Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt by Joyce Tyldesley
The women of dynastic Egypt were a remarkable phenomenon in the ancient world, subjected to none of the harsh restraints that Mesopotamian, Greek and Roman patriarchal traditions imposed on their womenfolk. Any free-born woman was assured of her legal right to own and trade in property, initiate a court action and even live alone without the protection of a male guardian. Royal wives, mothers and daughters enjoyed great influence and power in affairs of state, and a few unusually dominant women even managed to seize the throne and rule their land as kings. This book considers the daily routine of dynastic Egypt from a female viewpoint, using a combination of historical, archaeological and ethnographic evidence to review those aspects of life most relevent to women. Marriage and motherhood, employment prospects and housework, religion and death are all discussed, while two chapters are devoted to the influential women of the royal harem and the semi-divine king-queens who owned their land and everyone in it.