Our literature club is reading books during the ancient times so for this school year I thought it would be fun to explore Ancient HIStory on Fridays. I plan to share interesting, amazing, and fun facts about the ancient world. I want our children to get the most out of reading. One way to do this it to connect the stories they read to real people, real places with real lives.
Today let’s explore…
Ancient Fashion for Women
I’m reading Mara, Daughter of the Nile, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. The story is set in Ancient Egypt and has adventure, romance and intrigue to keep you turning the pages. Mara, is a slave in Egypt. Through a series of spy-like events she is “hired” to serve in the royal court of Hatshepsut as an interpreter to a Syrian princess who is being brought to Egypt to marry Hatshepsut’s brother. Mara’s fluent speech in Egyptian and Babylonian made her perfect for the job. In chapter 6 and 7 we are given a contrasting description of Egyptian and Syrian clothing for royal women.
Egyptian vs. Syrian Clothing
The Syrian princess, Innani, wore a long shawl over her head and bulky woolen draperies that covered her from head to toe. They were stripped and embroidered all over in garish colors. (description taken from page 65).
The Egyptians on the other hand dressed for comfort in their climate. Innani tells Mara of the heat exhaustion she fees and Mara says,” We dress for it. We too would smother and gasp for air in those heaven woolens. We wear wool only at night, when the air is cold. You will find yourself more comfortable, my princess, when you possess an Egyptian wardrobe.” (dialog taken from page 66).
Clothing States Position
Items of clothing made statements about the position in life one held. When we first meet Mara, she is dressed in a simple linen dress-type garment and bare foot. When she is employed as a spy to work in the court she receives, “Piles of snowy white linen, leather sandals…a few pieces of jewelry, colored sashes and a warm white woolen cloak, deeply fringed. (description on page 62). Royalty wore even more elaborate garments marking their position above the rest of society.
Digging Deeper in to Ancient Clothing
If you’re reading books with your children that are set in ancient times and you want to dig a little deeper into the fashion of the times, here are a few links to get your going.
How does clothing affect you?
Clothing in ancient times had meaning assigned to it so everyone knew your position or the job you were doing. Do you see that in our culture?
Living Outside the Lines Makes a Fashion Statement