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Unformatted text preview: et you fill your eyes with the little red fish that I’d catch.
And I’d say, standing there tall in the shallows:
Look at my fish, love, how it lies in my hand,
How my fingers caress it, slip down its sides . . .
But then I’d say softer, eyes bright with your seeing: Women in Egyptian Society Women’s prime roles
were connected with the management of the household.
They could not hold office, go to scribal schools, or become artisans. Nevertheless, women could own and control property, sue for divorce, and, at least in theory, enjoy
equal legal protection.
Royal women often wielded considerable influence,
particularly in the Eighteenth Dynasty. The most remarkable was Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmosis I and widow of
Thutmosis II, who ruled as pharaoh for nearly twenty years.
Many Egyptian queens held the title “god’s wife of Amun,”
a power base of great importance.
In art, royal and nonroyal women are conventionally
shown smaller than their husbands or sons, yet it is probably
of greater significance that they are so frequently depicted
in such a wide variety of contexts. Much care was lavished
on details of their gestures, clothing, and hairstyles. With
their husbands, they attend banquets, boat in the papyrus
marshes, make and receive offerings, and supervise the myriad affairs of daily life.
Slaves Slaves did not become numerous in Egypt until the
growth of Egyptian imperial power in the Middle Kingdom
(2052–1786 B.C.E.). During that period, black Africans from
Nubia to the south and Asians from the east were captured
in war and brought back to Egypt as slaves. The great period A gift, love. No words.
Come closer and look, it’s all me.
HE: I think I’ll go home and lie very still, feigning terminal illness.
Then the neighbors will all troop over to stare, my love, perhaps,
How she’ll smile while the spets snarl in their teeth!—she
perfectly well knows what ails me. Source: From Love Songs of the New Kingdom, trans. from the Ancient Egyptian by John L. Foster, copyright © 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972,
1973, and 1974 by John L. Foster, pp. 20 and 72. By permission of
the University of Texas Press. of Egyptian imperial expansion, the New Kingdom
(1550–1075 B.C.E.), vastly increased the number of slaves
and captives in Egypt. Sometimes an entire people were enslaved, as the Hebrews were, according to the Bible.
Slaves in Egypt performed many tasks. They labored in
the fields with the peasants, in the shops of artisans, and as
domestic servants. Others worked as policemen and soldiers. Many slaves labored to erect the great temples,
obelisks, and other huge monuments of Egypt’s imperial
age. As in Mesopotamia, slaves were branded for identification and to help prevent their escape. Egyptian slaves could
be freed, although manumission seems to have been rare.
Nonetheless, former slaves were not set apart and could expect to be assimilated into the mass of the population. Ancient Near Eastern Empires
In the time of the Eig...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
- Spring '14