Weighting of the Heart scene in the Afterlife, 14 December 2009 – Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia/ Jon Bodsworth
CAIRO – 11 January 2018: Ancient Egyptian society is one of the earliest and most civilized communities. A number of artifacts and papyri expressed different maxims and pieces of advice for the ‘smooth-running’ of society.
Through her book “Al Qeyam El Akhlakeya Wel Gamaleya Fi Bardeyat Wa Gedareyat El Masry El Qadem” (Ethical and aesthetical principles in Ancient Egyptian Papyri and Murals), researcher Salwa Anwar highlights the most essential social principles in the social life of the Ancient Egyptians.
Stability and Simplicity
The keyword of every civilization is stability, the great Ancient Egyptian civilization started once the Ancient Egyptians reached the Nile, and learned agricultural techniques.
The Ancient Egyptians sought two stages of stability: first, establishing a home, and second, finding a good wife.
An Ancient Egyptian thinker and vizier advised his son and students the following “If you want to be a successful man, establish your own home, and find a wife to have your heart.”
While simplicity means constructing the home using the simplest materials and goods, enabling the couple to start their life independently.
Tolerance and Sacrifice
To the Ancient Egyptians, the most influential morals in life were tolerance and sacrifice. For example, if the wife was unable to bear children, the husband kept her in his house as a wife, while she voluntarily helped him to find a suitable second wife.
Interestingly, if the second wife delivered a baby girl, she was given the first wife’s name, and both wives shared their husband’s inheritance.
Another example for tolerance is the relation between the workers and their superior. In Ancient Egyptian society, the worker had the right to do extra jobs, aiming to increase his income.
In many cases, workers cooperated together and they divided the jobs amongst themselves.
Love between husbands and wives
“Love your wife and make her happy as long as you live,” was one of the Ancient Egyptian thinker Ptahhotep’s maxims. He stressed that love is the main basis for marriage in Ancient Egyptian life.
The Ancient Egyptians portrayed scenes of love and respect between men and their wives on the walls of temples.
They also married young, with men often marrying by the age of 17 and women by the age of 14, according to Zahi Hawas in his book, “Family in the Period of Ancient Egyptians”.
Having a home, a well-respected job, and agreement between the couple were the main conditions for any marriage in Ancient Egyptian society, as is the case nowadays in Egypt.
The most well-known love story in Ancient Egyptian history is that of Isis and Osiris; the story was a part of the Egyptian mythology, and was reflected by King Tutankhamen and Queen Ankhesenamun, according to the book.
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