Marriage in Ancient Egypt

Marriage in Egypt was classed as a duty and was therefore undertaken early in life. It is believed that girls could be married as young as 8 or 9, although more common to have been married in their early teens. Men were normal married by the age of 20.

Today when people get married there is a ceremony and party, but there is no evidence that this took place in Ancient Egypt. It seems that if a girl left her fathers house and moved into a mans house, who was not already married, she became his wife. Women did have rights in Egypt and when they married they took a dowry (their own property and goods) with them. This dowry would remain the wife’s property through marriage and would not pass to the control of her husband as it would in many other cultures.

Agreeing to a marriage contract was common in middle and upper class families. It was also possible for poorer Egyptians to have a marriage contract, but this was rare, as it was expensive to employ a scribe to draw this up, and in many cases poorer people would not have enough possessions to warrant a marriage contract.

Marriage contracts were used to agree the rights of property and possessions during the marriage and in cases of divorce.

Divorce proceedings could be taken by either the husband or the wife, and no reason had to be given for this decision.


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