Term 3: An ancient African society: Egypt

The spread of Egypt’s knowledge

Ancient Egyptian were amongst the first to record stories, love poetry and dramas. The Greeks also benefited from and were influenced by Egyptians  sculpture and architecture. Their understanding of astronomy was very advanced, and this knowledge was passed on to the generations that followed.

Note to educators: The section will be updated at a later stage.

Papyrus fragment from Egypt

Shall I tell you of the mason, how he suffers his wretchedness? He is exposed to all weathers when he builds, his body bared to the waist. His arms are weary from the work; his food lies between his excreta; he devours himself, for he has no other bread than his fingers. He is dreadfully tired, for there is always a block of stone that must be dragged to this building or that, a block of six or ten ells; all the way to the top of the scaffolding where the bunch of lotus flowers is attached when the house is finished. When the work is quit done, he goes home if he has bread,and his children have been mercilessly beaten during his absence.

From Ernst Fisher, The Necessity of Art, pp. 132-133

Last updated : 01-Feb-2012

This article was produced for South African History Online on 01-Feb-2012