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Ancient Egypt: Social Classes

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Kaybree Keating

on 18 May 2016

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Transcript of Ancient Egypt: Social Classes

Ancient Egypt: Social Classes
What is a Social Class
Social classes are groups of people having the same social, economic, or education
The Social Pyramid
The Ancient Egyptian Social Pyramid has social groups such as the pharaoh, vizier, high priests and nobles, priests, engineers, doctors, scribes, craftsmen, slaves and farmers.
Ancient Egypt Social Pyramid
The Pharaoh
At the top of the pyramid lies the pharaoh
A pharaoh is the most powerful person in ancient Egypt.
The pharaoh was the political and religious leader of the Egyptian people, holding the titles: 'Lord of the Two Lands' and 'High Priest of Every Temple'.
The pharaoh was the ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt.
He owned all of the land, made laws, collected taxes, and defended Egypt against foreigners.
The Vizier, Senior Officials, High Priests And Nobles
Right after the pharaoh, in second ranking is the vizier, senior officials, high priests and nobles
A vizier was the highest official in Ancient Egypt to serve the king, or pharaoh, during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms.
A senior official is a highly ranked official that has some power but not the ultimate power. They are almost like a governor in Ancient Egypt.
A high priest usually refers to one who is the head of a religious office.
A noble is a person belonging to a hereditary class with high social or political status; aristocratic
Scribes
Scribes were people in ancient Egypt (usually men) who learned to read and write.
They were the only Egyptians who knew how to read and write.
Fun Facts About Scribes
Egypt experts believe that most scribes were men, but there is some evidence that that women went to scribe school. Women who were doctors went to scribe school because they needed to read medical texts.
Scribes went to scribe school to learn how to read and write.
Pharaohs
Vizier, Senior Officials, High Priests And Nobles
The Egyptian law actually stated how the vizier had to act;
1) act by the law
2) judge fairly
3) not act willfully or headstrong
Scribes
Skilled Artisans and Craftspeople
Peasant Farmers and Workers
Fun Facts, Questions, and Answers
How did someone become A Scribe
To become a scribe, you had to attend a special school for scribes.
At this school you would learn how to read and write hieroglyphics.
These scripts are complicated, and there were many signs to learn.
Students spent a lot of time practicing the signs by copying them onto sheets of papyrus, old pieces of pottery or flakes of limestone.
Could Anyone Become A Scribe?
No.
Most often it was the children of scribes who became scribes. Although some craftsmen were able to get their sons into the school for scribes, it was very rare.
Servants and Slaves
Skilled Artisans and Craftspeople
Right after scribes comes skilled artisans and craftspeople
A skilled artisan was a craftsman, or someone in a skilled trade who makes things by hand.
Craftsmen in ancient Egypt were usually trained and skilled labourers. Every craftsman's lifestyle and social standing depended on the quality of his skills and experience. That means that some craftsmen had more difficult lives than others.
Artisans Could Be
Carpenters (made furniture)
Metal-workers
Jewelers (made jewelry)
Painters (portrayed scenes of everyday life)
Sculptors
Potters
Stone carvers
Weavers (women could be weavers!) (wove fabric and made clothing)
Artisans
They highly skilled, but had little social status despite their skills and hard work.
All of the art and furniture we see today was created by these hard working artisans.
The most skilled artisans were the stone carvers. They created all the statues, engravings, and reliefs of the temples, tombs, and monuments.
Craftspeople Facts
Craftsmen were not allowed to sign their work. That's because several craftsmen might work on one object. But even when only one artist worked on something, they still could not sign it.
Craftsmen were appreciated rather than respected in ancient Egypt.
A craftsman with skill usually enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle. Although their work was not signed, word did get around.
The Egyptians had a unique way of drawing people.
They drew heads, eyes, legs and feet positioned as if you were looking at them from the side.
They drew the shoulders and the chest as if you were looking at them from the front.
Men were usually drawn with dark colors.
Women were usually drawn with light colors
Most craftsmen worked in workshops with other craftsmen.
Objects for temples or the pharaoh were made in temple or palace workshops. Objects for ordinary people were made by local craftsmen in small workshops.

Peasant Farmers and Workers
Peasants made up the second to lowest level of the social pyramid of ancient Egypt.
They were the farmers, construction workers, and the unskilled laborers.
As construction workers, peasants helped build the monuments and pyramids for the pharaoh.
Workers on this low of level were usually unskilled. Unskilled workers were peasants who labored in large groups to accomplish large projects, normally for the government.
They too revolve around the seasons




Servants and Slaves
Servants belonged to the lowest social class and did most of the hard work.
Depending on the needs of their masters, Egyptian servants had different duties.
Some servants were assigned to work for the pharaoh. They reported to the royal controller who was in charge of the pharaoh's servants.
The servants worked as cooks, butlers, litter carriers, and as pharaoh's dressers.
A slave is defined as "One bound in servitude as the property of a person or household".
Peasants
Peasants lived with the fewest comforts of the social classes, and lived in the simplest mud-brick houses.
The pharaoh and the upper classes had feasts with tons of food, peasants lived off of a simple diet, and sometimes that had to eat papyrus to prevent famine.
Life as a Peasant
Despite being a very low social class, ancient Egyptian society depended on the peasants.
The peasants were the farmers who grew the crops that supplied everyone's food.
The life of a farmer revolved around the three seasons of the Nile River.
The flooding season was June to September. The Nile River flooded the grounds and fertilized the fields.
`This is when they helped build pyramids.
The planting season happened in October. They sowed their fields, mostly wheat and barley.
The harvest season started in March, and peasants worked all day cutting down plants and gathering them.
The peasants lives revolved around the seasons.
Servants
In ancient Egyptian times, social roles were determined at birth. If you were destined to be a servant or slave you would be in for a lot of hard work.
Both men and women worked as servants.
Servants Duties
Women were often serving girls for royalty or nannies for children in wealthy families.
Sometimes they worked in the fields.
Male servants also worked in the fields or did other manual labor.
Why is the Pharaoh Located at The Top of The Social Pyramid?
The pharaoh is at the top of the social pyramid because he was the political, religious, and economic leader of the Egyptians.
Extra Questions
What is a Merchant
A merchant is a middle class trader.
Why is the Social Pyramid shaped like a pyramid?
Because Egyptian society was shaped like a pyramid. There were far more slaves and farmers than there were pharaohs. That is why the base is so big and it gradually got smaller.
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