History Embalmed

Ancient Egyptian Government

The Ancient Egyptian government was headed and dominated by the Pharaoh. His was the ultimate and greatest power. The 'right hand man' of the Pharaoh was the Vizier (equivalent to a Prime Minister). Court officials and nobles held high office in Ancient Egypt and these, together with the Pharaoh and the vizier, governed the country. The central ancient Egyptian government was responsible for legislation and the administration of certain functions on a national basis, but delegated some responsibilities to local, or provincial administration.

Ancient Egyptian Government - Definition
The definition of a government is described as institutions and officials which enact laws and enforce public programs thereby exercising overall control and direction of a country. The government sector is usually broken down into central government and local government as was the Ancient Egyptian government.

Ancient Egyptian Government - Provincial Administration in the Districts
The land of Ancient Egypt originally consisted of two halves, which were called Upper and Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt was the valley area in the South and Lower Egypt was the delta area in the North. Upper and Lower Egypt each had their own government and rulers.

Upper Egypt was divided into 22 districts. Lower Egypt was divided into 20 districts. Upper and Lower Egypt were eventually united in 3118BC. The framework of the earlier Ancient Egyptian government were the districts, each of the districts had a nomarch, or governor, who was the chief of the provincial administration. The provinces, or districts, were called nomes and the governor, or head, of the provincial administration was called a nomarch.

Responsibilities & Tasks of the Ancient Egyptian Government
At the height of the New Kingdom the population of Egypt was estimated at about 3 million. To govern this number of people demanded a strong government and a well organised bureaucracy. The tasks of the Ancient Egyptian Government were varied and included exercising control and direction in various area and tasks including:

  • Controlling civil order, the police force was called the Medjay
  • The army consisting of the commanders and conscripted soldiers
  • Building the royal monuments including the organisation of labor and resources
  • The legal process with courts, judges and law enforcement including imposing fines, corporal punishment and capital punishment which included burning alive, decapitation, drowning or impalement on the stake
  • Controlling the food supply and distribution
  • Conducting a census of the population in order to collect taxes
  • Levying and collecting taxes
  • Managing important industries
  • Developing the Archives - All important legal issues were documented including wills, trials, deeds, census lists, conscription lists and inventories
  • Recording rainfall and water levels of the Nile - Nilometers were gauges which were set up to measure water levels by government officials. Levels above and below the average indicated catastrophes such as floods or famine. Good years indicated the level of taxes which could be obtained from the farmers

Ancient Egyptian Government
Each section of this Egyptian website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about the Golden Age of Egypt. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of Egypt, the Ancient Egyptians and of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, King Tut.

Ancient Egyptians

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