The pharaoh chose a group of loyal assistants to help carry out his orders. These government officials assisted the pharaoh directly and advised him in matters about society.
These officials lived lives of luxury with banquets and feasts (at these feasts they didn't have eating utensils, so they ate with their hands!). Government officials were very wealthy and well respected in ancient Egypt.
Officials could inherit positions of power from family members, or earn it through displays of hard work and loyalty. They were sometimes relatives to the pharaoh.
There were three important positions in the group: vizier, the chief treasurer, and the general of the armies.
The vizier was second-in-command to the pharaoh. He also acted as the chief judge in cases, and was supposed to remain neutral on issues.
The chief treasurer was responsible for the government's wealth and collecting taxes. In ancient Egypt, however, they paid in goods, not in money, such as cloth, grain, animals, and silver.
The general of armies was the top military commander in Egypt after the pharaoh. His job was to advise the pharaoh in matters of war and national security, such as makingalliances with other kingdoms.
Earning your Position
Many government officials inherited their positions from their family members. Do you think this was a fair system of choosing government officials?
Can you imagine a world in which there was no money, and paying was done by trading goods and services.