"Egypt was undoubtedly the best place to have been born a woman in the whole of the ancient world. Egyptian woman 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".
Joyce Tyldesley author of 'Daughters of Isis. Woman of Ancient Egypt'.
One of the most influential female figures from ancient history was Hatshepsut, one of several women who rose to rule Egypt as pharaoh.
The photographs above show two sides of a glazed steatite scarab, the most popular form of Egyptian amulet for 2000 years. The flat base is carved with Hatshepsut's throne name, Maatkare, enclosed in a cartouche. This name may be roughly translated as Maat (the goddess of truth) is the life force of Re (the sun god). Before the cartouche is a large hieroglyph of a bee, which can be translated as kingship, and is part of a title belonging to the pharaoh.
You can see this scarab and 322 others in the Ancient Egypt gallery at World Museum. Find out more about them in our online collection pages.
- Object number: 4.9.07.22a (gift of the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, 1907)
- Date: 18th Dynasty (c. 1473 - 1458 BC)