Crazy times in ancient Egypt…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjectives are: exuberant, synoptistic, extrinsic, braccate, haptotropic, woolly, and ornery.

Several years ago when I was designing and building theatre scenery for a living, I had to do some stuff for a show involving a magic illusion with a feel of ancient Egypt about it, it probably involved a mummy case, and perhaps a tomb interior with a few hieroglyphs jumping around the walls, you know the sort of thing. The director kindly bought me a book from a remainder bookshop to use as a source for such images.
It was a nice thick glossy volume called Egypt: Gods, Myths and Religion by Lucia Gahlin – it had plenty of useful illustrations in it.
I have always loved ancient Egyptian things – the way they drew their figures, the weird animal-headed people and gods, those beautiful and serene massive sculptures; whenever I’m in London I try to get to the British Museum to have a walk through that great hall of scary stone gods and kings, and then nip up to the gallery and admire the painted mummy cases – lovely things! I much prefer Egyptian to the Greek and Roman stuff, which just doesn’t have that classy sense of spookiness and mystery about it.
Anyway, I still have the book and only recently, having just finished The Box Man by Kobo Abe, (now there’s a strange book!) I was looking around for some new bedtime reading and I thought that I might actually read some of this one rather than just look at the nice pictures.
Last night before dropping off I was learning about The Contendings of Horus and Seth – who were contesting the claim to the throne of Egypt in front of a panel of specially assembled top gods; Seth being the sneaky and nasty brother of Osiris (the former big god/king), and Horus being Osiris’s son. It is a wonderfully complicated and strange tale, but here are just a couple of bizarre episodes from it; they made me smile:

The great sun god (Re) left, sulking, and returned only when he had been cheered up by his daughter Hathor, who made him laugh by exposing her genitalia to him.

Seth appealed and challenged Horus to an underwater contest, with both gods taking the form of hippopotami: if either of them was to surface before the end of three months he would lose his claim to the throne.

The gods realised that things were getting out of control, so they summoned Horus and Seth back to court…
A banquet was thrown during which Seth sexually assaulted Horus in order to humiliate him publicly, and to display his own strength and superiority. The incident did not go as Seth had planned, however, because Horus managed to catch Seth’s semen in his carefully positioned hands before it could enter him.
He went running to his mother
(Isis) (Whose head had been magically restored [after an earlier decapitation]) with the rogue ejaculate. Shocked, she cut off her son’s hand, disposing of it (and thus the semen) in the marshes. She realised that to foil Seth’s plan completely he must be tricked into ingesting Horus’s semen, so Horus obliged (having his hand magically replaced by Isis) and she spread some on Seth’s favourite food, lettuce. Seth duly tucked into his doctored snack…
Back in the courtroom, the semen of the two gods was asked to speak out in order to ascertain its whereabouts and prove Seth’s story about the assault. But instead of speaking from inside Horus, Seth’s semen spoke from the marshes…

Yes, it is gripping isn’t it? It’s just like a TV soap opera, I’m sorry that I’m going to have to leave the tale hanging in the air like this, I’ll be reading the rest of it tonight.
I might, at some point, dear reader, tell you how it all turns out for Seth and Horus…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in archeology, books, brain, drama, history, humour, information, learning, reading, sex, story, surrealism, theatre and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Crazy times in ancient Egypt…

  1. Good grief! These gods are a lot more exciting than the ones you get nowadays, aren’t they? Can’t wait to hear what happens next 🙂

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Right, well, here we go:
      After the semen spoke from the marshes, Horus’s semen identified itself inside Seth and then emerged as a gold sun disc from the top of his head.
      After that Seth challenged Horus to a boat race, with the boats made out of stone, but Horus made his out of wood painted like stone (an early scenery painter like me) but Seth changed himself into a hippopotamus and smashed up Horus’s boat.
      You’ll be glad to hear that Horus wins in the end though.

  2. Shammy says:

    Crikey! Those gods did get up to some jolly shenanigans didn’t they? I brought back a little statue of Horus when I went to Egypt…. I’ll look at Horus a little differently from now on.

  3. ktz2 says:

    WTF ! I recently saw a documentary on youtube about the Egyptians & sex – it seems a lot of their ancient wall paintings freely and frequently depict so-called ‘shocking’ practises, not shocking to me but much of those ancient visual documents have been hidden to all but a few and some still are.

    • Dave Whatt says:

      I seem to recall that at some point in fairly recent history people went round scraping off those depictions of such things from temple walls.
      Those Egyptians seemed very keen on masturbation, erections, and plenty of semen around the place in their religious rituals – and why not indeed? Perhaps it’s more positive than pictures of people being scourged and nailed to crosses?…

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