Homosexuality in Ancient Mesopotamia. Survey of Sources


Homosexuality was a known, though rare, phenomenon in ancient Mesopotamia. The ancient homosexuality differed significantly from the modern one, because it was an expression of the domination of one man and the disgrace of the other. If it took place in relation to an equal person, then it was punishable, but for example an enemy could be wished to become a male prostitute. Another form of homosexuality was sacred prostitution as part of the Inanna/Ishtar cult. The male temple personnel involved (as a passive partner) in such a form of worship had a lower status than free men. There are no records of homosexual behaviour among women.


homosexuality, prostitution, religious harlotry, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ancient Near East

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Published : 2021-06-15

Münnich, M. (2021). Homosexuality in Ancient Mesopotamia. Survey of Sources. Verbum Vitae, 39(1), 27–48. https://doi.org/10.31743/vv.11079

Maciej Münnich  munnich@kul.pl
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II  Poland

Dr hab. Maciej Michał Münnich, prof. KUL, pracownik Instytutu Historii, absolwent KUL oraz AON (obecnie Akademia Sztuki Wojennej). Zainteresowania badawcze: demonologia biblijna; rytuały ugaryckie; hebrajskie wierzenia dotyczące życia pozagrobowego; archeologia Lewantu; sytuacja geopolityczna współczesnego Bliskiego Wschodu; konflikty zbrojne na Bliskim Wschodzie w XX/XXI w. Ważniejsze publikacje książkowe: Obraz Jahwe jako władcy choroby w Biblii Hebrajskiej na tle bóstw bliskowschodnich (Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL 2004); Syria wiosną 2015. Spojrzenie niepoprawne politycznie (Lublin: Instytut Sądecko-Lubelski 2015); Czy istniało królestwo Dawida? Najnowsze wykopaliska w Khirbet Qeiyafa (Co to wszystko znaczy?; Lublin: Werset 2014); The God Resheph in the Ancient Near East (Orientalische Religionen in der Antike / Oriental Religions in Antiquity 11; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2013).

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