Society and education in Ancient Egypt

by Egyptian Symbols February 01, 2020



In the first intermediate period, or feudal age (from 2190 to 2040 B.C.), it can be said that there was already an institutionalized education, in which young people were entrusted to a person professionally dedicated to them. But above all to physical education. 

According to the above, one of the great phrases of that period was: "Be an artist of the word, so that you may be powerful. Language is the sword of man, a speech is stronger than any other weapon. As can be seen, the word begins to be given great meaning on a social and intellectual level, that is, the methodological strategy consisted of the written text and memoristic learning, which was developed with the teacher sitting on a mat, and with the students around him; the students used to chant together the texts, which they had to learn; a custom destined to be perpetuated for millennia. 

In the Middle Kingdom, the book still follows as an important tool by which its teaching becomes more and more frequent and generalized. It belongs to the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, or Theban period (20401786 B.C.), the classical text of wisdom teaching used in schools, the Kemit or Summa. It is the text of a scribe who educates a scribe, or a parent who educates his own child. 

The social fortune of the scribe, like his wisdom, resides in books: and this wisdom is culture, knowledge, literature, scholarship, and the school is the place where books are studied to become scribes. 

In the age of the Hyksos, (17851580 B.C.) appears the passage from wisdom to culture or instruction. The teaching is characterized by the increasing appreciation of the book as an instrument of instruction. 

On the other hand, during this period great interest arose in early childhood education, with the maternal care that it entails, prolonged breastfeeding and attention to the infant's natural needs. Then follows the separation of the child from his mother to attend school, which appears more and more clearly as a public instruction, separated from the family. 

At the end of this period, for the nobles there was also a physical education, especially swimming, gymnastic-sporting or military activities: archery, running, hunting of wild animals and fishing. Physical education is indeed a preparation for war and a prerogative of the dominant groups, as is "oratory" education. 

The New Kingdom. At this time the definition of the school is presented, the literary tradition appears as the great heritage to inherit and identify with, and the authors as the perpetual model to reproduce. A book is better than a registered school, better than a solidly built wall. 

The profession of scribe appears, in a characteristic way, destined to those whose physique is weak. Many of these new teachings are in the form of a letter sent by an obviously older, and therefore wiser, scribe to a younger, still apprentice scribe. 

The object of the teaching is no longer only to speak well, that is, political oratory actively exercised in councils and assemblies, but to learn "all the rules of the courtiers," that is, now obedience and submission are disproportionately extolled. 

There was an education proper to the caste of priests, which was transmitted from fathers to sons and consisted mainly of the sacred letters", which are not better defined than the "common knowledge", not exclusive to priests and spread among the laity, consisting essentially of scientific-practical teachings.
Egyptian Symbols
Egyptian Symbols



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