Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Egyptian puzzle of a silent embrace

An article about Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep, two men sharing a single tomb: "Though not of the nobility, they were highly esteemed in the palace as the chief manicurists of the king, sometime from 2380 to 2320 B.C., in the time known as the fifth dynasty of the Old Kingdom. . . . . . Archaeologists were taken aback. It was extremely rare in ancient Egypt for an elite tomb to be shared by two men of apparently equal standing. . . . . And it was most unusual for a couple of the same sex to be depicted locked in an embrace. . . . . Over the years, the tomb's wall art has inspired considerable speculation. One interpretation is that the two men were brothers, probably identical twins, and this may be the earliest known depiction of twins. Another is that the men had a homosexual relationship, a more recent view that has gained support among gay advocates. Now, an Egyptologist at New York University has stepped into the debate with a third interpretation. He has marshaled circumstantial evidence that the two men might have been conjoined twins, popularly known as Siamese twins".
See the full article for more.

More on the same from the New York Times (username - egyptnews; password - egyptnews).
With photos.

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