Ancient Egypt


Ancient Egypt had a wealth of knowledge and made many enduring impacts on the modern world. They invented Papyrus, Pyramids, and Hieroglyphics. They were Polytheistic and were ruled by a Pharaoh. Some of their gods include Ra, the god of the Sun, Anubis, the god of the dead, and Osiris, god of the underworld. They believed in the Mandate of Heaven and also had an Afterlife. As you keep reading you will learn how this are enduring impacts on the world today.

Washington Monument


The ancient Egyptians made several inventions that allow us to understand their way of life. One key invention is papyrus, an early form of paper. Papyrus was made by placing wet papyrus plants on each other, smashing the plants together, and letting them dry under weights. Papyrus was used as paper is used today. The Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphics, which were a series of small pictures that represented a letter or word. However, we would not be able to understand anything that the Egyptians wrote if we did not uncover the Rosetta Stone which translated the hieroglyphics into Demotic and Greek. The Egyptians made the pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs. In the pyramids they believed that the spirit made a journey to the afterlife. That is why the Egyptians were buried with several of their most important possessions. The Egyptians had the first ox drawn plow though domestication. The Egyptians also invented the sail which made it easier to go against the current. One of the monuments that is still used which the Egyptians created is the Obelisk. One obelisk that you might have seen is the Washington Monument. Another great invention was the light house. It is not as well-known as the other achievements, but just as important. Sea traveling would be much harder without light houses shining. A very ancient example of the light house is The Lighthouse at Alexandria. The Egyptians also figured out how to irrigate their land. Without irrigation some of the great civilizations could not have blossomed into what they are now.

Social Hierarchy

On the lowest rung of the social hierarchy there are farmers, servants, and slaves. The Egyptians got their slaves through war, conquest, and trade. During the flood season the farmers would come and work by building monuments such as pyramids, obelisks, and cities. A step up from them were the scribes, wh06fs_c04000006a.jpgcraftspeople, and merchants. The scribes were some of the only people that could write in Ancient Egypt. Craftspeople were the people who made most of the goods such as pottery and jewelry. The merchants were the ones who sold the goods in exchange for money and objects of value. Next on the social ladder are nobles. The nobles were the officials and priests that helped run government and temples. At the very top of the hierarchy there was the Pharaoh, who ruled the Egyptians as a messenger of the gods. But along with all the power the Pharaoh had, he was blamed for anything bad that happened such as a bad harvest, or drought.


The Egyptian government was very similar to the Roman government, the Indian government, and the Chinese government. There is the king (pharaoh) at the top. They are worshiped and loved by the people. They have complete control of their country. Then there are nobles or senators who speak to and advise the king. These are the rich people who have the most rights (aside from the king). They almost were never needed in wars and had tons of property. Nobles had to pay very little taxes. Next are the scribes or craftspeople who are peasants and bring in money. Some traveled and traded and brought back what they could. They were the modern-day middle working class. These were the people who had to pay the most taxes. There were not many rights that the scribes got and they are not always needed to fight in wars. At the bottom of the governmental hierarchy there are servants and slaves. These people had to do the worst work possible. They were the first people to be drafted in wars and had no rights.


The Egyptians civilization formed around the very fertile land around the Nile river. They relied on the annual flood of the river to keep the land fertile. They grew wheat, barley, fruits, and vegetables. The river also provided many types of fish. They also hunted wild geese and ducks along the bank of the river. The Egyptian farmers used an irrigation system to introduce water to the fields. They also raised many sheep and cattle.


The Egyptians were polytheistic, which means that they believed in more than one god. They built magnificent temples and shrines to honor (a) village god (s). They prayed to their god (s) for harvest, rain, good health, etc. Some examples are: Osiris, god of the underworld, Iris, goddess of magic, and Horus, god of the sun and moon.

The Egyptians believed that the Pharaohs were gods and did not die. Instead of dying, the Egyptians believed that the Pharoahs moved on to the afterlife. To make this possible, workers first carved out the treasure and burial chambers and painted a series of divine hieroglyphics on the walls to guarantee that the Pharaohs made it to the afterlife. The Egyptians also buried the Pharaoh with the book of the dead, which was basically a tutorial through the challenges you would have to face when you would enter the Afterlife. Before they could move on to "heaven" they had to meet with two of the Egyptian gods. Anubis, one of the gods that you would meet, would weigh your heart to see if it was heavier than the feather of truth. If it was heavier than the feather of truth, then you had committed sins and weren't allowed into the Elysian Field (paradise). However if it was lighter than the feather you were a good person and allowed access to eternal paradise and happiness.

The Egyptians made advancements in many areas. They advanced in agriculture, physics, architecture, and astronomy. They developed many things that gave their agriculture a push. Their main advancements were in physics and architecture. Once they figured out physics, their architecture jumped. They could build pyramids now that they knew different ways to manipulate large stones and rocks using physics. They also had some achievements with astronomy. Unknown to many people, the three largest pyramids were aligned with stars and planets. They worked as a clock of sorts and were aligned in a way that showed respect to the pharaohs that lie within them.


Burstein, Stanley M, and Richard Shek. World History. N.p.: Holt, Rinehart and
Winston, 2006.