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Empathetic diary entries of a Deir El-Medina tomb worker. Include...

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Empathetic diary entries of a Deir El-Medina tomb worker. Includes information of both high and household ancient Egyptian gods as well as everyday life.

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9th day of the 2nd month

What a wonderful day in this glorious town of Deir el-Median, high on the West Bank of the Nile where we skilled tomb workers live. I prayed to the goddesses Tawaret, Hathor and Amun today that the birth of my third child would be as successful as the others, for it is there shall be much happiness and music within our home.

On coming home this evening, I could hear the yelling of my wife in childbirth., I paused to kiss the image of Bes, god of hearth, as I entered the front room and ran up the stairs to the roof where my mother sat reciting incantations to the seven Hathors who preside over the birth. My other 2 sons also sat with her making offerings to Selket, helper of women in childbirth.

My wife was squatted over the two bricks that her feet were balanced on, supported by a midwife on the hastily erected reed hut. Crushed poppy seed was given to her to alleviate the pain of giving birth.

The north wind blew, indicating Hathors favour. I thanked the goddess silently for having watched over my wife. This is indeed a very lucky day for us, my son being born on the ninth day of the second month of Akhet - he will die of old age.

My newborn was washed with warm water and the umbilical cord cut with an obsidian knife. In keeping with our custom we kept the placenta as it is the spiritual twin of our newly born son.

His head will soon be shaved like that of his two older brothers, Ibi and Karem, only leaving a side lock. This will then be cut off at the age of 11, that is, when he immediately passes into adulthood.

My wife and three sons will undoubtedly be well provided for not only in the present, but well into the future. My sons will each learn my trade, a painter, as I am currently the head painter. I create beauty that is to be seen only by the dead. Is this an honour? Or a curse, I sometimes wonder?

Our marriage has been very blessed, with my wife surviving three successful childbirths. With the...