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The city of Caesarea, located on the Israeli coastal plain near the city of Hadera, is known for the lavish lifestyle of certain contemporary residents. But it is not just the rich and famous in today’s today that enjoyed such a luxurious lifestyle. As more ancient discoveries are made, archaeologists have begun piecing together the details of how people lived in biblical times , and it was no less extravagant.
Caesarea was built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BCE as the port city Caesarea Maritima. It served as an administrative center of Judaea Province of the Roman Empire, and later the capital of the Byzantine Palaestina Prima province during the classic period, a time when residents engaged in sumptuous eating, drinking, dressing and the housing customs of the wealthy.
The Jewish sages were usually wealthy, which allowed them to ponder the fine points of law all day long – questions such as ‘what does it mean to be rich?’ According to Rabbit Yosi, a rich person was “whoever has a toilet near his table.” At Sepphoris in the Galilee, archaeologists discovered just such a toilet near the dining hall of a wealthy Roman villa.
Roman homes of the wealthy were incredibly spacious and were decorated with mosaics and water features. Sizable homes have been found at Bethsaida; one was complete with a wine cellar, near the Sea of Galilee. The homes of the rural rich had spacious grounds on which were often found an olive press, grape press, and a family tomb.
In ancient times, the domain of wealthy women was in their fine homes. Thus, women looking out of windows became a common motif in ancient literature. Going back to biblical times, David’s wife Michal disparagingly watched him cavort through a window and there is a poignant reference to the mother of Israel’s Canaanite enemy, Sisera, looking in vain for his return from battle through a window lattice.
Servants, of course were also a necessity – some wealthy country landlords could have had at least 50 living on their premises. According to the Mishnah, the more servants a woman had, the less she had to do herself. One servant liberated her from baking, two from cooking and breast-feeding. Four allowed her to “sit all day in a chair.” But even if she had 100 servants, she still was still required to weave, so she would not become “idle,” the sages decreed.
While the poor had to make do with natural earth tones in their clothing, the rich could afford dyed textiles. Purple dye, made from the murex snail, was particularly costly: thus in Roman times, by wearing purple, the wealthy advertised their supposedly enviable bloodlines. In those days, “purple-blooded” meant what blue-blood means today.
The wealthy, both men and women, oiled their hair. Psalm 133 compares the pleasantness of brotherly love to “oil running down the beard of Aaron.” That was one expensive custom in Roman times, where in the New Testament a woman famously pours costly oil on Jesus’ head – amounting to “more than a year’s wages”.
In discussion of permitted activities on the Sabbath, women’s hairdos were apparently so intricately braided that they contravened the laws of building on the Sabbath day!
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (Good Charlotte song)
"Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" is a song written by Benji Madden, Joel Madden and Tim Armstrong for Good Charlotte's second studio album The Young and the Hopeless. It was released as the first single from the album in late 2002 in the United States and in early 2003 for the worldwide market. Upon its release, the single reached a peak of number 20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and charted within the top 40 in several European countries, Australia, and New Zealand.
1800-1860: Lifestyles, Social Trends, Fashion, Sports & Recreation: Overview
The Old West. For white Americans in the early nineteenth century the West represented many things. For some it offered adventure or a chance to get rich quick for others, the opportunity to own land. The stock figures of the Old West remain in American memory: the mountain man, the hardy pioneer, the immigrant on the Overland Trail, the gambler, and the gold miner. However, when Americans advanced into what they thought of as wilderness, they were entering a land with a long history. For uncounted generations Native American peoples had created their own cultures and told their own stories about the land on which they lived. Whites and Native Americans sometimes met peacefully, but more often disease and warfare took a heavy toll on the original inhabitants of the West. The West was also home to Spanish and Mexican settlers. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California would become states of the Union, but in 1800 they were claimed by Spain. They would in turn pass to Mexico, which gained its independence in 1821. Conflicts between expansionist Americans and Mexicans would eventually lead to war.
Travel. Americans who sought to go west expected the trip to be difficult. By 1860 railroads extended from the East to Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Joseph, St. Louis, and Memphis, but travel was still timeconsuming. Rail gauges were not standardized, requiring the loading and unloading of cargo. Delays were common, and rail travel was still too expensive for many Americans. The first transcontinental railroad would be completed in 1869, but until then Americans who wanted to go from the East to the Rocky Mountains or Pacific relied on human and animal power. The 250,000 to 500,000 individuals who traveled on the overland trails anxiously watched the health of their horses and livestock as they crossed the plains and mountains.
Hardships. Life was often precarious for the peoples of the West. Native Americans feared disease, enemy attacks, drought, and hunger. They also faced the pressing problem of white immigration into the West. Trade, diplomacy, and warfare all seemed unable to slow the influx of Americans onto the plains. The Mexican and Spanish residents of the Southwest faced some of the same problems. Americans who moved into Texas brought an assumption of superiority with them, and tensions sometimes flared into violence. Americans in the West, like other peoples, faced hardships. Western farmers suffered through drought and dust storms while cholera epidemics devastated the wagon trains. Miners found cold and poverty more often than they found gold. Settlers in the West also suffered from loneliness and missing friends and family left behind.
Social Life and Sport. The inhabitants of the West faced hardships, but they also enjoyed social gatherings and sports. Observers commented on the wide variety of games played by Native Americans. Native Americans enjoyed lacrosse, shinny, and games of chance. White settlers seldom played the team sports that were gaining popularity in the East. Rather than baseball, for example, Westerners favored rough-and-tumble sports such as wrestling and gouging. Shooting contests were also popular as men sought to prove their skills. Women found fewer opportunities for sport although they were sometimes able to socialize in bees and “ frolics. ”
Diversity. The daily life of the peoples of the West reflected their diversity. A Native American in the West might belong to a people who followed the buffalo herds on the plains and praised the virtues of warriors. On the other hand, he or she might live in a relatively peaceful community in California or the Southwest. A Tlingit from the coast of what is now Alaska would have little in common with an Apache from the Southwest or a Crow from the plains. The cultures of Native Americans were not static. Members of various communities traded, fought, and intermarried with others despite vast differences in language and culture. The descendants of Europeans who came west had more similarities, but their cultures were also diverse. Recent emigrants from Germany and Ireland mingled with Kentuckians and residents of Santa Fe. For the white Americans who went west in great numbers, however, diversity was not a goal. They envisioned a West transformed by Euro-American hands, one that had little room for Native Americans or Mexicans.
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Peter T. Struck is Professor and Chair of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his AB at the University of Michigan and his MA in divinity and PhD in comparative literature from the University of Chicago. His primary research interests are in the history of ideas about the construction of meaning, with specialties in literary criticism, in divination through oracles, omens, and dreams, and in ancient notions of the organism. He is the author of Birth of the Symbol: Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their Texts and Divination and Human Nature: A Cognitive History of Intuition in Antiquity. Struck is a member of the Lapham’s Quarterly editorial board.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in the Roaring Twenties Essay Example
His novel goes into aspects of fashion, music, dance, personality’s, sports, scandals, and romance. He wrote this book shortly after his own experiences in the 1920’s after what he had witnessed and some fictional aspects as well. For the most part Great Gatsby represents the roaring 20’s and the rich and famous with a renowned representation. Many of the characters such as Gatsby and the Buchanan’s are rich and well known. Their lives are written in detail explaining what life was like for the rich and famous through Nick Caraway in the Great Gatsby.
Many of the trends from the Roaring Twenties were set or seen at the parties thrown by the rich such as Gatsby did in the novel. Many of the trends were fashion, especially women, music, and dances. Fashion had changed a lot after and during the war. Dress making and custom styles were beginning to break out. New textures and patterns created the 1920’s style. For women many more options were now acceptable. A daring new style of skirts and dresses worn above the knee were popular. 1920’s Dresses were lighter and brighter and shorter than ever before” (1920’s Womens Fashion). Jewelry and many other embellishments were added now more than ever. “An increased sense of freedom was expressed in simple yet elegant designs, with carefully selected fabrics, and an intelligent use of color” (1920’s Womens Fashion). Jazz was the sound track to the 1920’s. Another nickname for the 20’s was the Jazz Age. Jazz was a newly popular style introduced through the Harlem Renaissance when many African Americans were in search of jobs and took up music as an option.
Jazz was introduced in the south and quickly traveled all across the eastern coast of the United States. Throughout the jazz age many unforgettable musicians arose in fame composing catchy songs which became the sound track to the 20’s. Many of famous artists were musicians such as Joseph “King Oliver” Oliver, Bessie Smith, Louis Daniel Armstrong and the Fletcher Henderson Group (1920’s Music) Much of this music also had dances to accompany the music. Popular dances included the Charleston and the Black Bottom. 1920 – Blackbottom and Charleston) Much of the rich community inherited their money from old money others however invested in stocks and took up jobs on Wall Street. The stock market was booming during the middle of the 1920’s. It was a risky business but you couldn’t have noticed in the 20’s. The stocks floated up and down a few times until they climbed upwards noticeable in 1927. “The strong bull market (when prices are rising in the stock market) enticed even more people to invest. And by 1928, a stock market boom had begun. Most citizens had intentions to invest, but couldn’t afford it. Wall Street was filled with people lucky enough to earn their way to money or folks from old money. During 1929 there had been “mini-crashes” in the stock market foreshadowing the crash of 1929 known as Black Tuesday. This was the beginning of the end for the Roaring Twenties. (The Stock Market Crash of 1929) The Roaring Twenties were a decade of nonstop parties for the rich and famous. They lived extravagant lifestyles, never sobering up, or stopping the music.
It was a time for celebration after the victory of the Great War and a time to prepare for the unknown upcoming 2nd world war. It was a time of booming stocks and illegal booze. The newly invented cars and planes were the talk of the town and something to show off when you had money. Anything flashy and costly was in style and the rich indulged themselves in the extravagancies in life until the fall of the economy and the Great Depression when the luxurious life came to a quick and harsh end for many people.
Works Cited s – Blackbottom and Charleston. ” Dancetimepublications. com. Dancetime Publications, n. d. Web. 22 May 2013. “The 1920s: Lifestyles and Social Trends: Overview. ” Encyclopedia. com. N. p. , 2001. Web. 22 May 2013. ’s Music. ” 1920’s Music. N. p. , n. d. Web. 22 May 2013. Rosenberg, Jenifer. “The Stock Market Crash of 1929. ” The Stock Market Crash of 1929. About. com, n. d. Web. 22 May 2013. “Womens Fashions 1920’s. ” 1920’s Womens Fashions. 1920-30. com, n. d. Web. 22 May 2013.
Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous:
Every one of us has the earnest desire to dress well, but the rich, and the famous have the most expensive wardrobes with the newest fashion. They have the most peculiar fashion sense because they are always in the limelight, and their appearance and fashion sense is long discussed on media as well as in the public.
They have to care about what they wear because they are the trend setters of fashion for public. People try to follow famous celebrities due to their style statement, so these people are always on the lookout for trendy and most amazing stuff.
No wonder they have an exquisite fashion sense and most importantly, they have the bucks to show it as well. From Branded shirts to watches, from shoes to beauty products and accessories, they like to own everything the best of its kind. Their dashing looks and charisma add to their personality and fan following, so they are quite picky about their dressing sense.
Widowhood is not to be withered I believe.
There’s always something good in every situation GOD allows snd widowhood is not an exemption
How Do God and Christ View Women?
HOW can we have a complete picture of how Jehovah God views women? One way is to examine the attitude and conduct of Jesus Christ, who is “the image of the invisible God” and who reflects perfectly God’s view of matters. (Colossians 1:15) The dealings Jesus had with the women of his day show that Jehovah and Jesus respect women and that they certainly do not approve of the oppressive treatment that is so common in many lands today.
Consider, for example, the occasion when Jesus spoke to a woman at a well. “A woman of Samaria came to draw water,” says John’s Gospel account, and “Jesus said to her: ‘Give me a drink.’” Jesus was willing to talk with a Samaritan woman in public, even though most Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. According to The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, for Jews “conversation with a woman in a public place was particularly scandalous.” Jesus, however, treated women with respect and consideration and was neither racially prejudiced nor gender prejudiced. On the contrary, it was to the Samaritan woman that Jesus for the first time plainly identified himself as the Messiah.—John 4:7-9, 25, 26.
On another occasion Jesus was approached by a woman who for 12 years had been suffering from an embarrassing and debilitating flow of blood. When she touched him, she was instantly healed. “Jesus turned around and, noticing her, said: ‘Take courage, daughter your faith has made you well.’” (Matthew 9:22) According to the Mosaic Law, a woman in her condition was not supposed to be in a crowd of people, let alone touch others. Yet, Jesus did not berate her. Rather, he compassionately comforted her and addressed her as “daughter.” How that word must have put her heart at ease! And how happy Jesus must have been to cure her!
After Jesus was resurrected, his first appearance was to Mary Magdalene and another of his disciples, whom the Bible refers to as “the other Mary.” Jesus could have appeared first to Peter, John, or one of the other male disciples. Instead, he dignified women by allowing them to be the first eyewitnesses of his resurrection. An angel instructed them to inform Jesus’ male disciples about this astonishing event. Jesus said to the women: “Go, report to my brothers.” (Matthew 28:1, 5-10) Jesus was certainly not affected by the prejudices common to Jews of his day, according to which women could not serve as legal witnesses.
So, far from being biased against women or condoning chauvinistic attitudes toward them in any way, Jesus showed that he respected and appreciated women. Violence against them was completely contrary to what Jesus taught, and his attitude, we can be sure, was a perfect reflection of the way his Father, Jehovah, sees things.
Women Under Divine Care
“Nowhere in the ancient Mediterranean or Near East were women accorded the freedom that they enjoy in modern Western society. The general pattern was one of subordination of women to men, just as slaves were subordinate to the free, and young to old. . . . Male children were more highly esteemed than female, and baby girls were sometimes left to die by exposure.” That is how one Bible dictionary describes the prevailing attitude toward females in ancient times. In many cases, they were almost put on the same level as slaves.
The Bible was written at a time when customs reflected this attitude. Even so, divine law as expressed in the Bible showed a high regard for women, which was in marked contrast with the attitudes of many ancient cultures.
Jehovah’s concern for the welfare of women is evident from the several instances in which he acted in behalf of his female worshippers. Twice he intervened to protect Abraham’s beautiful wife, Sarah, from being violated. (Genesis 12:14-20 20:1-7) God showed favor to Jacob’s less-loved wife, Leah, by ‘opening her womb,’ so that she bore a son. (Genesis 29:31, 32) When two God-fearing Israelite midwives risked their lives to preserve Hebrew male children from infanticide in Egypt, Jehovah appreciatively “presented them with families.” (Exodus 1:17, 20, 21) He also answered Hannah’s fervent prayer. (1 Samuel 1:10, 20) And when the widow of a prophet faced a creditor who was about to take her children as slaves to pay off her debt, Jehovah did not leave her in the lurch. Lovingly, God enabled the prophet Elisha to multiply her supply of oil so that she could pay the debt and still have sufficient oil for her family. She thus preserved her family and her dignity.—Exodus 22:22, 23 2 Kings 4:1-7.
The prophets repeatedly condemned the exploitation of women or the use of violence against them. The prophet Jeremiah told the Israelites in Jehovah’s name: “Render justice and righteousness, and deliver the one that is being robbed out of the hand of the defrauder and do not maltreat any alien resident, fatherless boy or widow. Do them no violence. And do not shed any innocent blood in this place.” (Jeremiah 22:2, 3) Later, the rich and powerful in Israel were condemned because they had evicted women from their homes and mistreated their children. (Micah 2:9) The God of justice sees and condemns as evil such suffering caused to women and their children.
The “Capable Wife”
An appropriate view of a capable wife is presented by the ancient writer of the Proverbs. Since this beautiful description of the role and the status of a wife was included in Jehovah’s Word, we can be sure that he approves of it. Far from being oppressed or being viewed as inferior, such a woman is appreciated, respected, and trusted.
The “capable wife” of Proverbs chapter 31 is a vigorous and industrious worker. She works hard at what is “the delight of her hands” and engages in trade and even real estate transactions. She sees a field and proceeds to buy it. She makes undergarments and sells them. She gives belts to the tradesmen. She is vigorous in her strength and activity. Moreover, her words of wisdom and her loving-kindness are greatly appreciated. As a result, she is highly esteemed by her husband, by her sons and, most important, by Jehovah.
Women are not to be the oppressed victims of men who take advantage of them, mistreat them, or subject them to abuse of any kind. Instead, the married woman is to be the happy and accomplished “complement” of her husband.—Genesis 2:18.
Assign Them Honor
When writing to Christian husbands about how they should treat their wives, the inspired writer Peter urged husbands to imitate the attitudes of Jehovah and Jesus Christ. “You husbands, continue . . . assigning them honor,” he wrote. (1 Peter 3:7) Assigning honor to a person implies that one values and respects such a one highly. Thus, the man who honors his wife does not humiliate her, downgrade her, or treat her violently. Rather, he demonstrates by his words and his deeds—in public and in private—that he cherishes and loves her.
Honoring one’s wife certainly contributes to happiness in a marriage. Consider the example of Carlos and Cecilia. At a certain point in their married life, they often found themselves arguing without ever coming to a conclusion. At times, they just stopped talking to each other. They did not know how to resolve their problems. He was aggressive she was demanding and proud. When they began studying the Bible and applying what they learned, however, things began to improve. Cecilia observes: “I realize that Jesus’ teachings and the example he left have transformed my personality and also my husband’s. Thanks to Jesus’ example, I have become more humble and understanding. I have learned to seek Jehovah’s help in prayer, as Jesus did. Carlos has learned to become more tolerant and show more self-control—to honor his wife as Jehovah desires.”
Their marriage is not perfect, but it has stood the test of time. In recent years they have had to face serious difficulties—Carlos lost his job and had to undergo surgery for cancer. Yet, these upheavals have not shaken their marriage bond, which has grown even stronger.
Since mankind’s fall into imperfection, women in many cultures have been treated dishonorably. They have been physically, mentally, and sexually abused. But that is not the treatment Jehovah intended for them. The Bible record clearly shows that no matter what cultural views may prevail, all women should be treated with honor and respect. It is their God-given due.
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102008002?q=Women in Bible&p=par
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/s/r1/lp-e?q=Women in Bible&p=par
As John Allegro pointed out many years ago. Of all the living creatures its only human females that bear 12 fruits per year.
The Tree of Life (at least the one in the Bible) is the human female
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Magnificent Roman Baths
The baths in ancient Rome were majestic. Not only were these beautifully decorated buildings made for public bathing, but they were as huge as a small town.
The largest public baths, known as “The Baths of Caracalla,” sat near a working-class neighborhood and extended on 27 acres of area. They were big enough to accommodate 8000 Romans at a time. Caracalla baths included a 19 feet tall fountain, gymnasiums, and libraries.
The rich and the poor came to the Caracalla Baths to socialize and bathe. One could possibly find the political leaders and celebrities in these baths as well. Intricate stonework and mosaic art beautified the Caracalla Baths.
Patrisse Khan-Cullors is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. She made the news recently by buying her fifth (or possibly sixth) home – a $1.4 million property just outside Malibu, which features “soaring ceilings, skylights, and plenty of windows.” And, of course, a guest house. It may strike some as odd that she chose to buy a home there, as that extremely wealthy suburb of Malibu is nearly all white, while only 1.8% of its residents are black. Since the whole point of Black Lives Matter is that blacks are under constant threat of violence from whites, I presume she’s planning extensive security precautions for her Malibu estate, including razor wire and armed guards. To protect herself from her white neighbors. Unless she thinks it’s all a bunch of hooey. Eh, whatever.
Last year during the BLM riots, she was also seen house shopping at “The Albany,” a private 600-acre oceanside enclave in the Bahamas for the super-rich (Tiger Woods and Justin Bieber have homes there). It is extremely private, so it remains unclear whether she bought a home there as well, where you can get a nice little place for only around $5 million – $20 million. Give or take.
For reasons that escape me, some of her fellow socialists have found her spending spree to be, um, distasteful. In such a time of crisis, you see. For example, Hawk Newsome, the head of Black Lives Matter Greater New York City:
“If you go around calling yourself a socialist, you have to ask how much of her own personal money is going to charitable causes,” he said. “It’s really sad because it makes people doubt the validity of the movement and overlook the fact that it’s the people that carry this movement.”
Mr. Newsome apparently has never heard of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il, or any other leader who “goes around calling themselves a socialist.” Or Hillary Clinton, Al Sharpton, or Joe Biden, for that matter.
Someone who loves Mr. Newsome needs to have an intervention with him. I hope they let him down gently. It’s going to hurt, the first time he opens his eyes.
Ms. Khan-Cullors describes herself on her own website as an “artist, author, educator, political strategist, and organizer.” But she is also apparently pretty good at accounting and finance, because determining the exact source of her impressive income has proven difficult. She says she grew up poor, raised by a single mother. Now, at the youthful age of 37, she is buying high-end homes in the most exclusive neighborhoods. One of her homes in Georgia has its own aircraft hangar and its own private airstrip. How does she do it? She just works for a non-profit, right?
Her spouse is a Canadian black queer gender non-conforming amateur boxer who serves as program director for “Color of Change,” so she or possibly he presumably does not rake in the big bucks. How can they earn that much money, working for non-profits?
Well, Black Lives Matter is a non-profit. But in 2017, Ms. Khan-Cullors and another “activist” (…or, perhaps, shrewd investor…) started the similarly named “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation,” which is a for-profit entity. It does not have a tax exemption, but “donations” (…or, perhaps, protection money…) are filtered through ActBlue Charities and Thousand Currents, which are non-profits. At the same time as Mr. Khan-Cullors incorporated her non-profit organization (…or, perhaps, money-laundering operation…), she also set up BLM Global Network, a for-profit entity which is not required to disclose how much it spends, how it spends its money, or how much it pays its executives.
So how much money flows through these organizations? And how of it much flows into untraceable stacks of LLCs controlled by Ms. Khan-Cullors? It’s hard to say, which is the whole point. But overall, these organizations took in well over $100 million just last year. And it may have been many multiples of that. Again, it’s hard to say, because of how they do their books. Which is the whole point.
Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton would be proud.
Her fellow socialist from New York City, Mr. Newsome (from the quote a few paragraphs ago), is apparently disappointed. Because Mr. Newsome is apparently a fool.
Ms. Khan-Cullors is no fool. She lacks ethics, but not shrewdness.
In 2017, she said that Black Lives Matter would not meet with President Trump, for the same reason that it would not have met with Adolf Hitler, since Trump “…is literally the epitome of evil – all the evils of this country…”
Donald Trump got rich by building hotels. Ms. Khan-Cullors got rich by burning down black neighborhoods all over America. And she calls Trump evil.
I just can’t imagine getting rich the way she did. How many people got hurt so she could get rich? I feel dirty just writing about it. Good Lord…
In a capitalist system, we earn money by helping other people. We do something for somebody, like mow their grass or write their software or fix their car. We make their lives better, so they give us money.
Socialists get rich by hurting other people. They make their lives worse, then scare them into submission, so they can take their money.
How do they sleep at night?
Of course, Ms. Khan-Cullors has her choice of many luxury homes in which to sleep. Perhaps that helps. On a certain level. I guess.
Unless she has any compassion for others. Any at all. If she does, there’s just no way that she could sleep at night. Regardless of how many houses she has to choose from. And regardless of how many people out there have no houses at all to choose from because they were burned down in the riots she sponsored.
I worry about my black fellow citizens living in inner cities. They’re in an extremely difficult situation, and it’s hard to know exactly how to help them.
I don’t worry about Ms. Khan-Cullors. She’ll be fine.
And as for all the socialist Mr. Newsomes out there – we all need to pray that they open their eyes one day.
Of course, opening their eyes would be very painful for them. But it probably doesn’t matter. History suggests that they won’t.
I’m sure that Ms. Khan-Cullors isn’t worried about all the Mr. Newsomes opening their eyes. She’s probably getting long-term mortgages on all her luxury homes. Why not, right? Business is good. And it’s likely to get even better, as long as leftists around the world continue to obediently keep their eyes shut. And surely they will.
Lifestyles of the rich and famous. Egyptians
The rich and famous people of ancient Egypt lived a decadent lifestyle with fine wine, sex, high fashion, and plenty of partying. How do they compare with their equivalents today - the modern western celebrity set?
The main differences might be regarding who were the richest people then, and who are the richest people now. In ancient Egypt the pharaoh was at the top of the ‘pyramid’ and his family, noble people who owned land, and the priests came after. Scribes, architects and doctors were well off, and skilled craftsmen also had many privileges.
Peasants and unskilled workers were low down the scale of Egyptian society, but it was the servants and slaves that skirted the bottom of the class pyramid. Those working in mines and quarries were really asking for trouble, as diseases, physical strain and dangers lurked in every turned stone in the desert. Slaves working in rich domestic environments were the lucky ones as they were assured security, housing and food. Many of these endured hard physical work and usually died young as we can see from the osteological remains found at Amarna site analyzed by Dr. Jerome Rose which proved that people building those megalomaniac buildings for Akhenaton died young with severe bone lesions.
Men in the armed forces, army and navy were not afforded a high social status, and neither were entertainers. Members of the armed forces are still not wealthy today, and face the same dangers. Many still die in wars like the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq, or return with physical and mental injuries that haunt them for life.
However, it is somewhat different now regarding entertaining. Although there are still many badly-paid wannabes, entertainers today are amongst the richest people on the planet. Beyonce (who Zahi Hawass called "a stupid woman" because of her lack of interest while touring ancient Egyptian monuments with him), Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears and Simon Cowell are some of today's high-earners.
Professions were usually hereditary, not chosen a man followed his father’s trade and so on. We also have that today as seen for example by the careers of actor Martin Sheen and his sons (both actors) Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez or Gwyneth Paltrow, famous actress and daughter of Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner (both actors too). And of course, there's the Bush 'dynasty' in US politics.
Scribes were the top dogs in the sphere of learning and teaching. Not every child was able to learn how to read and write this was restricted to those following the scribe profession. We can compare this to the present computer industry where people like Bill Gates and Larry Page rule the world of communications and fight for more people using their ‘scripts’. A paradox: we can have hieroglyphics in our cellphones now.
These days the situation is different, as the presidents and kings of nations might not be the richest people in their country. The priests of any religion nowadays are not the richest people, that is for sure, as cults and religions are not considered as economically important in society as they were back then.
Gotta Get to. the Temple
Priests loved to eat and drink well. They had all those succulent leftovers from the rituals at the temple to take home. That is why arteriosclerosis (high cholesterol) was found in ancient Egyptian mummies. Unlike today, when there's a branch of Greggs (British bakery chain, famous for its sausage rolls) on every corner it seems, in ancient Egypt, only the elite could afford such a decadent disease!
Different kinds of meat were available for the elite: beef, veal, antelope and gazelle meat. The poor ate mostly birds such as geese, ducks, quails, cranes, and from the New Kingdom onwards raised their domestic poultry animals. Different fish from the Nile were consumed, though some were forbidden because of the myth of Osiris where he travelled along the Nile and the Mediterranean Sea while dismembered by his evil brother Seth. The fish were most frequently dried in the sun.
Sweeteners were different too the rich used honey, while the poor used dates, left to ferment in the heat.
Similarly to today perhaps, wine was the booze of choice for high society individuals. Fine wines were labelled with the date, vineyard and variety as the tax assessors requested, such as the ones found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Beer was the poison of the masses. Rich people also drank beer though. loads of it, in fact.
People loved to drink, as they do today, according to maximas written in the New Kingdom’s The Maxims of Ptahhotep or Instruction of Ptahhotep, a vizier under King Isesi of the Egyptian Fifth Dynasty (c. 2414-2375 BC).
These writings functioned as advice and were intended to be directed to his son. There are several copies available today the Prisse Papyrus dating from the Middle Kingdom, at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and two slightly different versions at the British Museum.
Ptahotep explains why he wrote these he had reached old age and wanted to leave a legacy of ‘good sense’ instructions to his son. These are rules on how to be kind, just, peaceful, and on how to behave in the correct manner in general. Among those there were some pieces of advice on how bad your reputation gets (it goes down the drain, really), if you drink too much. Just like what happened to Charlie Sheen and his wife last Christmas.
As homes were built with adobe bricks, none of these buildings survived. The most modest houses, for the poorest people, were built with straw, palm leaves and also some rudimentary bricks, and were incapable of resisting the winds and sands of centuries. The houses built for the rich and powerful were obviously different from the ones built for labourers and farmers. The two main differences were: materials and space.
Not that the rich all had golden taps, literally made of gold, like Saddam Hussein’s, in their bathrooms, or Carrara marble like many rich people do today. But, for example, wood was expensive in Egypt. Egyptian trees did not provide the best wood for furniture-building, so the good stuff was imported from Byblos – present Lebanon. Furniture made of ‘good’ wood was only found in the homes of the rich. Wooden beds and wooden headrests featuring gods protecting the occupants from demons were not available for lower classes.
Rugs from Persia, ebony and ivory pieces from African kingdoms, golden vases, jewellery and sculptures from Nubia, various precious stones and gold ornaments were some of the treats rich people could afford in ancient Egypt. As far as we know, they didn't have their own version of Hello magazine in which to show off their interior decor.
The equivalent to present day Beverley Hills or the Hamptons, the rich had their patch of land outside the city, where they had room for orchards and vineyards. The poor were clustered together on the outskirts in small brick houses. An example of housing ‘for the poor’ were the villages expressly built for workers like the one at Deir el-Medina - similar to the workers camps outside Dubai.
Another distinctive trait of rich people in ancient Egypt was the use of wigs, made with sheep or real human hair, and worn at parties and in domestic environments as well as at festival and important cults. Fashion thrived, and found its victims amongst the wig wearers. In an ancient Egyptian version of the Emmys or the Oscars, guests such as Victoria Beckam, Ivana Trump or Paris Hilton would all have wigs, and perhaps also burning perfume cones, on their heads.
But what about the gowns? It seems from archaeological findings that everyone wore tunics. Men wore them down to their knees and women down to their ankles. These tunics were made from linen, from the Flax plant very abundant across the Mediterranean. Not the choice of Victoria Beckam for sure!
Like a school uniform, people found a way to customise the ubiquitous tunic. Richer individuals wore their tunics folded, as depicted in art, with some with gold lines and designs. Add on the jewellery and the headdresses, and there was no way could you mistake a celeb for her personal assistant.
Sandals (ankh) were worn by everyone (without socks, you'll be pleased to hear). The difference was that poorer people could only afford papyrus or palm fibre sandals, while richer individuals had their sandals woven in leather. There were no high heels like the ones models refused to put on at the latest Alexander McQueen fashion show!
Men and women wore makeup (the rich ones). Kohl for eyes was also used as a protective balm as many of the medical papyri prescriptions suggest, and henna was worn on the lips and nails. Tattoos were common, applied to both the living and the deceased. Today tattoos are becoming common amongst all types of people, and many male celebs slap on the face paint as well as the women.
Love, Sex and Adultery in Ancient Egypt
Women had more freedom than their counter parts in Mesopotamia, for instance, but never as much as Paris Hilton and pals. Egyptians married young, very young indeed, and, in royal families, between themselves. Childbirth was dangerous but encouraged in ancient Egypt - prosperity was a goal for everyone and that included having a big family.
The love and sex lives of the Egyptians were as complicated as they are today. Turin's famous Erotic Papyrus assures us that the Egyptians were sexually adventurous, with a penchant for naked belly-dancing, and collections of love poetry from the Amarna era reveal that they were also big romantics.
According to Angelina Jolie in recent news “fidelity is not essential in her relationship with Brad Pitt”, but adultery is one of the oldest reasons for divorce, death and depression - the 3 D’s - and in ancient Egypt as in most of the modern world, women often still file for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Divorce was legal and the problems arising from it were usually when it involved property that had to be divided. The bigger the stake - the bigger the battle, as the recent multi-million divorce case between ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and Heather Mills clearly illustrates.
The love and sex lives of the rich and famous captivated the less fortunate in ancient Egypt just as the romances of Jordan and Peter Andre or 'Bradjelina' do today. The alleged affair between Hatshepsut and Senenmut clearly occupied the minds of workers at Deir el-Medina - one of them drew a caricature of their love affair in an ostracon. Then, as now, there would always be somebody who didn't approve!
Playboys of the Ancient World
There are many similarities between the leisure pursuits of the rich and famous now and in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians practised many sports, including hunting and fishing (still high on the country gent's agenda), and wrestling, which has perhaps suffered some decline in status over the centuries.
Like now, the rich had a need for speed. They loved racing horses and chariots (after the horse was introduced in Egypt), just as the modern elite love their fast cars. It was a dangerous passion that possibly caused Tutankhamun’s death as well as James Dean’s, but led rich playboy Lord Carnarvon to his career as an explorer.
Dinner parties, or banquets, were also frequent in rich houses with dancing, drinking and maybe sex included - just as today.
No scientific proof of the use of recreational drugs in ancient Egypt has been found yet, but jars from Cyprus found in Egyptian sites reveal that they used opium as medicine. Now, there is a growing practice of the legitimate use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, to treat MS amongst other complaints. No doubt Amy Winehouse and Pete Docherty have used 'medicinal purposes' as an erroneous excuse at some point too.
Celebs Behind Bars? Not in Egypt
Scandals like the 1970’s allegation of a young girl’s homicide by the hand of director Roman Polanski (linked to sex offenses) are not known to ancient Egypt.
However, the ancient world wasn't without its bad boys. High treason and attempts to the king’s life were among the top crimes to be punished in ancient Egypt. Robbery existed but there is no evidence of homicides or other death crimes. Justice was Maat, the supreme balance against chaos, and everything in life had to be done accordingly. Just as we respect our Constitutions and laws, ancient Egyptians had their laws and ordinances. Viziers and judges were appointed by the pharaoh to decide upon requests for intercession.
Forget not to judge justice. It is an abomination of the god to show partiality. This is the teaching. Therefore, do you accordingly. Look upon him who is known to you like him who is unknown to you and him who is near the king like him who is far from his house. Behold, a prince who does this, he shall endure here in this place. - From The Instructions of Rekhmire, in The Wisdom of Ancient Egypt by Joseph Kaster.
So, it seems like the rich and famous of ancient Egypt had a lot in common with today's celebs when it came to lifestyle choices. They could probably drink, race, eat and party our paltry lot under the table - but when it comes down to it, they were a lot better behaved.