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Noblemen in Ancient Egypt
Transcript of Noblemen in Ancient Egypt
The idea of socialism was not present in Ancient Egypt. The difference between the rich and the poor was obvious. When looking at art, we can notice that the wealthy were drawn as bigger figures to show their superiority and their control over others, while the poor were shown as smaller figures to display their minority in the society.
- Nobles in Egyptian society were related to the pharaoh, priests, scribes, doctors, lawyers, or important military personnel.
- Many of the nobles watched over the lands worked by peasants.
- Taxes from these lands were paid to the government in the form of crops or cattle.
- These crops were then used to pay skilled workers and peasants for their labor on governmental projects.
Noblemen in Ancient Egypt
- The man in this relief is Maya , the "Overseer of the Royal Treasurer" under three Egyptian pharaohs.
- Maya's job was to make sure that taxes were collected.
- He also supervised the preparation of the king's tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
- We can tell that Maya is important because he wears a fancy pleated kilt and apron.
- He must have done a good job because the two gold necklaces that he wears were probably a gift from the pharaoh.
- Marriage was always based on love and affection.
- Marriage was a very strong and sacred bond between two individuals, although polygamy was allowed.
- Usually only the wealthy men could afford more than 1 wife.
- Children were very valued in the society and pregnancy was never viewed as an illness.
- Childbirth was a natural process and those women who could not get pregnant always prayed to goddesses of fertility.
- Nobles ruled some regions of Egypt and were responsible for making local laws and keeping order in their region.
- The nobles jobs were to spread teachings about the gods and superiority
Priests of Ancient Egypt
- The pharaohs could not perform ceremonies at all the temples in Egypt, in result many high priests carry out the sacred rituals
- Priests often passed down their positions from father to son, because they enjoyed great power and wealth in Egyptian society.
- They also assisted the pharaoh with his decisions
Roles of a Priest
Some roles would be;
- To make sure that the deceased tombs contained the "The Book of the Dead" .
- This book gave the proper spells and directions for the journey through the underworld.
- This would be included to those who could afford it.
- Priests were responsible for keeping the Gods happy.
- The priests spent most of their time performing rituals and ceremonies to the God of their temple.
A day in the life of a noblemen
The day would start out with the nobleman waking up in a bed covered in fine linen sheets.
A servant would help him to wash and shave.
Then, the nobleman would be dressed in a kilt made of fine linen and sandals made of leather.
His wife would get up to be washed and dressed with the help of another servant. The nobleman's wife wore a dress made of fine linen and jewellery made of glass.
The wife would apply some kohl to her eyelids, a cosmetic, and go downstairs to eat with the nobleman and have a small meal of bread and fruit.
The nobleman would leave the house for an appointment with the overseer of his lands.
That day the noblemen and wife were having a banquet so the nobleman's wife supervised the preparations for the banquet they were hosting that evening. Her children were dressed and fed, then brought to her by a servant.
The overseer of the nobleman's fields told the nobleman what the harvest would be like for the year.
He also told the nobleman how many cattle and geese had been counted in the fields the day before.
The nobleman was pleased. They shared a meal of bread, meat and beer.
The nobleman returned to the house and got ready for the banquet. Then he and his wife began greeting their guests as they arrived.
Their guests were offered cones of perfumed wax and lotus flowers by servant girls.
They ate the finest meats, breads, cakes, wine, figs and dates. They were entertained by musicians and dancing girls.
A day in the life of a Pharaoh
Who were they?
The vizier was the highest official in Ancient Egypt to serve the king, or pharaoh during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms.
The vizier's duty was to supervise the running of the country, such as a prime minister, at times even small details of it such as sampling the city's water supply.
• Act by the law
• Judge fairly
• Do not act willfully or headstrong
The Role of the Vizier
• The appointment of government officials
• Master of Works for the royal monuments including labor and resources
• Hearing major legal disputes
• Controlling civil order
• Controlling the food supply and distribution
• Conducting a census of the population in order to collect taxes
Who were the scribes?
Scribes were people in ancient Egypt (usually men) who learned to read and write.
The ability to read and write was needed for a career in the Egyptian civil service.
Not much is known about Egyptian schools. Some temples ran schools but many boys seem to have studied with local scribes.
Reading, writing and mathematics were the basic subjects. Pupils learned by copying out texts in the two main scripts, hieroglyphic and hieratic.
They wrote with pens made from reeds on wooden tablets, pieces of pottery, or scraps of papyrus.
Some of the texts that boys were made to copy out were about advantages of being a scribe.
They stress that scribes sit in the shade and watch while other people do the hard work.
Wealth and success is promised to the good pupil. The texts include: “if you have any sense, you will be a scribe!”
Scribes were employed to write official or private letters and to draw up legal documents.
Other common tasks were recording the progress of all kind work and making lists of goods.
Educated people read for pleasure so scribes wrote or copied out literature such as proverbs, stories, and love poems.
Pharaoh has many officials, servants and slaves to make sure he is safe and perfectly presented.
His day begins with servants cleaning him and dressing him up, they use scented oils and perfumes for rubbing his body. After he is clean they dress him and they also put a gold pendant around his neck.
Pharaoh owns a lot of gold that he has to look after. Once the pharaoh is dressed up him and his wife sit on cushions in a courtyard and eat a small meal of bread and fruit at a low table.
After he is done eating he goes to meet with some foreign merchants. In his throne room merchants want to trade wood and spices.
They offer him gifts of gold and ostrich eggs. He also waves to a servant to take the gifts, and welcomes them. After that royal official needs kings approval to expand the irrigation of the Nile R.
Once he is done speaking with the official he dismisses him and has a mid-day meal. In the afternoon he relaxes with his oldest of nine sons, and plays a board game that is called Dogs and Jackals.
At the end of the day he joins his wives and guests for an evening meal and dancing.
- The Pharaoh controlled all the land and resources.
- He made decisions about government, law, trade, and foreign policy.
- The Pharaoh had to mirror the goddess Ma'at, who represented balance, justice, and truth in the universe.
- Priesthood helped maintain this order by running the temples, performing rituals, and organizing festivals.
- They held administrative positions in government, and sometimes became the pharaoh's trusted advisers.
Soldiers were responsible for the defense of the country.
Many second sons, including those of the Pharaoh often choose to join the army.
Soldiers were allowed to share riches captured because of their service to the country.
Soldiers in wars: Soldiers fought in wars or conqured domestic uprisings.
During long periods of peace, soldiers also supervised the peasants, farmers, and slaves who were involved in building the structures of pyramids and palaces.
Skilled workers such as physicians and craftspeople made up the middle class.
Craftspeople made and sold jewelry, pottery, papyrus products, tools, and other useful things.
Naturally, there were people needed to buy goods from
artisans and traders. These were the merchants and
storekeepers who sold these goods to the public.
Craftsmen were very skilled labourers
They worked year-round and lived very comfortable lives, although their lifestyle depended on the quality of their skills.
Craftsmanship would pass from father to son
However, if the children do not have talent like their parents, then they can become a merchants and sell the goods of others.
Artists were not allowed to sign their work, yet everyone knew what shop their work came from which made the shop more popular and the worker more valuable. Still, no craftsman gained fame.
The shops picked the best craftsmen to work for them, so they would attract more attention of customers.
The only craftsman that became famous was Imhotep, but again he was a part of the Royal Elite.
A group of very skilled craftsmen would work in palace workshops to make goods for the pharaoh or for the temples, while others would work in small workshops and make goods for ordinary people.
Artists were employed to decorate the homes of wealthy Egyptians and to decorate tombs and temples.
Craftsmen were not given the freedom of creativity. For example, jewelers had to make the amulets of a certain shape because if they changed a small feature, then the amulet would have a different meaning.
Craftsmanship had its own titles and hierarchies. Some of the titles were:
- "Royal artisan with pure hands"
- "Foremost of the ordinary citizens"
- "Supervisor of all the king's works"
The Egyptians were one of the first group on earth to begin farming, they worked the land of the Pharaoh and nobles and were given housing, food and clothes.
Some farmers rented land from nobles and had to pay their rent.
The people in ancient Egypt grew everything they needed to eat.
Who were farmers?
- The Pharaoh got the rich peasants to do the farm work on the rich land. Most villagers were farmers and they lived in towns, along with craft workers, traders and their families.
- Egyptian Farmers grew crops such us: wheat, barley, vegetables, melons and vines.
- These were grown along the banks of the river Nile on the rich black soil.
- They used grain to make bread and beer.
Farmers divided their year into 3 seasons based on the cycle of the Nile River:
(June- September) the flooding season. No farming was done at this time but they worked for the pharaoh (king ) building pyramids or temples.
(October- February) the growing season ( all crops were planted)
- ( March- May) the Harvesting season (the time when crops were cut)
Every June the Nile flooded, so this was known as the flooding season during this time the farmers would make tools or they would go fishing for food.
Ancient Egyptian had simple farming tools such as: hoes, rakes and etc.
Even though merchants lived in very simple houses, they would travel to other countries to trade.
The small floating devices allowed them to travel the Nile River, which would be the most common place to trade.
Merchants would be outside all day so they would wear wigs to protect their head and protective makeup.
The most common exchange of products would be gold, papyrus, linen cloth, and jewelery for cedar, ebony wood, and panther skins.
Foreign trade brought a lot of wealth for the Egyptians, making merchants very valuable in the society.
Merchants who exchanged goods to royalty made a good living, as certain foreign items were treasured in temples.
- A bride could be 14-15 years old while her husband could be 17-20 years old.
- Marriages would be arranged with the parent’s consent and the societies consent.
- Divorce was very private in Ancient Egypt.
- Usually the wife was entitled to support from her husband.
- Children were very important to the society. Infertile women would pray to goddesses of fertility to have children. Adoption was very common and very encouraged
- Child mortality was also a very common and serious issue.
- Children were buried with toys so they would use them in the after world.
- When the children grew up, young girls would be taught by their mothers how to do household tasks while young boys would be trained by their fathers for the occupation.
- Children aged 4-14 would go to school to learn how to write and to read.
- Girls from poor families usually did not get a good education because they would stay home and help heir mothers.
Main roles of the pharaoh included
-Head of the state
-Head of the nation
-Head of the army
-Supreme religious leader
As head of the army he had the power to protect the people from invaders.
Military strategies and campaigns would increase the lands.
As head of the state and government of Egypt the pharaoh was responsible for increasing the wealth of the country.
- Responsible for the trading expeditions in different countries and making alliances with different countries against common enemies.
- Responsible for new buildings built in ancient Egypt.
Their words were law. Those that broke his laws would be punished. The crook and flail was the ancient Egyptian symbol of royal authority and emphasized the duties of the pharaohs
Crook: Symbolized the role of the king as the 'shepherd' of the people. Shepherd's crook, is a symbol of leadership and protection of the pharaoh.
Flail: Symbolizes the discipline (as a whip or weapon) and also a symbol to represent the pharaoh's duty to feed his people (as a farm tool).
- Some Egyptians were sold into slavery because of debts or sold themselves to escape poverty.
- They did not lose all their civil rights; and sometimes the economic security they gained through their new status was worth it.
- The vizier had the right to force labor on a convicted criminal, which would put him in a position of virtual slavery.
A woman paid a temple to be accepted as a servant
- During the New Kingdom, when the pharaoh's involvement and conquests in Nubia, Canaan and Syria, it brought in many prisoners of war.
- Typical family structure in Ancient Egypt would be similar to today’s Egypt,
- The father as the head of household, who is responsible for the economic well-being of the family.
- The upper-class men earned their living as priests or government officials.
- The lower classes worked as farmers, hunters, artists, sculptors, potters or other craftsmen.
-It was possible to rise in social rank through the army or by learning to read and write and becoming a scribe.
Having one partner, known as monogamy, was the general custom of the family structure in ancient Egypt, with the exception of the pharaoh, possibly to ensure a heir to the throne.
- It was a duty for the offspring to care for and support their parents during old age.
- Responsible for giving their parents a proper burial and for maintaining their religion.
-Both aspects above were considered necessary to ensure the afterlife of their parents.
- Whatever time was left to relax was spent by the ancient Egyptians enjoying food, drink, songs and dance.
- Places where men would gather to drink beer and pay for sexual services.
- Sport activities included hunting, fowling and fishing, as well as a popular board game, known as Senet.
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Crook and Flail
The majority of the tools were made entirely out of wood, or combination of wood and stone, however they also had some metal tools.
What animals did the Egyptian farmers have?
Animals were very important to Egyptian farmers, animals helped them with the jobs like trampling in the seeds or eating unwanted grain/wheat and providing the Egyptians with food or drink.
Farmers also hunted for antelope in the desert beyond the hills and fishing in the Nile
- Slaves were usually prisoners captured in war.
- They could be found in the households of the Pharaoh and nobles, working in mines, and in temples.
- Egyptian slaves had to do the household chores for example : taking care of the children, household chores and etc.
- Slaves had a single master or worked for an organization, within the big temples or big estates.
- Male slaves were cheaper than females and their price could be as low as 20kit of silver.
- The pyramids were build by slaves
- Throughout Egyptian history, the viziers were the Pharaoh's most trusted allies and consultants, but were not of Royal blood.
- Royal family members, particularly those who might hold a claim to kingship, could often not be trusted.
- Viziers were trusted by the Pharaoh to carry out his will without the fear of revolt.
- In Egyptian art, viziers are usually shown wearing a long robe which came up to the armpits.
- The garment of pure white material symbolized fairness and equality.
Duration of Office
- Viziers often held their office according to the will of the Pharaoh
- Sometimes they remained in office during the reign of more than one Pharaoh, usually within a
- In few occasions they succeeded to the throne, like Ay, who succeeded Tutankhamen
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Role of Women
- Had equal rights as men, for example to be able to own and dispose land and property, seek divorce, right to initiate court case or serve as a witness.
- Women were economically independent and had to lead a domestic life.
- Poor women were illiterate
- Women ruled the house, managed the household and proudly raised the kids
- Women faced almost no restrictions though there were few career opportunities for them.
Roles of Men
- The head protectors of the family
- Passed inheritance to their children.
- Men could have as many wives as they want, only if they could afford one.
Men held all the administrative, military ranks and business roles
- The father would pass his occupation to his sons.
- Men were a lot more literate than women.
- Looking at painting show that women's role was decorative because they are drawn as young, beautiful and ideal.
- Egyptian women did not have to cover themselves with clothing.