How to Survive in Ancient Egypt

“Focusing on Thebes in 1360 BCE, How to Survive in Ancient Egypt is the ultimate guide to living in ancient Egypt including all of the religious beliefs and sites to see.

Imagine you were transported back in time to Ancient Egypt and you had to start a new life there. How would you fit in? Where would you live? What would you eat? Where would you go to have your hair done? Who would you go to if you got ill, or if you were mugged in the street? All these questions, and many more, will be answered in this new how-to guide for time travelers.

How to Survive in Ancient Egypt
How to Survive in Ancient Egypt

Part self-help guide, part survival guide, this lively and engaging book will help the reader deal with the many problems and new experiences that they will face, and also help them to thrive in this strange new environment.

This limited inhabitable land was essentially the key to the success of Egypt as it acted as their main defense. Both to the east and west of the irrigated land was a wide expanse of desert, which acted as a natural boundary and meant the residents of the Nile Valley were isolated from their neighbours.

The army traversed the desert to participate in expeditions to trade, mine or extend the borders, but this was considered a very dangerous journey to embark on, due not only to the inhospitable environment but also the risk of attack by desert tribes. Egypt, however, was able to defend itself against potential attacks from the desert and was not invaded until later periods of Egyptian history.

Generally, non-Egyptians who travelled to Egypt were welcomed and absorbed into the indigenous society. For example, many people in the Middle East believed that the Hyksos – or Rulers of Foreign Lands – invaded Egypt and took over the throne. However, archaeological evidence from their capital city of Tell el Dab’a (Avaris) in the Delta indicates the Asiatic community had, in fact, been living at the site for at least a century before they took control; first of the city, then surrounding towns and finally both north and south of Egypt.

The northern boundary of Egypt was the western coastline of the Mediterranean Sea as well as a string of fortresses along the eastern border of the Delta. The Middle Kingdom prophecies of Neferti (which only survive in eighteenth dynasty resources) refer to this string of fortresses as the Wall of the Ruler: ‘One will build the Walls-of-the-Ruler, to bar Asiatics from entering Egypt. They shall beg water as supplicants, so as to let their cattle drink. Then order will return to its seat while chaos is driven away.’

This Middle Kingdom chain of fortresses was abandoned during to the Second Intermediate Period when Egypt was divided with the Hyksos rulers in the north and the Theban rulers in the south. However, Sety I (1291-1278 BCE) reinstated a military presence in this area. There is archaeological evidence of fortresses along the Ways of Horus, along the desert route out of the Nile Delta through the Sinai towards Palestine. None of these fortresses are extant archaeologically today. However, Ramses III built the temple of Medinet Habu at Thebes with an adjoining plalace in the style of a military fortress and provides some insight into what a late New Kingdom fortress looked like.”

How to Survive in Ancient Egypt, by Charlotte Booth