The revelation that two mummies on display at a museum in Manchester are not fully brothers raises interesting questions.
We have reported on the remarkable discovery that was recently made about two mummies on display in England, but in addition to being an amazing anthropological find, it also reveals an incredible truth about Egyptian society. The mummies, which belong to high priests Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht of the 12th dynasty, were shown through genetic testing to have two fathers even though they had the same mother, and they were born 20 years apart.
The mummies were found in 1907 in the Tomb of the Two Brothers in an area of Egypt known as Deir Rifeh. They have been on display at a museum in Manchester for more than 100 years as brothers, but this new finding shows that they have a much more complicated blood relationship.
It is certainly an unusual situation by the standard of most ancient societies, as despite being born to two different fathers and two decades apart, they both appeared to enjoy high social status in Egyptian society, meaning their mother probably was of a high class.
It is an indication that Egyptian society functioned very different from many other societies back then, or even today. In ancient Egypt, social class mattered a lot more than one’s gender in terms of rights, and women often did not experience much of a disadvantage when it came to property ownership and legal rights, and they were free to choose who they wanted to marry and could be granted a divorce.
It is an indication that ancient Egyptian society is fantastically unique, and perhaps even something to emulate in certain ways.