Women in Ancient Egypt


By G. R. Batho, published 25th June 2012

Women in Ancient Egypt, Barbara Watterson (Amberley Publishing, Stroud, 2011) 157pp., paperback, £18.99, ISBN 978 1 4456 0494 7

The 35 beautiful colour illustrations in this book indicate the exceptionally wide-ranging of the author's research.  They are not only from Luxor and elsewhere in Egypt but from Italy, Australia, Russia, Germany and the U.K.  The references are equally varied and the indices not only general but also of ancient Egyptian words and phrases.

The text does not disappoint either.  Barbara Watterson, a free-lance Egyptologist who holds a doctorate from the University of Liverpool, writes authoritatively but easily about what is a less well researched subject hitherto than it deserves.  She conveys the realities of the lives of Egyptian women who were recognised as equal to men and who exercised real power in society and a few ruled as female kings as the author demonstrates in her final chapter though of five hundred rulers between the first dynasty (c. 3100 BC) and the thirtieth (343 BC) Only four were women - Nitocris (c. 2180 BC), Sobeknefru (c. 1790 BC), Hatshepsut (1490 BC) and Twosret (1204 BC). 

Most women in ancient Egypt lived domestic lives and were mistresses in their own homes and which are well recorded in this most readable study.