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Daily Life in Ancient Egypt
Last updated      11/3/2007      10/12/2005      10/6/2005

People of Egypt

Pharaoh was at the top.
UPPER CLASS
Government officials. 
Nobles
Priests
MIDDLE CLASS
Scribes
Skilled Craftsman
Merchants
Teachers
Artisans
Soldiers
LOWER CLASS
Farmers
Laborers
Servants
Slaves. 

Slaves 
The slaves worked in gold mines.
They worked for farmers.
They dug canals and prepared the land for planting,
They worked as house servants for the trich Egyptians. 
Slaves did have the right to be treated fairly
Slaves could own property.

Women
Women were expected to obey theor fathers and husbands.
They could participate in business deals.
They could own land.

Marriage
Peasant girls married at age 12.
Marriages were arranged by parents.
Couples could divorce in Egypt.


Cities

Cities became centers of religion and government.
Kings, priests, government officials and artisans lived there.
Houses were very close together, and the streets were very narrow.
Memphis and Thebes were the capitals of ancient Egypt.
Memphis served as the first capital and was the center of the Egyptian government.

Houses

Most people lived in small houses made of mud-bricks.
Beneath your feet would be an earthen floor covered with reed mats.

Merchant's House
The entrance of the house opened on to a workshop.
Behind the workshop there was a small living room with a fireplace and two tiny rooms. 
There were stairs up to the flat roof. 
People slept on the roof.
Sewage had to be disposed of by each household in pits, in the river, or in the streets.

Noble's House
Home was divided into three areas, a reception area, a hall, and the private quarters.
The windows and doors on the house were covered with mats to keep out the flies, dust, and heat.
The inside had wall hangings made of leather.
Wealthy people had a separate room for bathing.
A servant would pour a jar of waterover their master.
water was carried by clay pipes to a garen area.

Food

Beer was the most popular beverage.
Beer was made with barley.
Bread was the staple food in the Egyptian diet.
Women would bake bread everyday.
To make the bread, women ground wheat into flour.
The flour was then pounded by men to make a fine grain.
Sesame seeds, honey, fruit, butter, and herbs were often added to the dough to help flavor the bread.
Wheat, grapes, olives, fresh fish, beef, pork, and chicken were also eaten.
Food was baked, boiled, stewed, fried, grilled, or roasted.  

Entertainment
They played Senet and Hounds & Jackals, both board games.
On the back of the Senet board wqs a game called aseb.
Aesb was played with the same pieces as Senet.
Children had cloth dolls and little toy boats carved from wood.
Peasant childrens' toys were made from clay.
They wrestled, boxed, fenced with sticks.
They had pets including dogs, cats, monkeys, and a hoopoe, a colorful little bird
They swam in the canals that ran through the farms and villages. 

Transporatation
Walking, ferries, litters, chariots, beasts of burden, ships and boats

Fashion
Bathing
Most Egyptians took a bath everyday.
Instead of soap, a cleansing cream wa used.
People rubbed their skin with perfumed oil.

Make Up
Men, women, and children wore make up.
Lips, cheeks, and nails were colored.

Hair
Peasants kept their hair short.
Young girls wore pigtails.
Boys had their heads shaved.
Except for one braided lock worn to one side.
Wigs were worn by maen and women.

Jewelry

Everone wore jewelry.
Both men and women wore pierced earrings, armlets, bracelets, and anklets.

Clothing
Men wore a short skirt called a kilt.
When doing hard work, men wore a loin cloth,
The wealthy men wore pleated kilts.
Older men wore a longer kilt.
Women wore a straight fitting dress held up by straps. 
When doing hard work, women wore a short skirt.
Children usually ran around nude

Rich Egyptians

Rich Egyptians lived along the Nile on estates.
The family of the rich, their servants, and artisans lived on the estates.
The artisans wove cloth, built boats, and made tools and pottery.

Farmers lived around the estates in villages.

Farming
Most Egyptians were farmers.
Lived in villages around the estates.
When not working they built ditches, built monuments, and repaired roads.

Farmers’ children became farmers.
The farms were run by scribes. 
They used wooden plows and hoes.
The farmers had to dig irrigation canals and haul water.  
Farmers also helped build things for the government. 
Egyptians grew crops such as wheat, barley, vegetables, figs, melons, pomegranates and vines.
They also grew flax which was made into linen.

They kept animals such as cattle, goats, pigs, ducks, cows, and geese.
Egyptian farmers lived with their livestock
At harvest time, men, women, and children helped, and they often sang as they worked. 
The cut stalks were taken to separating areas, and then the grain was separated. 
The scribes would measure what was claimed by the pharaoh and the farm owner and take it away. 
Harvest was a time of celebration, and they made offerings to the gods of harvest.

Farming Tools
Winnowing scoops, hoes, rakes, sickles with pieces of flint for blades, and plows.
The plows were used to turn the soil.
They had both hand plows and plows pulled by oxen.

SSEgyptShadoof.bmp (34254 bytes)
Shadoof

A shadoof was used to lift the water from the canal.
A shaduf had a large pole balanced on a crossbeam.
There was a rope with a bucket on one end.
A heavy counter weight was at the other end.
By pulling on the rope, the bucket was lowered into the canal.
The farmer then raised the bucket of water by pulling down on the weight.
He then swung the pole around and emptied the water onto the field.

Seasons
Egyptian farmers divided their year into three seasons.
Flooding Season, Growing Season, Havesting Season.
The Flooding Season.
The Nile River flooded every June.
All the fields were flooded so no farming could be done.
The farmers would fix their tools or make new ones.
People would go fishing or hunting for food or to make extra money.
Many farmers worked for the pharaoh building pyramids or temples.
The Growing Season.
In October the floodwaters receded.
A layer of rich, black soil was left behind.
This soil was then ploughed and seeded.
The Harvesting Season.
The time when crops were cut and gathered was called the Harvest Season.
People worked from sunrise to sunset.
It was also the time to get ready for the next flood.
Farmers would repair the canals.


Religion
The Egyptians believed in many gods.
Hapi was the river god. 
Re, the sun god.  was the most important.
Osiris was the god of harvest and eternal life.
Osiris and Isis ruled over he dead.
Osiris balanced the deads life.

Sun God
The Sun god was the most important of all the gods.
He was pictured as a scarab beetle.
When he was pictured this way he was the creator god.
He was combined with Amun and called Amun-Re, King of the Gods.

Temples, Priests and Priestesses
The Egyptians had priests and priestesses who took care of the temples.
There were small and large temples.
The high priest was very powerful in ancient Egypt.
He who was in charge of the money that came in from temple lands.
Priestesses were also very powerful also.
They provided the temple music many times.
There was always a priest in the temples. 

Common People and Religion
The common people were not allowed in the temples.
They worshipped the god that could help them in their daily life.
Sickness, childbirth, snake bites all had a different god that would help with problems like these..
Egyptians were very superstitious and believed in magic.
They used magic wands to "heal" scorpion and cobra bites.
They also used magic spells and stones to cure an illness or as love charms.