• Society
  • Egyptian Marriage

  • Comparison between ancient Egyptian and Catholic Marriages

    Criteria Egyptian Marriage Traditional Catholic Marriage
    Images Egyptian Marriage Traditional Catholic Marriage
    Type of Bond Social Bond - religion had little role in marriage. Marriage was purely a social arrangement that regulated property, neither religious nor state doctrines entered into the marriage arrangements Sacred Holy Bond
    Divorce - Divorce possible and normal - private matter and the government took no interest in it
    - The most common reasons for a man to divorce his wife included the inability to bear children, especially a son; the desire to marry someone else, or that she simply stopped pleasing him.
    - A woman could divorce her husband for mental or physical cruelty or adultery. In some cases, if the woman chose to divorce, she forfeited her right to communal property.
    Eternal bond and divorce impossible by law and church
    Marriage of widows Men and women could remarry after divorce or death of partner as soon as they wished Possible - but traditionally not encouraged
    Ceremony No official ceremony - family feast in honor of the uniting couple with music, dance and food . Religious ceremony in church
    Multiple wives and consorts Men were permitted to have multiple wives and concubines - common in nobility and upper class Only one wife - all other forms of contact considered adultery
    Marriage contract - The matrimony contract was not necessary, but most had a contract drawn up between the parties.
    - The poorer classes probably did not do this because they probably had few possessions to consider, and also the cost of a Scribe would have been prohibitive.
    - Settlements were drawn up between a woman's father and her prospective husband, although many times the woman herself was part of the contract.
    - The sole purpose of the contract was to establish the rights of both parties to maintenance and possessions during the marriage and after divorce if it should occur.
    Religious bond following strict rules - no individual settlements or contract terms
    Marriage of Siblings Possible marriage of brothers and sisters - but only common in noble classes Strictly forbidden
    Age of Couple Any age - encouraged to marry young, considering that the life span at this time was relatively short Church took no interest in age of couple - not marrying and dedication to the Lord was seen as spiritually supreme
    Priests Matrimony possible Marriage of priests not allowed

    Marriage Contract

    A standard Marriage contract would contain:

    1. The date, the year of the reign of the ruling monarch,
    2. The contractors future husband and wife,
    3. The names of both sets of parents husband's profession The scribe who drew up the contract
    4. The names of the witnesses
    5. Then the details of the settlement.

    Here is an example of a contract from 219 BC: "The Blemmyann, born in Egypt, son of Horpais, whose mother is Wenis, has said to the woman Tais, daughter of the Hathor, whose mother is Tairerdjeret: I have made you a married woman. As your woman's portion, I give you two pieces of silver if I dismiss you as wife and dislike you and prefer another woman to you as wife, I will give you two pieces of silver in addition to the two pieces of silver mentioned above? and I will give you one third of each and everything that will accrue to you and me.

    One of the expectations of the Egyptian family was the bringing forward of children . Sometimes there would be a trial marriage for a year to see if pregnancy would occur. This was all stipulated in the contract.

    Concubines did not have the same protective status as wives, adultery even in households where there were concubines, was strongly discouraged.