2016/07/25

Ancient Egypt Social Structure

 Ancient Egypt Social Classes

The ancient Egyptian society had been perceived in a number of ways. Ramses the third, when looking at his subject thought of them as nobles, administrators, soldiers, servants and the general denizens of ancient Egypt. Whereas, Herodotus, a foreigner who visited Egypt during the ancient times viewed them as belonging to different classes.

They were, distributed with respect to their jobs or professions.  However, he did not put the slaves into any category. He did not consider them fit enough to be grouped together with the other men and women.The social class of ancient Egypt was at different extremes. There existed a huge gap between the people from different social classes.

Ancient Egypt Social Structure


This was prevalent ever since the Pre dynastic time and was further enhanced as time passed. At the time when ancient Egypt was unified, the small band of elite upper classes of men reigned along with the assistance of scribes who ran the administration. The administration presided over the general populace. Then came the peasants or the farmers and they were extremely poor, with a hand to mouth existence.

The labourers were absorbed instantly into the work and numerous projects everywhere. This phenomenon reached its absolute peak during times when the pyramids and the tombs and the temples were made. These jobs pulled in all the manual labour that could be bought. This development put the pharaoh in the utmost lofty position in the society. This immediately proceeded the time during which the king's wealth started diminishing which also led to the diminishing of the powers of the king and the royal families.

The noblemen and their families took up the mantle after this decline. Even the nobility, when they came into power, depended on the scribes to a very large extent. The scribes, therefore, continued to be in a position of power throughout the history of ancient Egypt. The nobility were separate from the centre of administration unlike those of the royal ones, who were mainly under the influence of the pharaoh. The scribes were the academicians and the scholars. They were recipients of a good and elite education consisting of reading, writing, mathematics, etc.

This ground knowledge enabled them to govern the country in a just and efficient manner. They were also trained in some specific professional thing, for example, medicine, mathematics, architecture, etc. They were also ranked according to their capabilities even in this selected group of people. The priests and military personnel were taken from all strata of the society and were a completely different group of their own. The labour was in majority throughout. They were mainly peasants, farm workers, etc and looked down upon by everyone alike.

They were worked hard and often ruthlessly. The outcasts also existed; however, not much information about them is available. All this apart, most people in ancient Egypt were complacent with their status and position in the society.

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