Does Geography Determine Destiny?


Specialization and Social Systems

Ancient Egyptian civilization developed with many areas of specialization much like other civilizations. When you have specialization of labor, or a variety jobs that are critical to the function of the civilization, different societies treat these talented artisans in their own ways. The rank or level of these specialists led to social hierarchies throughout the ancient world. A social hierarchy is sometimes referred to as a social pyramid. This is because it has just a few people on the top but many people at its foundation.

The social pyramid was a complex way of keeping order in Ancient Egypt. These classes of people were integral in both the government and faith of the civilization. The place of each person in the pyramid was largely determined by birth. Very few Egyptians moved up to a higher level in the social pyramid; a unique specialization, or skill was needed to be elevated from the level of their family. The viziers assisted the pharaohs and coordinated the collection of taxes and managed the work crews. The high priests had an amazing amount of power because the Egyptian people lived by just one faith. Officials, merchants, and scribes had unique talents that provided many of the needs and wants of their culture. The craftsmen created the products which were bought and sold and lended their skills to the massive decorative crafts like jewelry making and architectural design. Of course, the bottom of the pyramid had the greatest number of people, and these Egyptians worked hard throughout their lives with little freedoms and privileges. This lowest level workers farmed the fields and completed all the building projects for the pharaohs.