In the ancient Egypt the institution of
marriage was extremely similarly with the one of our days.
The Egyptians, in their majority, were getting married from
love, but there were also arranged marriages which were
practiced in diverse situations.
Before the Greek dynasty only the pharaoh
could marry with a member of the family, a sister, daughter,
niece of brother or sister, a cousin or even mother.
example, the Queen Hatshepsut married with her step brother,
the pharaoh Tuthmoses II.
After his death, Hatshepsut also became
pharaoh. And Ramses II married with at least four of his
daughters (Meritamun, Bint-Anath, Henutmira and Nebettawi).
The pharaohs could marry from love too, like Ramses II
married with Nefertari, falling in love with her although
the woman was not from royal family.
But it is thought that Nefertari had origins from an old royal family; some
historians think that she was even the step sister of
The men used to take wives and the marriages were
recorded from all times, even pre dynastic.
The most of the
couples married young so the wife could offer descendants
(especially sons) to the husband before getting old or die-
what could happen in any moment.
were getting married when they were very young, when they
begun their puberty, around the age of 12 years.Some
marriages were mad when the girls were having 8
years. The boys and the men used to marry later, the
youngest bridegrooms having around 15 years.
The famous pharaoh Tutankhamun
married before he was 9 years old with his step
sister Ankhesnamun. The 3 babies of this couple were
There were also cases when old men
were married with much younger wives. The general Horemheb was 50 years old when he married with Queen
Mutnodjmet who was 25 years old. Also,
Qenherkhepeshef ( a scribe from Deir el-Medina)
married with a young woman of only 20 years old when
he was 54 years old. If a man found a specific girl
attracted, he had to go at her parents` home and to
ask the father to give him the hand of the girl.
Depending on the social statute of the man
(especially if he was coming from a rich family) the
father was giving his approval.
The girl`s mother was also asked about the marriage of the
girl, and if the father was not alive, the man had to ask
the girl` s hand to an uncle of her. The marriage was
approved by a contract between the two parts, which was
specifying very clear what contribution and claims had each
of the parts, so, in case of a divorce, nobody could not
pretend something else.
The contract contained: the marriage
date (the year of the reign and the name of the pharaoh),
the names of the future couple, the husband`s occupation,
the names of the two partners` parents, the names of the
witnesses and of the scribe who made the contract.