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Daily Life in Ancient Egypt Grade 6 Social Studies, March 9 th -10 th, 2009 Image Source:

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1 Daily Life in Ancient Egypt Grade 6 Social Studies, March 9 th -10 th, 2009 Image Source:

2 Social Pyramid of Ancient Egypt Please see page 156 in your textbooks.

3 Rulers and Priests The highest ruler in Ancient Egypt was the Pharaoh, who had complete authority over the Egyptian lands. Nobles were related to the pharaoh, priests, scribes, doctors, lawyers, and military leaders. They oversaw the pharaoh‘s lands and were part of the ruling class. Priests were highly regarded in Egyptian society as well, as they ensured the gods would be kept content. Priests carried out religious rituals and took care of temples, cleaned the sacred statues, changed the statues‘ clothes, and even fed them! Priests and rulers worked together to maintain social and political order, to keep the gods and the people of Egypt happy. Image source:

4 Scribes and Government Officials The Egyptian Empire was divided into 42 provinces. Government officials in charge of these provinces made sure everything ran smoothly and reported back to the Pharaoh. One of the head officials was the vizier, who had his own set of officials (in charge of the treasury, granaries, army, priesthood, etc). Scribes were very important and respected. They wrote and kept records. They composed legal documents (wills, marriages, business deals), copied documents in temple libraries, and wrote down questions to the gods for people who needed advice. Scribes wrote on papyrus, paper made from the papyrus reed. Image Source:

5 Craftspeople and Merchants Craftspeople made temples and stone and brick houses. Other artisans created mats, furniture, linen, jewelry, pottery, clothing, or sandals. They worked in workshops or „on site“and were involved in the creation of tombs. Craftsmen were not paid in money, but in food and, occasionally, in silver and wine. Merchants were in charge of trading the craftspeople‘s products. Merchants often traveled to neighboring countries, where they traded Egyptian goods (such as linen, gold, jewelry, and papyrus) in exchange for exotic woods, animal skins, and live animals. Image Source:

6 Farmers Most farmers grew wheat and barley that was needed to make bread and beer. Some farmers also kept animals like sheep, goats, pigs, geese, and ducks. Only rich people (not farmers) had cows that they used for meat and milk. Many farmers also grew vegetables and fruit, such as beans, lentils, melons, grapes, and cucumbers. One tenth of the crops always had to be handed over to the king as taxes. Sometimes peasants also had to give some of their food to their landlords (the nobility). Image Source:

7 Slaves Slaves were at the very bottom of society. People were enslaved (turned into a slave) when they owed a debt, were captured in war, or committed a crime. Slaves were owned mainly by rich people and worked as servants, doing chores and waiting upon guests. Some ordinary people, like craftsmen, had slaves too. The toughest slave jobs were at the quarries, mines, and building sites, where many died. Usually, however, slaves were treated well. Many were released after a period of time and even married into local families. Image Source:

8 Women In Ancient Egypt, women were treated well. Unlike in most ancient civilizations, women and men had nearly equal rights. Women could, for example, own, manage, and inherit their own property. Women‘s main job was to take care of the family. However, they sometimes also had other jobs. Some worked with their husbands in the fields or workshops. Others worked as weavers, gardeners, or musicians. Noblewomen could work as courtiers or priestesses. Poor women worked as servants and nannies for the royal and rich. Image Source:

9 Children Children were highly valued in Egyptian society, and daughters were appreciated as much as sons. Children played with toys like dolls, board games (including senet), marbles, and animal figures. Sometimes they also played with balls made of leather or reeds. Poor children were usually educated by their parents, and girls were not educated at all. Wealthier children went to schools run by scribes and priests. Girls learned to read and write, like the boys. Noble children were educated in the palace along with other royal children. When girls were about 12 years old, and boys just a little older, they married! Usually the parents arranged these marriages. Image Sources:

10 Food While the poor only ate meat at special occasions, the upper classes ate it every day. The Egyptians ate cows, sheep, goats, geese, ducks, chickens, and pigs. The wealthy sometimes even ate cranes, quails, and antelopes! Wine was also popular, though consumed most often by the rich. For dessert, Egyptians ate fruit like melons and dates, as well as pastries sweetened with honey. As Egyptian farmers grew mainly wheat and barley, all people ate bread. Rich people ate white bread, while poor people ate coarse, dark bread. The Egyptians also brewed beer, their favorite beverage. Poor individuals consumed mainly bread and beer, along with some vegetables (like onions) and dried fish. Wealthier individuals ate more vegetables, like beans, lentils, garlic, lettuce, cucumbers, and leeks. They also had plenty of fruit, like melons, grapes, pomegranates, dates, and figs. Image Sources:http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/egypt/food/egyptfood.htm,

11 Clothing Clothing styles did not change much over Egypt‘s 3000-year history. Most clothes were made of linen, a light cloth made from flax, as the climate was hot. In the Old and Middle Kingdoms: Men wore short skirts called kilts. Wealthy men wore pleated kilts, older men wore longer kilts. Women wore straight-fitting, ankle-length dresses held up by straps. Some noblewomen wore beaded dresses. During the New Kingdom, tunics and cloaks made of very fine pleated linen became fashionable. Rich women sometimes wore another garment over their tunic that was made of this fine linen with ornaments attached to it. The finer the cloth, the richer the wearer. Shoes: Egyptians usually went barefoot, but sometimes they wore sandals made of reeds. Nobles wore sandals made of decorated leather. Image source:http://historylink101.net/egypt_1/a-clothing.htm

12 Jewellery and Cosmetics Most Egyptians wore jewellery. Poor people had jewellery made of copper and faience (glazed ceramic beads). Rich people wore jewels made of gold, silver, semi-precious stones, and glass. At parties, men and women wore wigs. The rich had elaborate wigs made of braids and curls, ornaments, beads, and jewels. The best wigs were made with real hair, others were made with wool. Women also wore perfume and cosmetics made from finely ground minerals and oils. The grey eyepaint was called kohl. Image sources: jpg,

13 Activity You have just learned about Ancient Egyptian society, how people were divided into different social categories, and how their place in society affected their everyday lives. For this activity, you will first choose a character (a rich male nobleman, a scribe, a poor female farmer, a slave, the child of a merchant…). Then, you will write a diary entry on a piece of papyrus describing your day. Make sure to include a title that describes your exact role in society (ex: “A Day in the Life of an Ancient Egyptian Servant.”)

14 Story

15 Thank you! Source:

16 Sources Carnine, Douglas, Carlos Cortés, Kenneth Curtis, and Anita Robinson. World History: Ancient Civilizations. Evanston, IL: McDougal Litell, Carr, Karen. „Ancient Egypt for Kids.“ (accessed March 5, 2009).http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/egypt/ Harvey, Gill, and Struan Reid. The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. New York: Scholastic Inc., Minnesota State University. “ Daily Life in Ancient Egypt.“ (accessed March 4, 2009).


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