Ancient Egypt Royal Incest

"The Harem and Marriage"

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The government of the Pharaohs resembled that of Napoleon, even to the royal incest. Very often the king married his own sister occasionally his own daughter to preserve the purity of the royal blood. It is difficult to say whether this incest weakened the stock.

Ancient Egypt Royal Incest

Ancient Egypt Royal Incest

Certainly Ancient Egypt did not think so, after several thousand years of experiment with royal incest; the institution of sister-marriage spread among the people, and as late as the second century after Christ two-thirds of the citizens of Arsinoe were found to be practising the custom.

The words brother and sister, in Egyptian poetry, have the same significance as lover and beloved among ourselves.

In addition to his sisters the Pharaoh had an abundant harem, recruited not only from captive women but from the daughters of the nobles and the gifts of foreign potentates.

Amenhotep III received from a prince of Naharina his eldest daughter and three hundred select maidens.

Some of the nobility imitated this tiresome extravagance on a small scale, adjusting their morals to their resources.

Ancient Egypt Royal Incest, The Harem and Marriage

For the most part the common people, like persons of moderate income everywhere, contented themselves with monogamy.

Family life was apparently as well ordered, as wholesome in moral tone and influence, as in the highest civilizations of our time.

Divorce was rare until the decadent dynasties.

The husband could dismiss his wife without compensation if he detected her in adultery; if he divorced her for other reasons he was required to turn over to her a substantial share of the family property.

The fidelity of the husband so far as we can fathom such arcana was as painstaking as in any later culture, and the position of woman was more advanced than in most countries today.

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