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Ancient same sex couple
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Si-amun
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:27 pm    Post subject: Ancient same sex couple Reply with quote

In 1964 in the necropolis of Saqqara an archaeologist discovered a tomb depicting scenes of two manicurists ( Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep ) in intimate embrace. They had both been employed in the Palace of King Niuserre (Fifth Dynasty) around 2,400BC. The images of the two men in the tomb were very similar to those of male-female married couples found in other tombs dating from the same period.
What do you all think about this? I have read how common homosexuality was in ancient Greece but I never knew it was widely accepted in Egypt. In fact, from the Legend where Horus raped by Seth I thought it was percieved to be humiliating. In the negative confession of the Book of the Dead the deceased denies practicing homosexuality. Does anyone else know the actual stance of the Ancient Egyptians on the matter?
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Sekhmet
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Ancient same sex couple Reply with quote

Si-amun wrote:
In 1964 in the necropolis of Saqqara an archaeologist discovered a tomb depicting scenes of two manicurists ( Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep ) in intimate embrace. They had both been employed in the Palace of King Niuserre (Fifth Dynasty) around 2,400BC. The images of the two men in the tomb were very similar to those of male-female married couples found in other tombs dating from the same period.
What do you all think about this? I have read how common homosexuality was in ancient Greece but I never knew it was widely accepted in Egypt. In fact, from the Legend where Horus raped by Seth I thought it was percieved to be humiliating. In the negative confession of the Book of the Dead the deceased denies practicing homosexuality. Does anyone else know the actual stance of the Ancient Egyptians on the matter?


Hey Si-Amun,

Generally, the Ancient Egyptians didn't approve of homosexuality. But i am not aware of any criminal charges that could be leveled against a couple practicing it. Unlike Christianity where there are laws, many coming down, but laws still against it.
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Si-amun
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2004 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, but there must have been some kind of general acceptance for there to have been a couple displayed in stone on a tomb wall. Can anyone else think of any other examples?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ancient Greece.
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Si-amun
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have discussed Ancient Greece and the whole symposium scene before. I meant solely in ancient Egypt as the Greeks didn't really do much to hide their stance on homosexuality, did they?
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Sekhmet
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Si-amun wrote:
Thanks, but there must have been some kind of general acceptance for there to have been a couple displayed in stone on a tomb wall. Can anyone else think of any other examples?


Please Si-Amun! One couple fitting their tomb with things meant for them alone. In a nation where people where free to build their tombs pretty much as they wanted. Free to fill it with just about anything they want. Doesn't mean a general accptance.
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out the tomb Si-Amon is talking about here, and let's hear what everyone thinks.

www.egyptology.com/niankhkhnum_khnumhotep/ (underline between niankhkhnum and khnumhotep)

I uderstand the tomb is now closed to the public. It is considered to be in "poor taste". (SCA quote)
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Si-amun
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Until the mid 1960's it was illegal to be homosexual in the UK. That means no relationship, no depiction of gay relationships or anything were allowed. Now we are more accepting there is a heightened gay culture emerging over here. If it was condemned or severely frowned upon could the couple have had it carved onto their tomb wall? Could they have chosen a blasphemous image of the gods if they had wanted it? I think not. To carve something in stone in a Royal necropolis is to show both worlds what it is that you do. That is why Horemheb modified the paintings in his tomb at Saqqara to depict him as King. This tomb was never used but it was still important for him to be who he was, in stone, in a sacred place.
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Sekhmet
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like i said Si-Amun as far as i know it was not approved of, however i don't know of any laws against it. Not approved of, is not the same thing as being illegal.
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Si-amun
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Osiris II, thankyou for that excellent link. I found it immensely interesting to see the actual carvings instead of merely hearing about them. I wonder what the Egyptians thought about it all? Were they modern in their approach? Were they barbaric about it? Interesting as it is, for me at least, a human interest story dating back 4500 years.
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Sekhmet
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again Osiris II ! This time your link worked! Smile
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Sekhmet"]Thanks again Osiris II ! This time your link worked! Smile

How about that! Success!

The AE have never stated pros or cons concerning homosexuality. I'm sure, as in ANY society, homosexuals did exist. A general acceptance in AE? Who knows--but it is quite unlikely. As you stated in one of your posts, a private tomb was just that--private. What people felt necessary to carve on the walls of their tomb ultimately concerned themselves. Obviouly, these two men wanted to share their happy life together for eternity. I think that is a very noble desire, and should be commended.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just found this, using Google, and thought the rest of you may find it interesting.

Homosexuality itself is not technically illegal in Egypt but it is a serious taboo - culturally, socially and now politically. Gay men are vilified by the press and the public.


Dr. Essam Elarian, a spokesman for the banned Muslim Brotherhood, expresses a common opinion. "From my religious view, all the religious people, in Christianity, in Judaism, condemn homosexuality," he says. "It is against the whole sense in Egypt. The temper in Egypt is against homosexuality."

Until last year, the government denied that homosexuality even existed. No one knows why it changed policy and decided to begin its crackdown.
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Si-amun
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am very sorry, but we were talking about Ancient Egypt and not modern Egypt. Interesting facts though. I know a private tomb was "private" but surely to put something like that, in stone, in a Royal necropolis, and in a public chapel open to any family. What was painted on the walls of a tomb was what they wanted their afterlife to be. Would you show the gods something they would find unacceptable or offensive?
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PharoahKel
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Si-amun wrote:
What was painted on the walls of a tomb was what they wanted their afterlife to be. Would you show the gods something they would find unacceptable or offensive?

Thats a good point.
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