The fragmentary evidence allows us only tantalising glimpses of the
sophisticated and complex society of the ancient Egyptians, but the
Greek historian Herodotus believed that the Egyptians had 'reversed
the ordinary practices of mankind' in treating their women better
than any of the other civilizations of the ancient world . Carolyn
Graves-Brown draws on funerary remains, tomb paintings,
architecture and textual evidence to explore all aspects of women
in Egypt from goddesses and queens to women as the 'vessels of
creation'. Perhaps surprisingly the most common career for women,
after housewife and mother, was the priesthood, where women served
deities, notably Hathor, with music and dance. Many would come to
the temples of Hathor to have their dreams interpreted, or to seek
divine inspiration. This is a wide ranging and revealing account
told with authority and verve.
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