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Showing posts from January 5, 2012

Queen Tiy and the Harem Plot

Habu Temple Harem life was comfortable but dull. There was only one escape route for an ambitious woman: she had to become the next King's Mother. Her son had to become king of Egypt before one of his half-brothers succeeded to the throne and he became displaced from the succession. Usually the throne passed to the son of the consort, but this was not invariably the case; not all consorts produced sons, and there was always a chance that a favourite son born to a more junior wife might succeed his father. We have no contemporary account of harem life, and can only guess at the amount of scheming and manipulation designed to bring a lesser son to his father's notice.

We do know, however, that at least one of Ramesses' secondary queens was not prepared to leave things to chance. A collection of con­temporary court papers preserves the details of a plot masterminded from the 'harem of the accompanying' by the secondary queen Tiy, and sup­ported by a numbe…

Life in ancient Egypt The Village and The settlement of Deir el-Medina

The village was inhabited by the community of workmen involved in the construction and
decoration of the royal tombs in both the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.
Together with their wives and families the workmen occupied the neatly constructed houses
of mud brick and stone for some 450 years during Egypt's New Kingdom.

The settlement was founded sometime early in the 18th dynasty, although by which king
remains uncertain. Many bricks in the settlement's enclosure wall were stamped with the
name of Thutmosis I (around 1524-1518 BC), who was the 1st pharaoh to be buried in the
Valley of the Kings. However the reverence given to the previous king, Amenhotep I
(1551-1524 BC) and his mother, Ahmose-Nefertari, indicates that they might have been
instrumental in setting up the royal workforce at Deir el-Medina.

We have little information on the earliest years of the community. Most of our knowledge about the
settlement is drawn from the extensive…