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Ancient Egypt

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Ancient Egypt was a very important time in our time period. They had their own way of life. Egyptians had their own writing, burials, government, religion, cooking, and games. They were educated people with many talents. They were good with their hands and brains. Ancient Egyptians were a magnificent race of people.

The Ancient Egyptians called their country Kemet, which means "Black Land." The dark soil from the Nile River was very fertile. The Nile overflowed at the same time every year, leaving farmers with very fertile soil. The Nile provided much needed water for their crops during the dry season by using their irrigation system. The Nile River also provided the Egyptians with drinking water, and a way for them to travel, allowing them to explore and trade. In addition, the desert around the river was called "Red Land" by the Egyptians. This is where they lived, grew and prospered. The desert provided much gold for the Egyptians to trade with other countries or to keep for themselves. They brought back silver from Syria, cedar wood, oils, and horses from Lebanon, copper from Cyprus, gems from Afghanistan, ebony, wood, and ivory from Africa, and incense from Punt.

Egyptians cherished family life the way we cherish food or money. Children were considered a blessing. They prayed for them and used magic to have children, but if a couple could not conceive they adopted. Men were the head of the household and the oldest son inherited everything of the father's. Egyptian women were to obey their fathers and husbands, but were equal in many other ways. For example, women could have jobs, some rights in court cases, and they were able to own land. Women were also allowed to own businesses. Only noble women, however, could be priestesses. The women raised the children and took care of the house. Wealthy families would hire maids and nannies to do such things. Divorce was not common in Ancient Egypt, though it was an option. Problems were talked about between families, and if they could not be settled a divorce would take place. Some women became rulers but only in secret. The only woman who ruled as a pharaoh in the open was Queen Hatsheput. Ordinary men normally had one wife, while pharaohs and kings had several. Most marriages were arranged by parents. Most girls married at age twelve while boys were usually a little older. Children were expected to take care of their elderly parents. Young boys who could afford it went to school at seven years old. Boys also learned their father's trade. Only the son of scribes could be scribes, so it was almost impossible to move up in the class system. Girls did not go to school, but some were taught at home. The Egyptians had cats and dogs as pets, and farmers kept cattle, goats, sheep, ducks, and geese.

The Ancient Egyptians enjoyed a good time with many different activities. They went fishing, swimming, crocodile hunting, and played boat games on the Nile River. Hippo hunting was another popular, but dangerous sport that any age could play as long as an adult was present. They also chased lions, antelope, wild bulls, gazelles, and hares for sport as well as hunting foxes and hyenas. Plays were held in the temples and richer families had big fancy parties. Egyptians played instruments, such as, flutes, harps, and the lyre. Egyptian children played many games, some of which we still play today, like leapfrog and tug-of-war. Their favorite types of games were board games. Some examples are Snake, and Senet, which was said to be like the fight between good and evil in the after-life. Another very popular board game that Egyptians liked to play was Hounds and Jackals. Children also played with wooden carved animals, spinning tops, dolls, and clay balls.

Since the weather was so hot and dry, the Egyptians wore light colored clothing made from different kind of linens. Women wore long dresses with see-through cloaks. Men usually wore long robes, cloaks, or kilt skirts. Children were naked in the summer and wore long thick cloaks in the winter. Kings and Queens wore clothing decorated with gems, sequins, precious and semiprecious stones. Ordinary people went barefoot, while wealthy people wore specially made sandals.

The Egyptians had very specific hairstyles. Young girls wore French or regular braids and pig tails. Boys shaved their heads, though some had one long braid extending out the side of their head. Wealthy people wore wigs made of human hair and sheep's wool. Royal women wore hair cones that made their hair sweet smelling and greasy.

All Egyptians wore jewelry, regardless if you were rich or poor. They wore amulets, jewelry that would fight off evil sprits and bad luck. Children wore fish amulets that kept them from drowning in the Nile River. They also wore collars made of precious and semiprecious stones. Men and women both had pierced ears.

The Ancient Egyptians bathed daily, and wore lots of makeup. They bathed in the Nile River or out of a water basin at home. They rubbed perfume oil on themselves. Eye shadow was a green color put on with thick black lines that extend out to the face. These lines were said to heal poor eye sight and prevent eye injures. They also wore cheek makeup [blush] and lip makeup [lipstick]. Henna was used to dye their finger nails red and orange.

The Egyptians lived very close to the Nile River. Their houses were made of mud bricks stuffed with straw and wheat to make them stronger. Ordinary people lived in one room houses while wealthy people had many rooms. Some wealthy homes had separate rooms for their maids and servants, and some even had a pond of fish or an orchard of fruit trees. Occasionally there was a small room on the roof where the family slept on hot summer nights. Each room had at least one fly catcher. Mats woven from reeds covered the floors all through the house. The floors were made with tile. The windows were covered with mats to keep out the flies, dust and heat. Shrines were also kept for the Gods. Everyone had some kind of furniture, whether you were wealthy or poor. They used clay ovens and ate with their fingers. The Ancient Egyptians did not have bathrooms, so they went in the Nile River.

Beer and bread were the Egyptians most important food. The beer had to be strained and the bread was gritty. Wheat and barley were their main crops. Food was prepared many different ways such as cooking, boiling or grilling. Only the rich and wealthy were able to afford wine, and some even had dishes made of gold.

The rulers of Ancient Egypt were the Pharaohs who



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