A Confirmed Bachelor Wishes to Marry

Jelly Bruning “My first words to you are those of a tradition on the authority the Prophet—God bless him and grant him peace—, which relates that …” With these quite unusual words begins P.Khalili I 18, an Arabic letter written on papyrus in the late ninth century CE. Arabic letters of this time usually start withContinue reading “A Confirmed Bachelor Wishes to Marry”

Mob Rule and Personal Relations in an Egyptian Village

Jennifer Cromwell One night, an angry mob marched across the Egyptian village Deir el-Medina with the intention of beating up a woman. The woman’s crime? She had been sleeping with a married man for the past eight months.  “Your people – their old and their young, both men and women – were on the move atContinue reading “Mob Rule and Personal Relations in an Egyptian Village”

A Brief Account of Marriage

Jennifer Cromwell Marriage in Egyptian villages was a pretty informal affair. Few legal documents were written concerning marriage, and few texts discuss particulars – unless something goes wrong. The most important aspect of marriage was cohabitation. Early periods of Egyptian history refer to the entering and leaving of houses, while Coptic texts typically refer to spousesContinue reading “A Brief Account of Marriage”

A Runaway Child Bride

Jennifer Cromwell How early was too early to marry in the ancient world? If the answer is connected to being an adult, then what is an adult? And does that question differ for men and women? Is it simply a question of reaching sexual maturity (puberty), which was older in the ancient world than itContinue reading “A Runaway Child Bride”

An Abandoned Wife and Unpaid Alimony

Jennifer Cromwell It’s a story that resonates throughout the ages: a man abandons his wife and their children for another woman. The story could be of a woman abandoning her husband and kids, but the story on this 7th century AD papyrus is of a man who leaves his wife. His sick wife. And theirContinue reading “An Abandoned Wife and Unpaid Alimony”