Where is ancient Egypt located
Life in ancient Egypt
Everyday life is everyday life
When an Egyptian found his way out of bed, his first passage led to the bathroom. After using the toilet, he flushed and usually took a full bath. Body hygiene was almost more important then than it is today - Egyptian women, for example, had a considerable arsenal of cosmetics and fragrances that they put on in the morning and freshened up throughout the day.
After the morning toilet there was breakfast. The table was richly set for the reasonably wealthy families: there was bread, vegetables, fish and sometimes the meat, which was very expensive at the time. The whole family came together for breakfast because the Egyptians had a strong sense of family.
Children were sacred to them because they believed that the offspring were closer to the gods than the adults because of their youthful innocence. As a result, one of the worst crimes of this period was child molestation, which, like grave robbery and murder, was punishable by death.
Ten days a week
For many, the idea of working life in Egypt is shaped by monumental films from Hollywood: workers pulling stones weighing tons under the scorching sun wearing only loincloths. It was probably not that bad. Most Egyptians had a ten-day week with a day of free time in between.
Many researchers believe that farmers were only assigned to build pyramids in times when no agriculture could be practiced. Whether the pharaohs actually used slaves for the construction or whether the workers were adequately remunerated has not yet been conclusively clarified.
In any case, workers' cemeteries have been found near the larger pyramids. Almost all of the skeletons had so-called osteophytes: bone outgrowths that result from years of hard work. Many worked their way to death here and died at a young age.
Priests, officials and workers
Priests enjoyed special privileges in Egypt. They lived tax-free, earned well and also had social influence. Another distinguished class included the administrative officials, mostly nobles, and the so-called scribes. Their job was to collect taxes and give justice.
Egypt was a veritable state of civil servants: there were around 1,600 different professions and titles within the civil service. The crowd of civil servants made sure that the people worked. Absenteeism or downtime due to illness was logged and had to be reworked.
The tax laws were simple and effective. The water level of the Nile was used to calculate how much the farmers had to discharge. If the level of the Nile was high, this indicated a good harvest and the farmers had to reckon with high taxes. The structures of the central administrative economy functioned for several millennia.
The workers and artisans belonged to the largest class. With a lot of work, they were able to make a modest fortune. The goal of this class was, similar to today, to have their own four walls.
Time for love
In addition to their own house, there was a second goal in life for the Egyptians, which they usually achieved much earlier: having a family of their own. 13 years was considered a good age at marriage. The first children usually followed the wedding immediately. As child-friendly as the Egyptians were, nothing worked without a marriage certificate.
Extravagant orgies and bigamy combined with drinking parties were reserved for the Pharaoh, who, however, knew how to hide his excesses well from the people. The common people had a more romantic idea of love.
The love songs preserved are about tender, playful feelings. Sex was not an openly discussed topic in the convergence phase between the two sexes. In the songs, the woman is sensitively compared to the delicacy and beauty of a tree.
However, the Egyptians did not have much time for love games. Even those who were rarely lucky enough to be able to attend school had little free time. Once a woman was found for life, most men spent their free time doing sports. Board and dice games were also very popular.
The Pharaoh and his people
In his day, the pharaoh was something of a superstar. His word was law: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary were in his hands. Addressing the ruler directly was taboo. He seldom showed himself to his people, because through the distance he was able to maintain the belief in his divinity. Only on special occasions did he allow himself to be carried through the city in a sedan chair and under heavy guard and admired.
The king married many of his wives for political reasons. With each of them he had several children. The Pharaoh's sons and daughters attended the same schools as the children of the rich and noble - and not without reason: through his early acquaintance with the later influencers and dignitaries, the Pharaoh built a network within the country's elite.
The rich were proud of their contacts with the Pharaoh. Once you had won your favor, you could call yourself "Pharaoh's Friend" - a title that was unattainable for the lower classes of the population.
How the common people actually thought of the Pharaoh is not exactly known. It is believed that because of their hard life, the people cared far less about gods and metaphysics than the pharaoh could have liked. Unfortunately, what was whispered behind closed doors thousands of years ago did not find its way into history.
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