Daily Life in Ancient Egypt
2013 02 25

By Shemsu Sesen | EmHotep.net

What was daily life like in ancient Egypt? That was the question we pondered with this week’s Em Hotep Digest. How did Egyptian families get along? What was town and home life like? What did they eat and drink? How did they attire themselves? What did they do for entertainment? All these issues are considered within.


Family Life

The Family Unit


From Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt, by Rosalie David

“The Egyptian family was a small, independent unit consisting of father, mother, and children, although it was sometimes extended to include unmarried or widowed female relatives. The financial position of women and children was protected by law, and even after marriage women retained ownership of their own property. If a woman’s husband divorced her, she kept her own property and he had to pay her compensation. Bigamy and polygamy were rare among commoners, and consanguineous marriages outside the royal family were infrequent before the Greco-Roman Period” (p. 359).


The whole family pitched in to keep the household running smoothly. Wooden models from the tomb of Djehutynakht, late Eleventh Dynasty

Children and Coming of Age

From Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt by Barbara Mertz

“Until relatively recent times, and in most cultures, children entered into adulthood at an age which may seem scandalously young to us. They didn’t have time to waste. Life was short and hazardous. In pharaonic Egypt the average lifespan was thirty to forty years…

“Even before formal achievement of maturity, children started working—girls in the house, helping their mothers with household chores and the care of younger children, boys learning the tricks of their fathers’ trades. The fact is, we don’t know much about the lives of the peasants, all of whom were illiterate and few of whom could afford tombs or other lasting monuments. When we talk about careers or professions we are talking about the small percentage of people who did leave such records—skilled workmen, members of the professional class, and the nobility. However, even those records are scantier than we would like” (p. 50)."

Love and Marriage

From Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt by Barbara Mertz

“Setting up a household was a proper adult activity. A man needed to beget sons to carry out his funeral ceremonies and see that his spirit was provided with food and drink. This is the formal reasoning, but it would be absurd to suppose that it was the only reason why the ancient Egyptians got married. We don’t know how often marriages were arranged by parents, but there was no seclusion of the female, and in some cases at lease a boy and a girl married because they had fallen in love.

[...]

Read the full article at: emhotep.net



Related Articles
Cracking the Ancient Egyptian Code: Jean-François Champollion
Bones and jars of the dead unearthed in 3,000-year-old Egyptian tombs
Eight million mummified animals unearthed at ancient catacomb in Egypt
An archaeological first: sixteen severed hands found buried in ancient Egyptian city


Latest News from our Front Page

NATO Exercise in Ukraine Coincided with MH-17 Shoot-down
2014 07 24
Rapid Trident was omitted from the flurry of coverage on the shoot-down MH-17. From the U.S. Army in Europe website: Rapid Trident supports interoperability among Ukraine, the United States, NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations. The exercise helps prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment with host-nation support from civil and governmental agencies. ...
Warning of ’imminent’ terror attack in Norway
2014 07 24
Norwegians were warned Thursday of the concrete possibility of a terror attack occurring in that country at the hands of people with connections to an extremist group in Syria. A press conference was called in Oslo, Norway on Thursday where an announcement was made of a "possible concrete threat" to national security in that country from terrorists related to an extremist ...
Judge says government can access everything in a Gmail account
2014 07 24
All your emails are belong to us. At least that’s what the latest court order from a judge in New York says. The warrant, granted on June 11, states that the government can access all the content and files contained in a Gmail account. Yes, this is a significant blow to privacy. The subject of this specific search relates to a money laundering ...
Scotland Yard Spied on Grieving Families: secret surveillance after police victim shot seven times in head ’by mistake’
2014 07 24
More terror from the ’anti-terror’ brigade. Undercover police gathered evidence on 18 grieving families By Rob Evans and Vikram Dodd | The Guardian Undercover police officers secretly gathered intelligence over two decades on 18 families fighting to get justice from the police, it was revealed on Thursday. The intelligence covering high-profile campaigns was collected between the mid-1980s and 2005, and affected grieving families ...
Air Algerie AH5017 with 116 onboard goes missing for hours, found crashed in Mali
2014 07 24
An Air Algerie flight carrying 110 passengers and six crew members has reportedly crashed in Mali after having disappeared from radar early on Thursday morning between Burkina Faso and Algeria. A French Ministry of Defense official told Fox News that the two French fighter jets located the wreckage of the plane, which had crashed in Mali. An airport official additionally confirmed ...
More News »