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Life of an Ancient Egyptian scribe

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Grace Bruton

on 19 September 2014

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Transcript of Life of an Ancient Egyptian scribe

Life of an Ancient Egyptian Scribe

Explore the life of a scribe, in ancient Egyptian society. This presentation will include, what a scribe did in society, the challenges they faced, their place in status, what they lived in, what they wore and how they learned to perform their duties.
What did an ancient Egyptian scribe do in society?

Not everyone in ancient Egyptian had the privilege of knowledge like the scribes.
The scribes were people in Ancient Egypt [ usually men] who learned to read and write. Although scribes were usually men, there is some evidence found to prove that, women were trained as scribes so that they could read medical text as they were doctors.
What did scribes write on?
The scribes used a kind of paper called papyrus, which was made from reeds, which can also be referred to a papyrus plant.
In the fields
After a scribe finished school, they may be out in the fields, counting crops or animals
In tombs

Writing was very important in terms of decorating tombs. Writing on the tomb, was believed to help a person of pharaoh to the afterlife.

In Government
The government of Egypt kept the records of the country. This was beneficial in terms of government officials knowing about situations running in the country. For example, past records helped them realize how much grain or how many animals were collected in taxes. Government officials, were scribes promoted to a higher status.

The overall role of scribes
Scribes recorded detailed administrive and economic activities. They supervised the construction of monuments, infrasture projects, and wrote wills.

Scribe tools

Scribe tools included a palette and water pot for mixing colours, pens were also used for this role as well as black and red inks, fine reed pens and a tool to smooth down papyrus.
[Museum, n.d]

How did someone become a scribe?
To become a scribe, you had to attend a special school, where scribes could learn to perform their duties. At this school children would learn hieroglyphics and hieratic scripts. This was generally hard work. The scripts were complex, and the signs were hard to learn. Students spent most of their time practicing the signs, by copying them onto sheets, of papyrus, old pieces of pottery or flakes of limestone.
[ museum, n.d]

They spent hours copying hundreds of signs, until they were up to a suitable standard. It was hard work, and students didn't like the work they were given. Sometimes if they were caught, they were punished for skipping classes or not doing their work.
[ Hill 2010]

Could anyone become a scribe?
Not everyone could become a scribe. It was either the children of a scribe, or children of a craftsmen who could receive this privilege.

How long did it take to become a scribe?
The years it took to become a scribe, ranged from 4-5 years to go through scribe school.

Who were scribes trained by?
Scribes were trained by a scribe.

A scribes place in society
One of the most respected titles in ancient Egyptian was the scribe. The occupation of the scribe is also one of the earliest jobs. The hieroglyphic lanuage was very complex, those who had mastered it held a very valuable place is society. Scribes were considered to be members of the royal court, and did not have to pay any taxes, or undertake military service or perform manual labor. No more than 1% of the Egyptian population was literate. Generally scribes were vital components of ancient Egyptian society, and maintained the smooth standards of lifestyle in Egypt.

What did a scribe live in?
The housing departments a scribe lived in were middle class, these houses would have been small but not tiny. Generally houses in ancient Egypt, were made from mud bricks, and a scribe probably had a servant.
(Feathers101, n.d.)

Ancient Egyptians wore light materials made from linen. Linen is made from flax, a plant grown along the Nile.
All men wore a wrap around skirt that was tied around the waist with a belt. Sometimes this material was wrapped around the legs as well. The length of the skirt varied depending on the fashion at the time. For example in the time of the old kingdom they wore the skirts short, but in the middle kingdom the skirt was calf length, and the new kingdom it was fashionable to wear a pleated garment.
(Anon., November 2000.)

What did a scribe wear?
[ Anon,.November 2000.]
Thoth the scribe
In ancient Egypt, Thoth became known as the God. of the moon, magic and writing. Thoth was also considered to be the scribe of the underworld. For this reason Thoth was worshiped by the ancient Egyptian scribes. (
Crystalinks, n.d.)

[collins, 2009]
[ Museum, n.d.]
[ press,2014]
[Museum, n.d.]
In the army
When ancient Egyptians went to war thay used writing as a communication source. Military leaders were trained as scribes so they could read the sent messages.
[Museum, n.d.]

[Museum, n.d.]
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