It’s another new day in Egypt. In a bedroom inside
a splendid townhouse in one of Thebes’ most desirable
neighborhoods, a nobleman and his wife stir beneath their fine
Remmao gets out of bed and puts on a long white linen robe
before hitting a small gong. This is the signal for his secretary
to bring him his schedule for the day on a piece of papyrus.
When she has gone, other servants help him wash and shave,
before he dresses in a fine linen kilt and leather sandals.
His wife, Kemisi, is also getting ready with the help of
her own servant. Wearing a linen dress and glass jewelry,
she puts on her makeup – some black kohl powder on her
eyelids – and goes downstairs for breakfast.
Egypt is too hot for heavy breakfasts, so there are no pancakes
or waffles. Instead, Remmao and Kemisi, sit on some cushions
at a low table for a simple meal of bread and fruit.
Then it’s time for work. Remmao leaves Thebes by chariot
and heads for his estate on the banks of the Nile. He meets
the estate overseer, who gives him the latest figures on his
cattle and geese, and updates him on their expectations for
The two men then go on a tour, watching slaves carrying baskets
full of grapes and pomegranates. The grapes are taken to the
wine press where they are crushed underfoot, before being
put into clay vessels and taken to the cellars – where
they will eventually become wine.
After the morning’s work, Remmao joins his overseer
for lunch and some of the estate’s wine, before he takes
a siesta to avoid the worst of the afternoon’s heat.
It’s a tough life!
Back home, Kemisi is supervising preparations for a banquet
this evening. Everything’s going well, so she goes out
into the garden to enjoy the shade and watch her children
At the estate, Remmao meets up with a friend. Together they
go to the river to hunt wildfowl, but today they have little
luck and Remmao goes home empty handed.
He gets back to find Kemisi getting ready – as usual,
she’s taking forever. Her servant brushes and curls
her favorite wig, and then helps her into her best clothing.
Her jewelry is made from gold and semi-precious stones. Remmao
changes quickly and they head downstairs.
One by one, their guests arrive. Some come in chariots. Others
are carried on decorated litters – covered couches –
by servants. As the villa becomes fuller, the small cones
of scented wax placed on guests’ wigs gradually melt,
releasing their perfume.
It’s soon time for dinner – a feast of geese
and ducks, fresh fish, roasted ox, goat and gazelle. For dessert,
there’s grapes, melon, figs, dates, pistachio nuts and
pomegranates, all served on golden plates. The wine flows
freely and the guests love the music and dancers provided
by their hosts.
Finally, the evening comes to an end. The guests stagger out
of the villa and go home. The place is a mess, but that’s
what servants are for. Tired but happy, Remmao and Kemisi make
their way to bed.
Where to Next:
A Day in the Life of a Pharaoh,
A Day in the Life - Introduction