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so uhh yeah how did the young royals find out..

 
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Smartie
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:58 am    Post subject: so uhh yeah how did the young royals find out.. Reply with quote

about sex? a friend and I were having this discussion recently. I just wondered. I know the females would be told by someone but who? a mother? and the boys, would they have the "male fantasy" of getting to learn first hand with one of the pharaoh's concubines? or would his first be with his new great royal wife? *clears throat* thank you. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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...and the boys, would they have the "male fantasy" of getting to learn first hand with one of the pharaoh's concubines? or would his first be with his new great royal wife? *clears throat* thank you.


LOL An interesting question, and very delicately put. You mean there was no hieroglyphic textual equivalent to The Joy of Sex in those days? Or maybe when the royal child was old enough, the king and queen sat him down on his bed and told him, "Son, it's like this. When a man and woman love each other..."

We don't have a complete understanding of how the royal harem worked, but many children were raised there, boy and girl alike. Not all of them were even royal, to be sure. But you can bet they were pampered and spoiled and cuddled and petted, as all privileged children have been down through time. Probably when a boy reached a certain age (it was about seven among the Greeks) he left the harem to begin proper schooling so that he would be literate; there is no evidence to this day that a single girl ever underwent similar schooling, though it almost certainly happened, if informally.

I imagine that as a royal girl came of age--which in ancient Egypt could mean twelve or thirteen--she was told by her nannies or wet nurses about the facts of life. We know how important these nurses were in the rearing of royal children and the kind of priveleged life which they themselves were allowed, and there's every indication they were often as close to these children as the parents were. There were male nurses, too, and they probably had a lot to do with the instruction of boys in these matters. There's evidence that boys encountered such instruction while in school, too--we have a lot of textual evidence and wisdom texts or maxims that reveal to us how boys were instructed about the ways of life (it wasn't all about learning to write hieroglyphs and hieratic).

I don't know what to say about a royal son's access to his father's (the king's) concubines. There's no real word for the Egyptian form of "harem," and these residences were not like the erotic harems of famous Arabic lore. They were more or less, well, residences...royal housing for minor wives and the wives and families of powerful officials. At a certain age I suppose it's possible a prince was allowed to "sample" the collection, as it were, but I can't say that with authority.
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