Ancient Egypt for Kids
Farming & Farmers
In ancient Egypt, for the most part, whatever job your father had, you had. If he was a farmer, mostly probably, when you grew up, you would become a farmer. If he was a soldier, most probably, that was your future as well. In ancient Egypt, jobs were inherited.
Farmers divided planned their time around 3 seasons - the flooding season, the growing season, and the harvest season.
The Flooding Season: Each spring, snow on the mountains would melt. The Nile River would flood. This was a very good thing. When the flood waters receded, they left behind fertile soil. Crops could easily be grown in this black, rich soil. The ancient Egyptians called this soil the "The Gift of the Nile".
The Growing Season: Farmers planted wheat, barley, vegetables, figs, melons, pomegranates, corn, and flax (which they used to make into linen.)
The Harvest Season: Once the crops were harvested, what could be dried or stored was stored. The Egyptians were very practical people. They knew they had to save what food they could in case the Nile did not flood! After the harvest, farmers repaired the canals that led water from the Nile to their crops, to get ready for the next flooding season.
Farming was not as easy as it might sound in ancient Egypt. Tools were simple. Cattle needed care to be useful. Snakes and jackals roamed the fields. Farmers had to barter a great many of their harvested crops for the things and animals they needed to plant more crops. There was little chance of life improvement. With only rare exceptions, once a farmer, always a farmer. That's how things were done in ancient Egypt.