During the dynastic period (3000 BC - 332 BC), as the Greek historian Herodotus was intrigued to observe, Egyptian women enjoyed a legal, social and sexual independence unrivalled by their Greek or Roman sisters, unrivalled, indeed, by women in Europe until the late nineteenth century. They could own and trade in property, work outside the home, marry foreigners and even live alone without the protection of a male guardian. Furthermore, women fortunate enough to be members of the royal harem were vastly influential, as were those rare women who rose to rule Egypt as 'female kings'.
Joyce Tyldesley draws upon archaeological, historical and ethnographical evidence to piece together a vivid picture of daily life in Egypt - marriage and the home, work and play, grooming, religion - all viewed from a female perspective. She has an engaging eye for incidental detail and draws fascinating parallels and contrasts between the ancient and our modern world.