Women's Role In Ancient Egypt

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Discuss the role of women in Egyptian or Near Eastern society ~~~~~
Ancient Egypt was one of the most advanced and productive civilisations in antiquity spanning thousands of years. Its people created collosal temples, magnificent tombs, the hieroglyphic language and unique art. Within this kingdom predominately ruled by men, women could still wield considerable influence indirectly and in some cases directly. They were protected in marriage, had a range of job opportunities, economic rights, significant portrayal in religion and art. In general, women were rightfully treated as equals and as a result their society was prosperous. However evidence of equality in gender roles were
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Egyptian society followed gender roles and norms that affected the role women could have in religious rites. During the Old and Middle Kingdoms, priests were predominantly male in every cult except in the cult of Hathor, where only women served the goddess. The title of priestess ‘hmt ntr’ of Hathor marked the bearer as belonging to the elite ranks of the state. Hathor was the goddess of music and so her priestesses were associated with ritual music which they played at temple rituals, religious processions and at funerals. Many of Egypt’s largest temples bear decorations of women taking part in religious rites as musicians and audience. The use of her sacred instruments was believed to invoke the goddess and confer on the ritual participants the blessing of the goddess. Another point in which women have a significant part in religion is in the creation stories of the gods. An important reflection of the way a society visualises itself is the role that women play in mythology. The sky goddess Nut is an example of this as she is, “the one who bears the gods”. She had the cosmic role of being the mother of the sun and stars although was largely defined in relation to reproductive roles. Motherhood was therefore considered an extremely important role in a womans’ life though they had the opportunity to pursue other options. All of the goddesses in Egyptian …show more content…
Women pharaohs were strong ruling figures in their own right displaying examples of feminine leadership. Kings mothers and wives also played an important role in relation to the king. They were referred to by the venerated title of mwt nswt, meaning kings’ mother, a title from the early dynastic period or also, ‘she who sees Horus and Seth’. Historian, Susan Hollis presupposes that woman were bearers of divine queenship which only complemented the aspect of kingship. This reveals a differing aspect to the equality of women and the prevailing view in early Egyptian scholarship of the presence of the Egyptian patriarchy. Although the queen was venerated almost equally with the king, she was defined in terms of him and she was not usually viewed as a deity like the king was. This idea shows that although women had more rights and possibilities in ancient Egypt, they did not have total equality. However queenship has been portrayed as the “manifestation of a feminine prototype formulated in relation to Hathoric imagery”. Dr, Troy an Egyptologist, suggests that queenship was “used to present the sovereignty of the kingship as a male-female composite and thus correlate to the androgynous form of the creator god with the generative powers of that status”. The opposing perspectives of this topic create a diverse discussion on the extent of the power women actually wielded in the ancient

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