Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Woman and the Golden Flies

In Ancient Egypt golden flies we given as awards for valor in battle. You could think of them as a medal of honor or a medal of valor in the American military. They were not only given for valor but also persistence against the Hyksos in battle. The horsefly was used because it harassed beasts, a fitting distinction for warriors who drove out invaders.

The interesting thing about these flies is that one at least one occasion they were awarded to women. In Ancient Egypt women were not part of the military so one must wonder how a woman was awarded a fly of valor. It is thought that perhaps as spies or in other matters of subterfuge. It is also possible that the women spurred rebellion or inspired the people to keep up the battle. While it is not certain why they were awarded to the women there is proof that this was the case.

Ahhotep I, Queen of Egypt and mother of Ahmose I. Her name meant "the Moon is Satisfied". She was buried with three golden flies after dying at more than 90 years of age. It is written in a stela from the time period: "She is the one who has accomplished the rites and taken care of Egypt... She has looked after her soldiers, she has guarded her, she has brought back her fugitives and collected together her deserters, she has pacified Upper Egypt and expelled her rebels." suggesting that Queen Ahhotep I rallied her troops and  possibly ministered to the wounded herself during the battle at Thebes to drive out the Hyksos according to Dodson and Hilton's "The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt"

Coffin of Queen Ahhotep I

No comments:

Post a Comment