February 06, 2006
A strengthening of Black male-female relationships is key, I believe, in rebuilding functional African-Americans families. Colonialism, in this hemisphere, intentionally worked to weaken this primary institution that is clearly a building block of any forward-moving people.
Egypt and classical cultures are the focus of this weblog. Thus, we look this month--Black History Month--at the importance of marriage and male-female relationships among our ancestors.
Reliefs and pictures indicate that the men and women of Ancient Kemet (Egypt) worked closely together and viewed the marriage relationship as significant, and highly esteemed. Men and women are shown holding hands, and children are often pictured in conjunction with their parents.
Husband and wife spent time chatting, enjoyed music together, and threw parties and social affairs together. The wife often went along with her husband on hunting forays to keep him company. In addition, Egyptian women shared with men important legal rights that in many other nations were totally alien to them.
Egyptian husbands realized that it took two to make a marriage. Wise advice to a husband: "Thou shouldst not supervise thy wife in her house, when thou knowest she is efficient. Do not say to her: 'Where is it? Fetch it for us!' when she has put it in its proper place. Let thine eye have regard, while thou art silent, that thou mayest recognize her abilities."
In Ancient Kemet women were allowed to own land, operated businesses, testified in court, and brought actions against men. The women of Kemet enjoyed greater freedom than any of their counterparts from other parts of the ancient world.
More advice to the men: “If you take a wife...Let her be more contented than any of her fellow-citizens. She will be attached to you doubly, if her chain is pleasant. Do not repel her; grant that which pleases her; it is to her contentment that she appreciates your work.
”If you are wise, look after your house; love your wife without alloy. Fill her stomach, clothe her back; these are the cares to be bestowed on her person. Caress her, fulfill her desires during the time of her existence; it is a kindness which does honor to its possessor. Be not brutal; tact will influence her better than violence; . . . behold to what she aspires, at what she aims, what she regards. It is that which fixes her in your house; if you repel her, it is an abyss. Open your arms for her, respond to her arms; call her, display to her your love."
Excerpts from The Precepts of Ptah-Hotep
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