Daughters of the Nile the Role of Women in Ancient Egypt

Daughters of the Nile the Role of Women in Ancient Egypt

To highlight the importance of women in the ancient empire, “HIJAS DEL NILO” has been created, an exhibition that began on June 10 in Madrid and will run until December 31.

Very few cultures have given such importance to the role of women as happened in Ancient Egypt.

Despite having equal relevance and importance, the Roman and Greek empires never recognized the role of women within society, they were subject to the decisions of the men of their own families and fulfilled the basic role of wives or mothers, without being able to play a determining role, a profession, or make decisions autonomously, contrary to what happened with Egyptian women who had the freedom to inherit, manage their properties autonomously, choose a husband without the need for approval, and even divorce and choose a new partner.

The marriage did not exist as such, it was rather a coexistence agreement, where individual properties were established. Likewise, the woman kept her name and was called “wife of”, in this context, the woman was not considered equal to the man but his complement so she could give advice, take initiative, participate in administrative decisions, and disinherit her children. or even have their businesses, which is why it is not unusual to find women in Egyptian history who held high positions in different spheres of society.

Despite such autonomy and being considered the owner of the house, it was the man’s task to provide maintenance and guarantee the welfare of his wife, the divorce could be requested by either of the two spouses and if appropriate, the spouse who wanted the divorce gave part of their assets to the other, although it was not a general rule, it depended largely on the conditions.

Being the Ancient Egyptian Empire one of the States with the greatest bureaucracy, it is incredible to find how some women came to occupy important administrative positions as scribes or civil servants. We also find relevant deities, priestesses, doctors, or common women accompanying their husbands to fish or hunt.

Women could learn arts, music, and languages, and receive education just like men. Some women even fulfilled the role of advisers at the political level, such was the case of “The Great Wife” or “Royal Wife”, one of the greatest examples of this was Nefertiti.

The pharaohs came to the throne in line of succession, but in some cases before the death of the pharaoh his wife could succeed him, it was also lawful to marry between brothers to preserve power, for which in the history of Egypt we find pharaohs, the best known of they are Cleopatra.

The fact that at the legal level women and men were considered equal before the law, and women were allowed full recognition and inclusion, however, it should be considered that the historical vestiges that have come down to our days belong to the pharaonic dynasties and castes of high society.

To highlight the importance of women in the ancient empire, “HIJAS DEL NILO” has been created, an exhibition that began on June 10 at the Palacio de las Alhajas in Madrid and will run until December 31.

The exhibition brings together more than 300 pieces from twelve countries, some of them from private collections and different museums, it has been divided into four sectors and a general area:

1. Women in ancient Egypt

2. Real women

3. Goddesses and temples

4. From death to eternity

5. Egyptomania

The curators of the exhibition are the Egyptologist and historian Nacho Ares and Esther Pons, Curator of the Exhibitions Department of the National Archaeological Museum.

It is the first sample of this genre that takes place in Spain, and the most important.


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