Y is for Youth

Children were not given a voice in ancient Egypt; what we know about their lives comes from descriptions from adults, as well as objects found in children's tombs.

- Ancient Egyptians also recognised in different stages of development in children: infant and toddler, child, and youth (late teens).

- These children became involved in the adult world early on, sometimes portrayed as miniature adults. They fulfilled social and economic tasks which got more demanding as they got older.

- It was the parents' duty to educate their children.

- Ancient Egyptian children owned dolls with real hair and played ball and stick games. They wore no clothes until they reached puberty, and imitated the work of their mothers and fathers.

- A child was considered fortunate to be born and survive to age one in ancient Egypt, as many women died in childbirth, while many infants died from infections. Protective deities would have been kept in the mother's home to protect her and her child. Special amulets were also worn.

- While both boys and girls were precious to ancient Egyptian parents, the birth of a boy was celebrated more than that of a girl.

- The average ancient Egyptian family ended up with about five or six kids.


  1. I suppose it was very important to get at least one child to adulthood so you have someone to look after you in later life and in death with all the funerary needs.
    They really wore no clothes until puberty? - the movies have been lying to me :)
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  2. They got to run naked for years? I guess in the heat, clothing really wasn't needed.

  3. Just one wafer thin letter to go Miss Laura . . . and then you can run off and make sand castles.

  4. Sounds like they didn't have much of a childhood, even though they were loved. Sounds like they were expected to work from an early age.

  5. The idea of dolls with real hair kind of creeps me out lol!

  6. I suppose running around naked for years would make sense in the climate. I know my kids would run around naked all the time if I'd let them!

    Lots of cultures celebrate the birth of a boy more than a girl. As a girl, I formally protest such treatment, but at least the ancient Egyptians still valued their girls.

    Another excellent post as always!

  7. I guess the boys were always favored in early cultures. Where did the goddesses go wrong? :-)

  8. If I had given birth back then, I would not have survived. It's humbling to accept that fact, but it's true.

  9. I do remember seeing pictures of Isis and her son, Horus, and how mature he seemed for a child.

  10. Of course, some kids took on great responsibility at a young age: Tutankhamun, for example. :) I suppose from our perspective, an Egyptian kid's life doesn't seem much fun. But it's amazing what you consider a good life when you don't know any different.

  11. So sad to think so many died so young.

  12. Infant mortality was a tragic, but frequent reality in the old world, so sad,
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  13. Sigh, so many cultures that like boys better than girls. Lame.

  14. Wonder if clothes might have helped. Maybe not. Ancient Egypt was rich culturally and those children would have learned plenty. Sad about the mortality rate.


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