The Relationship Between People and Animals in Ancient Egypt

There was no division, which was being made in terms of the gender, but there was division, which was made, only based on the classes of the society. Both the gender that belonged to the same class will be treated equally. The people were given a very good status in the home and they were mostly housed in the mud brick house and will be very useful in carrying out the various works in the home like making the food and other stuffs.

The relationship between people and animals in ancient Egypt was considered to most happening with all the more dependence of one on other. The usage of animals to carryout various tasks such as pulling of weights were important in carrying out overall buildup of the structure. One cannot forget the building of huge structures like pyramid at the Egyptian civilizations. These were carried out with the support of the animals. The huge elephants were utilized to drag huge stones and building blocks over a large distance. Also this was considered to be most featuring sign when it comes to talk about the relationship between people and animals in ancient Egypt.

This is one of the important stages in the history of the ancient Egypt, since there were lots of developmental activities, which were taking place in the field of the agriculture. There was building of the pyramid and the sphinx during this period and this stage is also being referred to as the pyramid age. The farming advancement made the progress in the social life during this period. All these activities included the involvement of the animals. Elephants and other huge sized animals have given a large hand in summing up all these operations to net success in most organized manner with the available resources.

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In ancient Egypt, the relationship between people and animals went far beyond mere coexistence. Animals held a significant place in the hearts, minds, and daily lives of the Egyptians. They were revered, worshipped, and even incorporated into religious beliefs and rituals. The deep connection between people and animals in ancient Egypt played a vital role in shaping their culture, spirituality, and even their perception of the natural world.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the relationship between people and animals in ancient Egypt was the reverence and worship of certain animal species. Certain animals were associated with specific deities, embodying their attributes and serving as their earthly representatives. For example, the goddess Bastet was often depicted with the head of a lioness or as a domesticated cat, symbolizing her qualities of protection and fertility. Cats were highly regarded and even considered sacred, with severe punishments for harming them. The cult of the cat goddess Bastet was prevalent, and her temples in cities like Bubastis attracted numerous pilgrims.

Similarly, the god Horus, often represented with the head of a falcon, was associated with kingship and protection. Falcons and falconry held a special place in ancient Egyptian culture. Falconry was not only a means of hunting but also a symbol of royal authority and divine connection. The falcon was revered for its grace, keen eyesight, and ability to soar high in the sky, qualities associated with the god Horus.

The Nile River, a lifeline for ancient Egypt, fostered a symbiotic relationship between people and animals. The river provided a rich ecosystem, supporting a variety of aquatic life such as fish, crocodiles, and hippos. The ancient Egyptians relied on the Nile for sustenance, transportation, and irrigation for agriculture. They worshipped the Nile as a deity, personifying it as the god Hapi. Nile animals, particularly crocodiles and hippos, were both respected and feared. They were associated with the chaotic and dangerous aspects of nature, and rituals were conducted to placate and protect against their potential harm.

Animals also played a role in religious rituals and funerary practices. Ancient Egyptians believed in an afterlife and the preservation of the body. The process of mummification was extended to animals, particularly pets and sacred animals. Cats, dogs, birds, and even crocodiles were mummified and buried with their human counterparts. These animals were believed to accompany the deceased in the afterlife or serve as offerings to the gods.

Beyond their religious and symbolic significance, animals had practical roles in ancient Egyptian society. Dogs were kept as companions and guard animals, aiding in protecting homes and properties. They were also employed in hunting expeditions, assisting in the capture of game. Cats were valued for their ability to control pests, particularly rats and mice, ensuring the protection of food supplies and preventing the spread of diseases.

The relationship between people and animals in ancient Egypt extended to their artistic expressions as well. Animals were a common motif in art, appearing in paintings, sculptures, and hieroglyphics. They were depicted with meticulous attention to detail, capturing their physical characteristics and natural behaviors. Animal imagery was employed to convey symbolic meanings and narratives, providing insights into the ancient Egyptians’ perception of the world around them.

The profound connection between people and animals in ancient Egypt reflects the cultural and spiritual beliefs of this civilization. Animals were not mere companions or resources; they were regarded as sacred beings with inherent qualities worthy of reverence. The Egyptians’ relationship with animals influenced their religious practices, artistic expressions, and daily interactions with the natural world.

Today, the legacy of the relationship between people and animals in ancient Egypt continues to inspire awe and admiration. It reminds us of the interconnectedness of all living beings and the importance of recognizing and respecting the animals with whom we share our planet. The ancient Egyptians’ reverence for animals serves as a timeless reminder of the profound bond that can exist between humans and the animal kingdom.

Wikipedia: Ancient Egypt
History Channel: Ancient Egypt
Live Science: Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt for Kids
British Museum: Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt