Domination, Desire, and Domesticity – A Woman’s World in Ancient Egypt

romantic love ancient egypt
Here they exchange the ancient boomerang of love. Or whatever that is.

People have this super macho mental image of the ancient world – a place where women were chattel and men fucked around at their leisure, often with hairless boys drenched in olive oil. So slippery.  

Certainly, there have always been places in the world where that’s true.  Hell, that’s going on right now in some of the more unsavory corners of the globe.  The chattel part – boys drenched in olive oil feeding each other pitted figs is totally okay with me.

Anyway, I’m just saying the assumption is merited, but it’s a mistake to believe that just because our ancestors were from a more primitive time that all of them had the emotional intelligence of a half-eaten, olive-oil-smeared fig.

Romantic love was revered by the Egyptians. It appears so frequently in their art that even primitive, middle class tombs often depict departed spouses embracing again in the afterlife. Can you imagine being so devoted to someone, so wholly enchanted by their presence, that even in death, you intend to find and keep them?

It was the ultimate culture of passion and romance – the perfect setting for a heroine to get swept off her feet (and into a bed … or onto the floor or against a wall or … hm).  In fact, there’s a wealth of truly naughty Egyptian art out there that dates back to several thousand years BC.  A particular favorite is the one where the guy’s penis is so huge that it has basically decided to play the “you’re flying!” game with the woman he’s trying to bed.

Yeah, that one.   Absolutely love the “good job!” pat on the head she’s giving him.

This devoted, sexually-charged Egyptian comprehension of love and lust existed in stark contrast to their neighbors, the Greeks, whose men didn’t wed until they were around 30, and then only did so out of a sense of duty and to women around half their age.  Presumably with a full range of options still happening on the side.

I know where I’d rather live.

So, with this knowledge, garnered from an undergraduate course many moons ago on anthropology and gender, sprang the concept for Another Man’s Queen – a story about a woman who knows she deserves more than some absentee Greek douche bag.  I mean … remove his battle prowess and it kind of sounds like college, doesn’t it?

Isis and Horus
Do you think he does that 360-rotation thing with his bird head? I bet he does.

Our heroine, the Grecian beauty Isis, is not the only woman featured in this story.  We also meet the pharaoh’s wife, a dominatrix queen with an assortment of obedient pets.  Though she appears briefly, she raises an interesting question – would such a thing have been allowed?

Well, yes and no.  Married women (outside of the royal family) had a title – “Mistress of the House.”  They held equal political standing with the men in Egyptian society and just as much of a say in who their life partners were. Oddly, there exists no record, through several thousand years of Egyptian anthropology, of a wedding ceremony. Presumably, once you chose your partner and began living with him or her, that was that.

Yep. Right in the butt.

Due to this no-nonsense approach to matrimony, adultery was pretty severely frowned upon for women.  Because some dudes had lots of wives. So long as they could provide for them. Seems unfair, but I get it. Pragmatism.

Though, now that I think about it, some dudes also possibly had husbands. Not sure what the rules of adultery were for them, but they almost certainly existed.

But I’m getting off track. The point here is that we’re not re-inventing the sexual wheel here in our innovative 21st century paradise.  Sex, love, butt-stuff, it’s all been around for eons.

ramipharaoh
Sweet Sekhmet, could he be any more attractive?

Chances are very good that women enjoyed a bit of BDSM at the dawn of the world, and the odds that a miserable bride imported from Athens with some unromantic ass-wipe of a husband might be considered “not quite” married by an Egyptian – a product of a culture that actually sought mutual attraction and affection. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that their pantheon of gods is substantially less rapey and wife-murdery than the one on Mt. Olympus.

In fact, the more I research Ancient Egypt, the more I kind of hope I accidentally touch a statue in the Brooklyn Musuem and end up transported there for a one-night fling with some sexy, Thebian courtier.

A girl can dream.

Another Man’s Queen is available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

The Princess goes Commando – The History of Underpants

Loincloths and bloomers and kilts, oh my.

Underwear1913I have a timeline saved on my computer of underwear technology. No, you can’t see it.  I just want you to know it’s there.

Ever think about the research that goes into writing a historically accurate sex scene? Probably not, because you are a fun person with a life and hobbies. Besides, your good friend Amelie does that stuff for you.

In OathboundI got around the question of underthings by having our fair princess stripped of everything but her chemise during her fainting spell. Her historically accurate underthings were a question for another day. But in reality, she probably was never wearing any to begin with. Medieval women liked to feel the wind in their bits. Kept them alert in the absence of Pornhub.

Oathbound and my upcoming title, The Blacksmith’s Bargain, take place in an unidentified medieval time period and a mysterious unknown kingdom.  Those ambiguous details gave me quite a lot of flexibility in the panty drawer because the evolution of underwear – particularly women’s underwear – has had a long and varied past.

Men (of course) have generally covered their junk. Starting around the 13th century, all the guys sat around a campfire and decided they should protect the family jewels with a primitive (but not much different than ours) version of boxer shorts called braies.  Women had no time for campfire genital discussions what with the butter churning and the 19 consecutive pregnancies a piece, so they were still free balling (as it were) for the next few centuries.

03It wasn’t until almost 500 years later that knickers were introduced into the picture. Corsets, bustles, bum rolls, and stockings all predated the simple idea of a pair of shorts to keep us womenfolk from making impulsive decisions with our nether regions. And it’d be another 400 years before bras came into play.

Boring, you say? Uninteresting? Well, it sure is important when a knight or a blacksmith is playing striptease with your fair damsel. I do take some liberties, of course. They were called “drawers” for the longest time, but that’s not a very sexy word, so my progressive medieval peoples have a leg up on terms like “knickers” and “panties.”  I’m sure Chaucer would forgive me.

AA356733
I have no idea what freaky shit is going on here, I just want to keep you guys on your toes

As it is, I appreciate the easy-access approach to historical lingerie. I’ve returned to the ancient world this week while I start crafting the sequel to Another Man’s Queen. 

Loincloths and shendyts were de rigeur in the courts of ancient Thebes, but to be frank, Isis and Anubis spend more time out of their clothes than in them, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.