Farming, Trade, Clothing and Jobs
Daily life in Ancient Egypt was very different from daily life in America. We will tell you about farming, trade, clothing, and jobs. Here is a little bit about daily life in Ancient Egypt.
Farming was very important in Egypt. In March almost every healthy body went to the fields. All day, men would cut the crops with sickles. Most women cooked, but some women and children bundled crops and stuffed them in baskets. After the Nile flooded and then receded a little, they would start growing crops. Goats and sheep pressed seeds down with their feet. Hard work!
The Egyptians had different jobs. Some people were farmers and some made shoes. Other Egyptians made food and some were fisherman.
Instead of money, the Egyptians traded to get what they wanted. This is called bartering. They also traded with countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Ancient Egyptians wore different clothes than we wear today. Men, women, and children wore thin kilts and robes. Women wore as much make-up and jewelry as they could afford. To stay cool, they shaved their heads. They also wore wigs on special occasions. That is a little about Ancient Egyptians. Now you can see that the Egyptians daily life was and is much different then daily life in America.
In Ancient Egypt only boys of wealthy families went to school, although sons of scribes went to special schools until age 12. They started to go to school at age 5. It took 10 years to learn all 100 letters of the hieroglyphics alphabet. School lasted 7 years. In school they didn't only learn writing, they also learned astronomy, mathematics, astrology, practical arts, games, sports, law, history, and geography. The teachers were very strict. They disciplined boys when they misbehaved. When boys were bad they would get expelled. When they did their work perfectly, they were allowed to use a special kind of paper called papyrus. Boys that did not go to school became farmers or carpenters, like their fathers.
Girls did not go to school, but they still learned. They learned music, dancing, and housework at home, and some could even read like their mothers. Also at home, they learned religion.
Egypt is located in the Northeastern region of Africa. Egypt is about 997,740 square kilometers. Back in Ancient Egypt the capital was Memphis, and now the present day capital is Cairo.
Around the month of January it is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit and it gets to 74 degrees. In the summer, it gets to 96 degrees at the lowest and 106 degrees at the highest! On an average day, it gets to 104 degrees. After the sunset, it goes down to 45 degrees. It gets this hot because it is very close to the equator. There are a lot of deserts, and little rain.
The Nile River is a very important part of Egypt. It is the longest river in the world, and it is also the only river that flows North. It is 4,135 miles long. The Nile overflows every year in mid-June and it makes the soil rich for planting. Some things the Egyptians grow are cotton, grain, peanuts and a lot of other vegetables. For centuries, people worshipped the Nile River. In the Nile, the Egyptians bathed and they also drank from it.
The Nile river is separated into two parts. They are the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile starts in Lake Tana which is in Ethiopia. The Blue Nile deposits most of the water that overflows in mid-June. This makes the rich soil to plant crops. The Blue Nile ends in about the center of Sudan.
The White Nile starts in Lake Victoria on the border of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. The white Nile flows through a swampy lake called Lake Kyoga. After that, it keeps on flowing through canyons and huge broken rocks.
The White Nile is longer than the Blue Nile. The Blue and White Nile do not flow through Egypt.The Nile was one of the great highways of Egypt and they still use it in many ways.
A pharaoh was a ruler of Ancient Egypt. Pharaohs were thought of as gods. To become a pharaoh, a prince had to be good at sports and a good war leader.
A very famous pharaoh named Tutankhamun or King Tut became a ruler when he was nine. His tomb was one of the few that was not robbed. (Pharaohs were buried with all of their jewels.)
Ramses II ruled Egypt for sixty-seven years. He built more statues and monuments than any other pharaoh. He was known as "Ramses, the Great".
The pharaoh with the longest rule was Pepy II. He started as a ruler at the age of six. Ninety-four years later, at the age of one hundred, he was still pharaoh. He was also the youngest pharaoh ever.
Tuthmosis IV was famous because he freed the sphinx at Giza from the desert sands. He was protected by the cobra goddess called Wadjet on his headdress. Only kings and queens could wear the cobra goddess.
The wife of a pharaoh was known as the "Great Royal Wife". Not many women ever ruled Ancient Egypt. A well known woman pharaoh was Cleopatra. She surrendered to the Romans during a battle.
Mummification is the process of drying the dead body slowly to keep it from rotting. Egyptians believed that death was not the end, but the beginning of everlasting life. Therefore, they protected and preserved the dead body for the next life. This process, called mummification, was developed around 2600 B.C.
Mummification could take as long as 70 days! First, the brain was removed through the nostrils. Next, four vital organs were removed: liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines. These organs were individually preserved in jars called canopic jars. The body was then dried out for approximately 40 days. To help dry it out the body was packed both inside and out with a salt called natron. This salt packing was then removed and the body was filled with scented spices, linen, sawdust, and sand to keep its shape. Perfumed oils were also put all over the mummy.
The final process was the wrapping for burial. The body was wrapped with layers and layers of linen bandages. Amulets, or charms, were placed between the layers of linen to protect each part of the body and bring good luck in the afterlife. It was then placed in one or more coffins.
Egyptians were very successful at preserving bodies. Today scientists have uncovered mummies from thousands of years ago that still have hair and fingernails! It is amazing.
Pyramids & Sphinx
How were pyramids built?
Pyramids were built by bringing big limestone blocks off boats near the building area. Then the blocks were pulled up a ramp by men. The higher the pyramids got, the taller the ramps had to be. For 20 seasons (5 years), 100,000 men worked on building one pyramid! Although many pyramids were built way back in 2000 B.C., - 4,000 years ago, 80 pyramids are still standing today!!
Why were pyramids built?
Pyramids were built to hold the King's tomb. There were many traps and dead ends, but still tomb robbers found the tombs. There was a queen's chamber, but the queen wasn't buried there. People just thought the queen was buried there. That's how it got its name. There was also a king's chamber where the king was buried. They sealed the king's chamber forever by pulling brick out, which sealed together.
The Great Pyramid
The Great Pyramid, also known as the Khufu Pyramid, is the largest man-made structure in the world! This pyramid took 20 years to build and 5000 workers worked everyday to build it. It was built 4,500 years ago. It covers 2,800 sq. yards and is 481 feet tall. This pyramid was built for King Khufu's tomb. The only bad thing is that King Khufu's mummy was stolen!