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Peasants Relationship With The Pharaoh History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The great story of ancient Egypt has existed from thousands of years; it took place around 7000 B.C- 30 B.C. At first Egypt was divided into two kingdoms, and had different ruler. These two kingdoms developed along the Nile River. The first one was in Upper Egypt, which known as the White Crown; while the second one was in Lower Egypt, which known as Red Crown. Then, in about 3200 B.C the Pharaoh of the north captured the south and united these two into one. The name of pharaoh was King Narmer or Menes. As we already knew, Ancient Egypt was one of the superlative civilizations in the past period because of its geographical condition, social system, and educational system.

Egypt is located in the Northeast corner of Africa. It is the great position; also there is the longest river in the world, the Nile River, flows through the country into the Mediterranean Sea. In the history of ancient Egypt, Egyptians people divided their owned country into two areas. The first one was called Deshret (Red land) because that area is full of deserts and surrounded Kemet (Black Land), moreover these deserts prevented ancient Egypt from invading armies and separated ancient Egypt from neighboring countries. The second one was called Kemet (Black Land) because the Nile floods were so flexible. Since the Nile River flooded every year between June and September, Nile reached rich soil from central Africa and left it on the banks of its valley, and its areas of low flat land in Mediterranean. All of these stuffs produced such an excellent alluvium that gave a priority to the ancient Egypt on their agriculture and their life as well. The Nile River was the giver of life because Nile not only provided water, food, and transportation to stabilize the Egypt’s lives, but also provided fertile land, which facilitated them to grow their crop and raise their animals as well.

The people in Egypt society were structured in a hierarchical system like a pyramid that pharaoh stood at the top, then the ruling class and the middle class, and the bottom one was peasants and slaves. The majority of Egyptians were peasants. This term paper is going to describe more about peasants’ lives in ancient Egypt. What did they do? How did they survive in the ancient time? What was their relationship with the Pharaohs? And what were their religions and beliefs?

Peasants’ Daily Lives in Ancient Egypt

Working Condition

Like the rest of the ancient world , the Egyptian people lived an agricultural life . Such a life seemed so far removed from the common stories heard about Egypt the glory of its treasures and pyramids Egypt ‘s glorious past connotes an image of ancient Egyptians living more advanced , luxurious lives , as if all they do was to gather treasures and eat in abundance well , in some sense they are true , but only for their rulers , noble families , and priests . The rest of the Egyptian population of long ago , especially before the 1800 ‘s , were poor peasants who have to rely on the predictability of the Nile flooding to plant and harvest crops . The peasants (fellahin ) however , were very much connected to the glories of Egypt for it was their constant , persevering unacknowledged , often despised , and always ill-rewarded toil as tiller of the land that made possible all the achievements of Egypt ensuring for it a leading position among the nations of preclassical antiquity Needless to say , it was the sweat of the fellahin that produced the great pyramids , jewelry and treasures to Egypt , that provided the luxurious living of their Pharaoh and ruling families and that made possible all of Egypt ‘s military conquest , commercial expansion and influence and prestige abroad

Peasants also played an important role to build Pyramids for Pharaoh. While the flooding season was coming, the Nile River flooded the ground and made the filed more fertilized. This was the time for the peasants help to build the Pyramids. On the other hand, peasants had no right to own the land even they were the one who plant the crop to supply for everyone’s need. They had to pay tax to the government and this made more complicated for them to release from the poverty.


In ancient Egypt, peasants were considered as the lowest level in social classes. Peasants lived in mud brick houses with a bad condition. The house of an Egyptian peasant was well designed to stay cool. The main point of the house was the kitchen, which contained an oven to bake bread and a mill to grind flour. The stoves did not have chimneys and instead the smoke vented directly through an opening in the roof. The inside of the house was simply decorated but did not lack of comfort; the floors were usually covered with reed mats; the walls were painted and sometimes were also covered with colored linen. The furniture was made of wood and most houses had wooden stools, tables and raised beds. The ancient Egyptians gave great importance to hygiene and appearance. They bathed frequently in the Nile and used soap pastes based on animal fat and chalk. Sometime because of famine, they were forced to eat papyrus while the upper class live with a better condition, with enough food to eat and a comfortable lifestyle. Marriage was consensual and usually between one man and one woman, although polygamy was not forbidden. Males usually married at the age of 18 to 20 while females married between the ages of 15 and 18. Egyptians usually married cousins or other family members. Pharaohs were known to marry their sisters, but this was not common practice among the peasant class. Marriage to non-relatives was discouraged. The sage Scribe Ani, wrote during the New Kingdom:

Beware of a woman who would is unknown in your city. Do not look at her as is she were better than the others, do not know her physically: she is like a very deep water which we do not know the currents.

The ideal of Egyptian family life was for a man and a woman to settle down together and make a home and have children. Most Egyptians wished to have at least one boy.

Leisure Activities

In spite of their activities on agriculture and building temples for the pharaoh, peasants also had their leisure activities. Most of the activities were outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and playing river games. Peasants hunted water birds, desert animal, etc. They caught some animals such as gazelle, oxen, hares and ostriches (Leisure Time in Ancient Egypt, 2001). The weapons that they used for hunting were bows and arrows, lassos, and throwing sticks. Moreover, peasants enjoyed fishing during their free time. Due to their location nearby the Nile River, the canals and the lakes, peasants liked to go there after they finished their works. They went fishing in the Nile River, where it was rich of fish, chatted with their people, and collected fish for their family. Besides, the river games were also their leisure activity. For instance, boat racing, there were boats that started in the same direction and there were two or three men for each boat with poles. After they had won, they knocked all the men off a boat, and then they would turn it over. This was one of the most interesting games played in ancient Egypt. Furthermore, the Egyptians also enjoyed music. There were many religious celebrations and secular festivals that provided entertainment and relief from work throughout the year. Music and dance were a part of daily life, with the flute and the harp being commonly used. Later the trumpet and the oboe were also introduced to Egypt, and the Egyptians also adopted the cymbals, tambourines and drum, as well as the Asian lute.

Peasants’ Relationship with the Pharaoh

The relationship of the Fellahin to the Pharaoh / government was more of a dictatorship a religious, physical and intellectual enslavement that was carried on for almost three historic centuries. Like other early civilizations, Egypt had its own specific class system. At the top of the class stood Pharaoh and his royal family, then directly next to him were the priests and priestess, and then below them were the nobles who fought Pharaoh ‘s war. A small percentage of merchants, artisans and scribes made up the next rank. Then occupying the bottom of the ladder is the majority of the population

It was very hard for them sometimes. We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. We were slaves to Pharaoh. Of course, the relationship is a personal relationship tough.

Religions and Beliefs

The beliefs of gods and life after death were the center aspect of life in ancient Egypt. “Egyptians were polytheistic” They worshiped a lot of gods, except during the reign of Akenaton. The ancient Egyptians had many different gods and goddesses; totally there were around 2000 gods and goddesses.

Gods and Goddesses

Besides worshiping pharaohs as their god, peasants also worshiped other gods and goddesses. They believed those gods had a lot of impacts on their birth, daily life, and death. Each god or goddess had his/her own role to provide peace and harmony or harmfulness to every single life of Egyptians. Some of the gods and goddesses in ancient Egypt are Anubis, Amun, Thoth, Hathor, Bes, Isis, Khnum, Horus, Ptah, Osiris, Sebek and Ra. However, the three most important

Amun-Re was regarded as one of the most well-known and important gods in ancient Egypt. He was known as the symbol of the sun, king of the gods, life creator, and the bringer of light. Amun-Re came form the combination of two gods Amun, god of air or hidden, and Re, god of the sun.

Osiris was worshipped as the god of living and vegetation among the peasants. The majority of peasants in ancient Egypt were farmers that depended on growing crops near the Nile River in ancient Egypt, moreover; He was regarded as the one that controlled the annual flooding of the Nile River that fertilized the land, where peasants grew crops. However, Osiris was also known as the god of afterlife and the dead.

Rituals and Ceremonies

Egyptians concerned about life after death. When a person died, they always practiced burial ritual in order for the person to be happy and harmonious afterlife. One of the most important ceremonies was the opening the mouth ceremony that was leaded by a priest. At the entrance of the grave, the mummy was lifted to on upright position. The priest utters the words of ritual, touch the mummy; and moreover, he puts water and incense in the coffin. Meanwhile, a daze (a tool used for smoothing rough-cut wood) was lifted to the lip of mummy’s face. The daze was raised in this twice. This ceremony is very essential because it makes the mummy could breathe and speak in the next life. In addition, the priest could utter the words to reanimate the mummy’s legs, arm and the other part of the body. One ritual that can preserve the dead body is Mummification. In this process, the internal organs of the dead body were removed. Then they fill the body hollow with fragrant spices and perfume. After 70 days, the body was wrapped in bandages. Furthermore, they decorate the body with gold and jewels that cover around the head and shoulder of the mummy. Besides these rituals, other rituals were performed to help prepare for the king’s final journey. The king’s mummy was kept inside the Pyramid with enormous amount of food, drink, furniture, clothes and jewelry, which were to be used in the afterlife. After the king’s funeral, the king becomes god.


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