Tsenhor was born about 550 bce in the city of Thebes (Karnak). She died some sixty years later, having lived through the reigns of Amasis II, Psamtik III, Cambyses II, Darius I and perhaps even Psamtik IV. By carefully retracing the events of her life as they are recorded in papyri now kept in museums in London, Paris, Turin, and Vienna, the author creates the image of a proud and independent businesswoman who made her own decisions in life.
If Tsenhor were alive today she would be wearing jeans, drive a pick-up, and enjoy a beer with the boys. She clearly was her own boss, and one assumes that this happened with the full support of her second husband Psenese, who fathered two of her children. She married him when she was in her mid-thirties.
Like her father and husband, Tsenhor could be hired to bring offerings to the dead in the necropolis on the west bank of the Nile. For a fee of course, and that is how her family acquired high-quality farm land on more than one occasion. But Tsenhor also did other business on her own, such as buying a slave and co-financing the reconstruction of a house that she owned together with Psenese. She seems in many ways to have been a liberated woman, some 2,500 years before the concept was invented.
Embedded in the history of the first Persian occupation of Egypt, and using many sources dealing with ordinary women from the Old Kingdom up to and including the Coptic era, this book aims to forever change the general view on women in ancient Egypt, which is far too often based on the lives of Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, and Cleopatra.
|Publisher:||American University in Cairo Press, The|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Koenraad Donker van Heel is lecturer in Demotic at Leiden University. He is the author of Djekhy & Son: Doing Business in Ancient Egypt (AUC Press, 2012).
Table of Contents
- Mummies as a source of income
- Did the choachytes keep mummies at home?
- The Persian administration
- An outpost at Elephantine
2. Earth & Water: Nesmin 556 BCE
How Tsenhor got her name
- What happened to the rest?
- The god's father Petosiris son of Wenamun
- A tomb in the Assasif
3. Love & Death: Psenese, Tsenhor, Ruru & Peteamunhotep 530-517 BCE
Dividing an inheritance
- Mad king or just a bad hair day?
- Wedjahorresne: a smart career move
A pregnant widow
- A woman with a mind of her own
- Why not simply adopt your wife?
The proud father
- How many visits to the temple of Montu?
- The order of the witness list
A very fortunate baby daughter
- A 4500 year old contract
- The law of Pharaoh
4. Slave: Tsenhor 517 BCE
Two owners within a month
- Women owning slaves
A profitable start of the new year
- To you belongs their fate
5. Bricks: Tsenhor, Psenese & Nesamunhotep 512-506 BCE
The tomb of Osorkon
- The good house
Expanding the family business
- Who owns what?
- The right of way
Dividing dad's house
- Did Nesmin make a will?
- Inheriting a house in Coptic Djeme
6. Cattle: Burekhef & Ituru 507-487 BCE
Was there a Rent a Cow in Thebes?
- The collection of Bernardino Drovetti
A cow branded with the milk can
- 401 little workers
7. Love & Death: Tsenhor, Psenese, Ituru & Ruru 498-494 BCE
Psenese becomes ill
- The days on which Tsenhor did not work
Closing the account
- When old age sets in
- Who gets mum's library?
8. Earth & Water: Tsenhor, Ruru & Nesamunhotep 497-491 BCE
Ruru takes over
- The hidden treasures of the Louvre
- The missing Tsenhor papyri
The bread of the choachyte