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A Scribal Exercise Book – Egypt

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1. According to the teacher, what attributes do all nonscribal trades share? According to the teacher, the entire nonscribal trades share attributes of having rough hands, have more muscle and typically being dirty due to clay or dirt coming in contact with their skin frequently.

2. Most of Egypt’s peasants were free. Taking the obvious exaggeration into account, what does this text suggest about the lives of these peasants? Peasant’s lives consisted of usually working all day long and sometimes into the night. Their job was not only to provide for their family but if ordered they had to give their crops away. If they could not provide the crops they were beaten and sometimes killed for this. From this we can conclude that their lives were very difficult and unfair.

3. The New Kingdom was an era of empire and foreign military adventure. What does this text tell us about the soldiers who bore the brunt of Egypt’s imperial ambitions? The conditions of soldiers were harsh as they ate very little food, some of the times had no clothing or shoes and drank water every third day while marching through the desert. All while doing this they have to transport slaves of war and luggage that they brought around with them. Most would die or return completely exhausted.

4. What are the presumed advantages of the scribe’s profession? From the text it mostly explains all of the hardships of all the other professions available in Egypt, while the scribe records all of it, so we can conclude that all the advantages of being a scribe avoids all the physical labor, suffering, and does not have to worry about his own economic stability.

5. Does this seem to be a fair picture of the dichotomy that existed in ancient society between the literate and the illiterate? Yes it does. As you can see the peasants and soldiers and all the other nonscribal workers in the text live their lives doing physical labor day in and day out, while the scribes only job is to write what is happening. It even states in the text that unlike the others, they will be weak and actually have trouble lifting things that the others would do with ease due to their lack and physical activity.

6. How would you characterize the economy of Egypt as revealed in this text? From the text we could understand that the majority of people were peasant workers meaning that they considered lower class. Because of this that means most of the people were farmers and at the time currency was crops. Even though most of the people were not as wealthy as scribes and people close to the ruler, we can say that if was a stable economy due to the fact that an empire was rising.

Egypt: The River of Two Lands
1 What are the underlying assumptions of King Teti’s pyramid text? We can assume from the text that the text are traditional writings used to aid a king specifically Teti to the afterlife. From the statements saying rise up and you will not die and from prior knowledge that underneath pyramids or inside lies the kings tomb we can assume that is the true meaning.

2 According to the coffin text, how does a person guarantee eternal life? To guarantee eternal life you must devote yourself to being a moral person forever, follow the laws and punish all who oppose the law (evil doers).

3 Consider the speech of Re. Does it contain a moral element? If so, how is that message connected, if at all, with the dead person’s spell? It does contain moral element. It connects by aiding that person to the afterlife. In the Egyptians belief of going through stages of the afterlife you must have been good morally and as a person.

4 One scholar has written of the coffin texts: “Because the individuals who were seeking an afterlife as divine beings stood outside of the royal circle, their coffin inscriptions reflected both paranoid fear and delusions of grandeur.” Do you agree or disagree? I can agree in a way because when you think about death as an ancient Egyptian you either live an afterlife of joy and ease or you don’t. Because of this they probably did everything they could to ensure that they could make it to the afterlife.

5 What does The Negative Confession allow us to infer about Egyptian values in the New Kingdom?
It ensures that everyone is respectful to all life, follows the rules that are set, and makes sure not to be wasteful with anything. In general it is saying be humble and violence is not tolerated.

6 Each of the texts provides a path to eternal life. What do their similarities and differences suggest about their continuities and changes within Egyptian society over the millennium? What each of them have in common is that they all promote being a good person in your lifetime and following the rules of society and life to ensure a peaceful life and afterlife.

1. What specific actions did Hammurabi take in his attempt to provide for the good order of society and the basic welfare of his subjects? He made sure that there were consequences for doing wrong in society and made sure that workers were diligent in their work by risking their life, child’s life, or limb if they did something wrong.

2. What evidence is there of class distinctions in Babylon?
You can see the evidence when they mention in the laws that you have to pay more that what you did if you did something to someone that is a higher class. For example if a peasant were to punch someone of higher status they would be publically whipped or potentially killed depending on the wound they gave.

3. What was the status of women in this society? Did they enjoy any protec­tion or liberties? Women did have very little protection and liberties. Men in the society had a lot of the power over them, although if the man was abusive for no reason or not dedicated to the wife she could get a divorce and some property.

4. What about children? What was their status? Did they enjoy any protection or liberties? Children rarely had any protections and liberties. For instance if a worker built a house and it collapsed and killed one of the persons children that was in the house, the workers child would be killed. Female children had it even worse due to them not being able to get anything from the father if he died and they depended on the father a lot more than the males did.

5. Mesopotamian society has been characterized as a patriarchal (dominated by male heads of households) society. Does the evidence in this collection of decisions tend to support or refute that judgment? The evidence supports this judgment due to all of the rules favoring men more. An example of this is if a man punches a pregnant women and leaves bruises or kills the fetus there is barley any punishment, while if women were to do anything to a man such as cheat on him without reason she if forced to become his slave and the man can remarry. In general you can see that all the rules make men higher in status than women.

6. What seems to have been the principles and assumptions that underlay these judgments? In other words, what does this collection reveal about the world view, basic values, and ideals of Hammurabi’s Babylon? The ideals that Hammurabi was looking for when making this was that there will be consequences if you choose to do badly in society. The goal in making these rules was to prevent people from doing these things in the first place to create a peaceful society to live in and a stable environment. It also set into motion the mindset of don’t do to someone else what you would not done to yourself.

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