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33 The actual divorce process began with one spouse—usually, but not always, the one accused of cheating—leaving the house. A majority of ancient Egyptian homes were owned by men. So more often than not, the wife was expected to find lodgings elsewhere, perhaps with her parents or a sibling. In one documented case, a male friend of a husband who had thrown his wife out took her in for a while. ”34 The parties also had to sign a formal agreement that said, among other things, that one, the other, or both were free to remarry.

Archaeologists have found such spells written on pieces of broken pottery. In one, a man who desired to make a young woman fall madly in love with him invoked the help of Ra, god of the sun: “Grant that this girl, true child of her mother, pursue me with undying passion, follow close on my heels like a cow seeking pasture, like a nursemaid minding her charge, like a guardian after his herd! ”30 Whether a bride and groom were in love or not, the average age at which Egyptian males got married was between fifteen and twenty.

He wanted to ensure that his temple at Abydos (in central Egypt) would be built on schedule. So he made it illegal for a contractor to conscript any of the workers who were laboring on that structure. The document warned that it was forbidden for “any troop-commander, or mayor, or agent, or any person” to try to use any workers at Abydos. ”58 Government Officials On the opposite end of ancient Egypt’s social and occupational spectrum was another job that was vital to the country—working for the government.

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