Saint Louis University
Ancient Egypt Imagine if you will a time long ago, an ancient civilization, one of mystery and intrigue, steeped in culture and charm, riches and spirituality. A civilization shrouded in all this and more. How exciting would it have been to live in this the most unique culture of ancient past? That is what ancient Egypt had to offer. If you are like me you will be captivated by the ancient history of Egypt. Not to say this civilization was perfect but in my opinion it was far superior to most. Why you ask? There are many reasons, but the one that comes to my mind first is that they were a self sufficient group, situated on the Nile River; it provided a natural barrier keeping it virtually free from invaders. The Nile River was the life blood of Egypt. Life itself could not exist without water and the Nile provided the life giving source in abundance. The river was the instrument for development, security and self-sufficiency for her people. This provided a means of food source in the way of fishing, a water source for drinking, irrigation of crops and a means of transportation to be able to trade. The river itself was predictable, it flooded every year in June and the flooding lasted through October after which a plethora of fertile soil was left behind just in time for the winter planting. The people were able to grow and store food based on the cycle of the river. I certainly would want to live in a society that was able to feed it people all year long. The river also provided the Egyptians with fun; they would swim fish and participate in all sorts of games at the river. The family structure was patriarchal, with the father being in charge of the family, Dad brought home the money and for the most part it was the men who generally ran the government and religion of ancient Egypt. Mom would stay home and take care of the family upbringing and the tasks of the home. Men lived differently than women in that they were seen as the primary provider. This was not all bad as compared to the women in ancient Greece. Those poor women were only seen as being good for propagating the species. Women in ancient Egypt were educated and were recognized for their power of sexuality. They were treated as goddesses. Women were considered beautiful and fertile and they culture recognized them for their fertile womb. Men were generally more powerful, more literate and in positions of power. Despite this, ancient Egyptian society provided more rights to women than other cultures of ancient times. Women of ancient Egypt were able to own property, participate in business matters, but still not as much as her husband could. It really was her job to reproduce and be of service to her husband. She was known as the mistress of the house. Some people would argue saying women were inferior to men, but this was a symbiotic relationship for the time. They complimented each other. I would rather be known as the mistress of the house and had rights than lived elsewhere and had no rights of respect at all. The ancient Egyptians were a spiritual people. Although they practiced polytheism religion guided every aspect of Egyptian life. They had over 200 gods. Now that would have been hard to keep up with and remember what each god was for. They believed that Egypt belonged to the gods and the pharaoh was their representative. That is why the pharaoh was so revered; he was like a god here on earth. The Egyptians had such respect for the gods and the afterlife. They believed that when you died the god annibus would weigh your heart against a feather if it weighed more than the feather you would be punished and basically your heart was given to ammit another god who eats your heart meaning you were not passing go to the afterlife- there was no hope for you; total annihilation.