Mini-lecture: LGBT in Ancient Egypt (UCL)

Uploaded by UCLTV on 28.01.2010

Hello, I'm John Johnston. I'm doing my PhD at the Institute of Archaeology.
I'm here today in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
at University College London
to talk a little about LGBT History Month.
This is the third occasion now that the museum has celebrated LGBT History Month.
On the first two occasions,
we held some special lectures and on this occasion,
we've devised a trail of various objects dotted around the museum,
which help to illustrate various aspects of LGBT history
in the Ancient Worlds.
One of the objects, which has been put on display specifically for this month,
is the tale of Horus and Set, which is
told on a papyrus,
discovered by Petrie at Lahun. It dates from the 12th dynasty
and tells the tale of Horus and Set wrangling over control of Egypt,
following the death of the god Osiris.
After many years of this wrangling,
Set decides to change his tact.
And attempts to bed the god Horus, flattering him, telling him that he has
beautiful buttocks and muscular thighs.
It's particularly fascinating that this
oldest-recorded chat-up line in history actually appears to be a gay chat-up line.
We also
this relief from Koptos, which shows the name
of the King Neferkare Pepi II.
We have a tale from a much later period of Egyptian history,
which the noted Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner described as being 'quite within
the spirit of Heroditus'.
It relates the story of the King Pepi II,
clambering up a ladder into his General Sasenet's home late at night
and staying there for 4 hours, only leaving after he has done what he desired of him.
There are many similar stories to be told by these objects on display in the Petrie Museum
for the month of February.
We hope that you'll get the opportunity to come along and discover some of these
tales with us.