I didn’t even make it a week.
I was reading through one of my books on ancient Egypt tonight, looking for information for Novel #2, when I discovered several nifty historical tidbits that would fit perfectly in HATSHEPSUT: FEMALE PHARAOH. Now, many of these I knew, but had either ignored or forgotten about in the course of writing the novel. So I made a list of things I needed to go back and write into various scenes.
But could I wait five and half weeks to do it?
Um… What do you think?
So here’s my list of random ancient Egypt trivia for you, all somehow worked into the story now.
1. Traces of beeswax have been found on ancient Egyptian wigs. The wigs were often very elaborate and the styles would have lasted longer on wigs than live hair. (Fleas prosper in both, not a detail I’m including. Maybe I’ll save that for Novel #2.)
2. There were no pillows on Egyptian beds. In fact, most people had to be content with a bench or just a mattress on the floor. There were no headboards, but the bed slanted from the head toward the floor and Egyptians used rather uncomfortable looking ivory or stone headrests in place of pillows. (This was highly inconvenient as I had a couple scenes where I really wanted pillows. Alas, one really should be historically accurate whenever possible.)
3. By the time of Hatshepsut in the New Kingdom, women’s fashion had evolved from the plain white tunics we typically think of from tomb scenes. Sheer overgarments were the height of fashion, often embroidered or beaded. However, the main color choice remained white, the better to show off all your snazzy jewels with!
4. Wool was rarely used for clothing, linen being much more suitable for the hot climate. The higher classes had thinner linen that could be so thin as to render it transparent.
5. On duty priests had to be entirely hairless. I’ve read that many farmers would serve in the temples while their fields were fallow, covered by the floods of the Nile. So those guys would have to be shaved from head to toe for about three months.