Life in Ancient Egypt


A man of means -what is he like?
Your name is good, you are not maligned,
Your body is sleek, your face benign.
-- Ptahhotep

Old Kingdom Egyptian aristocracy consisted of local rulers and high officials. Their wealth came from their landholdings. Many would have been relatives of the royal family. Other families amassed power and property in a particular area of Egypt through the efforts of individual members. Local rulers are called nomarchs. None of these people were expected to be idle.

If you are mighty, gain respect through knowledge,
And through gentleness of speech.
Don't command except as is fitting.
-- Ptahhotep

Aristocrats could marry into the royal family. Ankhnesmeryre I and II, daughters of a wealthy family from Abydos, both married King Pepy I, and each was the mother of a king. Their brother, Djau, served as vizier to his two nephews, Merenre and Pepy II. Members of this class could have expected, at the least, a good education, a "white kilt" career, and a proper burial - a beautiful home in the West, - at the end.