Egyptian Government

By Elizabeth Beall

The Head of Government

In ancient Egypt, the head of government was Pharaoh. They didn't say "the pharaoh" because there was only one pharaoh at the time. You didn't own your home or your jewelry or your food or anything else because Pharaoh owned everything.

Pharaoh's Right Hand Man

The most important of the Pharaohs helpers was Pharaoh's right hand man, his Vizier. The Vizier received reports from every top official every day and told the Pharaoh so he knew what was going on every day.

Egyptian Law and Legal Systems

The ancient Egyptian legal system was based on common sense and the Egyptian goddess Ma'at was the goddess of justice. She made teachings, according to the priests, about what was right and wrong. No remains of written laws have been found. The ancient Egyptian court system went like this; There was a lower court and a high court. The lower court was made up of a group of elders in each town. The supreme high court judge was Pharaoh, who assigned his Vizier to this job, to hear the case and act as judge. When a dispute was settled in court, both sides were heard, and a common sense decision was made by the lower court based on the facts presented. But if you did not like the decision of the lower court, you could come before the Vizier on a first come, first served basis, and present your case again. Even though the Vizier tried to be fair, it was not smart to come before the Vizier unless your case was serious, and you had evidence to show that the lower court's decision was in error because the Vizier's decision was final.