A rich and lively account of the women of ancient Egypt from goddesses to dancing girls, queens to housewives.
The fragmentary evidence allows us only tantalising glimpses of the sophisticated and complex society of the ancient Egyptians, but the Greek historian Herodotus believed that the Egyptians had 'reversed the ordinary practices of mankind' in treating their women better than any of the other civilizations of the ancient world . Carolyn Graves-Brown draws on funerary remains, tomb paintings, architecture and textual evidence to explore all aspects of women in Egypt from goddesses and queens to women as the 'vessels of creation'. Perhaps surprisingly the most common career for women, after housewife and mother, was the priesthood, where women served deities, notably Hathor, with music and dance. Many would come to the temples of Hathor to have their dreams interpreted, or to seek divine inspiration. This is a wide ranging and revealing account told with authority and verve.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Rich women, poor women
Chapter 2: Changing worlds
Chapter 3: 'The Egyptians in their manners and customs seem to have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind'
Chapter 4: Birth, life and death
Chapter 5: Women's work
Chapter 6: Sexuality, art and religion
Chapter 7: Queens and harems
Chapter 8: Goddesses Conclusion
Carolyn Graves-Brown is curator at the Egypt Centre, University of Wales Swansea. She also teaches for the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Swansea.
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