Study Guide

Day 3: Egyptian Society

Religion of the Pharaohs, Spring 2016

Readings iisted as "on Canvas" are in the "Files" section of the Canvas site.

Important terms


Important concepts

ethnic/national identity
social stratification
social class and power
the structure of the government and authority
the role of the king or queen (pharaoh) of Egypt

Discussion Questions

Make a note of anything suprising or interesting to you about ancient Egyptian society, and why it struck you.




1. What are some of the problems we as scholars have when we try to learn about the social world of the Ancient Egyptians, especially Egyptians who weren't in the royal family?



2. Would you say that there was a lot of social mobility in Ancient Egypt? Did people move up and down the economic or social scale pretty frequently or easily? Why or why not? How does this compare to American society?




3. Who or what was the center of the Egyptian government? How do you think the Egyptians experienced their government? Did it matter to them? Why or why not?




4. What did religion have to do with the government and social institutions?




5. How did the ancient Egyptians conceive of ethnicity or "race"?  How is it different from the way we usually use the term "race" in contemporary America?



6. Was someone's ethnic identity in ancient Egypt fixed forever?  How or how not?



7. In America, slavery was based solely on race, and almost exclusively black Africans and African Americans were enslaved. (There were exceptions, but this was by far the dominant practice in the U.S.)   What was the connection between slavery and ethnicity in ancient Egypt?  Was it the same as in America?




You are welcome to bring any other questions/discussion topics to class as well.