Wedding of ancient Egyptians
Men and women tended to marry quite young in ancient Egypt and everyday life reflected their commitment to the sanctity of the family unit.
Divorce was known to have existed but does not appear to have been that prevalent or common. Marriages were generally polygamous;
at least in the royal and noble circles, with the husband having several wives. In most cases there was usually a senior wife or chief wife; however it is apparent that husbands were quite fond of all their wives.
Marriage in Ancient Egypt:
The ancient Egyptians held marriage as a sacred bond. The family was broken down into roles that each would play in order for things to run smoothly. The father was the one who would work all day. In smaller households the mother was in charge of all things pertaining to the house. Cooking, cleaning and watching the children were all her responsibilities. Egyptians seem to have taken mates in what most often appears to be lifelong monogamous relationships. Marriage and a close family played an integral role in ancient Egypt.
A bride would be young, about 14 or 15 years old. Her husband could be anywhere from 17 to 20—or older if he was divorced or a widower. The ancient Egyptians were encouraged to marry young, considering that the life span at this time was relatively short.
Many marriages were arranged with parental consent needed, as they have been in all societies, especially among the upper classes. But the abundance of love poetry between young people signifies that many couples did fall in love and choose each other as mates. Women played a large role in arranging a marriage.
A suitor sometimes used a female go-between to approach the girl’s mother—not her father. Interestingly, one of the most affectionate titles you could call your love was "brother" or "sister" in ancient Egypt. This had nothing to do with sibling relations, but led many archaeologists and scholars to wrongly assume that most ancient Egyptians married their siblings. Actually, this usually occurred only among royalty—and was not a common occurrence.
The role of women in ancient Egyptian society is often a surprise. It is usually assumed that women were relegated to the role of a second class citizen, when actually the opposite was true. Women were allowed to own property, testify in court and conduct business dealings. More than one woman even ruled the Egyptian land as pharaoh. While women were highly regarded and given rights that most of their contemporaries in other lands could only dream of, daily life in ancient Egypt for women also involved responsibilities for most of the duties of the home. It was the woman's responsibility to raise the children, see to the home and prepare the meals.
A standard marriage contract that had been found among the numerous records left by the ancient Egyptians. It contained:
· The contractors (future husband and wife)
· The names of both sets of parents
· Husband’s profession (wife’s rarely mentioned)
· The scribe who drew up the contract
· The names of the witnesses
· The finished document was given to a third party for safekeeping or kept among the records of the local temple.