University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Ancient Egypt vs. Canada
Ancient Egyptians are very interesting people. They were very successful and very powerful. Life in ancient Egypt was not easy. They grew their own food and made their own clothes. They did as best they could with what they had. Life in Canada seems easy compared to ancient Egypt. Their cuisine, clothing, language, government, schooling and contributions to their society were different from ours. For my essay I have written about each of these and seen the differences and similarities between ancient Egypt and Canada. The Egyptians made their clothing from plant fibers, linen, and sometimes cotton. Because of the hot and sunny climate in Egypt, people had to wear thin lightweight clothes. The ancient Egyptians loved all forms of jewelry including necklaces, rings, anklets, and bracelets. Men usually dressed in short linen kilts, sometimes with a band of cloth over their shoulder. Women wore long fitted linen dresses. Ordinary Egyptians wore coarse linen while the richer Egyptians dressed in lighter finer cloth. Children did not wear clothes until the age of maturity, which was around twelve. Once they turned twelve they wore the same clothes as men and women. The ancient Egyptians were barefoot most of the time but wore sandals for special occasions or if their feet were getting sore. The clothing in Canada varies because of the weather. The temperature in Canada ranges from +40 degrees to -40 degrees. Some materials used to make clothes are wool, nylon, cotton, leather, and synthetic. In the summer, people wear light clothing made from cotton like shorts, t-shirts, runners or sandals. In the spring, it would be a bit cooler so more layers would be worn. In the winter, people wear insulated jackets or parkas. To keep our head and hands warm we would wear toques, mittens, gloves and scarves. We wear insulated boots or shoes in very cold weather. In the fall, people wear leather coats or lighter jackets. The difference between these two lifestyles is that the Ancient Egyptians have one type of weather all year round while we have four different seasons. A similarity would be that we both wear light clothing in the summertime.
Ancient Egyptian cuisine covers a span of over three thousand years. It has been assumed that the wealthy would have two to three meals a day. Food could be prepared by stewing, baking, boiling, grilling, frying or roasting. Spices were added for flavor. Foods such as meats were mostly preserved by salting, and raisins could be dried for long-term storage. Honey was the main sweetener but was expensive. Honey could be collected from the wild or from domesticated bees kept in pottery hives. Barley was grown to make bread and beer. The vegetables they ate were lettuce, celery, cucumber, gourds, turnips, peas, beans, olives and even papyrus. The most common fruit were dates. Other fruits included figs, grapes, raisins, palm nuts and certain species of berries. Meat came from domesticated animals, game and poultry. This included partridge, quail, pigeons, ducks and geese. The most important were sheep, cattle, goats and pigs. Poultry and fish were available. Canadian cuisine varies widely from region to region. The traditional cuisine of Canada is closely related to British and American cuisine. The cuisine includes baked foods, wild game and gathered goods. Some examples of Canadian foods are roast beef with Yorkshire pudding (popular with Anglo-Canadians), pea soup from Quebec and toutins from Newfoundland. Wild game are still hunted and eaten by many Canadians. Seal meat is eaten, particularly in the Canadian North, the Maritimes and Newfoundland. Wild fowl like partridge and ptarmigan are also regularly hunted. People also eat seafood, which includes salmon, lobster, mussels, pickerel and halibut. We also consume fruits like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, apples and bananas. Sweets like pies, cakes, cookies and pudding and other baked goods are eaten as dessert. The main beverages of Canadians are water, tea, coffee, juice, milk and alcoholic beverages. A comparison between these two cuisines would be that both Egyptians and Canadians eat the same game animals and meats, and we both have the same main beverages. A difference would be that Canada has multicultural foods while Egypt has only one cuisine. Ancient Egyptian Government was dominated by a single man, the Pharaoh. The position was inherited and was passed down to the eldest of the king’s chief wife. The people believed that the king was more than a man, however, but that he was a god. This gave him absolute control over the affairs of the Empire and its people. Ancient Egypt was also a theocracy, which meant that it was controlled by the clergy. The Pharaoh’s advisors and ministers were almost always priests, who were considered the only ones worthy and able to carry out the god-king’s commands. As in most religious ancient societies, priests had special status above the rest of the citizens, forming a kind of nobility.
The governmental officials included the vizier (or the prime minister), the chief treasurer, the tax collector, the minister of public works, and the army commander. These officials were directly responsible to the Pharaoh. The land itself was divided up into provinces called nomes. Each nome had a governor, who was appointed by the Pharaoh and responsible to the vizier. Taxes were paid in goods and labor. Citizens were drafted into the army and into forced labor for periods of time to pay what was called a corvée (the labor tax). Slaves, mercenaries, and draftees were often used in the army. It is believed, however, that Egyptian slaves were not used to construct sacred monuments such as the Pyramids. Egyptologists were led to this conclusion by recent findings of worker burial grounds near such monuments. The workers received proper Egyptian burials whereas slaves did not. The majority of Egyptian people were peasants who worked the land along the fertile Nile flood basin. These people had no voice in their government and accepted this fact because it was backed by their religion. This mingling of religion and government is probably what kept Egypt so powerful and centralized during its high points. In Canada, the government is controlled by the prime minister. He/she is the person likely to command the confidence of the elected House of Commons. The prime minister is the leader of the political party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons in an election. He/she is head of the executive branch of the Canadian federal government. The Canadian prime minister provides leadership and direction to the government. A difference between these two governments is that being a pharaoh is an inherited role whereas in Canada people elect their prime minister. A similarity would be that both are leaders of their entire country.
Ancient Egyptians communicated through writing and language. The history of hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt is believed to date back as far as 3000 B.C. Ancient Egyptian writing uses more than 2,000 hieroglyphic characters. Each character represents a common object in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptian language is a Northern Afro-Asiatic language that is closed related to the Berber and Semitic languages. A multitude of languages are spoken in Canada, but English and French are the most common. About 67% speak English while 22% speak French. About 20% percent of Canadians have a language other than English or French as their first language. The top five languages in Canada are English, French, Chinese, Punjabi, and Spanish. A similarity would be that both countries have written and oral language. A difference would be
that their writing is made by using pictures while we use letters.
There were schools in ancient Egypt, but hardly anyone went to them. Girls were not allowed to go to school at all. They learned everything they needed to know at home from their mothers. Boys in wealthy families started school at the age of four. Before a child started school, his father decided what his career would be in the future. Children at school were only taught the subjects that would be useful in their career. Education in Canada is generally divided into elementary, secondary, and post-secondary. Education is compulsory up to age 16 in most provinces. You start school at the age of four or five and continue up to age eighteen. Major subjects in school are language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and physical education. The school systems of most provinces have twelve grades. One similarity would be that in both countries you start at age four or five. A difference would be that in Egypt you go to school for about five years whereas in Canada you attend for about thirteen years. Second, Egyptian parents choose careers for their sons. In Canada students choose their own careers. Third, both boys and girls go to school in Canada while only boys went to school in ancient Egypt.
One of the ways Egyptians contributed to society was building better houses. The earliest inhabitants of Egypt lived in huts made from papyrus reeds. However, they soon discovered that the mud left behind after the yearly flooding of the Nile could be made into bricks, which could be used for building. Another contribution would be that the ancient Egyptians made dams. Before the dams were built, the Nile River flooded each year during the summer. These floods brought high water plus natural nutrients and minerals that continuously enriched the fertile soil along the river. As Egypt`s population grew and conditions changed, there became a need to control the flood waters to both protect and support farmland and economically important cotton fields. With the reservoir storage provided by these dams, the floods could be lessened and the water could be stored for later release. Pyramids marked the introduction of engineering and architecture. They represented a new way of building larger structures. Knowledge of astronomy was necessary to orient the pyramids to the cardinal
points. Canadians contribute to their society in many ways. CANADARM, which was invented in Canada, is used in space exploration. Canada has also manufactured some communications satellites. The Blackberry cell phone was invented in our country and has become a big success in communication. Canadian technology has played an important role in the extraction of crude oil from the tar sands in Northern Alberta.
I think that Canada contributed more to our common way of living because we have more freedom to think, experiment, and be creative. If you have freedom, you can learn new skills and contribute to society. Our educational system provides equal opportunity for males and females. I believe that Canada is more successful than Egypt because its immigration policy has allowed highly skilled people to move here and contribute to society. Immigrants bring new ideas to our country, which helps make Canada more successful.Overall, I think life in Canada is better because we now have the knowledge and technology, which helps us make our lives easier. However, I also believe that the Egyptians worked hard for what they had and deserve great credit to the huge success of their compelling and powerful country.
By Christine Rehaluk