Egyptian Women of the Old Kingdom and of the Heracleopolitan by Henry George Fischer

By Henry George Fischer

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25 30 Egyptian Women of the Old Kingdom also notes that the Pyramid Texts (Pyr. 131) show ∏ (a loaf) in place of as the determinative of ∞nmtt. ” Thus the term seems to refer more generally to nurture than does mn™t, where the determinative shows a woman giving milk. Like the sign , representing the weaver, the sign preFig. 26 sumed to represent the midwife is not to be found beyond the Old Kingdom. 174 The status of non-royal women of high rank is indicated by one or another of three titles referring to the king,175 the ultimate source of all bounty and prestige.

Thus we can be sure that feminine administrative titles of this period are to be taken at face value. 32 Egyptian Women of the Old Kingdom At the opposite end of the social spectrum, the condition of servitude, serfdom or slavery remains somewhat obscure, but two of the terms that were used (mrt, ¢m/¢mt) were applied to both sexes. 189 4. Personal names 4. Personal names A great many names of women of the Old Kingdom190 are similar to those of men. ¡ “My ka does not rest,” Ny-™n∞-Ìt¢r “A possessor of life is Hathor,” fem.

Although weaving was again performed almost exclusively by women in the Middle Kingdom,259 something of that prestige may have been lost, for the term formerly applied to them was no longer used. It is perhaps more understandable that the term for midwives is also unknown from later periods, and the Old Kingdom evidence is small. (5) In contrast to the Middle Kingdom, women of the Old Kingdom were involved in many of the aforementioned activities in an administrative capacity,260 as overseers of weavers, overseers of midwives, overseers of supplies such as food and cloth, overseers of dancers, more rarely of singers, and even, in at least one case, as overseer of doctors.

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