Ancient Egypt Goverment

By Andrea Sitchet & November 13, 2015

The head of the government...

The head of the government was Pharaoh. Pharaohs were the kings of ancient Egypt. A couple were women, but most pharaohs were men. One funny thing about Ancient Egypt is that you did not own your home or your jewelry or your food or anything else. Pharaoh owned everything. Each pharaoh had an army, a police force, and a huge number of ministers and government officials to help him rule the country. But the Pharaoh also had a special helper the Vizier. The vizier was the highest rank in government, next only to Pharaoh. The Vizier received reports from every top official every day. Every day, the Vizier gave Pharaoh a concise report on what was happening all over Egypt.

Law and order...

The ancient Egyptian legal system was based on common sense. The Egyptian goddess Ma'at was the goddess of justice. Basically, the law followed the teachings of Ma'at, according to the priests, about what was right and wrong. Even though no book of laws from ancient Egypt have been found, court records show that Egyptian law was usually based on a common-sense approach. In fact Egyptian law encouraged reaching agreements to resolve conflicts rather than sticking to a complicated set of laws.The New Kingdom had a council of elders called kenbet. They were responsible for court cases involving small claims and minor disputes. The elders were from regional governments and priests whose official rank in the temples entitled them to be judges. The supreme high court judge was Pharaoh, (ÒGreat KenbetÓ) who assigned his vizier to this job, to hear the case and act as judge.

Frequently asked Question

Did the Ancient Egyptains see everything equally?

The ancient Egyptians viewed men and women, including people from all social classes except slaves, as essentially equal under the law.

Accessories (Kind of like facts)

  • Men, women and children wore jewelry. Jewelers were skilled craftsmen. The jewelry was beautiful and colorful, and was made out of copper and gold wire, gemstones, colored glass beads, and colorfully painted clay beads.
  • Upper Class: Both men and women wore wigs. Men wore short wigs. Women wore long wigs. They did not like graying hair or baldness. Wigs hid these problems.
  • Lower Class: Girls wore pigtails. Boys shaved their heads. The men and many women wore short hair cuts. Some women wore their hair long and wrapped up, but short hair was easier to clean and much cooler.
  • Women, men, and children ringed their eyes with black kohl, made of powered stone.

The People...

  • Everyone ate well in ancient Egypt. Everyone bathed daily; the rich bathed in soaking tubs with scented soap and the poor bathed in the Nile. All Egyptians were very clean. Ancient Egyptians had their own homes. They had comfortable furniture. Most ancient Egyptians worked very hard, but they left time each day for play and to spend time with their families. Women in ancient Egypt had a great many rights. They were not equal with men but they quite a lot of say over their lives.
  • Women who broke the law faced the same penalties as men, and were expected to defend themselves in court just like men. Women did not have to marry in ancient Egypt. They could refuse an offer of marriage. But most women who married were about 12-14 years old. Women brought a dowry with them into the marriage. (A dowry is some type of wealth in land or cattle or goods.)
  • Children in ancient Egypt were cherished. That does not mean they could misbehave and get away with it. Rather the opposite was true. Boys were considered to be troublemakers, whether they were or not, and ancient Egyptian parents believed boys needed a firm hand to grow up strong and capable. Girls had an easier time of it, but they too had to behave and listen to their parents. All kids learned about the Egyptian gods and goddesses. Children were taught why it was important to keep their hearts light by doing good deeds. If a couple could not have children, adoption was encouraged. Kids had homes in ancient Egypt. NO child was left to raise themselves.