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Ancient Egypt - Daily Life
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman
1 The Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt "the gift of the Nile" because floodwaters of this great river deposited rich black soil on the land year after year. Life in the Nile Valley was determined to a great extent by the behavior of the river itself. The pattern of rising and falling water, of high Nile and low Nile, established the Egyptian year, and controlled the lives of the Egyptian farmers. Most Egyptians were tied to a life on the land-from birth to death, from century to century.
2 Regularity was a built-in characteristic of Egypt. On the regular behavior of the Nile, rested the prosperity and the continuity of the land. The three seasons of the Egyptian year were even named after the conditions produced by the river; 'akhet,' or the flood; 'peret,' the season when the land emerged from the flood; and 'shomu,' the time when water was short. When the Nile behaved as expected, life went on as normal; when the flood failed or was excessive, disaster followed.
3 Most ancient Egyptians made their living from farming. Some worked in the mines and quarries, and others were traders or soldiers. Many of the servants employed in wealthy households were slaves, but a large number of servants were free. This meant that they had the right to leave their employer any time.
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