April 26, 2011
Ancient Egypt Civilization Civilization is most commonly defined and known as the way of life in a society. It is the way a society is structured, and each civilization includes its own key features. Societies and civilizations today all have their own unique structures. Egyptians developed the first organized forms of social structure, art, literature, medicine, religion, and architecture. From 3100 B.C. to 30 B.C., inhabitants of Egypt developed various techniques and systems that were unlike anything else the world had ever seen; during the flourishing life of Ancient Egypt, Egyptian civilization became the first refined, distinct civilization in history (World Book, Inc. 60). To begin with, the Egyptians had the first well organized and functional government. Egypt consisted of two regions: Upper Egypt in the south and Lower Egypt in the north; it also consisted of two lands, the “Black Land”, the fertile land around the Nile, and the “Red Land”, the barren desert that surrounded both sides of the “Black Land” (Hart 8). Secondly, Egypt as a whole was under the control of the pharaoh, who was seen as the son of the gods, mainly the sun god Re, or a god himself (World Book, Inc. 14). He was the head of the army, the law, the government, and the chief priest. His chief duties were to attend to religious tasks, control foreign trade, control mines and quarries, and to keep Upper and Lower Egypt united (Oliphant 28). He had officials to help him control the country; he appointed two viziers each: one to govern Upper Egypt and one to govern Lower Egypt (World Book, Inc.16).
On the contrary, some Egyptians disobeyed the law; when someone committed a crime, it was a possibility that the whole family could be punished. Officials, however, were often vile and corrupt; they gave unfair sentences. People could appeal to the pharaoh if they wanted to; this would mean that the appeal would then be heard by a vizier. In fact, the pharaoh’s officials helped him create censuses that were taken every two years, which included all of the fields owned and cattle in the country. He used the censuses as a form of taxation among his people. They also helped him build up grain stocks for the low flooding seasons and food shortage seasons, and they helped measure farms. The measurement of farms helped officials estimate how much a farm would produce; then, from the estimation, officials calculated how much money the landowner would pay in taxes. In conclusion, Egyptians were the first people to develop a controlled, arranged government (Oliphant 28). Daily life in Egypt, likewise, depended on whether the person was a noble or a commoner. First and foremost, noble people had a plethora of opportunities available to them than compared to those who were poor; women applied to these rules. Women, if noble, had certain privileges that included holding jobs that included: working in courts, being maids or nannies, being professional mourners, being perfume makers, or working in temples as acrobats, dancers, singers, or musicians; however, all women were expected to attend to household duties, run farms when their husbands were away, raise children, and take care of business affairs (“Egypt: Daily Life” 1). Despite rank in society, all women had rights to be involved with business deals, buy and sell land, sign contracts, bring lawsuits against other people, and stand up for themselves in court (World Book, Inc. 42). Lastly, men also had jobs based on ranks. Peasant men worked as: slaves, hunters, farmers, fishermen, soldiers, goldsmiths, bead-makers, sculptors, carpenters, teachers, weavers, leather-workers, harvesters, wine-makers, or embalmers; noble men held upper class jobs like being: scribes, generals, battalion commanders, standard bearers, platform leaders, viziers, priests, governors, doctors, teachers, the pharaoh’s officials, or soldiers (Oliphant 28-77). Also,