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Ancient Egypitan Marriage - Help me propose to my girlfriend

 
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jdmek
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:03 am    Post subject: Ancient Egypitan Marriage - Help me propose to my girlfriend Reply with quote

Hello everyone,
My name is Alex and i am new to this site. I have always been interested in Ancient Egypt, but not nearly as much as my girlfriend! Now here is my dilemma. We have been together for 3 years and have been talking about engagement and marriage. My GF is not like any other girl out there who wants a big shiny diamond. She DOES NOT want a ring. She has a promise ring i gave her a long time ago which she cherishes more than any new ring i could give her.

So....i am planning on proposing this summer and i do not know what to give her, instead of a ring. I had the idea of doing something that has ties to ancient Egypt since she loves this stuff and i think she would really be surprised and excited. I am looking to get some ideas on how proposals, engagements, and marriages worked in Ancient Egypt (royal of course). I am not sure if there was such a thing as engagement because i am not very familiar with the history, thats why i have come here, for some help.

So thats where you guys come in (hopefully). Can you please let me know of some old traditions, how did they go about getting married? Would there be gifts for the queens? It would actually be nice if i can give her some sort of artifact. Even a replica of a ancient artifact of some sort. Please let me know about any traditions and any insight in to the marriage from Ancient Egypt. It would be a big help.

Thank you for your help.
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Naunacht
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, let's see, you could have a lawyer draw up an egyptian style marriage contract--a sort of prenuptual agreement which set out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Normally these things included stipulations related to the woman not having sex with anyone else, the amount of bread and beer the husband would have to provide for her upkeep each month, the amount of property she would bring into the marriage and sometimes the gifts the groom would give the bride's parents. It would outline the bride's property rights and what would happen if the case of death or divorce. Usually the wife got 1/3 of the property acquired by the couple after the marriage. (Adultery on the part of the wife would void that part of the contract).

Seriously, we don't know much about Egyptian marriage customs. The general consensus is married life with plenty of children was the ideal that everyone aspired to. Monogamy was pretty much the rule. Women who cheated on their husbands were universally condemned. Men were encouraged to be faithful to their wives. It's generally thought that the young people had some choice in the matter but in the end it was as much (or even more) about property as it was love. The pressure to make a "good" marriage for the sake of the family must have been enormous.

As far as the ceremony goes, everyone agrees that if one existed it was unimpressive. Marriage was a private matter--neither the state nor the religious authorities played a role. Once everything was agreed upon they just moved in together.

There was a thread here about that a while ago. You might want to look it up.
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Meretseger
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A contract isn't very romantic though. You might be better off just presenting her with a single perfect lotus blossom and maybe a gold scarab if you can get one suitably inscribed?
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neseret
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:52 am    Post subject: Re: Ancient Egypitan Marriage - Help me propose to my girlfr Reply with quote

jdmek wrote:
So....i am planning on proposing this summer and i do not know what to give her, instead of a ring. I had the idea of doing something that has ties to ancient Egypt since she loves this stuff and i think she would really be surprised and excited. I am looking to get some ideas on how proposals, engagements, and marriages worked in Ancient Egypt (royal of course). I am not sure if there was such a thing as engagement because i am not very familiar with the history, thats why i have come here, for some help.

So thats where you guys come in (hopefully). Can you please let me know of some old traditions, how did they go about getting married? Would there be gifts for the queens? It would actually be nice if i can give her some sort of artifact. Even a replica of a ancient artifact of some sort. Please let me know about any traditions and any insight in to the marriage from Ancient Egypt. It would be a big help.

Thank you for your help.


Let's try this:

Say to her:

I dwell on your love
through day and night,
The hours I am lying down,
and when I have awakened at dawn.

Your form revives hearts,
Desire springs from your voice,
which makes my body strong.
"O I am weary,"
thus may I say whenever
There is no other [who]
is the balance in my heart.
It is only you alone.

Your love is as desirable as
oil with honey,
as fine linen to the bodies of the nobleman,
as garments are to the bodies of gods,
as incense is to the nose of the king...

It is like a mandragora
in a man's hand.
It is like dates
that he mixes into beer.
It is like salt
[that he adds] to the bread.

We will, we will be together
even when there comes to pass
the days of peace of old age.
I will be with you every day...


Source: Cairo Love Songs 20A-20G, 19th Dynasty (slightly modified for the occasion, mine)

I think this might get her attention as a proposal. Wink

Seeing that Egyptian lotuses are difficult to acquire, I would suggest you use some form of lily as you make the proposal and offer it to her, after saying the above, and then pop the question.

Next (assuming you can get to some body of water), take a long sunset to early evening ride down a river, perhaps with a light picnic basket of bread, grapes, wine, etc. for the two of you, either to eat on the boat, or along a shady shore.

I would say that might come close to an ancient Egyptian love-wooing scenario, and I would think she would find you thrilling for being so romantic. love4
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Now, as to your other questions:

No one know what the form of betrothal (or even marriage) was in ancient Egypt. One text indicates that a meal was taken by a couple in the house of the (to-be) husband, and salt was somehow consumed between them, and in this consuming, a marriage was effected (this was amongst the non-royal).

The only indication we may have of a royal marriage comes from the tomb of Tutankhamun, where a small casket box held two balls of mud which contained hair within. At one time this was interpreted that the hair may be that of the king and queen, and that these two balls, found also with a pomegranate made of ivory, may have constituted their "marriage contact." Such hair balls have been found at other archaeological sites, but in no way was a marriage situation indicated. So, the meaning behind these "hair balls" is unclear, with an alternate explanation that a votive offering to a deity may have been the purpose instead.

So, I can't think of anything that would help you in otherwise creating an "ancient Egyptian marriage" - royal or otherwise, as we simply have no evidence there was any such ceremony.

Marriages were strictly social relationships, and had no legal or religious standing in ancient Egyptian society. Thus divorce was equally a social construct: one merely separated from the spouse, and perhaps made financial or other provisions for the spouse who was left behind (or not), based upon what was socially expected and acceptable. But without any textual or archaeological evidence for marriage as a ritual ceremony, we simply don't think the ancient Egyptians had a specified ceremony (on this, see Janssen and Janssen 2007).

Since the girlfiend isn't up for a ring, the closest type of gift you might offer to her - as if she were a queen - would perhaps be a rare perfume. Incense and perfumes were highly prized by royalty in ancient Egypt at all times. By this, I don't mean something you can pick up at the drug store or even at a department store - you need something very rare.

If you are interested in, say, something very rare like Arabian perfumes (some of the best in the world, and yet, not always very expensive), message me privately and I can put you in touch with someone who deals with such here in the UK. I have used them, and they are very good perfumes, and something that indeed an Egyptian queen of ancient times would have prized.

If you don't want to go that route, again message me privately, and I can put you in touch with a US dealer of Egyptian reproduction jewelry that would also have been something a queen would have prized (and I'm not talking about rings here, either).

At any rate, I hope this helps you out in some way, and if you can use these words above to get her to say "yes," I will be very pleased. kemet

Let me know if it works out. pharaohkiss

Reference:

Janssen, R. M. and J. J. Janssen 2007. Growing Up and Getting Old in Ancient Egypt. London: Golden House Publications.
_________________
Katherine Griffis-Greenberg

Doctoral Candidate
Oriental Institute
Oriental Studies
Doctoral Programme [Egyptology]
Oxford University
Oxford, United Kingdom

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Meretseger
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That love song should have her melting like one of those perfumed cones! Smile
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Naunacht
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That love song is nice--so much more romantic than my marriage contract idea.

Best wishes for you and your fiance.
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EgyptianRose
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If you are interested in, say, something very rare like Arabian perfumes


I myself when visiting Dubai collected numerous Arabic perfumes and incense, best perfumes in the world, beautiful, exotic aroma’s, even if I do say so myself Smile Highly recommend it Wink
_________________
It is of course the hieght of irony that, after this intensive campaign to expunge them from the annals of Egypt, the Amarna pharaohs are today probably the most recognized of all the country's ancient rulers!

Quote 'Amarna Sunset' by Aidan Dodson.
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jdmek
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all so much for your replies, i really appreciate it, neseret especially. I will consider my options and let you know if i have further questions or require help. neseret i may be contacting you in the near future, thank you
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