Egyptian society had a social hierarchy, with the pharaoh at the very top. The pharaoh was the political, religious, and economic leader of the Egyptians.
The pharaoh had absolute political power. He made commands that became the law of the land. He was the final judge for appeals of judgments against individuals. In addition, he was the supreme commander for the military.
Religiously, the pharaoh was believed to be a god. He was considered a son of Ra or the incarnation of Horus, son of Orsirus. The pyramids were built to insure the pharaoh’s ability to reign in the afterlife. He not only controlled the Egyptians’ mortal lives, but he also helped them in the afterlife. These religious beliefs gave the pharaoh great power over his subjects.
Economically, the pharaoh was again the key figure in Egypt. He in theory owned all the land, people, and possessions. The pharaoh directly controled the vast majority of the land, and it was managed by royal officials. A small portion of the land was personally owned by nobles. Other lands were set aside for temples. The pharaoh collected a large amount of taxes that he used for large government projects such as building pyramids and temples. These taxes also supported the wages of skilled workers, scribes, artisans, and military personnel, as well as financing large projects done by peasants during times of flood.
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