The role of Egypt’s dynastic queens

Authored by: Joyce Tyldesley

Women in Antiquity

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138808362
eBook ISBN: 9781315621425
Adobe ISBN: 9781317219910

10.4324/9781315621425.ch19

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Abstract

Egypt’s dynastic period stretched from the unification of the country in approximately 3100 bce to the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 bce. Throughout this long period, Egypt was ruled by a succession of near-divine kings who served as the only conduit between the people and their gods. Although the role of the king evolved through time, the underlying premise remained constant: with a king on the throne, the gods were content and Egypt was safe from the chaos that constantly threatened to overwhelm both the land and its people. Egyptologists have long recognised the complex political and ritual role played by the Egyptian king. They have been far slower to recognise the equally complex role allocated to the queens who stood by his side (Troy 1986: 1–2).

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