THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS AT HOME
by Jean Drew
There are many fallacies people of our time believe about ancient Egypt and I want to put that right.
They were preoccupied with death.
Quite the opposite — they were preoccupied with life. If anyone believed in life after death, it was the Egyptians. They loved life so much that they wanted to recreate their current life in the hereafter. This is why scenes of their life were painted on tomb walls — so the gods would know the kind of life they wanted to carry on. It was also why their drawings of people looked off balance, (square shoulders). They were letting the gods know they had two arms in this life so they would have two in the next.
They were a pretty sombre lot.
No one loved a celebration like the Egyptians. Almost every day of the year was celebrating one festival or another. That meant copious amounts of beer and wine, not to mention food.
Incomplete calendar of ancient Egyptian festivals
Women were kept in their place.
Not in ancient Egypt. If ever there was a place in the ancient world to be born a woman, it was ancient Egypt. Egyptian women had a free life, compared to her contemporaries in other lands. She could have power and position if she was in the right class. She could hold down a job, or be a mother if she chose. She could live alone and run her own business. She could buy and sell property. She followed the latest fashions and learned to write if she wanted to. She loved and laughed and ate and drank. She partied and got sick. She helped her husband, she ran her household. Ancient Egyptian women had hopes and dreams of her own, not too much different from today's woman. She married for love and was entitled to a generous settlement should a divorce occur. It was only after various invasions—Persians, Greeks, Romans— that Egyptian women lost all claims to independence.
Their cities were built by slaves.
Perhaps the biggest fallacy of them all. I mean, what do you think the average Egyptian did for a crust while “slaves” were doing all the work? Sure the Egyptians had slaves, but not as many as we have been led to believe. Their cities were built by Egyptians, many of whom were conscripted into pharaoh’s service from outlying farms and villages. Many workers were also farmers, who, during the months when the Nile was in flood (the inundation), signed on to help so they could feed their families. They were very protective of their religion and its symbols, so no other religion would have been allowed to mess with theirs. And have you ever heard of slaves going on strike? One group of tomb workers did just that. They sat down on the job until pharaoh sent their wages—bread, eye paint and garlic.
As for me, I’m besotted with ancient Egypt and have several books on the subject, not to mention Internet references, right down to Egyptian plumbing.
Caption: Egyptian revellers at the Festival of Opet.
Caption: Statue of Raherka and Meresankh, in a loving pose.
AUTHOR BIO: Jean has been a member of Hearts Through History for several years. Writing as Jean Adams she wrote ETERNAL HEARTS, a time-travel, set in ancient Egypt available on Kindle or paperback, or through Highland Press. She is currently working on an historical trilogy set during the reigns of three different pharaohs. Visit her at: http://www.jeandrew.co.nz/
ETERNAL HEARTS available from Highland Press.
She found the love of her life 3000 years too late.