|These people in the gayly painted picture of the market place on the
chapel wall were the common folk of Egypt in the Pyramid Age. Some of them
were free men, following their own business or industry. Others were slaves,
working the fields on the great estates. Neither of these humble classes
owned any. land.. Over them were the landowners, the Pharaoh and his great
lords and officials, like the owner of this tomb (Fig.
42). We know many more of them by name, and a walk through this
cemetery would enable us to make a directory of the wealthy quarter of
the royal city under the kings who were buried in these pyramids of Gizeh.
We know the grand viziers and the chief treasurers, the chief judges and
the architects, the chamberlains and marshals of the palace, and so on.
We can even visit the tomb of the architect who built the Great Pyramid
of Gizeh for Khufu.
We can observe with what pleasure these nobles and officials presided over this busy industrial and social life of the Nile valley in the Pyramid Age. Here on this chapel wall again we see its owner seated at ease in his palanquin, a luxurious wheel-less carriage borne upon the shoulders of slaves, as he returns from the inspection of his estate where we have been following him. His bearers carry him into the shady garden before his house (Fig. 51), where they set down the palanquin and cease their song.1 His wife advances at once to greet him. Her place is always at his side; she is his sole wife, held in all honor, and enjoys every right which belongs to her husband. This garden is the nobleís paradise. Here he may recline for an hour of leisure with his family and friends, playing at draughts, listening to the music of harp, pipe, and lute, watching his women in the slow and stately dances of the time, while his children are sporting about among the arbors, splashing in the pool as they chase the fish, playing with ball, doll, and jumping jack, or teasing the tame monkey which takes refuge under their fatherís ivory-legged stool.
1 Recorded, with other songs, on the tomb-chapel walls.
society in the