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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 5:03 pm 
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This may offer a bit of a view of how the AE accepted homosexuality.

Gender complexity is not limited to isolated incidents or individuals in ancient Egyptian culture. In the Egyptian story of the creation of the gods, the first god is male and female, and its name is Atum. Through asexual reproduction, Atum creates two other gods, Shu and Tefnut. These two in turn produce another pair, Geb and Nut. Finally, Geb and Nut, the earth and the sky, combine and produce the two pairs of Isis and Osiris, and Seth and Nephthys. In the stories of these archetypal beings, Isis exemplifies the reproductive female, Osiris the reproductive male, Seth the nonreproductive eunuch, and Nephthys the unmarried virgin (lesbian).

Seth and Nephthys are supposed to be a couple like Isis and Osiris, but they have no adventures together and no children. Nephthys spends all of her time with Isis, being of assistance to her in various ways. Seth, likewise, spends all of his time with Osiris and then with Osiris's son Horus, but unlike Nephthys he spends his time causing all kinds of havoc. Seth and Osiris are in competition for primacy among the gods. Seth kills Osiris by cutting him into pieces and scattering them all over Egypt, but Isis, with the aid of her sister Nephthys, gathers the pieces back together and revives him long enough for him to impregnate her. Isis then bears a son Horus, and Osiris goes to rule in the afterlife. Next Seth turns his attention to Horus, attempting to discredit him as a male by having sex with him. On his mother's advice, Horus catches Seth's ejaculate in his hand. He then brings the semen to Isis who throws it into the river. Then she takes some of Horus's seed and sprinkles it on Seth's favorite food, (the non-sexually reproducing) lettuce, which Seth eats. Seth, thinking his semen is in Horus, although he himself has actually eaten Horus's seed as salad dressing, appears with Horus before the judges who will determine who has primacy among the gods. Seth tells the judges to call to his semen so that it can respond telling where it is. They do, and his semen responds from the reeds along the river. Then they call to Horus's semen, and it responds, much to Seth's surprise, from Seth's own belly. Seth is disgraced and Horus assumes the role as prime god.

Another version of this story, referred to in the Book of the Dead, says Seth casts "filth" into the eye of Horus, causing it to emit liquid. What exactly is meant by filth is open to question. In response, Horus attacks the testicles of Seth. Perhaps Seth ejaculated into Horus's eye. In any case, Horus is always spoken of in terms of the regained strength of his eye, and Seth in terms of the loss of his virility.

Seth's behavior may be considered inappropriate and harmful, and he may lose face, but he unquestionably displays homosexual tendencies, which means a homosexual is one of the most ancient central archetypes in Egyptian mythology. And Seth is described as having impotent testicles, which is consistent with my thesis that exclusively homosexual men in the ancient world were defined as eunuchs.

The intrigues among the gods have been interpreted to reflect not only human interactions, but the interaction of the Nile with the surrounding desert. The Nile is Osiris, who contributes the fluid that brings life. The dryness of the desert is Seth, who kills off life. When the desert dryness becomes too powerful, the river dries up and is divided into thousands of pools along the entire riverbed. The evaporated liquid comes together in the sky (female principle or Isis) and rain falls down, replenishing the river temporarily. The river brings forth new life (Horus) in the form of vegetation. Thus life wins out over death in a never-ending struggle.

How does Nephthys, Seth's third-gendered counterpart, fit into this scheme? She provides an instructive example. She is initially childless, and spends all of her time with Isis. She does, however, eventually have a child, not by her husband Seth, but by Osiris. In the allegory of the Egyptian landscape, Nephthys has been said to represent the desert ground outside the reach of the Nile's flooding (see Plutarch). On rare occasion, the Nile exceeds its limits and flows out onto this desert ground, producing vegetation.

This story of Nephthys exemplifies a difference between gay men and lesbians, in that a woman who is unattracted to men is still able to engender a child through sex with a man. But a man who is not attracted to women will not easily get an erection with a woman, which is prerequisite to his having procreative sex. Since gender was traditionally defined as a role in procreation -- with the male being the one who reproduces in another person's body, and the female being the one who reproduces in her own body -- the eunuch, or exclusive homosexual, who does not reproduce either in his own body or in another person's body, is neither male nor female. But a lesbian, in spite of her lack of attraction to men, does not necessarily sacrifice her femaleness, since she is not hindered in fulfilling the female role.



Background reading:

Te Velde, H. Seth, God of Confusion: A Study of His Role in Egyptian Mythology and Religion. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1967. Especially chapters II and III.

Budge, E.A. Wallis. The Gods of the Egyptians, or Studies in Egyptian Mythology. Volume II. New York: Dover, 1969. Especially chapter XV.

Plutarch. Isis and Osiris.

If it was practised by the Gods, it must have been acceptable!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 5:45 pm 
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Wow, thankyou for that. I have read similar articles before but not into that depth ever. It is very interesting however that the male "homosexual" (?) god Seth is also the evil destroyer. However we must not look at only the legends which back our stories. In many legends Seth and Neit had a son, Sobek the crocodile god. This disprooves the homosexual god theory and merely by not blinkering out non-prooving legends.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:37 pm 
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Great article!! It should seriously be put up on the site!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2004 12:48 am 
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I just remembered something. Khnumhotep used to be my aol screen name. I didn't know there was a real Khnumhotep unitl some time after. I actually just took the two together and created a name. Same thing happened when I created Amenakht. I just used one M instead of two. It was weird.


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hi
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:04 am 
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hey yall its just cazed Egpyt lover from Elyria ohio usa my name is pharaoh_tikki and i'm 17 and doing a report on king tut so if you can help i'll most grateful if you will thankz EGYPT RORKZ!!!! my email address is takishasitanadams@yahoo.com thankz again. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:01 am 
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It's quite appropriate that the world's first homosexual couple were both manicurists....lol

Anyway, I'm going to study the negative confessions to see if there is any other way to translate the confession that outlaws homosexuality. Do note that these are merely the confessions of the heart, and there is no guarantee that the mere inclusion of that particular confession in the most common papyri outlaws homosexuality completely. Some confessions do not appear at all in certain papyri.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:49 pm 
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Surprizingly, in the translation I have of the Negative Confessions (see below)
http://www.galileolibrary.com/history/h ... page_8.htm
there is no mention of homosexuality. Have you read a translation that does mention it?
If mine is correct, it really surprizes me!

In case my link does't work (which happens quite often!) here is a reproduction of the translation.

After death the deceased enters the hall of the goddesses of Truth, and says:

'Homage to thee, O great god, thou Lord of Truth. I have come to thee, my Lord, and I have brought myself hither that I may see thy beauties. I know thee, I know thy name. I know the names of the Two-and-Forty gods who live with thee in this Hall of Maati, who keep ward over those who have done evil, who feed upon their blood on the day when the lives of men are reckoned up in the presence of Un-Nefer [i.e., Osiris]. In truth I have come to thee. I have brought Truth to thee. I have destroyed wickedness for thee. [This speech is followed by a list of the offences which he had not committed]:

1. I have not sinned against men.
2. I have not oppressed (or wronged) [my] kinsfolk.
3. I have not committed evil in the place of truth.
4. I have not known worthless men.
5. I have not committed acts of abomination.
6. I have not done daily works of supererogation.
7. I have not caused my name to appear for honours.
8. I have not domineered over slaves.
9. I have not thought scorn of the god (or, God).
10. I have not defrauded the poor man of his goods.
11. I have not done the things which the gods abominate.
12. I have not caused harm to be done to the slave by his master.
13. I have caused no man to suffer.
14. I have allowed no man to go hungry.
15. I have made no man weep.
16. I have slain no man.
17. I have not given the order for any man to be slain.
18. I have not caused pain to the multitude.
19. I have not filched the offerings in the temples.
20. I have not purloined the cakes of the gods.
21. I have not stolen the offerings of the spirits.
22. I have had no dealing with the paederast.
23. I have not defiled myself in the pure places of the god of my city.
24. I have not cheated in measuring of grain.
25. I have not filched land or added thereto.
26. I have not encroached upon the fields of others.
27. I have not added to the weight of the balance.
28. I have not cheated with the pointer of the scales.
29. I have not taken away the milk from the mouths of the babes.
30. I have not driven away the beasts from their pastures.
31. I have not netted the geese of the preserves of the gods.
32. I have not caught fish with bait of their bodies.
33. I have not obstructed water when it should run.
34. I have not cut a cutting in a canal of running water.
35. I have not extinguished a flame when it ought to burn.
36. I have not abrogated the days of offering the chosen offerings.
37. I have not turned off cattle from the property of the gods.
38. I have not repulsed the god in his manifestations. I am pure. I am pure. I am pure, I am pure.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:42 am 
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In my original translation of the text (British Museum - Faulkener) it DID mention homosexuality but in a later text I bought with the hieroglyphic transcription (Budge) it DIDN'T mention it. At first I wondered if it was just a case of they were translating from different texts but if my memory serves me correctly (which it generally does! lol) then they were both translating from Ani. What you could be daling with is a translation of different texts, try comparing the King James Bible with the Catholic Bible, they have a totally new book in there called Apocrypha (I cannot spell!). It is the same for the Egyptians, except even worse!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:53 am 
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Mind-boggling!
Here is a translation, attributed to Budge, that DOES include homosexuality--or at least mentions "laying" with a man.

Hail, Usekh-nemmt, who comest forth from Anu, I have not committed sin.
Hail, Hept-khet, who comest forth from Kher-aha, I have not committed robbery with violence.
Hail, Fenti, who comest forth from Khemenu, I have not stolen.
Hail, Am-khaibit, who comest forth from Qernet, I have not slain men and women.
Hail, Neha-her, who comest forth from Rasta, I have not stolen grain.
Hail, Ruruti, who comest forth from heaven, I have not purloined offerings.
Hail, Arfi-em-khet, who comest forth from Suat, I have not stolen the property of God.
Hail, Neba, who comest and goest, I have not uttered lies.
Hail, Set-qesu, who comest forth from Hensu, I have not carried away food.
Hail, Utu-nesert, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have not uttered curses.
Hail, Qerrti, who comest forth from Amentet, I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.
Hail, Her-f-ha-f, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have made none to weep.
Hail, Basti, who comest forth from Bast, I have not eaten the heart.
Hail, Ta-retiu, who comest forth from the night, I have not attacked any man.
Hail, Unem-snef, who comest forth from the execution chamber, I am not a man of deceit.
Hail, Unem-besek, who comest forth from Mabit, I have not stolen cultivated land.
Hail, Neb-Maat, who comest forth from Maati, I have not been an eavesdropper.
Hail, Tenemiu, who comest forth from Bast, I have not slandered [no man].
Hail, Sertiu, who comest forth from Anu, I have not been angry without just cause.
Hail, Tutu, who comest forth from Ati, I have not debauched the wife of any man.
Hail, Uamenti, who comest forth from the Khebt chamber, I have not debauched the wife of [any] man.
Hail, Maa-antuf, who comest forth from Per-Menu, I have not polluted myself.
Hail, Her-uru, who comest forth from Nehatu, I have terrorized none.
Hail, Khemiu, who comest forth from Kaui, I have not transgressed [the law].
Hail, Shet-kheru, who comest forth from Urit, I have not been wroth.
Hail, Nekhenu, who comest forth from Heqat, I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
Hail, Kenemti, who comest forth from Kenmet, I have not blasphemed.
Hail, An-hetep-f, who comest forth from Sau, I am not a man of violence.
Hail, Sera-kheru, who comest forth from Unaset, I have not been a stirrer up of strife.
Hail, Neb-heru, who comest forth from Netchfet, I have not acted with undue haste.
Hail, Sekhriu, who comest forth from Uten, I have not pried into matters.
Hail, Neb-abui, who comest forth from Sauti, I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
Hail, Nefer-Tem, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
Hail, Tem-Sepu, who comest forth from Tetu, I have not worked witchcraft against the king.
Hail, Ari-em-ab-f, who comest forth from Tebu, I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
Hail, Ahi, who comest forth from Nu, I have never raised my voice.
Hail, Uatch-rekhit, who comest forth from Sau, I have not cursed God.
Hail, Neheb-ka, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not acted with arrogance.
Hail, Neheb-nefert, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
Hail, Tcheser-tep, who comest forth from the shrine, I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.
Hail, An-af, who comest forth from Maati, I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
Hail, Hetch-abhu, who comest forth from Ta-she, I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.

Source: From the Book of the Dead Translated by E.A. Wallis Budge 240 BCE


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 1:47 pm 
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To get back to Si-amun's original post...I imagine that homosexuality was just as common in ancient times as in any other. Whether or not it is/was "acceptable" seems also to vary from time to time and country to country. I have always been of the opinion, however, that ancient peoples were a good deal more easygoing and unconcerned about the private lives of others than their modern counterparts. What is really funny is that several contemporary archaeologists...especially among the Egyptian Antiquities Dept staff...seem to be mortified at "the very idea" and go to great lengths to assure us that Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were NOT lovers, but only BROTHERS. Why all the angst? Whatever the nature of their friendship, these two men chose, in a public way, to announce their desire to share in the afterlife the same bond they had shared in life. I find the idea both charming and comforting.

Cordially,

Niankhkhnum :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:46 am 
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Hang on! Just to throw this post back up again- Since first looking at this post originally I have noticed that there are literally hundreds of images of Male Gods embracing Pharaohs in simillar ways. Are you sure that this pose could not be suggestive of protection or something rather than love. I have found a particularly striking one of Ptah with some Pharaoh (I cannot remember which one at the moment) embracing each other in a far more....suggestive manner than that of the aforementioned relief. Any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:12 am 
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Hmmm, I am unsure still. Although it is a sign for affection I cant remember seeing any "mortals" shown in this pose without there being some form of relationship. The beleif in them being a same sex couple isn't solely taken from the wall carvings though, but also from the fact that the carvings of their wives have been erased in the tomb (it is thoguht during its preparation), the fact that neither of the men shows evidence of being buried with a wife even though at least one of them had one (a serious break from tradition if true) and the fact that then mens names seem to be very similar. t has been suggested that they are in fact brothers but if at least one of the brothers was married where is the evidence of the wife?
I do agree with you when you speak about it being a symbol for protection. It all seems rather strange. Now that you mention it there are loads of these images, but as I said before rarely (if ever) between two individuals not in a relationship. If this is true then we need to consider the role of it between "immortals". Does it still hold true for them or perhaps it is a different thing entirely?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:29 am 
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Sorry, just had a thought so I nabbed my Bible off the shelf. Yes, before any of you say anything I do actually own one! lol. I found an interesting chapter in Leviticus, Chapter 18. It goes like this....

"You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live and you must not do as they do in the Land of Canaan where I am bringing you... Do not lie with anopther man as one lies with a woman, for that is detestable."

As you can see this implies that Egyptians practiced homosexuality quite commonly. The section of the Bible I missed out deals with the ideas of incest, who it is immoral to sleep with in the eyes of God. This struck me as incest was a large part of the Egyptian Royal family and depending on your belief system of when the Exodus happened quite prevailent in the Royal family. hmmmmm, it is quite interesting I feel. There is also a school of thought that lends itself to the idea that Pepi II, a quote from a book on influential Egyptians by Micahel Rice says...

(on Pepi II) "According to a story circulating during the Middle Kingdom he also pursued a homosexual with one of his generals, Sasenet. The King was said to have been observed creeping surreptitiously out of his palace at ngiht and climbing over the wall of the generals house, returning in the dawn."

Even if this Middle Kingdom story is untrue it at least acknowledges two things:

- Homosexuality was known about in Egypt, not shied away from or hushed up as things that would bring shame to the country (e.g. military defeats) were. Things like individual accouts of executions or trials are also quite rare from Egypt so the endurance of the document shows that people weren't ashamed to write about homosexuality.
- It was widespread enough that a King could be said to have been homosexual, or to have pursued homosexual interests without anything coming of the rumour. The fact that the text has survived four thousand years itself is a testament to the enduring nature of the rumour and the fact that somewhere it was written down and recorded.


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