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Iconography of a Papyrus
Reading Hieroglyphs
The Scribe

School Link - The Scribe

In comparison to the Farmers life, the Scribe came from the upper classes of Egyptians. Educated in the Egyptian language known today as hieratic. The scribe lived a life span of approximately 40 – 55 years of age, where as the Egyptian Farmer would most probably die of Nile worms between 30 – 35 years of age. The role of the Scribe was to collect taxes of behalf of the king. During the seasons of Peret and Shemu the scribe would visit the farmers to Asses the tax payable to the king. Taxes were measured commodities; the Egyptians did not have a coinage system of payment until the Greek period of Egyptian history. So taxes were paid in measures of wheat, barley, linen etc. The scribe was responsible for the delivery of the taxes at the end of the season of Shemu when the scribe would return to collect Taxes.

This made the Egyptian scribes, the evil tax collectors of their day. From the time of the assessment of the farmers growing crop all sorts of unfortunate things might happen. Locusts, birds and other pests could eat or damage the crop, unforeseen weather conditions might affect the success of the harvest, never the less, what ever happened when the scribe returned he would collect his taxes for his majesty the king. Defaulters of tax as they were called are often seen in scenic relief’s receiving beatings from the scribe’s men until the taxes are paid. Once the harvest was collected from the fields it was taken back to the farmers house were the crop was threshed to remove the vital grains and willowed to remove the chaff from the grains. Grains were stored in white mud brick silos to keep the grain dry and safe. Because Egypt is mainly dessert country this would attract rats and mice towards these sources of food, for this reason we can understand why the Egyptians decided upon the domestication of cats to protects there grain crops. Scribes recorded everything on papyrus paper during interviews for official purposes.