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Women of Ancient Egypt

By November 21, 2017 Egyptian History No Comments
Wig

Queen Nefertari

 

 

Women of Ancient Egypt


“Equality came naturally”

“Ancient Egypt believed equality between men and women came naturally, because belief came from studying nature, and geographically speaking, the Nile floods the land with prosperity, hence the god was a good god. And so whatever god created is holy and has a specific role in nature, and hence the equality between men and women in the same species

“Wahawi ya wahawi Eiaha”

Ancient Egypt believed a woman was the goddess of creation, since the first dynasty; she was also a queen, a guardian to the throne, like queen Meri-net in the first dynasty, Sobik-net, Hatshepsut, and Queen Eiah Hotep, whose name is still sung in folk songs related to the moon and festivity, always in the holy month of Ramadan: Wahawi ya Wahawi, Eiaha.”

Eiah Hotep was a queen whose husband and son were martyred and she led the country while her other son, King Ahmous was fighting the Hyksous. In praise of her courage and wisdom, her son, the victor, granted her the medal of courage and engraved her mural at Al-Karnak Temple. Famous quotes documenting her merits were as follows:

“Praise the lady of Egyptians, known in all foreign countries, the one who plans for people, the wife of a king, the daughter of a king and the mother of a king, the noble, the one with deep knowledge who guards Egyptians, the one who reunited the army, under her sovereignty, who brought back the immigrants, caught those who ran away, calmed the south, its revolutionaries, eternity is hers,” Queen Eiah Hoteb, mother of Ahmous.

The first woman doctor in history, judge, and businesswomen

Beiset is the first woman doctor in history; she was the head of doctors specialised in gynecology, as written in the medical school of Sais, in the Western Delta, 2,400BC.

On a parallel note, during the reign of King Pipi, Lady Merit was a judge, a minister and was named the king’s “right hand.”

The era of the Middle Kingdom, meanwhile, witnessed Lady Tshat, the head of the stamps department. “Emiret Khetmet,” and from it the word khetm (stamp in Arabic), found its way to the Arabic language. As for Lady Ninfer, she was a businesswoman who owned the import and export trade during the reign of Tuhotmus III, 1,500BC.

Women priests and artists were also prevalent in Ancient Egypt. There were certain posts in the temple dedicated to women: the purifiers, the music players, the dancers, the supervisors and the highest priest.

“Love and marriage”

“Women in Ancient Egypt had a great freedom to express their love, could choose their own husbands, and had the equal right to divorce,” explained Mustafa, while reciting an extract of a love poem written by a woman, from The Words that Brings Joy to the Heart, the book by Hassan Saber. “He does not realise my yearning to hug him, come to me so I see your beauty, my father and mother will be happy to meet you …”

In the Torino papyrus, the marriage contract explains that in case of a divorce the wife gets a “list” of all the things she bought in the house, and one third of their wealth, since they were married. Their children get to inherit everything equally. Another interesting example is the marriage contract found in Deir Al-Madina:

“By the grace of Amun, and the king, if I ever thought of excluding or humiliating your daughter, I deserve to be hit 100 times, and I would give her willingly all of my belongings and money that we’ve earnt together.”

“The unique”, “the loved,” “the one who is like no other,” “the most beautiful in the world” — titles that are indeed worthy of the Egyptian women, ancient and modern.

Courtesy of Amira Noshokaty – ahramonline

 

What our clients have to say

I just wanted to drop you a few lines to express just how much Charlie and I enjoyed our trip last week. We returned home yesterday with hundreds of photos and a lifetime of memories.
I cannot thank enough, the Dream Crew, Mahmood and our wonderful guide Ahmed, for their outstanding service; nothing was too much trouble for them and they all worked tirelessly (and seamlessly) to provide exceptional service. It was without fault. Ahmed particularly was incredible, with his extensive knowledge of all things Egyptian and we wish him well with his studies finishing his PhD in Egyptology!
When the boat was caught up in a sandstorm, the crew moved our dining location downstairs to the lounge without it seems, any great effort and ensured our safety at all times. We appreciated this very much. Again, an experience we are very unlikely to every have again. Who would have thought that we would have been caught up on a sandstorm, when on a boat, sailing down the Nile? Despite being forced to moor up for longer than expected, we did not feel that we had missed out on anything and efforts were made to ensure that we made up for lost time too. What a story to tell our Grandchildren! I have been told that this was an exceptionally rare experience which makes it all the more interesting.
We have seen sights which we are not likely to see again and the ‘piece de la resistance’ was being able to go to the valley of the Kings which somehow, I had missed on the itinerary! What an absolute bonus. To be able to get inside some of the tombs and see their magnificent artwork was mind blowing.
Finally, I also wanted to praise the wonderful cook who, despite the small kitchen, produced meal after meal of wonderful food and just how he managed to get 12 plates of food out for serving at the same time, was mind blowing. We’ve been to bigger restaurants who have failed to do that for just a handful of us. The food was wonderful and to be able to get a sample of local Egyptian food to eat, was brilliant. On one occasion, he produced battered fish which was possibly the best we have ever tasted.
All in all, it has been the best holiday we have every had, thanks in no small part, to the wonderful organisation and service provided by everyone on the Dream.
Kind regards,
Susan and Charlie (aka Queen Hatshepsut and Seti I)
Travel Date March 2020

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