Religion was very important to the Ancient Egyptians. Their religion was strongly influenced by tradition, which caused them to resist change. Egyptians did not question the beliefs which had been handed down to them; they did not desire change in their society. Their main aim throughout their history was to emulate the conditions which they believed had existed at the dawn of creation (Pg. 81, David, 1988). One of the very strong traditions was that of Divine Kingship. Divine Kingship is the belief that the Pharaoh was not only the King (political ruler) but also a god. The Pharaoh was associated with Horus, son of Re the sun god. Later it was believed that at death he became Osiris, or an Osiris, and would help the Egyptians in their afterlife.
Due to their beliefs, the Pharaoh held an immense amount of power. In addition, the priests in Ancient Egypt were also very powerful. When things were going well, the people believed the priest and pharaoh were doing their jobs well; when things in the country were not going well, the people believed the pharaoh and the priest were to blame.
The religion of Ancient Egypt was a polytheistic (many gods) religion with one short period of monotheism (one god). Their religion hosted about 700 different gods and goddesses. In addition, it was not uncommon for deities to be combined to form a new deity.
One of the more famous aspects of the Egyptian religious beliefs was their ideas of the afterlife. They believed the physical body had to be preserved to allow a place for their spirit to dwell in the afterlife. Because of this, mummification was performed to preserve the body. In addition, large pyramids were constructed as tombs for the pharaohs in the Old Kingdom. Later, rock cut tombs were used to
Horus the falcon god
Horus the falcon god
bury the pharaohs. (Eric Rymer, 2000-2010)





Government: Ancient Egyptian Government was dominated by a single man, the Pharaoh. The people believed that the king was more than a man, however, but that he was a god. This gave him absolute control over the affairs of the Empire and its people.

Ancient Egypt was also a theocracy, controlled by the clergy. The Pharaoh¹s advisors and ministers were almost always priests, who were considered the only ones worthy and able to carry out the god-king¹s commands. As in most religious ancient societies, priests had special status above the rest of the citizens, forming a kind of nobility.
The governmental officials included the vizier, or the prime minister, the chief treasurer, the tax collector, the minister of public works, and the army commander. These officials were directly responsible to the Pharaoh. The land itself was divided up into provinces called nomes. Each nome had a governor, who was appointed by the Pharaoh, and responsible to the vizier.
Taxes were paid in goods and labor. Citizens were drafted into the army and forced labor for periods of time to pay what was called a corvée, the labor tax. Slaves, mercenaries, and draftees were often used in the army. It is believed, however, that Egyptian slaves were not used to construct sacred monuments, such as the Pyramids. Egyptologists were led to this conclusion by recent finding of worker burial grounds near such monuments. The workers received proper Egyptian burials, whereas slaves did not.
external image placeholder?w=250&h=249The majority of Egyptian people were peasants who worked the land along the fertile Nile flood basin. These people had no voice in their government, and accepted this fact because it was backed by their religion. This mingling of religion and government is probably what kept Egypt so powerful and centralized during its high points. (Wilson, John A., 1996)

Cities: a. Almost every aspect of the ancient Egyptians lifestyle was, in some way, affected by the River Nile. Even the planning of a town or city was done so, around the river. The mud-brick buildings were susceptible to water and damp conditions so care had to be taken when considering the placement of a house, town or city. When houses did crumble, new houses were simply built upon the ruins of the former house. This led to houses and towns being built on a more elevated plain. This method of building one house upon the other continued until the building of the Aswan Dam in the late 1960's, making excavations of the housing areas virtually impossible. This has also left a scarcity of data for Egyptologists to study.

Houses were built on the edge of the streets with each house usually sharing three walls with neighboring houses. The streets were normally very narrow. In the case of Hotepsenusret, only 1.5 meters across. As you can imagine, space was extremely limited.

In the workers village at El-Amarna, the houses were built barrack style and were very small. The villagers also kept animals in the village. Most towns had a well but Armana did not. The water had to be fetched daily from a distance away.

The town of Armana was not well planned. It seemed like it was a case of build where you can. However, the owners of the houses still had to take their neighbors into consideration when building on a chosen plot, as this example of an actual agreement shows -
" I make an undertaking that when I build my house, which is the western (border) of your house and which lies in the northern district of Thebes, in The House of the Cow and the borders of which are as follows: in the south the courtyard of Padineferhotep's house, in the north the house of Mrs. Tadineferhotep, between them the King's Road, in the east your house, touched in the south and north by walls of my house and serving as a retaining wall as long as I shall not lay any beams on top of it. In the west the house of Pabimut and the house of Djedhor... that is two houses with the King's Road lying between them. I shall build my house from my southern wall to my northern wall to your wall, and I shall not insert any wood (beams) into your wall, apart from the wood of the building which had stood there previously. And I shall use it as a retaining wall as long as I do not insert any wood into it. I shall lay my beams from south to north, covering the ground floor. If I want to build on top of it I shall build my walls mentioned above up to the wall of your house which will serve as a retaining wall. I shall leave the light-shaft opposite your two windows at a distance of one mud brick of the mud bricks which have been laid in the front of your house opposite your windows. I shall build north and south of them (the windows) up to your wall and cover them with a roof from south to north.... If I do not act according to what has been said above, then I shall pay you 5 pieces of silver. If you hinder my building, then I will act according to what has been said above without leaving a light-shaft - without punishment."
external image placeholder?w=393&h=262Contract between Taheb, daughter of Padineferhotep, and Pamerakh, son of Djehutiirdis 290 BCE (Adam Ashcroft, 2011)