Egyptian Society <ul><li>Egyptian society was strictly organized, disciplined and respectful of rituals, traditions and costumes. Even if there wasn't a lot of poverty to be found in ancient Egypt, there was still a vast difference between the most humble living conditions and those of ruling classes The dominant classes of Egyptian society fell into three broad social categories. </li></ul><ul><li>These were the priests, military leaders and civil servants. Belonging to these social groups was not dependent on family and there was no division between them. The key of social mobility and entering a particular class was to become a scribe. Knowledge and ambition could lead to real power </li></ul>
Egyptian Society -Family The nuclear family was the core of Egyptian society. Unfortunately marriage and marriage contracts were largely seen as a means of regulating the transfer of property. Fortunately when compared to other areas of <ul><li>the ancient world, Egyptian women held stronger social positions and expanded legal rights, which included the ability to hold and bequeath property and had the right to divorce, which other women of the ancient world hadn’t. Young children--both male and female--held a valued position in the family. Socially, the ancient Egyptians enjoyed many of the pleasures people cherish today: music, song, dance, games, and drink. </li></ul>
Ancient Egyptian Women <ul><li>Egypt's society was typically more male-dominated. The word of the man of the house was law, and sometimes a husband treated his wife more like a servant than a proper wife. Many thought that the Egyptian man would take many wives but this has is untrue. Some kings or pharaoh would take many wives in order to produce an heir to his throne; however, a common man would take more then one wife but only when his wife couldn’t produce children.. Relieves and pictures show the important role of housewives In smaller households the wife was in charge of all things pertaining to the house - cooking, cleaning and watching the children were all her responsibilities </li></ul>
Ancient Egyptian Women <ul><li>In some larger homes there were servants served as maids and midwives helped. Unfortunately entertaining, sports, and even casual passing of time were only for men. In ancient Egypt, husband and wife chatted together, listened to music together, as well organized and threw parties together. A wife went along on her husband's hunting to make some company. Egyptian women shared with men important legal rights that in many other nations were totally denied them. They were allowed to own land, operate businesses, testify in court, and bring actions against men. Egyptian women enjoyed a dimension of freedom greater than any of their counterparts from other places in ancient times. </li></ul>
Social Pyramid <ul><li>In ancient Egypt there were many social classes which were dictated by an Egyptian's profession. This social stratification is like a pyramid. At the bottom of the classes there are the soldiers, farmers and tomb builders, who represented the greatest percent of the Egyptian population. The workers supported the professionals above them, just as the base of the pyramid supports the rest of the structure. Above the workers were skilled craftsmen, such as artists. Above the craftsmen were the scribes. The scribes were the only Egyptians who knew how to read and write, and therefore had many types of job opportunity and a good social status. A scribe's duties ranged from writing letters for townspeople, to recording harvests, to keeping accounts for the Egyptian army. </li></ul>
Above these scribes were more scholarly scribes, who had advanced to higher positions such as priests, doctors, and engineers. Priests were devoted to their religious duties in the temples at least three months out of every year, during which time they never left the temple. At other times the worked as judges and teachers. The medical profession of Ancient Egypt had its own hierarchy. At the top was the chief medical officer of Egypt. Under him were the superintendents and inspectors of physicians, and beneath then were the physicians. Egyptian doctors were very advanced in their knowledge of herbal remedies and surgical techniques. Also part of Egyptian medicine were magic, charms, and spells, which had only psychological effects, if any, on a patient.
<ul><li>Engineers, with their mathematical and architectural knowledge, were responsible for the planning and building of the monuments, temples, and pyramids of ancient Egypt. The architects were not the actual builders, instead they were in charge of the branch of government involved. Then men who did calculations, drew up the plans, surveyed the sites, and supervised the work day were scribes. Above the priests, doctors, and engineers were the high priests and noblemen whom the pharaoh appointed as his assistants, generals, and administrators, who together formed the government. The vizier was the Pharaoh's closest advisor. Finally, at the top of the social status pyramid was the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh of Egypt was not simply a king and a ruler, but was was considered a god on earth. </li></ul>
Ancient Egyptian Fashion Egyptian dress for men and women, rich or poor, changed very little over the centuries in Ancient Egypt. The clothing worn by men and women was made of linen which is made from flax, a plant having small leaves, blue flowers and stems about two feet tall, Half-ripe flax stems were pulled out of the ground and soaked for several days. The fibres were separated, and were beaten to soften. These fibres were twisted into strong threads which were weaved on a loom. Linen needed constant washing. It was washed in the river or canal, rinsed, then pounded on a stone, and bleached in the sun. Linen clothes were very lightweight for the hot climate.
All men, from the tomb worker to the pharaoh, wore a kind of kilt or apron that varied in length over the years, from halfway above the knee, to halfway below it, the dress was tied at the front, folded in at the side, or in two knots at the hips. A sleeved, shirt-like garment also became fashionable. Men were always clean-shaven, they used razors made from bronze to shave their beards and heads. Women wore straight, ankle-length dresses that usually had straps that tied at the neck or behind the shoulders. Some dresses had short sleeves or women wore short robes tied over their shoulders. Later costumes show that the linen was folded in many tiny vertical pleats and fringes were put at the edges. Wealthy people wore sandals made of leather that had straps across the instep and between the first and second toes.
They adorned themselves with as much jewellery as they could afford. Wealthy people wore broad collars made of gold and precious stones liked together, which fastened at the back of the neck. Pairs of bracelets were worn around the wrist or high on the arm, above the elbow. Rings and anklets were also worn. Women wore large round earrings and put bands around their heads or held their hair in place with ivory and metal hair pins, jewellery of ordinary people wore necklaces made of brightly coloured pottery beads. The Egyptians cared about their appearance a great deal. The women spent a lot of time bathing, rubbing oils and perfumes into their skin, and using their many cosmetic implements to apply make-up and style their wigs. Using a highly-polished bronze hand mirror, a woman would apply kohl, a black dye kept in a jar or pot, to line her eyes and eyebrows, using an "brush" or "pencil" made of a reed.
Men wore this eye make-up as well, which was not only a fashion but also protected against the eye infections which were common in Egypt. They would use a dye called henna to redden their nails and lips. Wigs were worn by men and women. A woman would place a cone made of fat soaked in sweet smelling ointment on her head, which slowly melted over her wig during a warm evening. Appearance indicated a persons status, role in a society or political significance. Egyptian hairstyles varied with age, gender and social status. Children head was shaved off or cut short except for a long lock of hair left on the side of the head, this s-shaped lock was depicted by the hieroglyphic symbol of a child or youth. Both girls and boys wore this style until the onset of puberty. Older boys often shaved their heads, while girls had ponytails hanging down the centre of the back Egyptian men had short hair, leaving their ears visible. Another hairstyle for men was distinctive short curls covering the ears shaping a bend from temple to nape.
Women's hairstyles were more unique than those of men. Women generally preferred a smooth, close coiffure, a natural wave and long curl. Women in the Old Kingdom preferred to have short cuts or chin length bobs. However in the New Kingdom they had long hair or touted a wig. Women tied and decorated their head with flowers and linen ribbons. A stylized golden lotus blossom was the preferred adornment , poor people used more simple and inexpensive ornaments of petals and berries. Children decorated their heads with amulets of small fish to protect from the dangers of the Nile. Children sometimes used rings or clasps, ancient Egyptians wore headbands around their heads or held their hair in place with ivory and metal hairpins. Wigs were very popular and worn by men, women and children. They were adorned both inside and outside of the house. Egyptians put on a new wig each day and wigs were greatly varied in styles. The primary function of the wig was as a headdress for special occasions, such as ceremonies and banquets. Wigs were curled or sometimes made with a succession of plaits. Only queens or noble ladies could wear wigs of long hair separated into three parts, the so-called god dress.