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Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt Hardcover – 14 Mar 1994

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (14 Mar. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670848387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670848386
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3.3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product description

From the Back Cover

During the dynastic period (3000 BC - 332 BC), as the Greek historian Herodotus was intrigued to observe, Egyptian women enjoyed a legal, social and sexual independence unrivalled by their Greek or Roman sisters, unrivalled, indeed, by women in Europe until the late nineteenth century. They could own and trade in property, work outside the home, marry foreigners and even live alone without the protection of a male guardian. Furthermore, women fortunate enough to be members of the royal harem were vastly influential, as were those rare women who rose to rule Egypt as 'female kings'. Joyce Tyldesley draws upon archaeological, historical and ethnographical evidence to piece together a vivid picture of daily life in Egypt - marriage and the home, work and play, grooming, religion - all viewed from a female perspective. She has an engaging eye for incidental detail and draws fascinating parallels and contrasts between the ancient and our modern world. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Joyce Tyldesley, holder of a doctorate from Oxford University, is Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics, and Oriental Studies at Liverpool University, England. She is the author of Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh and Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Eygpt. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent read
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By A Customer on 2 May 2002
Format: Paperback
Joyce's books are a joy to read. They do not patronise a newcommer to the subject and are argumentative and challenging. They are also extremely well-researched and contain a healthy section of refernces. This book is her first and is a very good introduction to the subject of Egyptology.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This booo k has been very well put together, it has been based on some of the famous queens that were around then, the famous female kings that were around then, on the good grooming which focused on makeup, fashions and hairstyles the egyptian women that kept themselves clean were on a better breeding and rank the poor people who lacked the basic of sanitary facilities were believed to be dirty and were despised, its also on married bliss work and play, religious life and death this book is very interesting and also a very good read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting book about the lives of women in ancient Egypt. There isn't a lot of hard evidence of how women lived their lives mainly due to the fact that women were uneducated and illiterate. Quite a lot of the information is guesswork but the author is rigorous in pointing this out and explaining why she has arrived at her conclusions. It does read a little dry in places, especially towards the end but at less than 300 pages isn't a massive read.
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Format: Paperback
"Daughters of Isis" is a book about everything you ever wanted to know about ancient Egyptian women, but were too prudish to ask!

Joyce Tyldesley has written an excellent overview of the subject. Her book is directed at a general audience and hence relatively easy to read, but could be used by serious students as well. It's packed with information about the daily life of women in ancient Egypt, but also contain more general information about ancient Egyptian society. No detail is too insignificant: we learn about Egyptian eating habits, women's clothes and jewellery, wigs and the art of brewing Nubian beer. Unfortunately, the author can neither confirm nor deny the curious claim by Herodotus that female Egyptians urinated in standing position, while male Egyptians did it sitting down! Of course, the book also deals with more important (?) matters, such as the careers of the few women who managed to become pharaohs.

What strikes the modern reader most is the sexually liberated atmosphere of Pharaonic Egypt, sometimes bordering the decadent. Premarital sexual relations were not prohibited for either sex, Egyptian women could marry foreigners, both incest and polygamy were practiced, foreign slaves were sometimes married to daughters of their masters, and public nudity or half-nudity (even for women) were acceptable in certain contexts. Naturally, prostitution was rampant. Even the gods of the Egyptian religion were seen as sexual creatures. Homosexuality seems to have been one of the few sexual practices that were frowned upon.

Interestingly, however, adultery was severely punished. This strikes the modern observer as somewhat inconsistent, especially given that divorce was relatively easy to obtain and premarital sex wasn't prohibited.
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Format: Paperback
All who are interested in life of women in ancient Egypt will enjoy the book. The author has written it with in an outsanding manner, combining the historical evidence with artistic interpretation.
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