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Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt (Penguin History) [Kindle Edition]

Joyce Tyldesley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Ancient History Books
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Book Description

In ancient Egypt women enjoyed a legal, social and sexual independence unrivalled by their Greek or Roman sisters, or in fact by most women until the late nineteenth century. They could own and trade in property, work outside the home, marry foreigners and live alone without the protection of a male guardian. Some of them even rose to rule Egypt as ‘female kings’. Joyce Tyldesley’s vivid history of how women lived in ancient Egypt weaves a fascinating picture of daily life – marriage and the home, work and play, grooming and religion – viewed from a female perspective, in a work that is engaging, original and constantly surprising.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Histories of women usually bring with them histories of women's world and women's work--in other words, the daily life of a culture. This look at ancient Egyptian women is no different. British archaeologist and researcher Tyldesley illuminates women's positions as cooks, washerwomen, dancers, mourners, weavers, priestesses, mothers, wives and--on very rare occasions--pharaohs. Tyldesley doesn't try to simplify a subject complicated by linguistic subtleties, lack of archaeological evidence, ancient propaganda and the orientalist mythology of seething harems that early excavators imposed on ambiguous digs. What she does, and does well, is give an idea of what evidence is available and, in accessible, slyly cheery prose, recreate how women (and men) shopped, dressed and ate (``the menus of the poor and less enterprising usually involved a fairly dull and rather flatulent rotation of bread, onions, lettuce, radish and pulses''). Most intriguing, though, are Tyldesley's all-too-brief initial observations of the standing of Egyptian women. For all its emphasis on tradition, Egypt differed from much of the worst of Graeco-Roman paternalism: women were important factors in a child's heredity, not just passive bearers of men's genetics; they could own property; make legally binding contracts; sue; and, most amazingly, live alone.

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Joyce Tyldesley, holder of a doctorate from Oxford University, is Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics, and Oriental Studies at Liverpool University, England. She is the author of Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh and Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Eygpt.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5318 KB
  • Print Length: 329 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140175962
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (March 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004LLIH5E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #496,600 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent scholarly study of the women of Ancient Egypt. Pulling exclusively from written accounts and archaeology finds, Ms. Tyldesley remarks on what we know of all facets of the lives of the women of this age. She is careful to admit when we don't have enough knowledge to guess the meaning of this, or the customary use of that. She is never afraid to admit we just don't know for sure.
The great scope of this work manages to be laid out in an easy to read and understand format that is entertaining as well as informative. Interspersed throughout the text is quotes from various ancient translated sources that give an insight to daily life and beliefs. The book also is wonderful because it looks at both the wealthy Queens and the lowly servants, the slaves, the merchant's wives.
What did they wear? Why did they wear wigs and shave their natural hair? What jobs did women hold? How were marriages arranged? Did harems of women really exist? Which women ruled Egypt alone? What rights did women have in Ancient Egypt? What was day to day life like? Why was Ancient Egypt the very best society for women at the time? What did they eat?
It is all explained with supporting information, footnotes, and an extensive bibliography to advance your search for information after you've read this book. Highly recommended addition to your library!
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
"Daughters of Isis," is a must from those who want to know the ins and outs of Egyptian civilization, which includes the often over-looked role of women. This book covers the life of women from birth to death and contains a wonderful chapter on female kings, including Maatkare Hatchepsut and Neferuaten Nefertiti along with other, lesser known great women. Changes in styles and beliefs through the history of Ancient Egypt are noted with wonderful detail. The plates are superb and portray a variety of household implements and portrayals the Egyptians, themselves, made of their women. Forming a wonderful compliment to other literature that examines the lives of those below Pharaoh as well as other works by Joyce, "Daughters of Isis" does those same daughters and their goddess quite the justice.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at ancient Egyptian women! March 11, 2002
By A Customer
From the moment I began reading this wonderful book, I was hooked! Joyce Tyldesley draws you in with her evocative narrative and transports you to a time and place often romanticized by modern Western culture. She "sets the record straight" and tells the reader, based on current archaeological evidence, what women's lives were like 3,000 years ago in Egypt. The great thing about this book is that it's written with the average reader in mind (in other words, in plain English), so you don't have to have a Ph.D in Egyptology to understand it. Tyldesley discusses every aspect of women's lives, from what makeup they used, how they dressed, what they ate, and their daily household duties. She describes women from every social class--from the poor all the way up to royalty. The author does a good job of presenting available evidence and making objective interpretations, not assumptions as many archaeologists have in the past. She constantly points out throughout the book how little is actually known about women's lives, since Egyptian history was recorded by men. Even the ever-present wall paintings which adorn tombs and temples present Egyptian life in an idealized manner, so it is often hard to deduce what is real and what is fantasy.
The book includes a plethora of photographs and illustrations which act as effective visual aides to the text. The well-organized timeline in the back of the book was also very helpful, and I found myself referring to it often just to keep track of the time periods and which pharaoh came when. This was a very enjoyable book which I had a hard time putting down. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in ancient women's history.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars women of ancient egypt May 1, 2001
joyce tyldesley is such a great writer. this 318 page book has 8 chapter's images of women, married bliss, mistress of the house, work and play, good grooming, the royal harem, female kings, and religious life and death. this is a great book on women in ancicent egypt. you can tell that joyce tyldesley has researced the topics and knows what she is talking about and she also puts it into words that anyone can understand. there are 16 pages of black and white pictures. if you are just looking for a picture book this is not for you but if you are looking for a book with great info on women of ancient egypt this is the book for you.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Glimpse at the Women of Ancient Egypt September 29, 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley has provided us with a stunning rare glimpse into the lives of ancient Egyptian common and royal women. This informative, well-researched book discusses the role women played in Egyptian art; marriage; common household life; women's work and leisure activities; grooming; royal women (from harem members to the female pharoahs); religious life and funerary customs for women. Tyldesley explores every aspect of the lives of these ancient women - from their daily chores and child-rearing practices to their marital relationships and religious affiliations to descriptions of elaborate hairstyles, clothing and jewelry. Tyldesley provides plenty of interesting photographs and drawings to illustrate her fascinating text, and includes an informative geographical and historical background, maps and a historical chronology of events to help orient the reader. The book is extremely well organized and well written. You will come away with a real understanding of and appreciation for the lives of ancient Egyptian women.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
This is the worst quality book I have ever seen...just awful paper, everything.
Published 9 days ago by Generel
5.0 out of 5 stars When the author takes liberties to explain in her abstract thought...
A very comprehensive book. When the author takes liberties to explain in her abstract thought about something that has been left obscure by previous works she goes to great lengths... Read more
Published 6 months ago by papasfoot
5.0 out of 5 stars Daily lives and legal rights of women in ancient Egypt
Historical texts rarely address how one half any population lived and died; unless they did something scandalous or unprecedented, women were faceless ciphers. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Kathryn R
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent scholarly book on Ancient Egypt that is also accessible...
"Daughters of Isis" is an impressive work on the women of Ancient Egypt during the dynastic period (the period of the pharaohs from the Archaic Period to the Ptolemaic conquest,... Read more
Published on January 24, 2013 by thesnowleopard
5.0 out of 5 stars Well writen and well researched
The book was an easy reader and gave helpful information that answered all of my questions. It was well researched and gave very specific details which came from credited sources. Read more
Published on November 5, 2012 by Amellia Lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent social history AND detailed history of women in Ancient...
_Daughters of Isis_ is remarkable in its historical detail, scope and scholarship. Beginning with a discussion of the portrayal of women in art and literature (art showing an... Read more
Published on August 29, 2012 by doc peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Tyldesley's 'Daughters of Isis'
Here a great overview of everyday household life in ancient Egyptian culture, given from the central locus of the ancient Egyptian woman. Read more
Published on December 20, 2010 by Ryan Mease
5.0 out of 5 stars This book
This book is one more evidence of the civility of ancient Egyptians. In short, women in ancient Egypt were treated equally to men. Read more
Published on October 18, 2010 by Mickey
4.0 out of 5 stars Girl power made in Egypt
"Daughters of Isis" is a book about everything you ever wanted to know about ancient Egyptian women, but were too prudish to ask! Read more
Published on March 27, 2010 by Ashtar Command
4.0 out of 5 stars Women's life in ancient Egypt
This is an exhaustive attempt to depict the lives of women in ancient Egypt. It is compiled mostly from primary sources, contemporary observations, and some references to papers... Read more
Published on May 16, 2009 by Maye Vanarsdel
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