#BlackHistory: The Lives of Ancient Egyptian Women

Cleopatra and Mark Anthony BWWM romance

When thinking of the women of ancient Egypt, what comes to mind? You might envision slim, bronzed ladies with mysterious black rimmed eyes, and exotic beauties bedecked in gold and jewels with ornately braided hair. You may think of the elegant beauty of Nefertiti’s bust or picture Elizabeth Taylor as the iconic Cleopatra.

Many young girls and women alike may dream of what it was like to be an Egyptian princess or queen, but when you look past the glamour of ancient Egyptian royalty you may find being an ordinary woman in ancient Egypt preferable to life on the throne.

Life as Royalty

queen Nefertiti profile

Although Egyptian women, such as Hatshepsut, have become powerful pharaohs and accomplished many amazing things in ancient Egypt, the majority of women through the dynasties, especially those of the Old Kingdom, were expected to be seen and not heard.

Hatshepsut female pharaoh

The pharaoh’s wife’s role was to accompany and support him in all things, but not to necessarily involve herself. Her main job as ‘The Great Wife’ was to ornament the king’s arm and provide him with heirs. Her future was uncertain until she secured her position by bearing healthy children. With childbirth very risky and infant mortality a common tragedy in ancient Egypt, her rank could be easily taken and given to another of the king’s more fertile wives.

Bad enough to have to endure an arranged marriage, another common practice among the ancient royal families was incest. So as not to dilute the royal blood and to prevent any other families from taking over the throne, a royal princess may have been required to marry her brother, her father, or even her grandfather, as well as other more distant family members.


 

Life as a Common Citizen

Bishari Women Egypt

In contrast, the lives of ordinary women in ancient Egypt were much like the lives modern women today. Ordinary ancient Egyptian women had a lot of responsibility, but also had a measure of autonomy.

As the mistress of her household, an ancient Egyptian woman was in charge of making sure everyone was fed and clothed. Though most common households had at least a few live-in servants, there was no supermarket or mall to buy food and clothing. Food was prepared from scratch and clothes had to be made by hand.

But though the life of an ordinary Egyptian woman was a lot of hard work, along with the extra responsibility she enjoyed freedom and privileges that some women do not even have in the modern world.

The women of ancient Egypt were allowed to go alone where they pleased. They had the rights to money and property and could bequeath their wealth to whomever they chose. Most could marry for love and live a free life with their husband and children. They could also be involved in business and banking.

So though we hate to shatter the romantic illusions of what it was like being an enigmatic, powerful ancient Egyptian queen, it is also interesting to find that such an ancient civilization had a very modern outlook on equal rights for the common woman–rights that women in some cultures are still fighting for to this day.


So Which Life Would You Choose?
…the life of an Egyptian queen or that of a common independent woman?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Paranormal Romance readers will always appreciate more paranormal romance books.

Paranormal Romance ancient Egypt

Would you like to take a visit back in time to Ancient Egypt and witness Nefertiti and Hatshepsut as women?

Then read the Eternal Traces Series by Shonda Brock.

Read the first chapter and buy here.

sources:
cornell.edu
womenintheancientworld.com
experience-ancient-egypt.com

photos:
Cleo and Marco
Nefertiti 

Hatshepsut
Bishari Women

About shondabrock

I'm a southern in my heart and a northern in my soul. I've had a few bad wines, but for the most part I've enjoyed enough good wines that it makes up for the few bad bottles. I enjoy writing, but more than writing itself, I love telling a good story, taking my reader off on an adventure starting with "What If"…. I'm a sucker for the Paranormal Romance genre. To me, its nice to be released from "What Is Expected" and believe for 250 pages in "What If's". Its like a vacation with out passports, waiting in line and an expensive credit card bill when you return home. Please Enjoy, but more importantly Stay Inspired…
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4 Responses to #BlackHistory: The Lives of Ancient Egyptian Women

  1. Pingback: #BlackHistory: The Lives of Ancient Egyptian Women – Sakura Skye Writes

  2. Pingback: #BlackHistory: The Lives of Ancient Egyptian Women | What Moore Can Be Said

  3. Kim Gorman says:

    Fascinating! I would definitely choose to be a common woman. As for the present, I cringe whenever I go to a supermarket and see famous people’s dirty laundry and sorrows splashed all over tabloids. It must be awful having to endure such scrutiny.

  4. Jonathan says:

    I LOVE this page, especially the photo at the very top! It is mandated, however, throughout history that there is NOTHING paranormal about the deep-rooted and passionate romance that resides between black and white beings nor the perspicacious and overpowering beauty of ancient Egyptian heritage and Culture.

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