In ancient Egypt, the government was incorporated with religion. The pharaoh represented the gods’ divinity and was the primary leader of the state. The king was surrounded by other government officials who obtained these administrative positions due to being a friend or favored person.
The Vizier was the official directly under the pharaoh. He had a variety of responsibilities to uphold. He was to be the head of administration and at many times the chief priest. This position was in charge of the reservoirs and food supply, repairing malfunctions while supervising conservational industries, and keeping track of the cattle and herd census. When there was a domestic dispute regarding territories, the Vizier was the person who mediated. In order for any documentation or records to be considered official, they had to be finalized with the seal of the Vizier. The king selected this candidate carefully because they had to be someone the king could trust. They were usually in contact with the king more than any other government official or family member, usually discussing important political matters.
Ancient Egypt had many positions within their government. Under the Vizier were the high priests. Under the high priests were the royal overseers who were basically anyone spread throughout the government in positions such as law enforcement, military, or working in the court. Then other political positions consisted of chief treasures and the general of armies.
The high priests were the most influential people in Egyptian affairs. They were appointed by the pharaoh and ran normal lives with their wives and children. Their duties did not include continuous preaching, but tending to the needs of the gods in local temples. They also served as the pharaohs political advisors under the chief priest, the vizier. The high priests had appointed priests to carry out duties in other temples as well.
Even though there was not much money at this time in Egypt, taxes were still enforced. The Scribe was in charge of the taxation system. Tax collectors would go to the Scribe to inform him on the amounts that had been collected. Many people paid through work or goods depending on their specialized field. Hunters could pay their taxes with game, farmers could pay with crops, fisherman could pay with fish, and others paying with their services. Everyone had to pay a mandatory labor tax. This tax contributed to the mining or canal work.
The people were placed in categories much like in today’s society. The upper class consisted of the pharaoh and the other government officials. The middle class included craftsman, merchants, and traders. The lower class was the farmers and unskilled workers. Then there were the prisoners who were mainly slaves captured from other states. Workers often had the confidence to assemble workforce strikes, but when it came to their government, they usually did not rebel. The people of ancient Egypt did not challenge their government and kept silent about any deep political issues. Though people today have no problem rebelling against the government, the bureaucratic hierarchical structure of modern government can be traced back to ancient Egypt.
By Brittany Varner-Miller