Aspects of the family in Ancient Egypt

Mbokazi, Jabulani Tadeus (2002-12)

Thesis (MA (Ancient Studies)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study deals with the ancient Egyptian family. Cultural anthropology is used as a point of departure to reconstruct the daily lives of the ancient Egyptians. Cultural anthropology usually applies to living communities but most of the principles it uses are just as relevant in the study of a dead culture. The emphasis of this study is on the different cultural domains, which include education, religion, family livelihoods, family recreation, entertaimnent and travel and social organization and how these are interrelated. Most of our ancient Egyptian knowledge comes from the tombs of wealthy individuals, and thus incomplete since we have no record of how peasants perceived the world, as they could not afford a good burial. Other sources are the ancient documents and artefacts from town sites all associated with wealthy individuals. While peasants were too poor to send their children to school, wealthier Egyptians did send their children to school especially boys. Agriculture was central in ancient Egyptian life. The nobility and other higher classes depended on the toil of the peasant for basic commodities and food. The peasant families in the rural areas were unable to attend the lavish festivals in the cities. Their basic focus was centred on their homes, families and on the success of the harvest. The peasant had his own private god or gods to whom he could tum for aid or comfort in times of trouble. Surplus items of food, clothing, oil and such like could be used for barter for purchasing essential items for everyday living. During their spare time the Egyptian families entertained friends, engaged in the various pastimes and travel. The peasant, as providers of food, formed an important social base for the Egyptian state.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie handel oor die Egiptiese familie. Kulturele antropologie word gebruik as metode om die daaglikse lewe van die antieke Egiptenare te rekonstrueer. Kulturele antropologie word gewoonlik op "lewende" gemeenskappe toegepas, maar die beginsels daarvan is net so relevant vir die bestudering van "dooie" kulture. Die fokus van hierdie studie is op die verskillende kulturele domeine wat insluit onderrig, religie, familie aktiwiteite, familie ontspanning, vermaak, reis en sosiale organisasie en hoe hierdie domeine op mekaar inwerk. Meeste van die kennis oor antieke Egipte word verkry uit die grafte van ryk individue en is daarom gebrekkig ten opsigte van kleinboere en hul siening van die wêreld, omdat hulle nie behoorlike grafte kon bekostig nie. Ander bronne is die antieke tekste en artefakte wat gevind word in dorpe, wat ook meestal behoort het aan ryk persone. Die kleinboere kon nie bekostig om hul kinders na 'n skool te stuur nie, maar ryk Egiptenare kon wel - veral dan seuns. Landbou was baie belangrik tot Egiptiese lewe. Die aristokrasie en ander klasse was afhanklik van die sukkelbestaan van kleinboere om hulle te voorsien van die basiese goedere en voedsel. Kleinboer families, wat in die platteland gebly het kon nie die groot feeste in die stede bywoon nie. Hul persoonlike oortuigings het daarom gefokus op die huishouding, familie en suksesvolle oeste. Kleinboere het 'n persoonlike god of gode gehad wat tot hul hulp kon kom, of troos kon bied in tye van krisis. Surplus goedere soos, onder andere, voedsel, klere en olie kon as ruilmiddel gebruik word om ander items wat benodig word, te bekom. In vrye tyd het families vriende onthaal, verskillende stokperdjies beoefen en rondgereis. Die kleinboere, as verskaffers van voedsel, het 'n belangrike sosiale basis van die Egiptiese staat gevorm.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/698
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