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PhD defence

Only the dead can tell us: on ancestor worship, law, social status and gender norms in Ancient Egypt

  • R. Schiavo
Wednesday 3 July 2024
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof.dr. O. E. Kaper
  • dr. R.J. Demarée


The present thesis focused on the authoritative role of the ancestors in matters of social cohesion, succession, inheritance, and property ownership in Ancient Egypt. The main goal has been to investigate whether religious sources concerning ancestor cult can provide concrete information about ancient Egyptian law administration. In order to pursue this objective a group of written sources that testify to the involvement of the ancestors in matters of inheritance and succession have been identified and thoroughly analysed. Rather than focusing exclusively on philological aspects, the research has mainly been aimed at reconstructing the ritual scenarios in which these textual sources were used in terms of space (by identifying the possible “theatrical settings” of the rituals), time (to be meant as the specific moments in which the ritual actions were enacted) and the type of audience involved.

PhD dissertations

Approximately one week after the defence, PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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