Ritual Sex in
Ancient Egypt

Cynthia May
Sheikholeslami, Egyptologist, Cairo, Egypt

Thursday 9th May, 7pm
Bolton Library Lecture Theatre

Twenty-first century western concerns
with sexuality revolve around desire (often in the framework of romantic love)
and questions of identity. Three thousand years ago, in ancient Egypt,
fertility and creation were the focus of interest in sexuality. While there is
some evidence of what we term romantic love, as well as hints of homosexuality,
the artistic and textual record from pharaonic Egypt emphasizes sex for the
continuity of life, both in this world and the next. It is not surprising
then that ancient Egyptian religious ritual may be overtly sexual. A famous
illustrated papyrus from the late New Kingdom now in the Museo Egizio in Turin
depicts sex in Hathoric ritual. At the same time, however, love songs on other
papyri of the period show that ritual sex could overlap with individual
encounters between lovers, and also be celebrated at funerary
banquets. This lecture will discuss ritual sex as well as individual
relationships in a Hathoric festival context for both the living and the dead.

The content of this lecture may not be suitable for
under 16s.

£5, includes refreshments

To book: