Ancient Egypt by L. J. Amstutz

By L. J. Amstutz

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In 2005, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and a team of scientists tentatively identified a naked mummy found elsewhere as Hatshepsut, based on a missing tooth that matched one found in a container labeled as Hatshepsut’s liver. After Hatshepsut’s death, her stepson Tuthmose III became pharaoh. indd 34 10/30/14 9:28 AM Male pharaohs usually had many wives, and so did some Egyptian citizens. ”2 Her sons were next in line to the throne. Royal children often married their own siblings to maintain the royal bloodlines and increase their chances of becoming pharaoh.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT Ancient Egypt was divided into 42 nomes, or provinces. A nomarch—almost like a local king—governed each nome. He oversaw kenbets, which were local councils that served as a court system for all but the most serious crimes. The law generally treated people equally, and punishments were quite severe. Consequences for minor crimes included property seizure and beatings. A dishonest official might lose a hand. Someone who shared a military secret might have his or her tongue cut out.

Serious criminals were sentenced to hard labor in the mines or exiled. Those sentenced to the death penalty might be fed to crocodiles or burned alive. In later times, if someone disputed the kenbet’s verdict, the council would call on the statue of a god to make the final judgment. Council members would perform ceremonies in front of the god and watch for a sign. TAXATION AND TRADE The treasury collected taxes from everyone. Rather than calculate how much people produced each year, the viziers measured the height of the Nile flood using a nilometer—steps built into the riverbank to show the height of the water.

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