Posts Tagged ‘LGBT history month’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on February 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm
Filed under: ancient egypt, LGBT history month, LGBT london, london museums

The Ancient Egyptian gay scene at the Petrie Museum!

Forgive the lurid headline. Actually, the Petrie Museum [map]  is celebrating LGBT History Month in an extremely scholarly way, with a ‘trail’ of artefacts illustrating LGBT history in the ancient world.

The Petrie Museum fortunately has a rather more scholarly approach than this!

I wish I’d picked up on this earlier. The Petrie is a marvellous little museum – much more involved with the artefacts of everyday life than the British Museum with its splendid statues and mummy cases. Go to the Petrie and you’ll find beads, toys, cups and plates, old sandals, all the texture of everyday life in ancient Egypt.

Now that’s joined by a really intriguing trail. Apparently homosexuality was officially disapproved of, as in the Book of the Dead one of the things the dead man has to declare is that he didn’t ‘indulge’. However, official morality and the way people actually live are two very different things – and it’s fascinating to come across some of the stories of individual lives, as well as tales of the gods. And if you thought the ancient Egyptian gods didn’t have the fascinating sex lives of, say, Zeus (the seducer of the boy Ganymede as well as Io, Semele, Leda, Danae, and a good few others), then you need to wise up…

If you can’t get along to the Petrie, you can at least watch a lovely mini-lecture on ‘Egyptology News’. I particularly like the wicked sense of humour that John Johnston displays referring to ‘the first chat-up line in recorded history’ – you’ll have to listen to find out what it is, but it wouldn’t be out of place in many gyms or gay nightclubs today!

And of course when we come to the classical period, we have Alexander the Great and Hephaestion, and then Hadrian and Antinous; who though Greek and Roman respectively (okay, Alexander was Macedonian, if you’re being picky), spent a good deal of time in Egypt.

Where: Petrie Museum, Malet Place

When: Tuesday to Friday 1300-1700, Saturday 1100-1400 – the trail continues till the end of February

How much: free

Photo by vintagedept on flickr

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