Article Reading Levels
  • Level 2

Document controls

Daily Life in Ancient Egypt

Citation metadata

Date: 2011
Publisher: Gale, part of Cengage Group
Series: Gale Elementary Online Collection
Document Type: Topic overview
Length: 496 words
Lexile Measure: 570L

Main content

Full Text: 

Ancient Egyptians Ancient Egyptians in typical clothing. Ancient Egyptians in typical clothing. © Ivy Close Images/Alamy.

The Nile River was important to daily life in ancient Egypt. The new year began when the Nile River flooded. People sailed on the River and fished.

In mid-October the water went down. Then farmers planted their seeds in the damp, soft soil. In February farmers picked the crops and stored them.

Ancient Egyptians used mud from the Nile to build their houses. People mixed mud with straw and pebbles to make bricks. Then they baked them in the sun. That made them hard.

Homes had small windows. That helped them stay cooler inside. Outside stairs went to the roof. Families slept up there in summer. They also did most of their cooking on the roof.

Most houses had a living room with a low platform for sleeping and eating. They had several rooms. But they did not have much furniture. Even the pharaoh sat on a stool. A few people had carved chairs.

Beds slanted from the headboard down to the footboard. People used wooden headrests, not pillows. Pottery bowls filled with oil were lit as lamps.

Rich people had large homes with many rooms. Some even had pools and indoor bathrooms. Bathrooms were tiled. Limestone toilet seats were often set over a pot of sand.

When their children got married, parents often added rooms to their houses. Boys married as teenagers. Most girls got married by age 12 or 13.

Egyptians did not live long. Most men lived to about 35. Women lived to about 30. Children, too, often died young.

Older children helped with chores. They also babysat the younger children. Parents let younger children play. They played with tops, dolls, puppets, boats, and carved animals.

Children often kept pets. They might have cats, birds, or gazelles. Some people even had tamed cheetahs for pets.

Young children usually did not wear clothes. At about age 10 they dressed like their parents. Women wore long linen tunics. Men wore pleated kilts. Bare feet were common. But some people wore sandals made of papyrus or leather.

Women wore their hair long and straight, braided, curled, or tall and puffy. Many shaved their heads. It kept them cool and got rid of head lice.

Children often had their heads shaved except for one strip of hair that hung down on the side. This was called a sidelock. Both men and women shaved or plucked off all their body hair.

Shaved heads were not a problem. Most people wore wigs. Even men and children wore wigs. Men, women, and children all wore eye makeup and jewelry, too.

Religion was an important part of Egyptian life. The pharaoh was a god-king. They believed that he made the sun rise and the crops grow. They worshipped many gods.

People spent a lot of time getting ready for death and the afterlife. Rich people built tombs. Many people worked on building and decorating the pharaoh’s tomb.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|WHOONW312412038