Ancient societies of Egypt, Greece, and many others remain a fascinating subject for us here in modern times. We love learning about the ancient people and how they lived, how they worked, what they did for fun, what was sacred to them, and simply how their lives were back then. Sometimes we might wonder, what would we do in those times? What would our lives look like in ancient Egypt, for example? Today our quiz will help answer the question: what would your position be in ancient society? Let’s dive in!
The history of humans and their communities started with people living in small groups or tribes. Gradually those groups became bigger, forming large communities. After came societies, which then turned into civilizations. Modern times owe a lot of inventions, ideas, and philosophies to the earliest civilizations that emerged after millions of years of human evolution.
The Mesopotamian civilization was the first known civilization to emerge. Mesopotamia was not a single civilization, but a region and several cultures that benefited from the fertile lands that today include southwest Asia and swathes along the eastern Mediterranean ocean. The origin of Mesopotamia dates back so far that there is no known evidence of any other civilized society before them. The timeline of ancient Mesopotamia is usually held to be from around 3300 BC to 750 BC. It was somewhere around 8000 BC that people developed the idea of agriculture and slowly started to domesticate animals for food and to assist in farming.
Mesopotamia is credited with the beginnings of human civilization and many things that would change the world — the invention of time, the wheel, mathematics, maps, writing, and sailboats. The Sumerians – people of southern Mesopotamia – were responsible for many of the most important innovations, inventions, and concepts used in the present day. They essentially “invented” time by dividing day and night into 12-hour periods, hours into 60 minutes, and minutes into 60 seconds. Their other innovations and inventions include the first schools, the earliest version of the tale of the Great Flood, other biblical narratives, the oldest heroic epic, governmental bureaucracy, monumental architecture, and irrigation techniques.
The Ancient Egyptian civilization is one of the oldest and the most culturally rich civilizations that ever existed. Ancient Egyptians gave us pharaohs, pyramids, hieroglyphics, and much more.
The civilization united around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh. The history of ancient Egypt can be divided into a series of stable kingdoms separated by periods of relative instability known as intermediate periods: The Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age, and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Ancient Egypt reached its pinnacle during the New Kingdom, when pharaohs like Ramses the Great ruled with such authority that another contemporary civilization, the Nubians, also came under Egyptian rule.
The society of ancient Egypt was divided into a strict hierarchy. On the top was the pharaoh. Then there was the vizier, the pharaoh’s right hand as well as other high government officials like the chief treasurer and the army general. Next were the members of the pharaoh’s court, priests, and nobles. Then – soldiers and scribes. Lower were craftsmen and merchants, then farmers and unskilled workers. The lowest on the social scale were slaves.
The pharaoh was considered to be a god (or a representation of gods on Earth) and the ultimate authority in ancient Egypt. His or her duty was to make the law and maintain order in the Kingdom. The people of Egypt expected the pharaoh to keep the gods happy so the Nile river would flood and the harvest would be plentiful.
Government officials consisted of members of the royal family, nobles, and priests. The vizier was the pharaoh’s second-in-command. He oversaw the political administration and all official documents had to have his seal on them. The vizier managed the taxation system and monitored the supply of food. He listened to problems between nobles and settled them. The vizier also ran the pharaoh’s household and ensured the royal family’s safety.
Priests’ duty was to serve the gods and communicate with them. At times, they were even more influential than the pharaoh. They spent their time conducting rituals and ceremonies in temples to keep the gods happy.
Nobles were the only group, besides the royal family, who could hold a government office. They ruled the nomes (regions of Egypt), made local laws, and maintained order. Nobles also owned farmland which the peasant class worked for them.
Scribes were the only people in ancient Egypt who could read and write. They kept records of everything that happened in the country, including the amount of food produced, gifts to the gods, the number of soldiers in the army, and many others things. They also wrote copies of the Book of the Dead and biographies found in ancient Egyptian tombs.
Soldiers were trained to be skilled warriors. They protected Egypt from outside attacks as well as suppressed social uprisings.
Merchants sold the goods made by craftsmen. Craftsmen or artisans included carpenters, jewelers, metalworkers, painters, potters, sculptors, stone carvers, and weavers. Women could work in some of the crafts, such as weaving. Craftsmen often worked in workshops with other artisans of the same type.
Peasants were the farmers, servants, and construction workers. Farmers had a very important job of growing food which fed the whole country. Pharaoh, or the nobles they worked for, provided them with food and clothing. This was an exchange for their cultivation of royal or noble land.
Slaves had the lowest position in ancient Egypt society. Most of the time, the ancient Egyptians acquired slaves as prisoners of war. Slaves worked in the homes of the nobles, in the royal palace, and the temples. They also mined and quarried stones and precious materials.
What position would you have in ancient society? Do you want to know? If yes, take the quiz we prepared and find out now! We’re very curious about your results.
How many questions are in the quiz?
There are 20 questions.
What results can you get?
Craftsman, Farmer, Soldier, Scribe, Priest, Pharaoh
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