|Publisher||Cornell University Press|
|Publication Date||February 19, 2004|
Daily life in ancient Egypt was, according to Karol Mysliwiec, saturated with eroticism and much influenced by cult and magic as well. Ancient Egyptian religion, with its variety of gods living, feeling, and reacting much like mortals, he says, is a valuable index of human lifestyles of the day. Eros on the Nile, which has more than a hundred illustrations, including nineteen in full color, addresses selected facets of the erotic concepts and practices of the ancient Egyptians, as recorded in art and literature; it also includes some recent archaeological discoveries by the author and his colleagues. Mysliwiec presents his theory about one of the most intriguing, mysterious hieroglyphic signs, representing a male face with female coloration. Mysliwiec examines the cult of the king and his relationship to the gods as reflected in a legend depicting the royal child as the fruit of a relationship between a god and an earthly woman. He discusses in detail the special religious and political role of royal women, which found expression in the institution of the "gods wife" and describes and illustrates sexual episodes depicted in the "Turin Papyrus," a unique document dating from the times of the New Kingdom (2nd Millennium B.C.E.). Contrasting with the somewhat brutal naturalism of these scenes is the subtle sensuality of Ancient Egyptian love poetry, excerpts from which are quoted in the book.