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Ancient Egypt
The Structure of Ancient Egyptian Society



The Structure of Ancient Egyptian Society
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.34

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    vizier, woodworking, determined, incarnation, apprenticeships, best, proximity, high-level, better, finely, porters, successor, eldest, lavish, scribes, remainder
     content words:    Ancient Egypt, Old Dynasty, Royal Wife, Ancient Egyptian


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The Structure of Ancient Egyptian Society
By Phyllis Naegeli
  

1     Ancient Egypt had a highly organized society. Its structure began to emerge in the Old Dynasty with upper and lower classes of people. As this great kingdom developed, a middle class of craftsmen emerged. Throughout its history, it was difficult -- but not impossible -- to move between the classes. The separate classes of people remained consistent throughout ancient Egypt's history.
 
2     The royal family was the highest level of ancient Egyptian society. The pharaoh and his wives and children comprised the royalty of society. They lived in many palaces and enjoyed the finest of foods and clothing. Even within the royal family, there were levels of status. The ancient Egyptians believed their pharaoh was the incarnation of the god, Horus. This gave the pharaoh the highest status in society. One of his wives was favored, and she was often referred to as the "Great Royal Wife." Her children were the elite of the royal family, and her eldest son was successor to the position of pharaoh. Other male members of the royal family were given high-level positions in the government to help them retain their status in society.
 
3     The noblemen occupied the next level of society. They lived in close proximity to the palaces of the royal family. Their large, lavish estates provided them with wealth to give their families the best that life had to offer. There was always enough food, and they wore luxurious, finely constructed clothing. Noblemen held high-level government positions, the premier of which was the vizier (similar to prime minister). Noble boys were able to attend school, and the eldest son usually inherited his father's position. Younger sons were able to use their education to obtain other government positions or become scribes.

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