The Position of Royal Women throughout New Kingdom Egypt.

Essay by Clancy August 2003

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The Position of Royal Women throughout New Kingdom Egypt

In most studies of Ancient Egyptian civilisations, the fundamental sources for our studies are the many hieroglyphics and reliefs that decorate the walls of the wondrous temples and tombs. These hieroglyphs and reliefs, are predominantly concerned with the political past of Egypt and the pursuits and achievements of the Royal Family. The information relating to the Royal Family is highly detailed, however it is primarily interested in the Pharaoh and his male associates. Rarely do women get a mention. The reality is that Egyptian society during the New Kingdom, was dominated by men

The occasional references to the elite women and Queens, is generally in recommendation to the Pharaoh. Almost all Egyptian recordings are of an impersonal nature, in an attempt to conform to the stereotypical model Egyptian Royal. Subsequently, little is know about the personal lives of the Egyptians, especially not the personal lives of women.

Egyptian sources simply do not provide us with the insight into their characters. We know much more about the social status that they occupied than about the type of people they were.

Much can be surmised as to each individual personality, however this is often irrelevant conjecture. What we can gather is a general picture of the social position of women, their aspects of divinity, the power they yielded, and their function as mothers to potential heirs.

The main roles of Egyptian women, not of royalty, were to bear children, to run the household and manage its economy, to help accumulate wealth through the exchange of surplus goods, to weave textiles, and to produce flour and bread basic to the Egyptian diet. However, the women of royalty, had servants and maids to do most of these things for them, and so had much time...