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In reality, such slavery seems to have been fairly rare in Egypt prior to the Greek Period, progressing over time.

These men or women were often included among the possessions of kings, high-ranking officials or Temple estates.From ancient documents, we know that as many as nineteen captives could be assigned to an individual as slaves, including both male and female.Temples, on the other hand, could receive an unlimited numbers of captives as slaves, and some references mention many thousands.Serfs might better describe these people, though even that term is too closely connected with images of feudal society in medieval Europe, especially in view of the fact that Egyptian farmers were tied to the land not so much legally but by tradition and economic circumstances.For ancient Egypt, a better, or at least more precise definition of a slave might be a "person owned by a master, as was any other chattel, used as the master pleased, to the extent of being disposed of by inheritance, gift sale and so forth".In reading Egyptian texts, therefore, context is the only criteria for determining such a status, and even then, it can be difficult, because there were different levels of servitude.


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