Life of an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh

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The Pharaoh, the ruler of the Egyptian ______, lived a life vastly different from that of an ordinary citizen.

empire

The royal palace was staffed by countless ______, each with their own role, who were overseen by a Royal Controller.

servants

The Pharaoh's family was also surrounded by ______, with the Queen having her own staff, usually made up of women, to tend to her needs.

servants

When the Pharaoh left the palace, they were escorted by a team of ______, including bodyguards who were among the most highly-trained members of the servant class.

servants

Contrary to popular belief, most of Egypt's workforce, including those who built the pyramids, were paid ______, not slaves, although they were not entirely free and were stuck in the servant social class.

servants

Trusted servants were often valued members of the ______'s household.

Pharaoh's

The Pharaoh's main job was to serve as an ______ figure and pass judgment.

imposing

The training for future ______ began early, with royal children living in luxury.

Pharaohs

The staple of both the ______'s and commoners' meals was bread and beer.

Pharaoh's

The best-known palace was Malkata, the New Kingdom palace of ______ III, which was built on the bank of the Nile.

Amenhotep

Study Notes

• The Pharaoh, the ruler of the Egyptian empire, lived a life vastly different from that of an ordinary citizen, with responsibilities and pleasures that came with being one of the most powerful men in the world.

• From the moment the Pharaoh woke up, they were surrounded by loyal servants, who played a crucial role in keeping the palace running, with tasks ranging from helping the Pharaoh get dressed to preparing their meals and bringing them anything they wanted throughout the day.

• The royal palace was staffed by countless servants, each with their own role, who were overseen by a Royal Controller, responsible for keeping track of the servants, assigning them to roles, and ensuring their performance was up to par.

• The Pharaoh's family was also surrounded by servants, with the Queen having her own staff, usually made up of women, to tend to her needs, while the kids were assigned royal nannies and tutors to guide them as they aged.

• When the Pharaoh left the palace, they were escorted by a team of servants, including bodyguards who were among the most highly-trained members of the servant class, responsible for protecting the Pharaoh's life.

• Contrary to popular belief, most of Egypt's workforce, including those who built the pyramids, were paid servants, not slaves, although they were not entirely free and were stuck in the servant social class.

• Servants had certain rights, including the ability for their children to move up in the social order, and trusted servants were often valued members of the Pharaoh's household.

• The Pharaohs lived opulent lives, with elaborate dressing rituals, including the use of animal skins and headdresses, such as the nemes cloth, which was woven with a unique pattern by one of the Pharaoh's trusted seamstresses.

• The Pharaoh's main job was to serve as an imposing figure and pass judgment based on the advice given by their advisors, although they were considered an absolute monarch with power over life and death.

• Despite being disconnected from the world around them, the Pharaoh could make huge changes, as seen in the example of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who changed the state religion to a monotheistic one worshipping only the sun god Aten.

• The Pharaoh's son, King Tutankhamun, restored the old religion after his father's death, and as an absolute monarch, he had the power to make decisions, although he was heavily influenced by his advisors.

• The training for future Pharaohs began early, with royal children living in luxury, having tutors, and being accompanied by minders from a young age, although the level of involvement by the Pharaoh in their upbringing varied.

• Royal children had a life of leisure, with evidence of childhood toys and games, including board games, and they had the run of the palace when they weren't in lessons or being supervised by their parents.

• The Ancient Egyptians valued their children and stayed involved in their upbringing, although royal children had a lot more fun on a day-to-day basis than their commoner counterparts.

• The Egyptian palaces were among the most impressive ever constructed, with the best-known one being Malkata, the New Kingdom palace of Amenhotep III, which was built on the bank of the Nile in Thebes and took eighteen years to complete.- The Pharaoh and his family lived in luxury, with a sprawling palace that included a massive dining room where they would eat meals that were very different from today's cuisine.

  • The staple of both the Pharaoh's and commoners' meals was bread and beer, made from emmer wheat, with beer being cloudy and containing unsifted solids.
  • Fruits and vegetables were served to the Pharaoh, with garlic and scallions being the most common local crops, and other crops like lettuce, celery, cucumber, and gourds, as well as fruits like dates, figs, and raisins, being considered luxury crops.
  • The fruits would often be dried to preserve them for longer, and the Pharaohs would usually have access to them all throughout the year.
  • The Egyptians were advanced in domesticating animals, raising cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs, and also hunting birds and fishing in the rivers, giving them an ample supply of meat.
  • Only the poorest didn't have access to any animal protein, usually subsisting on legumes instead.
  • The Pharaohs had the resources to raise large numbers of domesticated animals, and if they wanted a specific meal, they could always send their servants out to hunt for it.
  • The table was usually filled with wild birds, beef, mutton, pork, fish, and anything else they could get their hands on.
  • One of the most famous delicacies in the world, Foie Gras, was invented during this era, and the Pharaohs were also fond of eating sparrow, which reportedly had aphrodisiac properties.
  • The Pharaoh's day would start with him being dressed and cleaned by his servants, including anointing him with scented oils, and then he would go to the audience chamber.
  • In the audience chamber, he would face his daily meetings, but these would be flattering, as he is a king who is also considered a god.
  • The only ones who do not seem to show this level of intense devotion are his everyday advisors, but even they would probably bow to the Pharaoh.
  • After the daily audiences, the Pharaoh would likely go to the temple to pay his tribute to the Gods, making daily offerings with the assistance of the high priest.
  • The Pharaoh is also seen as the shepherd of the country, and if it was to descend into chaos under him, he could be ousted in a coup.
  • The Pharaoh would then leave the palace to carry out his royal duties, using either a horse-drawn chariot or a Royal Litter, a device used for thousands of years, which is a small chamber containing a comfortable seat for his royal majesty, attached to several poles that will be carried by trusted servants.
  • The Pharaoh would regularly visit construction sites, getting a look at the progress and presenting any updates to the plans, and take general tours of the city to let the people see him.
  • The Pharaoh seems to live a charmed life, but one area poses concerns: his mortality.
  • The Pharaohs had access to better healthcare than the average Egyptian citizen, but they also lacked access to modern medicine.
  • The Egyptians did have some surprisingly modern medical techniques, including minor surgeries to repair broken bones and sew up injuries, and they had access to a number of medicines.
  • However, one area they were lacking in was modern antibiotics, which meant there was always a risk that one minor cut could turn into a serious infection and end anyone's life, even a king's.
  • Another major risk factor to being a Pharaoh was the inbreeding within the royal family, which reduced the genetic diversity and led to genetic conditions.
  • King Tut was born with a club foot, scoliosis, and potentially a genetic condition like Marfan Syndrome that may have contributed to his early demise.
  • Death was around the corner for everyone in ancient Egypt, and they were firm believers in an afterlife, so it was common for a Pharaoh to begin planning for their death long before they were expecting it.
  • One of the most important tasks of a Pharaoh's life was designing their own tombstone, ranging from an impressive memorial palace to a magnificent giant pyramid that would hopefully still be standing thousands of years later.
  • In addition to building their final resting place, they would often carefully pick what they would be taking to the grave with them, including their most treasured possessions and a healthy supply of food.
  • When the Pharaoh passed on, history would repeat itself, with the Pharaoh's day typically beginning with his servants dressing him and preparing him for the day, but this time, they would be preparing him for mummification.

Explore the daily life of an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, from their luxurious palace to their royal duties and responsibilities. Learn about their opulent lifestyle, including their food, clothing, and leisure activities. Discover the complexities of their role, from serving as an absolute monarch to planning for their own mortality.

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