The history of slavery in Egypt depicts different reaction among several history scholars. This is because slavery periods consist of different occurrences and shifts in character of slavery in the country. “Slavery period was remarkable and one of worst moments in human right violation in the world”(Simpson, 91). This is because it makes a period of tyranny, killings and share treating of fellow human being worse than a pet. This paper takes a critical analysis of slavery in ancient Egypt and its dramatic Shift in the character over a period of time. “The day of an Egyptian slave was all about hard work” (Simpson, 112). They dedicated most of their life working for their masters. Slaves were considered as peasants, and were never respected. They did not own any property in the country. In addition, “they depended so much on their masters, who were usually rich Egyptians, for their survival and day to day living” (Simpson, 23). Ownership of Slaves was assign of wealth and respect in the society. However, this perception and treatment changed with a paradigm shift in slavery character in the country.
According to Simpson, (39) “these slaves were from the foreign countries which were occupied by the Egyptians. Most of the slaves were children and women. They were kept busy all day long”. Slaves worked at the construction sites when they did not have any work in the farms. In the dry seasons, they used to build pyramids in lieu of food. When there are no crops, mostly in the dry season, the slaves helped to build pyramids or homes of Egyptians. Some historians believe that the slaves were treated harshly when the pyramids were being constructed. While others contend that the slaves were treated quite well compared to other parts of the world were slavery was also present.
The free slaves used to help to take heavy blocks to construct the pyramids. However, with all the hard work, slaves were treated well as human beings. The slaves of Egypt did not have any obligations to their masters. They used to have as much freedom as any Egyptian. They played an important role in helping to develop ancient Egypt. They worked hard in the fields in the farming seasons and to build pyramids in the dry seasons.”August 13 was called Ides of the Sixth Month by the Romans until it was renamed as August after Augustus” (Simpson, 211). Simpson (213), states that, “the Ides of the Sixth Month was the day of Goddess Diana. It was day when all slaves across ancient Egypt were given a holiday to rest and relax”. This was a great shift to wards development in the recognition of slaves’ rights.
Capture and treatment of slaves
Simpson, (39) illustrates that, “there were apparently times when order was barely enforced and people”. “In a letter from the late New Kingdom the owner of such kidnap victims complained to the trader from whom he had purchased them, that the woman’s family had come to claim her and he demanded compensation” (Simpson, 212).Similar events occured during the Roman periods, when policing was in the hands of the Roman army instead of the professional police force which had come into existence in the second millennium BCE (Simpson, 95). This dramatic incidence marks the beginning of a paradigm shift in slavery character and treatment of slaves in ancient Egypt.
Slavery in Egypt experienced changes in treatment of slaves as the slave owners adopted respect for the slaves. This was seen in treatment in terms of the number of working hours which was reduced. In addition, slaves were even given holiday and treated with respect. It is on the basis of these occurrences that one sees that slavery took a shift in character in the country.
Simpson, W. Kelly .The literature of ancient Egypt: an anthology of stories, instructions, stelae, autobiographies, and poetry. New York: University Press, 2003