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Same-sex couple?
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:31 pm    Post subject: Same-sex couple? Reply with quote

I just found this site:

http://www.egyptology.com/niankhkhnum_khnumhotep/

I find it very interesting. Check it out and let me know what you think of it.
Officially, homosexuality was frowned on by the ancient Egyptians. "Laying with a man" was one of the negative confessions, but what do you think was the popular practise?
I'd be interested to get your feed-back.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been sceptical of claims that there were gay men in ancient Egypt because it's considered sinful, according to the book of the dead etc. But maybe, if that site is true, it's possible?

Is it true that Set was the god of homosexuality? That may explain why it was frowned upon. He did tell Horus that he had a nice bottom, or something along those lines, didn't he? Laughing

then again, I did read a counter-claim saying that there were 'gay priests' in Egypt but I don't know.
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "officials", Hawass included, are quick to tell us that it is a tomb of brothers, perhaps twins. Yeha, rrrrrrrriight!
My brother and I were extremely close, but I don't think there's one photograph of us holding hands, standing nose to nose.
Whatever the official stance that Egyptians took, the idea of these two men caring so much about each other that they wanted to spend eternity together is kind of comforting, in a way.
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this on tour Egypt, isisinacrisis. Thought you might like to see it:

During the pharoanic period Set was god of male homosexuality as well as of individuality. He was depitcted in different forms - sometimes as a gender-variant male and sometimes as a red or white-skinned man with the head of a dog, the body of a greyhound and a long forked tail. His birthday was celebrated on 16 July.

Originally he was, according to legend, given Upper Egypt to rule while his handsome brother [ or sometimes it's said his nephew ] Horus ruled over Lower Egypt. After the reunification the two gods were frequently depicted as a couple with the symbol of unity between them. There is also a clear implication of a homosexual relationship and in one myth Set gives birth to Horus' child.

According to one myth Set attempts to disgrace Horus by being the active partner in sex with him but on his mother's advice Horus catches Set's semen in his hand and takes it to his mother who puts it on Set's favourite food - lettuce which Set then unknowlingly eats. Set, thinking his semen is inside Horus calls the judges and askes them to determine who it is who has been impregnated. Much to his surprise when the judges call forth the semen it responds from his own stomach disgracing himself and exonerating Horus.

Another legend has it that Set tried to *** Horus, and that for several days that two battled, transformed into hippopotami in the Nile. Set tore out Horus' eye but Horus ripped off Set's penis. Eventually, however, after the intervention of Thoth, the monkey-like god of wisdom, the two god's were reconciled.

The legendary sexual struggle and eventual reconciliation between the two gods are viewed by historians as allegories for the fighting between upper and lower Egypt which finally led to the country unifying around 3000BC.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a search on Google and found this article about egyptian attitudes to homosexuality:
http://home.comcast.net/~hebsed/reeder.htm

Isis wrote:
I've been sceptical of claims that there were gay men in ancient Egypt because it's considered sinful, according to the book of the dead etc.

There are societies today that consider this sinful, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.
It may depend on if you view this as nature or nurture. I get the impression that people are born that way. If that's the case, then there would have been gay people and same sex relationships in ancient egypt as well.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think homosexuality is a universal thing it common in animals i watched pbs broadcast of nature and it showed two male monkeys in sexual positions the narrator said that it was to show dominace or to paractice sex or something like that. its kinda like the alpha male shhowing that he can hump another male if he wanted to i think. Laughing Laughing Laughing
it's kinda like prison sex. LOL Confused
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The "officials", Hawass included, are quick to tell us that it is a tomb of brothers, perhaps twins. Yeha, rrrrrrrriight!


Indeed. I've studied this tomb--we have a recreation of the marketplace scene in our museum. I know of nowhere in the tomb that Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep are explicitly identified as brothers. In fact, their connection with each other is part of the myserty and fascination of this twin-mastaba in Saqqara. Theirs is identified variously as the Tomb of the Two Brothers, the Tomb of the Two Hairdressers, and the Tomb of the Two Lovers. I think Hawass and company are just giving the politically correct version so as not to offend prudish tourists. This mastaba has been fully restored and is a popular tourist stop in the Saqqara necropolis.

There's lots of info about it on the internet, and much of it seems like nonsense. This is one tomb to which too much conjecture has been applied. It's also a modern-day rally-point for the gay community, to celebrate homosexuality in ancient Egypt.

It is possible that these two men were lovers. How likely it is we just can't say. Homosexuality of course existed in ancient Egypt--it has existed, exists, and will exist in all societies through all of time. From what we can tell, the Egyptians did not look at it as evil so much as simply counter to the concept of maat. The coupling of two men or two women went against the ideal of the family and was sterile: no children could be produced.

What we can do is examine the evidence at hand, and the evidence in this tomb is interesting. Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were not ordinary commoners:

1. They served in the 5th Dynasty as Prophets of Re in the sun temple of Pharaoh Niuserre (at Abu Gurab) and were also both w'b priests in that king's pyramid complex.

2. Their most interesting title, which they shared, was Overseers of the Manicurists of Pharaoh, which placed them high up in the spectrum of society (how many people touched the person of the king daily?). The Egyptian word for "manicurist" is iri 'nt, which literally translated means "worker of the nails." Our wall recreation at the museum shows the many things these ancient manicurists did for their jobs.

3. Their tomb, a twin mastaba, is very lavish and considerably beyond their means to afford; Pharaoh Niuserre likely had it built for them, due to their service to him.

4. Both Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were married, but only the wife of Niankhkhnum is depicted in the tomb, and her image was almost completely removed in antiquity.

5. In nealry all of the scenes in which the two men appear together, Niankhkhnum is depicted either to the right of or behind Khnumhotep--where a wife would traditionally be placed in inscriptional scenes.

6. In the tomb's banquet scene Niankhkhnum is shown holding a lotus blossom, which only women are usually shown holding in Old Kingdom scenes.

7. On the lintel above one doorway, their two names are written in hieroglyphs in such a way that they are joined together as one (sharing one of the khnm glyphs).

8. In many scenes Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep are shown in intimate and affectionate poses.

So you can see why many believe these two men were gay. There is legitimate evidence pointing to it. But we could be misreading the evidence and applying modern-day attitudes and interpretations, which can lead to trouble. If these two men were lovers, did Niuserre know of and tolerate it? Would pharaoh himself, the ultimate representative of maat, knowingly fund a tomb for two servants in which a lifestyle counter to maat was displayed? Of course not. Or of course. We can't say for certain, but the possibility exists.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just bear in mind that I am not homophobic at all, ok? Smile I respect *** as much as straight people. I just was never aware that ancient Egypt had gay couples, at least not recognised ones because if they saw it as offensive to the general populace, they wouldn't have portrayed it on tombs and stuff...but now it seems there is a tomb that portrays what could be a gay couple, but we aren't sure.

I have never heard of a myth that Set and Horus had a child...that's pretty freaky if you ask me! But then again, they were gods so they could produce children in the strangest ways-look at how Ra/Atum created the world! Wink

So Set really was the god of homosexuality! I never realised that was true. However I don't think Set and Horus actually 'loved' each other (as some one recently written 'slash fiction' of the two gods implied. Yes, there is a slash of Set and Horus-but it may not be appropriate to post the link here.) They hated each other-they were total opposites and eternal rivals, and just as they were about to reconcile, Set sexually abuses Horus. Nothing loving about that. They were depicted as a couple because they represented opposites of order and chaos, not because they had a relationship (other than a family one-as uncle and nephew-I've never heard of Horus being a brother of Set.)

I did read an article in the newspaper about 'gay penguins'. Yes, that's right. Rolling Eyes I think that was because there were too many male penguins at the zoo and not enough females.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So Set really was the god of homosexuality!


Perhaps he should be the mascot for the gay Pride parade? The more that Set developed in Egyptian mythology, the more chaos he represented. It's not as though we have any proof whatsoever of gay people in ancient Egypt worshiping Set. It's more the case that homosexuality was counter to the concept of maat, and so it feels natural to place Set in this role, given that he was the antithesis of maat.

Quote:
I have never heard of a myth that Set and Horus had a child


That's a new one for me, too. An obscure twist to the Set/Horus epic? A misconception of inscriptional evidence? There are so many variations of this epic that it's hard to keep them straight, and to distinguish between Egyptian fact and later fiction. Also, both Set and Horus are very ancient deities, certainly stretching back to predynastic times. Their origins are unclear. Add to that the fact that Horus himself is the end result of the melding of numerous different very old avarian deities, so it's difficult to distinguish between the interactions. Eventually Set and Horus were occasionally depicted in a strange reconciled form of a single anthropomorphic god with two heads--the head of Set and the head of Horus. Further, worship of Set in Upper Egypt and of Horus in Lower Egypt tended to provide a comfortable balance, a sense of maat. Perhaps at times too much was simply read into all of this by later historians.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone know who, exactly, this child of Set and Horus was? If this child had a name that we know of, that is...

I remember seeing a Horus-Set composite. I've heard of Janus the two headed Roman god but seeing a god with two heads-one of a falcon and one of the weird Set creature-is truly bizarre. Don't you just love the Egyptians with their surreal deities and myths? Wink I do!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I mentioned in another thread I'm reading Joyce Tyldesleys' book
"Crime and Punishment in Ancient Egypt" and she briefly mentions homosexuality

“”It seems that sexual acts between consenting adults, even if they did not fit into the generally accepted family pattern, were tolerated by society as long as they did no harm to others, although the nuclear family of husband, wife and children was at all times and held up as the ideal. Homosexuality was not considered to be a crime, but neither was it expected to be a pleasure. Homosexuality *** was a means of degrading the victim, or for reducing him to the status of women. Thus, when the wicked Seth abuses his nephew he is not just satisfying his own lust, he is submitting Horus to a humiliating, emasculating ordeal;

Lesbianism goes unrecorded save for a mention in a dream book written for women “if she dreams that a woman is having intercourse with her, she will come to a bad end" whether this silence conveys total acceptance, or total denial, of female homosexuality is not obvious.””

She goes on a bit more about the Book of Dreams and some of the nature of its erotic contents such as beastiality and having sex with ones own mother! She does point out though they are just dreams and the only mention of beastiality in a court is as a curse "may a donkey **** you and your wife"
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
She goes on a bit more about the Book of Dreams and some of the nature of its erotic contents such as beastiality and having sex with ones own mother! She does point out though they are just dreams and the only mention of beastiality in a court is as a curse "may a donkey **** you and your wife"


Had Freud lived several thousand years earlier, I think he could have made a fortune off these people. I've read curses like the donkey one before...not conducive to pleasant imagery. In ancient Egypt sex could be used as much for harm as for pleasure, mythologically speaking. It made for a powerful tool in the proper observance of all things maat.

Quote:
Lesbianism goes unrecorded save for a mention in a dream book written for women “if she dreams that a woman is having intercourse with her, she will come to a bad end"


As elevated as women were in ancient Egypt, it was still very much a male-dominated society. Basically, if you wonder about such things, just remember how they probably looked at it: what was improper for men, was doubly so for women.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just saw this analysis of the stela of Suty and Hor:
http://weaver2.la.psu.edu/cams/festschrift/shubert.pdf

I just skim read the article, but it falls in some parallel to the earlier mentioned niankhkhnum and khnumhotep.

The names of the individuals Suty (Seth) and hor (Horus) is rather suggestive Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very interesting--and detailed--article. I was skimming through Section V (Hymn to the Sun) and found it enlightening how similar this hymn is to that of the Aten's in Akhenaten's reign. I'll have to go back and read the whole thing more carefully, though I'll need to print it out to save my poor eyes from reading all of those tiny words on a glaring computer screen. Shocked

And you're right, the Set and Horus angle is quite revealing. I got a chuckle out of that.
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we all should take a step back--and realize that the ae were just like any other society. Homosexuality was not officially recognized, but it obviously existed, in Egyptian society as well as in all others. The concept of two men or two woman sharing their lives should not be repugnant to us. The sharing of two lives is a great concept. Unfortunately, it is on modern ideas that put a hex on this subject, and make it a discussion that everyone avoids. Contrary to popular belief, homosexuals, both female and male, CAN spend their lives trogether, and deeply love one another. To think otherwise, is to be mired in predudice.
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