At the bottom of the Egyptian social pyramid lies the slaves, not peasants. Slaves were a lower social class than peasants. In fact, peasants and slaves were two different social classes. In the old kingdom, all of Egypt s slaves were captives and refugees. In contrast to what most people believe, slaves were treated somewhat fairly. Most slaves were given to temples and to private estates and owners as domestic servants. Some were used as serving girls, children s nannies, or out in fields. Some male captives were assigned a royal building site and worked on the buildings.
Slaves were not treated badly like other civilizations, especially if they were slaves of a noble or pharaoh. But slaves were not peasants, they were not given as many rights at all, they could not own or inherit land, or move up to a higher social class. Some slaves earned some trust within Egypt. If a peasant was desperate because their crops failed, they could sell themselves into slavery in order to get adequate food and drink. They could also buy themselves out of slavery if they somehow earned the price.
During the Old Kingdom, the use of slaves was limited, and there is not evidence that slaves were used to build their great pyramids. It was not until the Middle Kingdom during Egypt s great expansion that was there was evidence that great amounts of slaves were captured and used as domestic servants, including Nubians and Asiatics.
The children of slaves became peasants. This is a good example of how slaves were given many rights. On the other hand, even though slave children were free, it would be hard to have your parents in slavery and you not.