FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-08-2001, 03:07 PM   #1
nerv111
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 421
Question Slavery in Ancient Egypt???

This question has probably been asked before, but here goes…

Was there slavery in Ancient Egypt? And what was the extent of it?

From my research into the subject, it seems to me that Egypt did have slavery but not to a broad extent (mostly prisoners of war). And that the system that was in place is more comparable to serfdom. That is the sum of what I know (I may be mistaken). There is a lot more, but I don’t have the time to do into details… I right now just want to know if I’m anywhere near the correct assumption.

Thanks…
nerv111 is offline  
Old 11-08-2001, 03:27 PM   #2
Boshko
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Wesleyan University
Posts: 361
Post

Well if the Hebrews were ever in Egypt at all, they wre probably an element of the semitic Hyskos (which means foriegner in Egyptian) who conquered Egypt and ruled it for a while. The Pharoah who welcomed Joseph would then be a Hysko king and the exodus could be understood as the hebrews fleeing from Egyptians who didn't really want to be ruled by foriegners anymore...
As far as slavery goes I don't think there was much besides war prisoners, but the level of control that the central government had over the peasantry often came fairly close.
Boshko is offline  
Old 11-08-2001, 04:11 PM   #3
nerv111
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 421
Post

Quote:
Well if the Hebrews were ever in Egypt at all, they wre probably an element of the semitic Hyskos (which means foriegner in Egyptian) who conquered Egypt and ruled it for a while. The Pharoah who welcomed Joseph would then be a Hysko king and the exodus could be understood as the hebrews fleeing from Egyptians who didn't really want to be ruled by foriegners anymore...
As far as slavery goes I don't think there was much besides war prisoners, but the level of control that the central government had over the peasantry often came fairly close.
That seems like a reasonable explanation. I’ve read something similar. The book basically offers the following explanation for the biblical exodus:

The story is based on the rule of the Hyskos in Egypt; when they were finally defeated and by Ahmose many of the foreigners who had settled the Delta during the Hysko rule and those who supported the Hysko rulers were forced to flee. Over generations the truth got twisted into something like the exodus; which seems reasonable for as always the loosing site of any conflict usually deludes themselves with such stories.

If you look at this from the position of the Hyskos, it can be understood why they would have made up such fairytales. First of all, they gained control of Egypt with relative ease considering the country was in civil war. They had for a period of almost a century ruled the world’s richest country… and then they had let it all slip out of their hands. Now, that would have been a huge embarrassment. And I doubt they would pass the truth to their children.

Oh, and another thing I came across in my readings is that the serfs in Egypt were treated extremely well, by almost any standards. There were even opportunities for slaves to gains their freedom. Once again I may be mistaken; but to the best of my knowledge prisoners of war after 8 (or so) years of service were either allowed to return to their own nation or given Egyptian citizenship and land. There were even instances where servants would rise to high positions (I’ll try to find some specific examples).

And lastly, is anyone aware of the treatment of the lower classes? My impression is that they were considerably well of in comparison to other nations at the time.
nerv111 is offline  
Old 11-08-2001, 04:28 PM   #4
Marduk
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: the 10th planet
Posts: 5,065
Post

"And lastly, is anyone aware of the treatment of the lower classes? My impression is that they were considerably well of in comparison to other nations at the time."


Yes, with the annual flooding of the Nile, Egypt almost always had a good supply of food, which is what attracted foreigners in the first place, people from the mideast would often go there to 'work for food' during their own times of famine.
Egypt had an amazing track record with woman's rights considering the time and place, woman could own a business, property, testify in court, file for divorce and transfer property via a will to whomever they chose. There was no stigma to divorce but fidelity in marriage was required for men & women, all this as early as 2000 BCE. Even the Pyramid builders recieved good food and medical care, remains from that period show bodies of laborers with properly set broken bones and treated wounds. Honey was used to prevent infection and moldy bread was applied to open wounds. The only thing they lacked was dental care, lousy teeth plauged even the wealthy.
A good book on this is Redfords "Egypt and Israel in ancient Times"

[ November 08, 2001: Message edited by: marduck ]
Marduk is offline  
Old 11-08-2001, 04:49 PM   #5
nerv111
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 421
Post

Quote:
"And lastly, is anyone aware of the treatment of the lower classes? My impression is that they were considerably well of in comparison to other nations at the time."

Yes, with the annual flooding of the Nile, Egypt almost always had a good supply of food, which is what attracted foreigners in the first place, people from the mideast would often go there to 'work for food' during their own times of famine.
Egypt had an amazing track record with woman's rights considering the time and place, woman could own a business, property, testify in court, file for divorce and transfer property via a will to whomever they chose. There was no stigma to divorce but fidelity in marriage was required for men & women, all this as early as 2000 BCE. Even the Pyramid builders recieved good food and medical care, remains from that period show bodies of laborers with properly set broken bones and treated wounds. Honey was used to prevent infection and moldy bread was applied to open wounds. The only thing they lacked was dental care, lousy teeth plauged even the wealthy.
A good book on this is Redfords "Egypt and Israel in ancient Times"
Thanks for both the info and the book recommendation… one thing that bothers me a lot is the misconceptions that people have about Ancient Egypt. I know more about Ancient History then even my history teacher (although this is understandable since his master’s degree was in music rather than history). Well, the misconceptions are also understandable for history is written by the victors; and unfortunately Christianity (which doesn’t pain Egypt in a positive light) is that victor.
nerv111 is offline  
Old 11-08-2001, 05:09 PM   #6
Marduk
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: the 10th planet
Posts: 5,065
Post

"Well, the misconceptions are also understandable for history is written by the victors; and unfortunately Christianity (which doesn’t pain Egypt in a positive light) is that victor."

This bugs me to, the more you read about ancient Egypt the more you think they should stop saying "Our Judeo/Christian Heritage" and start saying our Egypto/Judeo/Christian Heritage. The Egyptians had a trinity, Osiris Isis and Horus, practiced circumscission, annointed their Kings with oil, "Messa" was Egyptian for crocodile (they used its fat) and had their own monotheism movement in 1500 BCE. The 24 confessions to Osiris, 2500 BCE, are their own version of the 10 comandments. They can be found in the Book of The Dead.
Marduk is offline  
Old 11-08-2001, 08:03 PM   #7
nerv111
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 421
Post

Quote:
This bugs me to, the more you read about ancient Egypt the more you think they should stop saying "Our Judeo/Christian Heritage" and start saying our Egypto/Judeo/Christian Heritage. The Egyptians had a trinity, Osiris Isis and Horus, practiced circumscission, annointed their Kings with oil, "Messa" was Egyptian for crocodile (they used its fat) and had their own monotheism movement in 1500 BCE. The 24 confessions to Osiris, 2500 BCE, are their own version of the 10 comandments. They can be found in the Book of The Dead.
Yes, true… but NOOOOOOO… Christians and Jews would never admit that their religion is nothing more than a spin-off of the Egyptian and Babylonian religions. Although unlike its “children”, the Egyptian religion is nowhere near as violent as the Judeo-Christian religion; the violence most likely stems from the Babylonian influence. In all the millennia that the Egyptian civilization existed, its religion has done almost no “direct” harm to humanity (aside from inflicting us with the Abrahamic religions). The philosophical aspects of their religion somewhat resemble Buddhism; with one major distinction, the Egyptian “religious” philosophy stresses individuality.

What really bothers me isn’t so much that they deny the Egyptian influence that is in their religion (that is after all expected), but their sheer ignorance of the worlds first and arguably greatest civilization. They paint them as cruel, tyrannical monsters; when in fact they are quite the opposite… but unfortunately educating the ignorant is difficult enough without having 2,000 years of dogma opposing you.
nerv111 is offline  
Old 11-08-2001, 08:40 PM   #8
Bedouin
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: All lands are promise lands. All lands are Holy lands
Posts: 71
Post

Boshko said :
Quote:
Well if the Hebrews were ever in Egypt at all, they wre probably an element of the semitic Hyskos (which means foriegner in Egyptian) who conquered Egypt and ruled it for a while
The theory of non Egyptian rulers during the time of Joseph is supported by the Quran

The Kings & Pharaohs Of Egypt
Bedouin is offline  
Old 11-08-2001, 09:59 PM   #9
nerv111
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 421
Post

Quote:
The theory of non Egyptian rulers during the time of Joseph is supported by the Quran
The Kings & Pharaohs Of Egypt
Very interesting article; but I cannot be the judge of its accuracy for my knowledge of the Qur’an is limited, and as is my archeological knowledge. But it dose assume some things which there is little or no evidence for (i.e. that the Bible and Qur’an are historically accurate).
nerv111 is offline  
Old 11-08-2001, 10:12 PM   #10
nerv111
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 421
Post

Oh, another question just popped into my mind… what form of government best describes the system of Ancient Egypt?

To the best of my knowledge, it resembles an enlightened despotism (at least in the Old and Middle Kingdoms); the power of the Pharaohs degraded in the New Kingdom as the priesthood got more powerful (which in my opinion is one of the factors that lead to Egypt’s eventual decline), therefore in this period it resembles a monarchy more so. But given the fact that it was technically rule by a “god”, the system could be defined as a true theocracy. Then again given that there are many unique concepts in the system which are not mirrored in others, perhaps the best word to describe the form of government would be Pharaonic.

[ November 08, 2001: Message edited by: nerv111 ]
nerv111 is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:24 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.