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Ancient Egypt
Pets Theme Unit
Animals of Ancient Egypt



Animals of Ancient Egypt
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.91

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    Bastet, griffins, intents, depict, afterlife, provided, frequently, jackal, writing, carp, killing, beloved, trample, ancient, staple, power
     content words:    Ancient Egyptians, Nile River


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Animals of Ancient Egypt
By Phyllis Naegeli
  

1     Animals were an important part of ancient Egyptian life. Ancient Egyptians had pets in their homes and livestock on their farms. They also hunted animals for sport and food. Many animals symbolized their gods, who were shown as part animal and part human. Animals were used in art and as writing symbols. There were make-believe animals, too. Let's look at some of the animals that were important in ancient Egypt.
 
2     Ancient Egyptians loved their pets. They kept cats, dogs, monkeys, gazelles, and geese. Their beloved pets represented some of the Egyptian gods. Bastet, a cat goddess, controlled the sun. She was believed to have the power to ripen crops. Dogs were sacred to the god Anubis. Anubis was the god of embalming and had the head of a jackal. Dogs and cats were great companions. They even went with their masters on hunting expeditions to retrieve the game a hunter killed. The "Father Earth" god, Geb, was said to take on the form of a goose. Geese were sacred to Geb and had sacred lakes of their own! Ancient Egyptians loved their pets so much that many were mummified. Owners wanted their pets to enjoy the afterlife, too!
 
3     Many ancient Egyptians were farmers. They grew crops and kept livestock. Cattle were one of the most important animals to own. Many different kinds of cattle are shown in artwork found in Egypt. Cattle pulled carts and plows to till the fields. Cattle were also used in religious ceremonies as sacrifices. The cattle were decorated with flower wreaths and marched to the temple. After the animal was killed, the meat was then eaten by the priests of the temple. Other animals kept by farmers included sheep, goats, pigs, and ducks. Sheep provided milk and wool. Goats provided meat, milk, and leather. Pigs were used to trample down the fields after the harvest. Farms were busy places for animals.

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Ancient Egypt
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Pets Theme Unit
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