Ancient Egypt civilization was an example of a civilization that was found in the old North Africa that was a region concentrated in the lower reaches of the River Nile in Egypt. The civilization of Ancient Egypt followed the prehistoric Egypt ad it coalesced around 3100BC following political unification of the lower and upper Egypt under the rule of kings. The success of the civilization of Ancient Egypt came partly due to its ability for adapting to the conditions facilitated by River Nile for enabling agriculture. Agriculture supported the dense population, culture, and social development. This paper will discuss the civilization of Ancient Egypt by considering several areas of life, such as the economy, religion, social class, and government.
The government of Ancient Egypt relied on two primary factors; agriculture and the pharaoh. The pharaoh was regarded as a significant part of the Egypt government, and he was responsible for appointing other crucial officials during the most critical periods. The highest official who was appointed was supposed to take their orders directly from the ruling king. Agriculture was identified as being among the important foundation of the Ancient Egypt government. The government of Ancient Egypt became highly centralized at the time of the old kingdom (Lloyd 33). The building of the large stone pyramids was meant to emphasize that pharaoh required making changes to various sectors of the government. The pharaohs who were from the Dynasties Four and Three maintained a firm central government and they acquired almost absolute powers. Earlier, the pharaohs created a firm government which enabled them in the summoning of the widespread workforces. They mainly appointed high officials and chose several members of the loyal family. The elected officials were supposed to be loyal to Pharaoh. Ancient Egypt' government let the pharaoh start gathering and distributing adequate food, which would help in supporting significant numbers of the workers which enabled them to build the stone pyramids successfully. During the Dynasties Six and Five, the power of Pharaoh was licensed (Brewer 17). The government positions were seen to have been made hereditary, and the many district governors who were referred to as the monarchs started growing powerful.
During the end of the Old Kingdom, all governors were found ruling their districts without following an oversight from Pharaoh. As a result of having the pharaohs losing their control over the districts, the central government started collapsing. The vizier was regarded as being the most significant individual after Pharaoh. Each pharaoh was expected to appoint their vizier who was responsible for overseeing the system of the judiciary as well as the government administration. The vizier used to sit at the high court where they handled critical legal cases, mostly the ones that involved capital punishment (Brewer 18). Another important position of Ancient Egypt' government was the position of chief treasurer. The chief treasurer was mainly responsible for assessing and collecting taxes. There was some period in Ancient Egypt which had a general. The general was a prominent government official who was responsible for training and organizing the army. The government information was stored using government documents called tomb inscriptions. The officials of the government were either given tombs by pharaoh or built their monuments. The tombs included several legends that detailed their titles as well as specific events that were from their lives.
The Social Class
The social class of Ancient Egypt was found structured similar to the pyramid. At the top of the pyramid were the gods like Isis, Osiris, and Ra. The Egyptians had the belief that gods were responsible for controlling the universe. Thus, it remained crucial to keep the gods always happy. The people in Ancient Egypt could also elevate some individuals to the social class similar to that of gods (La'Da 178). The leaders in Ancient Egypt such as pharaohs were believed that they also represented gods but in the human form. The leaders were, therefore, given absolute power over all their subjects. Given that individuals believed that leaders such as pharaoh were gods, they were entitled with several responsibilities such as protection formulating of laws and collecting taxes.
The nobles and the priests were the individuals who followed the social class of pharaoh in Ancient Egypt. In Ancient Egypt, only the nobles were responsible for holding government posts under which these positions were expected to benefit from the tributes that were paid to Pharaoh. The priests had the responsibility of pleasing the gods in Ancient Egypt (Lloyd 11). Both the nobles and the priests enjoyed a great status in the social class of Ancient Egypt, and they grew wealthy from many donations to the gods. Under the social class of the nobles and the priests were the soldiers. Soldiers in Ancient Egypt were responsible for fro quelling local uprisings or participated in wars. During the extended period of peace, the soldiers engaged in supervising of the farmers, peasants and the slaves involved in the building of structures like palaces and pyramids. The skilled workers like crafts-persons and physicians made up the middle class. At the bottom of the levels of social class in Ancient Egypt were the farmers and the slaves. Slavery was the fate of all individuals who had been captured at the periods of war. The slaves were forced to work on the building projects, and they toiled during the nobles or pharaoh's discretion. The farmers were the ones who attended the fields, maintained reservoirs and canals in correct order ad raised animals. The farmers used to pay taxes from their yearly harvest.
In Ancient Egypt, religion was found being a complex system comprising of the polytheistic rituals and beliefs that became an integral part of the society in Ancient Egypt. Religion was centered on the interaction of the Egyptians with several deities who were mainly believed to be present and controlled the elements and forces of nature (Quirke 22). There were myths concerning these gods which were primarily meant to explain the behavior and origins of the type of forces which they represented. The Egyptian religion's practices were seen as the efforts intended to provide for gods and to gain his favor. In Ancient Egypt, regular religious practice was centered on the pharaoh, who was the king in Egypt (Bard 12). Even if Pharaoh was a human, there was the belief that Pharaoh had descended from gods. Pharaoh acted as the only intermediary between the gods and his people; hence, he became obligated to help in sustaining the gods through carrying out of rituals as well as offerings for him to maintain the universe. As a result, the government was found to be dedicating many resources to the activities involving the performance of the rituals and building of temples in which the religious ceremonies were normally carried out. In Ancient Egypt, individuals were also found to be interacting with their gods to dedicate their purposes through appealing for their assistance through prayer and compelling of gods to act through forms of magic. The successful practices of religion were unique from the formal institutions and rituals (Quirke 13). The favorite tradition of faith grew more prominent in Ancient Egypt, while the status of pharaoh started to decline. An essential element of religion in Ancient Egypt was that individuals believed in the afterlife. Therefore, all the Egyptians struggled hard in making sure that they attain the survival of their souls even after death by providing tombs, the grave goods as well as offerings meant for preserving the spirits and the bodies of the deceased.
EconomySimilar to other pre-industrial civilizations, the economy of Ancient Egypt was mainly based on agriculture. The vast majority of individuals were found to be peasant farmers. As a result of the fertile nature of Nile Valley, the Egyptians in Ancient Egypt were able to cultivate and produce a large surplus that sustained the refined kind of lifestyle of the pharaoh and other crucial members of the elite (La'Da 176). The peasants were responsible for offering the mass needed labor for building temples and pyramids along the Nile Valley. Trade inside Ancient Egypt was much helped by the presence of River Nile as well as the notion that there was no given portion of the nation that lay several miles from this vital waterway. Egypt was rich in terms of the mineral resources, which were exploited during the ancient periods. Granite and limestone quarries were found along Nile Valley. In Ancient Egypt, there also existed some gold mines along Nubia which were more significant resources.
In conclusion, the civilization of Ancient Egypt was among the oldest cultures which existed. Several facts are linked to ancient Egypt, including their social class, government, economy, and religion. The government of Ancient Egypt relied on two primary factors; agriculture and the pharaoh. The government positions were hereditary. The social class of Ancient Egypt was found structured similar to the pyramid having the pharaohs on the top and the slaves and farmers at the bottom of the social class pyramid. Religion was a complex system comprising of the polytheistic rituals and beliefs. The economy of Ancient Egypt was mainly based on agriculture.
Bard, Kathryn A. An introduction to the archaeology of ancient Egypt. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
Brewer, Douglas J. Ancient Egypt: foundations of civilization. Routledge, 2014.
La'Da, Csaba A. "Encounters with ancient Egypt: the Hellenistic greek experience." Ancient Perspectives on Egypt. Routledge, 2016. 173-186.
Lloyd, Alan B. Ancient Egypt: state and society. Oxford University Press, 2014.
Quirke, Stephen. Exploring religion in ancient Egypt. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
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