Web. Secrets of the Government of Ancient Egypt: The ruling class in Egypt used to dominate social and political life as times progressed and the king’s authority was relatively weak and “that civilization was aristocratic in appearance and informative.” In the beginning, it was the God-King who controlled everything. Either the pharaoh or the general usually led the army into battle depending on the importance and duration of the military campaign. (44-45). Periods distinguished by a strong central government are known as ‘kingdoms,’ while those without a central government are termed ‘intermediate periods.’ For their part, the ancient Egyptians did not recognize any distinctions between time periods. He had several officials employed under him and they are given as follows: At the position next to the Pharaoh was that of the Vizier who worked as the right hand of the supreme leadership in ancient Egypt and was basically the Chief Overseer of the land. The Scorpion Kings of the Predynastic Period in Egypt (c. 6000-3150 BCE) obviously had a form of monarchial government, but exactly how it operated is not known. Stela of Ptahmayby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). The irony of the period is that the economy of Egypt actually diversified and expanded. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. While royal officials and the priesthoods of the gods held significant power and influence during the New Kingdom, the king (now known as the pharaoh) still ruled as a living god. Some operated at national level, while others were regional. The kings were supposed to oversee the harmony of life and yet the royal dynasty had collapsed without a replacement. The pharaoh reformed his administration and expanded his government. The treasurer and his officials kept tax records and monitored the redistribution of the barter goods raised via the tax system. One major change in Egyptian belief is that the Middle Kingdom rulers still claimed to be at least partly divine, but they also emphasized their humanity. Imhotepby Trustees of the British Museum (Copyright). Starting during the Middle Kingdom, the kings made a major effort to extend Egyptian power and influence beyond the traditional “core” of the kingdom in Egypt itself. He closed the temples and moved the capital from Thebes to a new city he built in the Amarna region called Akhetaten where he sequestered himself with his wife Nefertiti and his family and neglected affairs of state. Bronze had already been in use for over a thousand years by the time it became common in Egypt, but when it finally arrived with Canaanite craftsmen it radically altered the balance of power. The pharaoh curbed the nomarchs’ power. Some historians have argued that a major cause of the collapse of royal authority was the growth in power of the nobility: in other words, royal authority did not fall apart first and lead to elites seizing more power, elites seized power and thereby weakened royal authority. He was not only in charge of the political system and governance of people but also of the Egyptian religious hierarchy of the land in those days too. What form this government took remains unknown.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'givemehistory_com-box-3','ezslot_1',104,'0','0'])); 19th-century Egyptologists divided Egypt’s long history into blocks of time classified into kingdoms. These priests increased their power to the point where they rivaled the pharaoh and the New Kingdom ended when the high priests of Thebes ruled from that city while the last of the New Kingdom pharaohs struggled to maintain control from Per Ramesses. Uniquely, much of the insights about the government come to us through tomb inscriptions. Akhenaten’s son restored all of the old religious traditions. He had many responsibilities to fulfil and one among them was to see to it that the land operations were smooth and all citizens were happy. The Egyptians at Thebes tolerated this situation until c. 1580 BCE when the Egyptian king Seqenenra Taa (also known as Ta'O) felt he had been insulted and challenged by the Hyksos king Apepi and attacked. Ancient Egypt's government was a monarchy. C. 2125 BCE an overlord known as Intef I rose to power at a provincial city called Thebes in Upper Egypt and inspired his community to rebel against the kings of Memphis. The crown prince frequently took command of the army and served as its commanding general prior to ascending the throne. Government and religion were inseparable in ancient Egypt. The Pharaoh’s advisors and ministers were almost always priests, who were considered the only ones worthy and able to carry out the god-king¹s commands. Under the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BCE) the Medjay were his personal bodyguards. The general was responsible for organizing, equipping and training the army. Overseers-they kept track and record of the farmers and their needs. A system of regional governors or nomarchs exercised control at a provincial level, while a mayor governed large towns. Although they did conduct raids on Egyptian cities such as Memphis, carrying statuary and monuments back to Avaris, they dressed as Egyptians, worshiped Egyptian gods, and incorporated elements of Egyptian government in their own. The division of the government weakened Egypt which began to degenerate into civil wars during the Late Period (c. 664-332 BCE). The vizier managed the bureaucracy of the government and delegated the responsibilities as per the orders of the king. The will of the gods was expressed through the Pharaoh’s laws and his administration’s policies. The reasons for Ramesses II's move are unclear but one of the results was that, with the capital of the government far away in Per Ramesses, the priests of Amun at Thebes were free to do as they pleased. Mark, Joshua J. The economy of Egypt was based on agriculture and used a barter system. He has been based in the Middle East for over a decade travelling extensively in the region, including Egypt indulging in his passion for archaeology. Copyright © 2020 Facts About Ancient Egyptians. These were the Hyksos ('foreign kings') whose rise signals the end of the Middle Kingdom and the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt. They formed an important part of the governance. One official’s tomb contained a description of meeting with a foreign trade delegation on behalf of the pharaoh. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. The pharaoh ruled through a divine mandate received directly from the gods. Egyptologists of the 19th century CE divided the country's history into periods in order to clarify and manage their field of study. The Old Kingdom’s government served as a springboard for the emergence of the Middle Kingdom. The Egyptian government at Itj-tawi near Lisht could no longer control the region and abandoned Lower Egypt to the Hyksos, moving the capital back to Thebes. When he began to share his divinity with his children and grandchildren, who also began … They were given specialised tasks and were responsible for completing them honestly. The lucky and virtuous person, though, would see their heart balance against the ideal of order and the soul would be rewarded with eternal life. These officials too were appointed by the pharaoh and also reported to him directly. During the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, the pharaoh’s power dimmed. In the political hierarchy of the ancient Egyptian people, there were many other officials too who worked under a level lower than that of the Nomarks. Egyptian soldiers were often nothing more than peasants armed with copper knives, spears with copper heads, or even just clubs. The Old Kingdom united Egypt under a single ruling house, developed systems of record-keeping, and formed an all-important caste of scribes, the royal bureaucrats who mastered hieroglyphic writing. Isis: Goddess of Fertility, Motherhood, Marriage, Medicine & Magic, https://givemehistory.com/government-ancient-egypt, 3 Kingdoms: Old, Middle & New | Ancient Egypt, 22 Important Symbols of Faith & Hope with Meanings, 23 Important Ancient Symbols with Meanings, 24 Important Symbols of Peace & Harmony with Meanings, A central form of government existed in Ancient Egypt from the Pre-Dynastic Period (c. 6000-3150 BCE), Ancient Egypt developed and refined a theocratic monarchy model of government, The paramount authority both secular and religious in Ancient Egypt was the pharaoh. His son would largely undo all the great accomplishments of the New Kingdom through religious reform which undercut the authority of the pharaoh, destroyed the economy, and soured relationships with other nations. The last Ptolemaic pharaoh of Egypt was Cleopatra VII (69-30 BCE), and after her death the country was annexed by Rome. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. The pharaohs divided Egypt into two administrative regions: Upper Egypt, up the Nile and governed from the city of Thebes, and Lower Egypt, near the Nile delta where it drained into the Mediterranean and ruled from the city of Memphis. The Vizier was responsible for: At the third highest position in the ancient Egyptian political hierarchy were the Nomarks or the local governors who were given the task of administering certain regions which were termed as nomes. The nomarchs or district governors had grown in power, while the evolution of Government positions into hereditary offices reduced the flow of fresh talent replenishing the government ranks. The regulations concerning sex, behavior, and attitude during and before all ritual ceremonies demanded a certain vigilance and the temples kept their own people available to ensure a harmonious spirit. This rank denoted an official's right to administer a particular nome or province on behalf of the pharaoh. Many of the devices, artifacts, and practices of the modern day originated in Egypt's more stable periods of the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms when there was a strong central government which provided the stability necessary for the creation of art and culture. Some officials worked at the national level, while others were focused on provincial functions. The pharaoh reigned over the country. Following Alexander’s death, Ptolemy (323-285 BCE) one of his generals founded Egypt’s Ptolemaic Dynasty.

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