Drawing on textual, iconographic and archaeological evidence, this book highlights a historically documented (but often ignored) event, where five single women were elevated to a position of supreme religious authority. The women were Libyan and Nubian royal princesses who, consecutively, held the title of God's Wife of Amun during the Egyptian Twenty-third to Twenty-sixth dynasties (c.754-525 BCE).Despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to the religious, economic and political authority of the God's Wives during this tumultuous period of Egyptian history, to date, these women have only received cursory attention from scholars of ancient Egypt. Tracing the evolution of the office of God's Wife from its obscure origins in the Middle Kingdom to its demise shortly after the Persian Conquest of Egypt in 525 BCE, Mariam Ayad places these five women within the broader context of the politically volatile, turbulent Seventh and Eighth centuries BCE, and examines how the women, and the religious institution they served, were manipulated to achieve political gain.
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University of Memphis, USA