Sunday, 15 April 2012

Egyptians Life

         Daily Life of the Egyptians

Daily Life

Family Structure
In the Egyptian family the father was responsible for providing for his family. The mother stayed home and raised the children. Small children and other female relatives lived in a special part of the house. Much of the children's time was spent in training for their adulthood. By age four the children would help their parents in the field or train as craftsmen.

Natural Appearance
 Ancient Egyptians usually had black hair and dark eyes. Their skin was tanned.

The Egyptians wore very simple clothing.The clothes were made of linen. Linen was made from the flax that grew in the fields.It was woven into cloth. The rich wore finely woven linen while the workers wore a more durable material.Male peasants wore loincloths. They hung from their waists to their knees. Many times they wore no clothing. Men in the upper class wore skirts or kilts. The women wore simple, tight-fitting dresses. They came up to their chests and were held up on the shoulders by straps. Children wore no clothing until they were in their teens.
Egyptians wore sandals made from leather or reed.Rich ladies wore shawls, flower headdresses, and beaded collars. They decorated this clothing by wearing elaborate costume jewelry.

Cosmetics were also an important part of the Egyptian lifestyle. Both men and women wore eye makeup. Creams and oil were used as well as eye paint. Eye paint was usually green, made from copper, or black, made from lead or soot. It was believed the makeup had magical and even healing powers. The black lead ore was mixed with fat or cream. This was a good medication. It was so expensive only the wealthy could wear it.  Some even believed that wearing it would restore poor eyesight. 

One common likeness on Egyptian jewelry was the scarab or beetle. Egyptians believed the scarab to be the symbol of resurrection or life after death. Both men and women wore earrings and bracelets on their upper and lower arms. They also wore rings, necklaces, and pectorals. Pectorals were wide necklaces that hung on the chest. The jewelry was usually made from gold which was mined in the Eastern Desert.The jewelry was often decorated with semiprecious stones like carnelian, feldspar, and amethyst. Turquoise and lapis lazuli were imported from the Sinai peninsula to add to the jewelry as well. The jewelry often contained good luck charms called amulets. 


Hair Styles
The boys shaved their heads except for one braided lock until the age of 12. This was a protection from fleas and lice. Girls wore their hair long. It was often worn in pig tails. The women wore their hair loose or in braids. The wealthy wore wigs. For parties Egyptians wore wigs or braided their hair.

Egyptians played with dolls, balls, tops, animal toys, and board games which were similar to checkers.  All toys were hand made. Dolls were made of cloth and clay. Play animals were made of wood or stone. Balls were made by wrapping linen rags around each other. Toddlers used pull toys similar to the toys that children play with today. They were tied with string and painted. Children of the wealthy between the ages of 4 and 14 went to school. Boys and girls attended school together to learn to read, write, and do mathematics.  

Most families had pets. Cats were a favorite. Not only did the cat eat unwanted mice, but the cat goddess Bast was the protector of the home. Other pets included monkeys, geese, goats, and birds. The rich had dogs. They used them for hunting. Some pet owners saved the collar after their pet died. When they were buried the collar would be buried with the owner. This was in the hope that the pet would be with its master in the afterlife.

Some children between the ages of 4 and 14 went to school the learn to read, write, and do arithmetic. When a boy turned 14 he began working in his father's profession. The girls stayed at home with their mothers to learn how to run a house.

Egyptians ate two large meals each day: one at dawn and another at dusk. Egyptians went to the market to purchase food. They ate plenty of cereal, vegetables, and fruits. Some of the most common foods were barley, wheat, lentils, cucumbers, beans, leeks, onions, dates, figs, and grapes. Other fruits included apples, melons, pomegranates and the occasional coconut. Beef was the Egyptians' favorite meat, but they also ate lamb, gazelle, wild goat, ox, pork, fish, duck, and goose. Food was cooked in clay ovens.
Bread was a everyday food of both the commoner and the wealthy. The finest loaves were ground with sand. This is why the teeth of royalty showed serious abrasion. The wheat was ground by rolling a round stone on a saddle querm. The loaves were then baked in conical molds. Wealthy Egyptians sweetened their bread with honey and stuffed it with fruit.
A common meal for a peasant might be boiled or roasted beef, assorted vegetables, fruit (usually figs and grapes), a slice of bread, and beer. The wealthy ate on bronze, silver, or gold plates while the commoners ate on clay dishes. People ate with the tips of their fingers. Everyone was given a small bowl of water to clean their hands after the meal.
The rich soil of the Nile River made growing crops easy. Donkeys were used to help carry the bags of seeds during planting time. The fields had to be irrigated during the hot summer months. Besides crops the farmers raised hens, geese, ducks, and pelicans.

The Game is Afoot in Ancient Egypt!

Hunting was a sport enjoyed not only by the peasants, but by noblemen as well. In the desert the men dug camouflaged ditches and used arrows to catch lions or hyenas. Hunters used bows and arrows or boomerangs. They used daggers or spears once the animal had fallen. These weapons were made from wood, bronze, and copper.

The Game is Afoot in Ancient Egypt!

Fishermen lived near the marshes. They fished with spears or placed traps and nets. Sometimes they would drag a net between two papyrus skiffs. Eels, mullet, carp, perch, and catfish were caught. These were grilled, salted, or dried.
Shepherds lived in the prairies bordering the Nile marshlands. They raised gazelles, antelopes, and even hyenas. They sold milk and beef.
Most Egyptians were slim. This was due to the constant physical labor. Only the officials and scribes seemed to gain weight. The poor people envied them for their comfortable life.

Peasant boys married by the age of 15. Girls were only 12 when they married. Girls from more wealthy families married a little older. Many marriages were arranged by parents. The life expectancy of an Egyptian was only around age 40.  

Marriage in Ancient Egypt

Egyptian homes were made from bricks. Bricks were made of sun dried mud. Mud bricks lasted a long time in the hot country which had little rainfall. The homes had low arched doorways. Some had windows with wooden shutters. The floor was dirt. In cities commoners lived in town houses usually two to three stories high. The first story of the town home was usually reserved for businesses, while the second and third floors provided the family living space.

Wealthy families built single level homes surrounded by gardens full of trees and flowers. They even had small lakes or ponds in their gardens. These homes had a large entrance hall. They had many bedrooms. They also had kitchens, servants' quarters, storerooms, cellars, and stables. Some of these homes even had toilets. They were made from a small wooden or stone seat with a hole carved in the middle. Under the hole was a clay container filled with sand.
Even small houses outside the city often had four rooms with an outside courtyard. The courtyard was used for cooking.
Homes along the Nile were built on small hills to protect them from the annual floods.
The homes were furnished with stools, chairs, low tables, beds, and boxes for holding personal items. Oil lamps were used to light the homes. 

The Egyptians loved music, and played instruments such as the lute, harp, and lyre. Festivals held in Ancient Egypt were usually holidays in honor of the gods. The Egyptians loved their children and encouraged them to play and have fun. Some games they played were leap frog and tug o' war. Egyptians liked board games. One called Senet was similar to checkers. Another board game was called Snake. The board was shaped like a curled snake with its head in the center. The snake's body was divided into squares, half of which were hollowed out. Six pieces shaped like lions and lionesses and many marbles were needed to play this game. Unfortunately the rules to this game were not written down.