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Life In Ancient Egypt Essay

1921 words - 8 pages

Life in Ancient Egypt

Life in Ancient Egypt was one that involved an ordered life. The Nile flooded and the sun dried the land on a regular basis every year. People lived their lives in a orderly fashion that has them following set routines from year to year. This routine was greatly integrated with the Egyptian belief in the spiritual world and the religion it soon became. Egyptian religion helped people to see definition in their lives and gave them something to live for. There was an afterlife to look forward to and a spiritual rule of law that would take care of them until then. Also there was a state that was created by the religion to lead the people correctly. Therefore, the most important role that religion played in Egypt was that gave people the spiritual definition and structure for the ordered life that they lived.
Egyptian religion revolved around death and the afterlife because it was believed that an individual's life would continue on a different plateau after their death, with life as merely a transitional stage. This was a strong belief that saw death as only a passage to another life that one would live; this life was actually more important than the one a person lived in the present life. "Thus there is an air of permanence about Egypt; the past is never far from the present."(Mckay 25) Therefore, people lived their lives waiting for death and the afterlife and thus their lives revolved around it. Ancient Egyptians believed that when one died, a journey would be made to another world, where one would have the ability to lead a new life. Egypt was a society whose climate never really killed anything and simply brought things back to life. "The climate of Egypt is so stable that change is cyclical and dependable: the heat of summer bakes the land, and in the fall the Nile always floods and replenishes it."(Mckay 25) This can be seen in the flooding of the Nile every year and the re-growth of plants on a consistent basis. For Egyptians this could therefore also be applied to their own lives and death. The afterlife was thus viewed simply as an extension of earthly existence with the rebirth in the afterlife comparable to the flooding of the Nile every year that brought new life to the crops of Egypt.
This idea of life gave Egyptians a structure and goal to their lives. In this sense, it helped to fulfill the most important function of religion in Egyptian society. It gave people something to live for and an event to build themselves towards. Individuals believed that after death, their hearts would be weighed against a feather in the Hall of Maat, by the goddess of truth. "Osiris…weighing human beings' hearts to determine whether they had lived justly enough to deserve everlasting life."(Mckay 25) If lighter than the feather, would be allowed passage to an eternal and pleasant life. Therefore, People lived their lives to prepare for the day when they would die and their hearts would be weighed to see if they...

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