The speaker in the Chester Beatty Papyrus passage not only praises his beloved but presents the Egyptian ideal of feminine beauty at the time: My sister is unique - no one can rival her, for she is the most beautiful woman alive. Gold is nothing compared to her arms and her fingers are like lotus flowers. As for her thighs - they only add to her beauty (Lewis, 203).Look, she is like Sirius, which marks the beginning of a good year. Women in ancient Egypt were accorded almost equal status with men in keeping with an ancient tale that, after the dawn of creation when Osiris and Isis reigned over the world, Isis made the sexes equal in power.
Stories and warnings about unfaithful women appear frequently in ancient Egyptian literature.
One of the most popular is the ) which tells the story of Anpu and Bata and Anpu's wife.
Tutankhamun died around the age of 18 and Ankhsenamun disappears from the historical record shortly afterwards.
Even though the depictions of the two of them would have been idealized, as most Egyptian art was, they still convey a deep level of devotion which one also finds, to varying degrees, in other paintings and inscriptions throughout Egypt's history.
Although marriages in ancient Egypt were arranged for communal stability and personal advancement, there is ample evidence that romantic love was as important to the people as it is to those in the present day. In this piece the speaker talks about his "sister" but this would not have been his actual blood relative.
Romantic love was a popular theme for poetry, especially in the period of the New Kingdom (1570-1069 BCE) when a number of works appear praising the virtues of one's lover or wife. Women were commonly referred to as one's sister, older women as one's mother, men of the same age as brothers and older men as fathers. Long-necked and milky breasted she is, her hair the colour of pure lapis.
In both of these cases, the stigma was far more serious for a woman than a man because the bloodline was passed through the woman. Lewis notes: Although the Ancient Egyptians had a relaxed attitude to sex between single consenting adults (there was no particular stigma against illegitimate children), when a woman married she was expected to be faithful to her husband.
Thus he could be certain that children of their union - his heirs and the inheritors of his property - were his.
The most famous king of Egypt in the modern day is best known not for any of his accomplishments but for his intact tomb discovered in 1922 CE.