This is a map of ancient Egypt. It shows parts of the country, and names of the cities, seas, and oceans that were there in ancient times. The ancient time frame was from 3000 BC all the way to 332 BC. This period lasted for over 3000 years.
Ancient Egypt was famous for many things , like the hieroglyphs written in the pyramids, and their special gods, like the Pharaoh. The first thing, though, is the mummies. The Egyptians were well known for mummifying their kings and important people. When they first started to mummify people, they would bury them alone in the desert. The bodies would get dehydrated and the heat would make it shrivel up. Later, they started to bury them in coffins to protect them from insects and animals. Eventually, they found a way of wrapping the body with wraps to try and preserve the body. Another thing they were famous for was their Pharaoh. The Pharaoh was a very important figure in ancient times. He was the most important person to the people. He ruled almost everything, and could control you and your family. The Pharaoh also has a very important job. First, he always worships the gods – the people believed without the gods, they would die away. One more thing that Egypt is famous for is their pyramids. The Egyptians built the pyramids so when an important person died, they would have a secret tomb for them to be in. Today, there are about eighty different pyramids, but the pyramid Giza is the most famous. It is also known as “The Great Pyramid”.
In ancient Egypt, social structure was divided into different groups of people. At the top was the Pharaoh. No one was more important than the Pharaoh, because the people believed he was god on Earth. He was the king of the people, and lived in royalty. Next after the Pharaoh, were the more wealthy families, like government officials, priests, doctors, army officers, and landowners. They also lived in royalty, but not as much as the Pharaoh. The third level was the merchants, the manufacturers and the artisans. The merchants worked as traders, and the artisans created different objects like jewelry and pottery. Second to last was the farmers. They got low pay, and worked in the fields for people like the Pharaoh, landowners, or other wealthy people. At the bottom of everyone was the slaves. The slaves in ancient Egypt were only found among the rich families, but there werent many of them in ancient times. Most of the slaves that were working were captured in battles and wars from different countries. If your mother was a slave, then her children have a good chance of becoming slaves as well. The women who lived in ancient Egypt were treated well. They had the rights to own their own land, and to be able to earn money. They could also go to court and state their problems. The husbands had to let there wives do as they want and go where they want. But, a woman in a poorer family would have to work in the fields or to help the husband with his work. Women living in a rich family would not have to work, since their families would have the spare money. But still, women didn’t have equal rights. Some didn’t get the education they needed for many jobs – they weren’t taught to read and write, so they had a smaller amount of jobs to chose from. The Pharaoh could be a woman, though, but it would be really rare.
Housing in ancient Egypt was made out of mud bricks, since there was an annual flood. The rich families would have a double thick brick walls for more protection, and the poor families could only afford a single wall. In ancient Egypt, an average house had a central room, and more rooms were connected from this room. The central room was used for a sleeping space for the family. Each house had an average of four rooms (including the central room). The houses also included a kitchen. In a nobleman’s house, you would have a nicer house. You may have more features like different types of flooring – plaster-like and mud tiles. A nobleman’s furniture were also be more elaborate and better quality. In ancient Egypt, wood was quite rare for building. The trees that grew were not suitable for building because of the heat and climate. So, the wood would have had to be imported from a different country that had a good climate for the trees. In the houses that did have wood, it was used for steps, ceilings, and to support the doorways. Ancient Egyptians used their roofs for a nice living area, since the inside was always faintly lit up. So, every average home had stairs (possibly made of wood) leading to the roof of the house. In a poor family, the houses would be very crowded. One family would have one room, and other poor families living in other rooms of the house.
Food The Egyptians used clay plates, pots, bowls, pans, and other kitchen supplies like whisks. They would cook their foods over open fires or in clay ovens. Depending where the family is on the social structure levels, it depending on what they had to eat. So, if you were rich, you would have lots of foods to eat, rather if you were poor, you would have less variety of foods. The wealthy families would have very a selection of many different types of foods. For example, the wealthy had 15 different types of bread to choose from. The wealthy also ate foods like dates, melons, grapes, pomegranates, and apricots. The rich would hold banquets once in a while as well. They would have a lot of food (including butter and cheese), and female dancers to keep the guests entertained. They would also have gold, silver, and bronze plates, instead of clay. The poor families ate unleavened bread (a very plain bread), onions, and occasionally fish. The most common drink for poor Egyptians was beer. Meats (and Beef) were rarely eaten, with the exception of government sponsored feasts. They also ate many types of vegetables like lentils, lettuce, peas, cucumbers, onions and radishes. Since sugar was not in Egypt, the Egyptians used bees to make honey – to sweeten their food. Meat from animals like cows, pigs, sheep, and goats were also often served for meals.
Family Life In ancient Egypt, children were very important to their families. They loved their children and saw them as a blessing. An average Egyptian family had a mother, a father, and children. Families had many children (up to 5) because many would die before they grew up into adults. Girls would stay living at home until they were 15 – 19 years old, and after that they would be married. But, with the boys, they would also stay at home, and even when they did get married, him and his married wife would both stay at his home for a while longer. In a poor family situation, the mother would raise the children. In a wealthy family situation, they had slaves and servants that were a big part on raising the children. If a family had no children, they would pray for the gods and goddesses to bring them a child. They also would put letters by the tombs of their dead relatives to help them (they really believed in magic). If a couple still didn’t get any children, they still had the option of adoption. The young boys would learn trade and crafts by their fathers, or a hired artisan (if they had the money). If the family couldn’t afford to teach them or hire someone, they would send their son to school at age 7, where they would learn skills like reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion. The young daughters would learn skills from their mothers at home. When the parents became older, it became the children’s responsibility to care for them. If a parent died, the land would go to the son, and the furniture and jewellery would go to the daughter. If the family had no son, the land would go to the daughter. The father was in the one who was working for the money, and the mother was the one who was caring for the children. The mother did have the choice to work as well, though.
Marriage Marriage was important to families in ancient Egypt. The start of marriage started when the man would start bringing gifts for the girl. Marriage would happen soon after. The average age for a girl to get married is 13, but some get married earlier (age 12) or older (ages 15-19). The boys were usually 15 years old when they got married. Before the girl could marry, they would have to make an agreement. The man must be willing to share his wealth with his wife, and to any children (if they have any). The woman also brought belongings with the marriage, but they were kept to be passed on to the children. The average man can only have one wife at a time. A Pharaoh, nobleman, or someone high up in the society structure may have several wives at a time. The Pharaoh married a queen, but he may also have many other wives as well. Those wives were called “minor wives”. Divorce was possible in ancient Egypt, but it was expensive to do, and was uncommon. A scenario that may cause a divorce is if a married woman has intercourse with another man that is not her husband, a divorce was almost sure to happen. She may also be killed by doing this - being stoned or burned. Another scenario is if a woman’s husband is treating her with no respect, the woman will go to her family for help. The family will talk to her husband and try and convince him to change his ways. If the husband continued to treat her badly, a divorce would happen. The process of a divorce was very simple – they had to make a basic speech about the marriage and divorce. Then, the wife would have the option to re-marry, and she would have all the rights to the children.
The children in ancient Egypt were well loved, respected, and they were considered a blessing. There were usually up to 5 children in a family, since many died before they grew up, due to accidental causes and illnesses. The parents of the children tried hard to prevent death by doing spells and charms on the children (they believed in magic). Children wore linen clothes that were very simple. Some children had sandals made of leather or reeds, and most of them wore bracelets or necklaces made of beads. Boys shaved their heads, except for a small amount of hair they kept. This small amount of hair was later cut off when they reached the age of 12. If the family didn’t have enough money to educate his son, he would send him to school at age 7, where he would learn to read, write, learn arithmetic and religion. The boys would learn trade and craft from their fathers, and a boy of a wealthy family would have an artisan educate him. The girls would learn from their mother at home, and then they would get married (average age 12).
At age four, the boys would stop learning from their mother, and the father would take over the learning. The boys would then learn skills like trades. Some boys would go to schools, where they would learn to be scribes (learn to read and write) and they would also learn arithmetic and religion. The schools also taught them about sports and morals. If you father was a farmer or craftsmen, at age fourteen, the son would join his in his job. If you father had a high ranked job, you would continue in special schools that were joined with temples, or government centres. These special schools allowed the boys to follow their fathers footsteps – they would also get a high ranked occupation. Girls in ancient Egypt had a more limited amount of jobs they could do when they grew up since they weren’t taught to read or write. The daughters were taught at home by their mother, on topics like how to be a good wife and learning about becoming a mother. They also had the option, though, to be taught to be a dancer, entertainer, baker, or weaver. But, most girls were taught by their mothers at home.
Religion The religion was very similar through the years because the religion was impacted so much from tradition, that they didn’t like change. On of the beliefs that ancient Egyptians believed was called Divine Kingship. The belief was that the Pharaoh wasn’t just the king, he was also a god. They believed he was linked with Horus, the son of the Sun god, and when he later died, he then turned into Osiris. They believed Osiris would then care for them in the afterlife. Since the Pharaoh was such an important figure in the religion, he had a lot of control. The priests in ancient Egypt. So, when things in ancient Egypt were going good, they thought it was because of the Pharaoh and the priests. If things were going bad, they thought it was the Pharaoh and the priests fault. The religion has about 700 gods and goddesses. The most known religious act was their afterlife process. The ancient Egyptians thought the body had to be kept for the soul to live in in the afterlife. This is when mummification was invented (to preserve the body). Later on, pyramids were built for important people like the Pharaoh, to be placed in a tomb.
Clothing Many of the clothes that Egyptians wore were linen, which is made out of flax. Since the styles of the clothing never changed, they had the same style through the ancient times. Workers would wear clothing made out of animals skins and linen. Some wore tunic dresses. The men would also have a piece of clothing called a loincloth that would wrap around their waist. Most slaves would work naked. The rich families would wear different clothes. The men and women would wear long, transparent robes. Others wore wider clothing made out of white cloth. They didn’t wear a lot of fancy jewellery to display their wealth, but they did wear some gold jewellery. Their hair would be up in wigs – and it was a different wig every day. The wigs were made from human hair or from wool. For important occasions, the wigs were curly. Both the rich and poor wore jewellery. They were made out of colourful beads or gold. Some examples of jewellery are toe rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The necklaces were made from lapis lazuli stones (a blue stone used for decoration). The Egyptians did have sandals, but they walked barefoot, and brought their sandals along for when needed. The sandals were created out of palm fibres or braided papyrus (papyrus is a tall plant).
Arts and Music The Egyptians made lots of different types of art. One of them is the pottery. They used pottery for either placing in the tomb with a person, or to hold parts of the body (like the heart) during mummification. They were covering in drawings of animals, and the “carriers” to the underworld. Another art was the painting and hieroglyphics the Egyptians did. The paintings were mostly of the afterlife, and were made to make the transition easier. The Hieroglyphics were commonly found by paintings, and was their main source of writing. Their were over 700 different hieroglyphics, representing things like animals. They were also used for telling stories. Some instruments were played in Egypt, and some were even believed to be created there as well. The most common instruments were the percussion instruments. They sometimes used their hands (clapping) to make percussion sounds. It is also thought that the flute was from Egypt. Other instruments were the trumpet, parallel double pipes, divergent double pipes, and the harp. Most of these instruments used reeds, and brass was introduced later on. They also played stringed instruments.
Conclusion Ancient Egypt was well known for many things that they did in the ancient times like their mummification process, their pyramids, and their everyday lives.. Some things still stick with Egypt today. All in all, ancient Egypt was a very interesting time period, and it will be remembered and studied for years to come.
Books Morley, Jacqueline . How Would You Survive As An Ancient Egyptian?. Belgium: Franklin Watts, 1995. (No Author on Book). Mini World Fact file. Hong Kong: Bartholomew:1993. Websites Ancient Egypt http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/mummies/home.html Ancient Egyptian Art http://www.ancientegyptianart.org/#top Ancient Egyptian Clothing http://www.islandnet.com/~kpotter/egypt/cloth.htm Ancient Egyptian Families http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/egypt/people/family.htm Ancient Egypt Music http://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/egyptian-music.html Beyond Books – Social Structure http://www.beyondbooks.com/wcu81/3b.asp Daily Life http://members.tripod.com/~ancient_egypt/day.html Education in Ancient Egypt http://historylink101.net/egypt_1/a-education.htm Egypt: Daily Life http://www2.sptimes.com/Egypt/EgyptCredit.4.2.html Food in Ancient Egypt http://historylink101.net/egypt_1/a-food.htm Getting Married http://members.tripod.com/~ancient_egypt/gema.htm Housing in Ancient Egypt http://historylink101.net/egypt_1/a-housing.htm Idaho PTV Social Class http://idahoptv.org/ntti/nttilessons/lessons2002/ketterling3.html Marriage in Ancient Egypt http://historylink101.net/egypt_1/a-marriage.htm Religion of Ancient Egypt http://historylink101.net/egypt_1/religion.htm