Ancient Egyptian Culture and Tradition

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Mar 28, 2022
Cite this
Category:Ancient Egypt
Date added
Pages:  5
Words:  1631
Order Original Essay

How it works

Ancient Egyptian culture carries many misconceptions and was frequently misunderstood. Much different than modern Egypt, the rich, powerful, and unorthodox empire originated around 3000 BCE and lasted through 20 BCE when it was conquered by the Roman empire. Popularized by giant monuments, numerous controversial pharaohs, and historic landmarks, many are not aware of the smaller know details surrounding ancient Egyptian cultural traditions: such as its various technological advancements or its fascination with life after death. In short, ancient Egypt was one of the most influential civilizations of its time because of its advancements in the application of agriculture, technology, and irrigation, and its contributions to education, philosophy, art, linguistics, science, and commerce.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

Located in the Nile Valley, in the northeast portion of Africa, ancient Egyptian life centered around the river Nile and its fertile soil. Ancient Egypt was split into 3 major periods, The Old Kingdom, (c. 2700 to 2200 BCE), The Middle Kingdom (c.2055 to 1650 BCE), and the New Kingdom, (16th to 11th century BCE). Each period had their own individual distinctions and achievements. by 3000 BCE, Egypt was the oldest civilization to have such an urban and literate civilization other than the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, who, unlike Egypt, lived in various city-states, with tens of thousands of people in each one. However, Egypt was a unified kingdom by this time, which spanned over thousands of miles.

The Old Kingdom, (c. 2700 to 2220) is the first of the three “kingdom periods and marks the peak of civilization in the lower Nile valley. During this time, the king of Egypt was known as a living god and was the head of the government and state religion. The Capitol city currently was Memphis. Only the most powerful families were given the right to read and write, and these people usually became the high-ranking government officials, scribes, military personnel, and priests. However, in the sixth dynasty, the government began to weaken because the governors started to gain more power, and soon the rule of the king began to be overlooked. The government soon dispersed and split into several smaller, independent states. This period was also associated with the building of the pyramids, which were tombs used for the final resting place for Egypt’s kings.

The Middle Kingdom of Egypt, (c.2055 to 1650 BCE) is the “classical age of Egypt, producing some of the empire’s greatest work of art and literature. Mentuhotep II rose to power and became king after launching an attack on the north and reuniting Egypt under one rule, after a period of political chaos. With the capital city at Thebes, Mentuhotep II ruled for 51 years, establishing the god-like authority of the pharaoh and expanding the borders of Egypt. For the first time in Egyptian history, writing and storytelling were used for entertainment. The “block statue was also made popular, which featured a man squatting over his knees and it was carved out of stone. It would become a staple in Egyptian art and culture for the next 2000 years.

Finally, the New Kingdom was the final major “kingdom period of Egypt and occurred from 16 to 11 century BCE, and it was the period in which most lands were conquered. New Kingdom Egypt was the most thoroughly documented period in Egyptian history. Thanks to the expansion in literacy during the Middle Kingdom, Egyptians were now sending and writing more letters. Because of the diplomacy and relations that came with expanding the kingdom and international trade, there was now a need for written contracts and treaties. New Kingdom Egypt was also a golden age for art and architecture. Paints were made from naturally occurring minerals and were often used for two-dimensional paintings such that were used to decorate homes and palaces alike. The paint was also used on metal, wooden and stone statues. The statues would often tell a story with its designs and intricate details.

Farmers in the Nile valley developed one of the earliest irrigation systems in history, using the sustainability of the Nile River and its tendency to flood to create a system of canals and ditches to divert and distribute the water to villages and farms to help sustain them since it received very little rainfall. One notable invention created by the ancient Egyptians was the nilometer or a marked vertical column that was placed into the river to measure the height of the river Nile during its yearly flooding season The Nile would flood for three months out of the year and deposit nourishing silt into the land, providing fertile soil for crops to thrive in. To help cultivate the land, ancient Egyptians were able to make several agricultural and technological advancements. Among the most innovative was the ox-drawn plow. Designed in two gauges, heavy and light, it made loosening the fertile soil easier than doing it by hand or using other human beings to pull the plow. It is still in use today predominantly in Europe, Africa, and Asia by farmers who cannot afford to keep and maintain a tractor.

In ancient Egypt, there was a very specific social order. It was shaped like a pyramid. At the top were the gods like Ra or Isis. Egyptians believe that gods directly controlled the universe, and it was very important to them to keep them happy to avoid the consequences of famine, drought or even death. After gods, there were Pharaohs, Viziers, priests, nobles, scribes, soldiers, craftsmen, farmers, and slaves.

Pharaohs were considered to be gods on earth and ruled with divine kingship over the land. After they died, huge pyramids were built to be their final resting places, and they were buried within its chambers. Because they ruled with the authority of a god, pharaohs were given many responsibilities. They directed the army, oversaw the nation’s safety.

Underneath the Pharaoh was the vizier or high priest. He oversaw administration and had the final say in whether a law was passed. He also looked after the Pharaoh’s household and settled disputes between the nobles. He was the Pharaoh’s right-hand man. After the vizier was the nobles. Nobles ruled the different regions of Egypt and were responsible for creating local laws and maintaining the peace within their specific region. They were often related to the scribes, doctors, lawyers, pharaohs, and important military personnel. Priests were next and were responsible for keeping the gods happy. Below them were scribes, who were responsible for keeping records. Soldiers were responsible for the defense of the nation and could keep all treasures squandered from defeated enemies. All of these groups were arguably better off than the lower, working-class group of people such as a farmer, craftsman or slave, who had no rights. There were no slave auctions in ancient Egypt, and they were usually worked in the household of pharaohs and nobles as well as in quarries and temples.

Religion was also a major influencer in Ancient Egyptian Culture. Excluding the Amarna Period, when King Akhenaten practiced monotheism, the ancient Egyptians mainly practiced polytheism. Different gods wavered in popularity over the millennia. There 2000 gods and goddesses that the Egyptians worshiped, and many of those were combined to make new deities. Generally, either Aman Ra or Isis were considered the supreme gods. Tradition played a major part in religion. Many Egyptians didn’t question the beliefs that had been practiced years before and didn’t desire a change. Egyptians also had a strong belief in mythology and often used it in their daily lives. Among the most notable was their belief that when gods or goddesses came down to earth, they would personify themselves as a specific breed of animal. It was also the norm to bury the dead with anything that would be potentially useful in the afterlife. This could include jewelry, dishes, foods, and drinks. Pets would even be mummified and placed alongside their masters. The Egyptians believed that the soul split in two after you died. One half, called the Ba, flew off every morning to watch over your family. The other half, referred to as the Ka, flew off to the land of two fields, to enjoy eternal happiness in the afterlife. You had to have two requirements in order to do this: your heart had to be full of life, and you also had to have a mummified body and your name written down somewhere. If these requirements weren’t met, then they believed that the Ba and Ka would become lost, and your family wouldn’t be looked after, or you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the afterlife.

In conclusion, the ancient Egyptian empire was a rich and vast one, that lasted more than 2800 hundred years. Just like any great empire, it is bound to fall, and it collapsed in 20 BC when it was invaded by the Romans. As evident by several years of researching it’s remains, the great legacy of a powerful nation still lives on.


  1. Ancient Egypt Online. Ancient Egypt Online. 29 07 2018. website. 10 10 2018.
  2. This website offers general information and overview about life in ancient egypt, and the culture that it offers.
    Kingsley, Rebecca. Ancient Egyptian Culture. Rochester: Grange Books, 1998. book.
  3. Written by a historian, This book has deeper research into Ancient Egyptian religion, trade, relations and traditions. It also has information on other early civililazions.
  4. Mark, Joshua J. New Kingdom of Egypt. 06 10 2016. Article. 09 10 2018.
  5. This a brief article about the New Kingdom of Egypt and what events happened within it since it is so specific.
    Time Maps. Ancient Egyptian Civilization. 17 01 2017. encyclopedia. 09 10 2018.
  6. This online enclopedia is about all things Ancient Egypt. It offers an in depth look at each time period and the events that unfolded within each one.
  7. Mertz, Barbara. Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. book
  8. Written by New York Times best seller and Egypologist, this book informs by storytelling and illistrations. It offers information on the day to day life and various technology that Ancient Egypt had.
The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

Ancient Egyptian Culture and Tradition. (2019, Oct 10). Retrieved from