The ancient Egyptian society consisted of a social pyramid,
a hierarchical structure with absolute power residing in the Head of the pyramid which included the following social classes:
- - were precious to ancient Egyptians, great rejoicing always followed the birth of a baby
- - Elite Egyptians cared about their appearance and clothing which indicated their social status
- - very high infant mortality rate and low life expectancy
- - Small scale commerce in the hands of ordinary men and their wives
- - Strong emphasis on the nuclear family unit
- - Most ceremonies were cultic, rather than civil
- - When Egyptians evolved from hunters to settled farmers, a revolution occurred in food production and diet.
- - The typical house was square in shape and consisted of at least three rooms
- - contracts were seen as a means of regulating the transfer of property
- - Sexual behaviors for both men and women were restricted by society
- - games were practiced widely by the general population for fitness and entertainment
- - Compared to other areas of the ancient world, they held stronger social positions and expanded legal rights.
Timeline of Social Developments
|Early Dynastic Period
- Formation of the Social pyramid - a hierarchical structure with power residing in a headman who was believed to be able to control the Nile flood.
- The headman's power rested on his reputation as a "rainmaker Pharaoh ".
- The Social pyramid developed during the Early Dynastic Period remained virtually intact and changed little over the centuries
- Strong Pharaohs commanded great resources, and built the most elaborate pyramids
- Nobility Power - country's bureaucratic authority was now in the hands of local officials
- Weak Pharaohs
- Powerful Viziers
- Pharaohs relied on close allies rather than Nobles which previously challenged the central authority
- End Nobility Power
- Asiatic immigration of Hyksos
- Egyptians were subjected for the first time to foreign influences and technologies
- 18th dynasty Strong Queens - some women such as Hatshepsut raised to power for the first time, others were deified such as Nefertari and Nefertiti
- 19th dynasty slavery increased from captured territories. a central army was formed with large numbers of mercenary soldiers.
- Strong military commanders from not Royal blood raised to power such as Ramses 1 and Horemheb
- 20th dynasty strong Priests - at the end of this dynasty the High Priests of Amun at Thebes became the effective
de facto rulers of Upper Egypt
- Disunity and Libyan settlement in Egypt
- Nubia assimilated the Egyptian culture
- They adopted Egyptian customs, beliefs, religion, and kingship in their own culture
- They adapted the hieroglyphic script for writing their own language
- Amun became the state gods of Nubia
- During this period there was a large influx of foreigners into Egypt. Phoenicians came as traders ; Greeks and Carians came as mercenaries.
- Immigrants from the Near East, Libya, the Aegean, Nubia, and elsewhere settled in Egypt
- Persians rule the country through local representatives based at Memphis .
- They established juridical guides for Egypt published in both in the demotic Egyptian script and Aramaic.
- High officials were Greek, while local administration remained in Egyptian hands
- Greek became the official language of the government . Demotic, however, was still used by the majority of the Egyptians and used in lesser administrative offices
- Prominence of women and Queens
- Increase in slavery
- Scientists become important members of society