Egyptian palaces were vast complexes. They included splendid public buildings where the pharaoh would meet foreign rulers and carry out important ceremonies. Members of the royal family lived in luxury in beautiful townhouses with painted walls and tiled floors near the palace.
The governors of Egypt’s regions also lived like princes, and pharaohs had to be careful that they didn’t become too rich and powerful. It was not uncommon for those who were a threat to the pharaoh to suddenly be found dead. The royal court included large numbers of officials and royal advisors. There were lawyers, architects, tax officials, priests and army officers. The most important court official of all was the vizier, who carried out many of the pharaoh’s duties for him.
The officials and nobles were at the top of Egyptian society. But most of the hard work that kept the country running smoothly was carried out by merchants and craft workers, by farmers, labourers and slaves.