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Gender: evidence from manuscripts

Sourcebook: Robins 1993

Whether inscription or manuscript (avoiding the word text as too laden with associations from the printed word), ancient writing illustrates at varying degrees of formal expression the operation of men and women in society. As formal social self-expression, generated mainly by and for men, they tend to emphasise the spheres of men over those of women. However, often the androcentric bias derives as much or more from the modern reading as from the ancient content.

Six different categories of manuscript can be illustrated from papyrus fragments retrieved by Petrie from Lahun, and preserved today in the Petrie Museum.


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