Examin the daily lives of the inhabitants of Deir el-Medina and assess the extent to which religion was a dominant force in their lives.

Essay by princess7High School, 11th gradeA-, August 2003

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The ancient Egyptian village of Deir el Medina was discovered and excavated over a long period of time to finally reveal one of the richest sources of archaeological and written evidence regarding the New Kingdom in Egypt. It was a special community of craftsmanship; the highly skilled villagers working together in harmony to produce artistic architectural wonders. Located against the desert cliffs and enclosed within a wall, the village was divided by two parallel streets off which opened rows of deep, narrow houses. The settlement contained about 70 small houses within the walls, all of mud brick with stone foundations. The nature of employment required a level of secrecy that was provided by their location and isolation. By observing their daily lives it is evident that the people of this village were highly dependent on and influenced by their religion.

The religious beliefs of the inhabitants of Deir el Medina centred on Ra, the almighty sun god and greatest of all the gods.

They believed that Ra had created an efficient and fair world for them to live in where people shared his love. Also in existence was an evil world of demons and disorder which tried conscientiously to oppose Ra's good creations. In their opinion, keeping the good world safe required the harmony of humans and gods -it was their duty to work together with the gods, supporting them in their struggle against the evil world. Pharaohs built elaborate temples for the gods in order to keep them happy, because as long as the people and the gods kept a strong connection, their world would remain protected. Their religion also involved a fixation with the after-life and their preparations for it. When a person died, it was believed that they journeyed to Osiris (the green-faced ruler of the underworld)...