Social Structure of Ancient Egypt: Nobles

Within ancient Egyptian society, the nobles were a class of people related to the pharaoh, priests, scribes, doctors, lawyers, or important military personnel. In this article, you will learn more about the role of a noble, as well as how they lived hundreds of years ago.

The role of many nobles was to be put in place to oversee the lands that the peasants worked. The lands were taxed and the goods went towards paying the government. At that time, the payments were made in the form of crops or cattle. The crops were also used to pay skilled workers and peasants for their labor and participation regarding governmental projects.

The Homes of a Noble Egyptian

The nobles differed over other classes of people in the way they were treated in society. For example, these differences were evident in the kinds of homes they lived in. At the time, all homes were constructed out of mud bricks covered with a limestone plaster called whitewash. Beams made out of wood were positioned to support the buildings.

The poor lived in single houses with minimal room , compared to the spacious villas enjoyed by Egyptian nobility. The villas were built to accommodate the entire family with a lot of rooms, including some that were used strictly to conduct business. Rooms with the best decoration were set aside for entertaining visitors. Nobles lived in residences that reached two to three stories tall. A courtyard, kitchen, bedrooms, guest rooms, servants’ quarters, bathrooms and stables were all part of the layout of a noble household.

The nobles spent money decorating their homes, while the houses of the poor were plain in appearance. Everyday life decorated the walls and ceilings of the home with vivid paintings. Jewels and decorative stones were used to embellish the supporting columns. The floors were also a sight to see , made out of glazed tiles.

While the ancient Egyptians did not have running water at the time, they still had their versions of toilets and showers. A stone room was made for a shower, where a servant poured water over the noble. The excess water was drained and collected into a jar that was reserved for gardening. As for the toilet, a wooden seat was positioned on top of a pile of bricks. Underneath, a pot filled with sand was placed.

Egyptian nobility was also afforded other luxuries, such as lighting in their homes. The hot climate of Egypt posed issues with overheating in the home so the Egyptians kept as much heat out of their residences by positioned windows up high and using linen as a cover. Because of this, houses were pretty dark. To counteract this feature, the Egyptians used clay and stone to make special lamps. Palm nut oil offered a convenient fuel, while wicks were made out of flax or papyrus. As a way to reduce the smoke factor, wealthy Egyptian nobles added salt to the oil.