decoration: Thebes, Memphis, Deir el-Medina

5 Cultural life

– art: sculpture, jewellery and wall paintings

– writing and literature: love poetry, The Tale of the Two Brothers, Horus and Seth, The

Report of Wenamun



6 Everyday life

– daily life and leisure activities

food and clothing

– housing and furniture



– occupation


Students learn about:
1 The geographical environment
Geographical setting, natural features and resources of New Kingdom Egypt and its neighbours:
The Nile:

    • central to Egypt, constant factor daily life

    • annual inundation regulated the seasons, provided life giving water and fertile silt, vital as no rain in Egypt

    • Hapi god of the river, man with huge belly, breasts of women > represented the fertility the river brought the people

    • poor flooding disasterous, pharaoh might be given the boot

    • fertile land from the nile from either 3-18km

    • delta the lower and more fertile area


The land:

  • Concept of duality or opposing forces, duality of the land and water. kmt the black fertile land and deshret the red land of the desert

  • deserts dangerous places, jackals and weild animals fertile area lush and ordered

  • desert provided mining resources

  • the lands itself upper and lower Egypt duality in the crown of the pharaoh

  • people lived on the east and buried in the west

  • religious beliefs partly inspired by the land and the climate, many gods symbolised some aspect of the environment

  • sun and the river showed the cycle of death regeneration and rebirth affected beliefs


Resources:

  • central to resources was the river depositing kmt, allowing the production of crops and animals

  • farmers grew: barley, fruit and veg flax emmer wheat

  • Resources: poultry. birds, fish, papyrus

  • papyrus also used for boats ropes

  • isolation of the Nile valley by the deserts mean that Egypt had long been self sufficient

  • natural resources of E: grain natron, precious metals, allowed the pharaoh to trade and participate with gift exchanges with neighbours

  • E lacked large good timber, iron, tin, lead


significant sites: Memphis, Thebes, Per-Ramesses, Deir el-Medina, Abu Simbel, Valleys of the Kings and Queens


deir el medina:


Small settlement 2km west of the Nile pop approx 300, 50 by 100m long

Home to the workers of the royal necropolis. built purely for the purpose of building the royal tombs in the valley of kings

began beginning 18th Dynasty reign of tuthmose

Best craftsmen in all E, painters, masons, scribes and their families. discipline hereditary

Tombs rock cut, lavishly decorated. built of stone enclosed wall

housing terraced, shared common wall

workers worked on own tomb in spare time


Memphis:


West bank of the Nile, capital during the old kingdom, located just before delta. founded 3000 BC pharaoh menes

centre of worship, temples, E trade

high density workshops, factories warehouses distributed throughout E

strategically positioned before the delta eventual downfall to loss of eco signf

rise of Alexandria reduced sign of religion

great pyramids there




Abu Simbel


2 temples, west bank, completed by 1264 BC ramesses 2

4 colossal seated statues of R at the front, carved façade, (200 feet wide 100 feet high)

pillored interior (hypostyle) hall which features R2 as osiris on pillars, and most complete pictorial rep of battle of kadesh

and a shrine at the rear

dedicated to the sun gods, impress southern neighbours, nubia for gold and princesses

smaller temple built for nefertiti and godess hathor

inside of the temple extends into the cliff, numerous rooms/hallways upper E, E name waset




Thebes

height of power and religious capital of E during the new kingdom

Karnak and luxor (luxor VP, dedicated to the Theban triad) VP temples es built here, biggest in Thebes and some of the biggest in E

west bank held the VOK and VOQ and deir el medina

dry climate preserve monuments

first city, model for all others

chief of Theban gods Amun Re

Obscure until rise of the Theban family?

rapidly became prominent as the royal residence and seat of worship for amun

served as the centre of gold and loot from captured countries

as empire declines, power shifted to the delta, Thebes declined

peaked during 18th dynasty temples most important/ wealthiest in the land, tombs on the west bank most luxuries

temple at luxor,

built on by various pharaohs, e.g hatshepsut




valley of the kings and queens


built between 18th , 19th dynasties

Most of the pharaohs in the VOK, in the west of Thebes. Pharonic wives in the VOQ

guarded/protected

constructed by workmen of deir el medina during Ramesside period

some tombs actually used for storage, many labelled

Variation in architecture, tombs become more formalised after the war?




per Ramesses


Means "House or Domain of Ramesses".

modern village of Qantir marks probably per Ramesses, about 60 miles north-east of Cairo

Ramesses II builds the grandest temple of all: Per Ramesses, a city built to honor and glorify him.
strategic importance:

location of strategic importance, near the rout the northern E provinces

concentration of military facilities including:

military workshops for the manufacture of arms and chariots

Had a harbour into the delta, gave access to the Mediterranean and enabled tribute and troops to be transported to and fro from per Ramesses

military barracks that held forces

a huge stable complex

well situated for international trade, developed closer links with Syria/Palestine/Asiatic regions, proximity to the Med sea enabled trade with Crete and Cyprus

Ramesses II moved the capital from Thebes into the Delta to escape the influence of the powerful priests at Thebes, AND to be nearer to the costs of modern Turkey and Syria in order to protect Egypt's borders.

Functioned as an administrative city in the eastern delta, Extension of his father Seti I summer palace

granaries and storage depots

demolished during Dynasty XXI, when the eastern branch of the Nile began to dry up, stone reused

Contained temples, jubilee hall for ramesses various festivals , administrative buildings and offices, recreational lake, glaze (style of pottery) factory and garden zoo




2 Social structure and political organisation
roles and images of the pharaoh; concept of maat

Both god and king, P was the law owner of the land and responsible for its prosperity. high priest of the gods and commander of the army

Main function to uphold maat, divinely established order of the universe: truth, justice and harmony between man and the gods. intermediary between E and gods, responsible for prosperity. A balance had to be maintained between balanced world and chaos (wild animals, desert etc)

P organised and responsible for:

collection of taxes and tribute

civil order

building works

mining expeditions

heard difficult lawsuits

supervised officials under them

liaised with temple authorities

reported to the king daily

one of the V minister for war

P was divine, a god. god hours on earth, son of osiris. linked amen as his son.

P’s officials, governors and ministers represented the person and the command of the king. P’s authority everywhere

represented the union of religious and secular powers and duties

took part many feasts festivals, restored/built temples

also warrior P, protector of E, learnt skills of a warrior, led armies into battle, campaigns depicted on temple walls. often hunted wild animals “conquering chaos”

Building projects important way to display respect for gods/emphasise power. constructed tomb and mortuary temple

Believed always superior to all other kings. held receptions for foreign guests married princesses

attended to much of admin of E, supported by large bureaucracy, often involved in fairly minor concerns. Must have been informed of events in foreign lands that were in E’s interest. supreme legal power, only one who could hold the death penalty
roles of the vizier and members of the religious, administrative and military elites
religious admin

P high priest of all cults

religious admin delegated to overseer, post usually held by V or the chief priest of Amun

temples had own parallel admin and semi autonomous >each had own hierarchy of officials and huge civil services

only four highest priests AKA four prophets were full time priests

chief priest responsible for daily cleansing temple ritual presenting offerings to the gods

second prophet resobile for eco organisation of the temple: controlled large areas of agriculture, craftsmen, workers> responsible for collection and redistribution of food

most priest part time, most members of …?, who worked one month in the temple and three months in their normal profession

temples usually exempt from tax

priests underwent ritual purification:

bodies clean shaven

did not eat certain foods

wore fine clean clothes

washed 4x times daily

abstained from sex during period of office

four types of priest: high, lector, sem, wab



Vizier

Sources come from official documents recorded, and tombs of the viziers, tomb of rekhmire

admin for the P done by the V two of them, one upper E other lower

held the title of tjaty and was the highest office under the P, equivalent PM

chosen from noble families and their position depended o the favour of the P

they administered:

chief magistrates

ministers of taxation

ministers of war

chiefs of police

organisers of building and all public works

receives embassies from foreign lands

vizier had enormous respbilities: king and country’s prosperity, for the kings buildings, for the country’s food supply.

Represented the pharaoh and applied the law as chief magistrates



Nature and role of the army
Military admin

army pro during rammesside, full time soldiers, fully developed hierarchy

P head of the army, assisted by the vizier in his role as overseer of the troops > P also had advisory group of generals

Army made up of four divisions under R2. each level had own offices and scribes in every sphere reporting everything

place where people could advance social eco position, many men promoted from military to civil admin

Role of the army

mainstay foot soldiers: bows, arrows, slings, spears, axes. round shields, light body armour

small No. of chariots, archers used them

army transported up/down the nile, coastal areas by boat

army was pro, although could be supplemented by nomes

military had numerous roles:

enabled P to maintain maat by defeating chaos foreign offensive and defensive campaigns occurred

used in defence and guard duty in nubia, eastern, western deserts

used to control movement of people and maintain public order

guarded commercial, exploratory missions esp mining


roles and status of women: royal and non-royal
royal women

P could have multiple wive, one designated royal wife. she second only to the king in terms of the political, religious hierarchy. she associated with gods maat and hathor. position of gods wife of amun usually held by royal wife or princess

Accompanied her husband at important events, religious rituals and festivals. owned her own palace and estates. could administer property, donate goods to temples and loyal officials, appoint nobles to official posts and get services from them. some royal wives literate

mother of the king important member of the royal family, often depicted alongside king on his monuments

diplomatic marriages took place between E and other countries to ensure good relations

harem/female entourage several hundred women, nurses, weavers etc

another traditional function is that of the wife acting as regent if the king was to young
normal women

girls illiterate, no education

rank within society that of father or husband once married

Large families as high infancy death rate. average age of marriage thirteen, short life span, had to start early

Remarriage/divorce common, both simple legal acts. If man divorced for any reason other than adultery, wife gets third of their property. if women left other adultery, had to pay some compensation

Had many rights:

Women could own buy and sell property, including land goods and slaves.

initiate divorce or marriage, own and dispose property, often inherited same share as brothers

represented in court

Generally most women supervised the home, but many performed other work, could be priestesses, mourners singers, dancers, bakers and millers. poor women often worked in the fields or were household servants

majority women buried in husbands tombs

could be female preists, usually nobel women, cpuld use their magical powers to predict events remove curses and heal people


scribes, artisans and agricultural workers
Scribes

AKA sesh, highly regarded. ranked in importance to the nobility

essential for gov, religious, economic management, e.g. tax

1% pop literate

Profession open to anyone, often hereditary. Employed by religious army etc for admin, supplies etc

Part of the middle class. Could rise in social rank without family name or status

Temples and palaces conducted scribal schools. Enrolled at, 5, trained rigorously in writing.

Scribes worked with priests and ruling class, and mainly lived with the temples and palaces.

Thoth was the god of wisdom, inventor of writing, patron of scribes and the divine mediator.

Brushes were made from rush stems and they were kept in small leather bags

Scribes were written in hieroglyphs and the quicker hieratic text.

A few exceptional scribes were deified after death

Scribes were ranked in importance to the nobility

The priesthood of Amun-Re employed scribes to monitor wealth, assets and welfare

Training of scribes was difficult, the most suitable candidates were from the official class

Artisans

employed in royal workshops and temples and occasionally private workshops

deir el medina goldmine of artists and craftsmen and their families. Most of the info comes from their tombs located here

They had high standards of woodworking and carving for luxury furniture and boat building.

Semi precious stones such as turquoise, lapis lazuli, carnelian and amethyst were frequently used in inlays and faience was used for decorating objects and amulets. Gold was used for jewellery.

Beads were made by breaking up precious stones and rubbing them together to smooth the rough edges.

Inscriptions in stone were made using drills and copper chisels.

Hard stone pounders and polishing stones were also used.

Alabaster was used for funeral vessels as well as statues and alters. Many alabaster jars were found in kings tombs.

Stone cutting consisted of drilling several holes and driving timber wedges in them and pouring water to expand the timber therefore cracking the sandstone where the timber was located. An example of this was the unfinished obelisk.



Farmers

main things they grew:

flax, veges, grain wheat, barley, vegetables, figs, melons, pomegranates and vines, flax > (linen) and livestock

The ancient Egyptians used grain to make bread, porridge and beer. Grain most important crop. first crop grown after inundation. Once the grain was harvested, they grew vegetables such as onions, leeks, cabbages, beans, cucumbers and lettuce.

simple farming tools such as winnowing scoops, hoes, rakes, flint-bladed sickles and ploughs.

They had both hand ploughs and ones pulled by oxen. The ploughs were used to turn the soil.

shaduf. Used to lift the water from the canal. Large pole balanced on a crossbeam, a rope and bucket on one end and a heavy counter weight at the other.

He then swung the pole around and emptied the bucket onto the field.




3 The economy
importance of the Nile: agriculture, animal husbandry, transport


    • central to Egypt, constant factor daily life

    • annual inundation regulated the seasons, provided life giving water and fertile silt, vital as no rain in Egypt

    • Hapi god of the river, man with huge belly, breasts of women > represented the fertility the river brought the people

    • poor flooding disastrous, pharaoh might be given the boot. Vital to ensure the productivity of the land for the coming season.

    • fertile land from the Nile from either 3-18km

    • delta the lower and more fertile area

    • The economy revolved around the pharaoh and because his close relationship with gods, he was responsible for it. Much of the internal economy was based on the Nile. The inundation of the Nile and the depositing of silt was vital to the crop and hence to the economy. Prosperity of the country depended to a great extent on the height of the flood, to little meant starvation and too much meant devastation.

    • The flood determined the calendar, which was divided into 3 seasons. Akhet (Inundation),Peret (Spring time when crops became to emerge), Shemu ( Harvest Time)

    • After the inundation the pharaoh organised the clearing of the canals and the reestablishment of the boundaries.

    • Most of the population worked on the land of the pharaoh, or the land he had granted to temples.

    • The Temples had to pay the agricultural workers, temple priests, artisans, general servants and tax from its revenue of grain, cattle and other agricultural produce.

    • The Nile provided fish, which were caught using traps and nets.

    • It was also used as a highway with boats ranging from papyrus skiffs to barges provided transport for men, grain, animals and stone.

    • Flocks of geese were raised from the earliest times and supplied eggs, meat and fat.



Crafts and industry: wood, stone and metal
Craftsmen worked in either royal or temple workshops or in the community of royal tomb builders at Deir El Medina. The supplier of their raw materials was the pharaoh, either directly or indirectly through gifts to temples or individuals.

Bronze was much harder and the demand for copper and tin was large.

Metals were also used for decorative objects.

A Bronze portable altar, resembling a chest with holes in the top was found in the burial of king Psusene]se’s jubilee.

Bronze was worked by either heated or hammered or melted or casts in moulds.

Gold was worked to produce fine jeweller, statues and coffins.


Economic exchange: unit of value (deben), taxation, tribute and trade
No coinage in Ramesside Egypt. All exchanges were made by bartering on good for another. The unit used to set an items value was the Deben

The Deben was based on weight of metals, oils or grains and measured against stone weights on a measuring scale.

Ostraca found at Deir El Medina and dated from dynasty XX provides evidence of the value of everyday items.

Internal taxation system administered by the Pharaoh was central to the economy, with people paying tax in kind. Scribes measured crops before they were harvested to assess the agricultural produce due.

Cattle counts were an annual event to determine increases in herds, which were taxable.

Farmer’s orchards, gardens and vineyards were taxed and hunter and fishermen had to pay a proportion of their yield.

Tax was paid to the local nomarch who administered it to pay workers, temples and other expenses for the king.

The proportion of tax due is thought to have been determined by the height of the inundation measured at the nilometer.

international trade with byblos Syria and Palestine, exhcnages of E’s fine crafts and produce for timber, silver, slaves

Trade with developed states in the Mediterranean and the Near East took the form of diplomatic gifts, although they are often regarded as a tribute. southern regions also traded livestock, ebony, ivory and animal skins

Tribute and trade were two of the principal sources of Egypt's economic wealth throughout the New kingdom period.

The expansion of the empire provided access to many new resources and ports. During the reign of Ramesses III for example, trade expeditions were undertaken to Sinai and punt.



Tribute and trade goods were also supplemented by the huge dowries that accompanied diplomatic marriages.
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