Representations of the Family in the Egyptian Old Kingdom

Women and marriage

Kim McCorquodale


An investigation of the iconography and inscrAtions in over 800 tombs and objects with provenances, from Old Kingdom Egypt throws light on the roles of women, marriage and inheritance amongst the elite class. The institution of marriage, including instances of divorce and polygamy are explored. This includes the roles of wives, mothers and sisters and the role of the ‘eldest’ child in inheritance. Instances of more than one eldest child are explored to try to determine the family situation. Changes overtime to the family structure including divorce and polygamy are revealed.