ANCIENT MORTALITY


Ancient Egyptian life was hard. Which comes as no surprise to you I am sure. Just as life was difficult for people growing up 500 years ago, it was even more difficult for a child growing up in 2000 BC.

Life expectancy for women was around 30 years and for a man 33 years, give or take. Women, of course, had a lower chance of survival as they had the task of delivering children. Which was not easy.

If you lived to be 40 years old in ancient Egypt then you were considered to be an old man. Imagine what the population thought about Ramesses the Great who lived to the age of 91 years old. He was almost certainly thought of as immortal - until his death of course.

Babies took milk from their mothers for around a year, then, once they moved onto more solid foods the chances of them contracting an illness or disease was high. Weening off milk was probably the most vulnerable time for an ancient Egyptian baby. Being exposed to new bacteria in food and drink was a risky and worrying time for the mother.

Ancient Egyptians generally had large families. More children meant more help with business affairs, agricultural help and taking care of parents when they reached old age.

It must have been heartbreaking to lose a child and not understand the reason why. The ancient Egyptians had no knowledge of harmful bacteria and the remedies they had for disease and infection was quite poor. The same heartbreak and struggle apply to all ancient civilisations.

The ancient world was a harsh place.

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