Motherhood during the middle kingdom

Honor thy Mother: Motherhood during the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period (Beatriz Noria Serrano, University of Alcalá)

1:00pm - 2:00pm / Thursday 14th January 2021
Type: Webinar / Category: Department
  • Admission: Please email Rachael Cornwell ( or Daniel Lowes ( for the Zoom link.
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The figure of the mother in ancient Egyptian family has usually been overlooked by Egyptologists, who have focused in its counterpart, the father and especially on the relationship father-son. The patriarchal framework established in ancient Egypt caused that many administrative titles were inherited from fathers to sons and, therefore, mothers have always been understood as second-tier family members, whose importance diminished once their children became adults. However, after the First Intermediate Period, a close look at the evidence shows that mothers acquired great importance not only in the household but also in the construction of Egyptian social identity.

This talk shall examine inscriptions and depictions from Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period stelae -mainly coming from Abydos- in order to understand the role of mothers in the environs of family, household and home, as well as its impact in ancient Egyptian society. Thus, the presentation will consider both textual and iconographic evidence and will establish different patterns in the definition of these figures. Finally, they will also be compared with other family members such as wives in order to see differences or similarities in their nature, function and significance.