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Geography/Ancient Egypt

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Question
Dear Mr. Salier,

Hello!  I am in 5th grade.  I was wondering if you could answer some of these questions about ancient Egypt.

What different punishments did the Egyptians have for people who broke the law? Why did Egyptians always paint side profiles instead of front perspective?  How much effort was put into the ancient pyramids?  How do YOU think they were built?  Finally, why do you think ancient Egyptian culture is still important today?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Heidi

Answer
Hi Heidi

The punishments depended on if they broke religious law or other non-religious laws.  If they broke religious law then they had to make specific restitution to the "god" that was offended by the breaking of the law.  Restitution could be the sacrifice of an animal or perhaps part of the grain crop or perhaps something of value.  If a non-religious law was broken, then the punishment could be having to give a period of time to the service of the Pharaoh or perhaps being sold into slavery.  Other punishments were being flogged (whipped) or in some cases depending on the severity of the crime, death.

Front perspective was also painted but was more often reserved for statuary.  The image of an individual's face was considered sacred and was reserved for high ranking individuals.

It probably took more then 20,000 men 20 years to build the pyramid of Kufu.  Somewhat less time for the others.  The Ancient Egyptians were master builders.  Once they established a level across the foundation of the structure, the rest was a matter of geometry and a lot of stones.
So, there is no real mystery how these were built.  

Why is this culture still important today?  Because, it is an illustration that a culture with relatively simple tools and technology could achieve amazing architecture, science, agriculture, a written language and a civilization that lasted over 2000 years.  

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Ralph Salier

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20+ years in Business Anthropology working all over the world. Background in Archaeology and Anthropology.

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Education/Credentials
MA Anthropology, Proximics

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