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Ancient Egypt Social Pyramid
The population of ancient Egypt was divided into groups of people with different jobs and responsibilities to society. These social classes were structured as a pyramid with six levels. This social pyramid shows the levels of each social class in terms of importance.
The two top levels, the Pharaoh and Government Officials, were the most powerful and wealthy. The bottom level, the peasants, were the largest social class and were the workers that were the farmers and construction workers.
Ancient Egyptian social structure
Ancient Egyptian government
The government of ancient Egypt was a theocratic monarchy as the king ruled by a mandate from the gods, initially was seen as an intermediary between human beings and the divine, and was supposed to represent the gods' will through the laws passed and policies approved.
The chief responsibility of the Pharaoh was to maintain "Ma'at", universal harmony, in the country.
The Pharaoh was a vital part of the the Egyptian government and he appointed the other officials during most periods. The highest officials took their orders directly from the king.
Through the time of the Old Kingdom (c. 2613-2181 BCE) the central government relied on regional governors (nomarchs) to supply men for the army. The nomarch would conscript soldiers in their region and send them to the king.
The ancient Egyptians covered their temples and tombs with hieroglyphs, but they also employed scribes to record everything from the stocks held in the stores for workers, the proceedings in court, magic spells, wills and other legal contracts, medical procedures, tax records and genealogies.
Egyptian merchants (actually, they were more like traders) carried products such as gold, papyrus made into writing paper or twisted into rope, linen cloth, and jewelry to other countries. In exchange, they brought back cedar and ebony wood, elephant tusks, panther skins, giraffe tails for fly whisks, and animals such as baboons and lions for the temples or palaces.
The artisans, like most Egyptians, were organized in hierarchies at the top of which stood royal supervisors like Parennefer, who served under Akhenaten and was buried in the southern cemetery of Akhetaten.
Peasants comprised as much as eighty percent of the Egyptian population. The majority of peasants worked in the fields producing crops, while some worked as servants in the homes of wealthy nobles. During the flooding season, which lasted up to three months, peasants often worked on large building projects for the government.
There is some controversy whether there was slavery at all in ancient Egypt. "Hem" ("Hm"), generally translated as 'slave' and originally meaning body, was seemingly a person with lessened rights dedicated to a certain task such as the service of a god (since the 1st dynasty) or the royal administration.