The state of ancient Egyptian economy was a work of perfection that led to the rise of one of the greatest civilizations in the ancient world, it was built on utilizing all the natural elements of their environment on the concept of planned bureaucracy that monitored and controlled every single detail to absolute perfection.
Ancient Egyptian Economy Facts
The bureaucrats were the ones in charge of public works like reassigning the land after every flooding, assessing the expected crops, collecting part of the produce as taxes, storing and redistributing, all these duties were religious in character and involved tens of thousands of workers and administrators.
Many elements contributed in the economy of ancient Egypt like the population, the management of the different sources of wealth and the taxation system as the nation relied on the revenues in the form of paid taxes and labor.
Grain was the main focus hoarded by the authorities as it could be stored with relative ease and was crucial in times of bad harvests.
Also when the ancient Egyptian became more familiar with their terrain they were able to discover trade routes between them with Arabia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Fertile Crescent, and India.
Elements of Ancient Egyptian Economy
Egypt was mostly self-sufficient, as householders would hold many goods for the future or exchange by barter on the market which played a key role in keeping the economy alive.
The population was of a vast majority, more than nine-tenths during the first two millennia of ancient Egypt history.
Religion played a great role in shaping the minds as all the lands belonged to the gods and like Osiris and his son Horus the sky God after his demise and to his earthly incarnation the pharaoh but near the beginning of the Ptolemaic period, the land was freely bought and sold.
Most of the population were farm laborers on the estates of noble families and temples.
The farmers were under a labor tax and were required to work on irrigation or certain construction projects in a form of unpaid labor.
The practice of slavery was omnipresent but was much less harsh and was the cornerstone of the mining industry.
During Egypt new kingdom (1570-1070 BC) third of all the lands of Egypt were in the hands of the priesthood of amen with a larger number of workers, and the number of foreign slaves increased with the economy.
All the administrators, priests, traders, and craftsmen lived in cities along the bank of the Nile.
Ancient Egyptian Agriculture
Agriculture was the main reason behind Egypt’s wealth, many grains, vegetables, fruits, cattle, and fish were harvested and gathered and after the deduction of various taxes, the goods were sold in the market.
The Egyptian soil was very fertile due to the Nile River but most of the agriculture techniques weren’t efficient as the implementations were primitive and improvements were rare plus the breeding of livestock was haphazard.
Pisciculture appeared to have existed in ancient Egypt on a highly small scale, all the fish were caught in the Nile, and gathering was very common among the poorest while hunting was a leisure activity to the rich.
Manufacturers in Ancient Egypt
The manufacturing business was a huge part of the economic nature of ancient Egypt.
Families would produce different manufactured goods from raw materials and the process was left to women.
One of the goods was flax which was grown by men then the women would spin it into a thread to wove linen, the grain was used to produce beer.
The fish was caught by men, cleaned and dried by women then sold in the market.
In the towns, small factories appeared often financed by rich noblemen such as bakeries, breweries, carpentry workshops and many more with a few dozen employees.
Mining in Ancient Egypt
The ancient Egyptians rich community invested a great deal of time and effort into mining, precious metals and gems were only found in the hands of the few.
The metals of copper, bronze, and iron were very expensive and any form them was only found in the hands of the wealthy while the poor class continued to use stone and wooden tools.
The stone quarried for tombs and temples served the same all the social classes of ancient Egypt.
They also mined for Netron for thousands of years as a cleaning product for the home, the body and for the mummification as a drying agent.
Ancient Egyptian Commerce
The production of farming, fishing, crafting, and mining was consumed by the producers and after the landlords and tax-collectors took their cut, the rest was sold by barter on the market for consumers and the other professional traders who were considered to be the great estates and agents of the crown.
Around 526 BC, written withdrawal orders by owners of lots of grain were used as a kind of currency and with time the introduction of coined money took place but grain banks continued to serve growers and traders.
In the Ptolemaic era, the central bank of Alexandria recorded all accounts of the granary banks, and payments were transferred from one account to another, they also had credit entries were recorded with the owner’s name in a book within a passive or possessive form while debit entries in a dative form.
Materials like gold, copper, and silver were used mostly in dealing with foreign merchants and mercenaries.
The Energy in Ancient Egypt
The primary source of energy in ancient Egypt was manpower with domestic animals playing a vital role especially in transporting and agriculture like donkeys and cows.
Horses existed in ancient Egypt and never held an important economic as they were only employed by the aristocracy and the military for riding and pulling of chariots.
The usage of vehicles with light wheels came into use in the new kingdom (15570-1070 BC).
Thermal energy was also quite efficient as the heat of the sun was very good in the production of mud bricks, the fire was used in cooking and baking food, smelting, casting metal, glassmaking, and pottery, the fire was produced using charcoal as coal and wood weren’t plentiful. The wind energy was used to power the ships.
Ancient Egyptian Warfare
The spoils of wars were also a great source of income as long as Egypt came victorious.
Bravery in battles like the Battle of Kadesh or the Battle of Megiddo were rewarded with riches in the form of golden necklaces, bracelets, and lands as tributes were imposed on defeated nations and a sign of peace an exchange of gifts would take place between the pharaohs and the foreign kings which would always land in Egypt’s favor.
The ancient Egyptian civilization is one of the wealthiest cultures in history in every meaning of the world. Don’t miss the chance to explore the true definition of wonder within the gates of Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan with the most charming views ever boarding a Nile River Cruise through our Egypt tour packages.