Ancient Egypt police, facts about police and laws in ancient Egypt

Police in ancient Egypt

The ancient Egypt police were the first police in the ancient world; as the ancient Egyptians were the first people who introduced this system to protect the people and their properties.

The ancient Egyptians have used the Nile River to move from one place to another, so they established the Department of Water Police to guard and secure the ships and boats from the thieves; this was the main factor in establishing security and stability in ancient Egypt.

The ancient Egyptian police aimed to secure the desert and its roads and killing all the thieves and bandits; those thieves were attacking the expeditions which were sent to the mines. Among the duties of police in ancient Egypt were also, assisting in tax collection, supervising measures and weighing scale in the market and protecting the tombs from the robbery.

The natural, religious and social factors had its effect on the security and stability in ancient Egypt; as the religious feeling of the ancient Egyptian prevented him from doing any sin that led him to punishment in the afterlife.

Ancient Egypt police, laws and justice

The ancient Egyptians regulated and created the laws and established a number of systems and bodies that guaranteed justice, stability, and security.

The security system was established in very old ages, as when an urban agglomeration was found, you must find a force aiming to secure this agglomeration.

The archeological researcher Ahmed Amer said that ancient Egyptian police were established in the archaic period and it might be before that.

This force became more experienced in the first half of the Old Kingdom until the New Kingdom.

He added also that the police in ancient Egypt was not separated from the army until the 4th dynasty. At the time of 5th dynasty, the ancient Egyptian police became totally separated from the military force and became the semi-independent body.

Beside the ancient Egypt police, some administrative, priests and judges were securing the kingdom. The body of police in ancient Egypt became totally separated at the time of New Kingdom.

The vizier was the supreme head of police and his most important duty was guarding the pharaoh, in addition to other tasks in kingdom affairs.

The Egyptians formed the body of police; as this body did not introduce the mercenaries. They were residing in the western cemetery at Thebes.

Ancient Egypt police in pre-dynastic period

At the pre-dynastic period, the ancient Egyptians were very keen on securing the kingdom, and then they felt that they needed to a ruler. After appointing the ruler, they must appoint one whose mission was implementation the instructions and resolution of conflicts between people in industrial and agricultural affairs, so the ancient Egyptians were the first people who cared about establishing a powerful regime to secure the kingdom and regulate its affairs.

Archaic period

The monarchy was the ruling system in ancient Egypt, as the king had the absolute power. The employees were assisting the kings; as they had specific duties at that time and the government was unified. The government had a special office for document archiving, Palermo stone was the most famous documentation from the 5th dynasty.

The Old Kingdom

At the first half of this kingdom, the king was retaining his power and holiness. The government became more powerful than the archaic period under the supervision of the vizier; the matter that led to the prosperity, stability, and security in the entire kingdom.

Then, the power of the king decreased and gradually, the centralization of the government decreased in favor of the governors of the nomes and provinces; the matter than led at the end of the first intermediate period.

The first intermediate period

The collapse persisted at that age and the king became weaker than before and also the police in ancient Egypt. The governors of nomes became more powerful and the corruption spread. All that led to the spread of chaos and insecurity.

The Middle Kingdom

Most of the pharaohs of this era made great efforts to restore the security and eliminate corruption until they enabled from restoring their prestige and power. In addition, the pharaohs of this dynasty paid attention to the internal and external reforms with the assistance of high officials in different governmental bodies. The result of these reforms was wonderful; as the people enjoyed the prosperity and stability. The ancient Egyptian police at this era were very powerful and played a great role in restoring the security all over the kingdom.

Second intermediate period

The centralization of the government totally collapsed, and then the Hyksos invaded the kingdom. You do not need me my dear reader to tell you that the police in ancient Egypt at that time was very weak.

New Kingdom

The scholars named that age by the age of Egyptian empire. This reflected on all aspects of life. The kings of this era achieved great victories over the neighboring states and annexed more territories, so the security and stability spread all over the kingdom.

The police in ancient Egypt was very organized and well trained; as the police force at that time was used for maintaining security and law enforcement.

The police of ancient Egypt introduced also the division between its units; as we found the rank of the police chief who was chosen based on his knowledge and good reputation, and he must be the flag bearer at the royal palace to be chosen as the police chief.

This position was very high-ranking, so this position was entrusted to trustworthy men. For example, when king Seti I was the prince, he was holding the title of “Chief of the desert” and at the archaic period and the Old Kingdom, the police service was part of the administrative system. Some priests became chief of the police at the time of King Seti I and Ramses II.

Division of police in ancient Egypt

Police in ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptian police

The scholars have mentioned that the ancient Egyptian police were divided into the police of temples and tombs and they were appointed as guards for each temple and cemetery. The main task of the guard of the temple was to protect it, its buildings and properties and a guard protected the tombs and its contents in addition to the police of workers. The stability and security in this era enabled the artisans from showing their best.

The Nile River was used as a means of transport, so it was necessary to establish the police of river. The main mission of this division was to protect the ships and commercial convoys from being stolen.

There was a division in the ancient Egypt police called the domestic police; its mission was maintaining security in the desert and large cities like Thebes, Qift, and Amarna. This division was making regular patrols in the roads to inspect and secure from the criminals.

There was also a division called the desert and borders police. The men of this division must know the desert very well.

There was a special division of the police called the royal police; its mission was protecting the king and suppressing any rebellion arising against him.

There was the division of public services police; its mission was assisting the governors of nomes, consultants and tax officers in collecting taxes.

There was another division in ancient Egyptian police called the measures and weighing scale police.

The arming of the ancient Egyptian police was shield, knives, harpoons, and arrows. The barracks of the police officers were at their workplace. There was the police of mines and quarries to secure it before sending an expedition for mining.

The logo of the police in western Thebes was gazelle and at Amarna was feather before a shield.

Crime prevention

The ancient Egyptian police had very important role in maintaining security, so the most important duty was preventing crimes with all possible methods.

The ancient Egyptians established what is known now about the criminal investigation.

This department categorized the criminals according to the nature of their crimes; as this department was keeping records of their names, crimes, murder weapon and the method of committing the crime.

The police in ancient Egypt used the police dogs and detective; maybe this was one of the reasons that helped the ancient Egypt police in his work.

We have found a papyrus called “Ibut” Papyrus; it contains a lot of names of criminals and their crimes, in addition to the work nature of police at that time.

Now, we have mentioned the most interesting facts about ancient Egypt police.