Quite literally translated, pharaoh means “big house.” But the meaning of the word pharaoh stretches far beyond that! The Pharaoh was essentially the ruler, or king, of Egypt. The Egyptians thought that the pharaoh was the incarnation of one of their gods, named Ra. Because pharaoh was thought to be a god, it was his job to protect the people of Egypt and maintain the balance and justice in the lands. However, it was also the pharaoh’s job to make the laws that the Egyptians had to follow. Would you be a just ruler of the people? Do you think that you can come up with some laws that the pharaoh might have made?
There were all different kinds of pharaohs in Ancient Egypt. Tutankhamen, otherwise known as King Tut, was only nine years old when he became pharaoh! He ruled Egypt for nine years, but he became really popular when his tomb and mummy were discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. His tomb was full of gold and all kinds of treasures! To learn more about the Boy King, be sure to check out the video HERE! The pharaoh by the name Hatshepsut was also special, because she was a woman! Hatshepsut was the Queen of Egypt, but when her husband died, she became the pharaoh herself! If you want to learn more about the Woman who Became King, check out the video HERE!
There were a LOT of pharaohs throughout Egypt’s history. Menes was the person who united Egypt into one kingdom. Narmer was the first pharaoh of the unified kingdom. We talked about Khufu in our first lesson; he built the Great Pyramid! Akenaten and Nefertiti ruled together during a time when Egypt was changing. Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of Egypt. Now that is a lot of names and a lot of people! Let’s see if you can find some of those names!
Because the pharaoh was such an important person, the scribes wanted to protect him. Scribes were the people who wrote down the important things. So they would write down what the pharaoh had done, accomplished or ordered. That means that they were writing the pharaoh’s name a lot. So what could a scribe to to protect the pharaoh? Well, they could put a protective symbol around the pharaoh’s name! The protective symbol looked kind of like an oval around the name with a line across the bottom. Now the name was written in Egyptian hieroglyphics, so it would have looked like the symbols below. Do you think that you have what it takes to be a scribe? Well, why don’t you give it a try! From the chart below, you can find the hieroglyphic letters that spell out your name, then you can “carve” them into some clay. Using that clay you can construct your own cartouche, just like the one seen here!
Being pharaoh came with a lot of responsibility. You had to take good care of all the people in the kingdom. But being pharaoh also came with a lot of benefits! Pharaohs had a very special set of clothing. They did not wear the same thing that all the other Egyptians wore. They would have worn something very fancy to show their royalty and power! Now, I will give you an opportunity to dress just like the pharaoh! Or, you can color your own pharaoh! Can you create a headdress worthy of the pharaoh? Make sure that it is as fancy and colorful as you can! The printable headdress pictured below is available here!
Now that you know who the pharaoh was, what he did, and who some of them were, you’re pretty fit to be pharaoh yourself! While I can’t make you pharaoh, I can make you FEEL like a king of Ancient Egypt! While you wear your royal headdress, grab mom or dad and make some food that the Egyptian pharaoh would have eaten! With this bread recipe, you can taste part of ancient history, and you can even add honey or fruit jam!
Well, I hope you enjoyed learning about Ancient Egypt! Be sure too come back tomorrow when we start learning about the American Presidents! Tomorrow, be sure to see “Here Comes George!”