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The Egypt Question
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Okay, this has been driving me nuts for a while. I read American Gods a couple of years ago, and I've been trying to find out since. I've surfed, I've read books, I've spent time trying to figure out from first principles. I give up.

Can someone please tell me why, if a particularly beautiful Egyptian woman or the wife or daughter of somebody rich dies, they leave the body out for several days before embalming it?
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: April 20, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So the embalmers don't have sex with her corpse. Aren't you glad you asked?

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Gingerly, I clunked down the tunnel, eager to surprise my prey.
 
Posts: 1471 | Location: Erie, Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: July 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh. *blink* Thank you. And here I was thinking slight decomposition gave you better quality mummies or something.
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: April 20, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Don't worry, I don't think any less of you for necrophilia not immediately springing to your mind. Big Grin

==============
Gingerly, I clunked down the tunnel, eager to surprise my prey.
 
Posts: 1471 | Location: Erie, Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: July 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ah-hah! So I was right about that.

Yea, now I'm $5 richer!

Aren't bets with your siblings great?

-Xeno

PS - Sadly, that was the first thing that I thought of. I've read too many vampire books, I think...

*shakes head*

"I did not die, and did not remain alive; now think for thyself, if thou hast any grain of ingenuity what I became, deprived of both death and life." - Dante
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Texas | Registered: May 06, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hmm, now that I think about it, I'm not sure whether I should feel good or bad about figuring it out immediately^^'

"Does the walker choose the path or the path choose the walker?"
 
Posts: 14 | Location: NY, USA | Registered: April 26, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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maybe that's not suck a great thing to figure out immediatley. dunno. that really is the reason? couldn't somebody do the body while it was lying there? or did they have guards?

"Knowledge is power. Power is corrupt. Go to school and be evil!"
 
Posts: 36 | Location: Ny, USA | Registered: May 01, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The thought is that a fresh corpse is less disgusting that a partially decayed one (although for most people, including me, even a fresh corpse is nowhere near fresh enough). And as for guards, if you don't trust the embalmers, why would you trust the guards?

While I've never seen Neil answer this question directly, he has referenced necrophilia before in the disturbing Sandman story "24 Hours". Since he has been willing to bring up the subject once, there seems no reason to assume that he would not bring it up again. And since the line we're discussing specifies pretty women, sex would be one of the first thing to pop up. Any another reason that could explain the line would have to be as serious as necrophilia, given the Egyptians' fetish for perserving corpses as best as possible. Deliberately letting it decay at all suggests that there's a very serious and rather gruesome reason for their exception for pretty women.

==============
Gingerly, I clunked down the tunnel, eager to surprise my prey.

[This message was edited by Primate on May 10, 2003 at 05:37 AM.]
 
Posts: 1471 | Location: Erie, Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: July 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Primate:
So the embalmers don't have sex with her corpse. Aren't you glad you asked?

==============
Gingerly, I clunked down the tunnel, eager to surprise my prey.


Do you have a source for this?

See you, space cowboy.

~~~~~~~~~

Those who are different must stand united!

"Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, and thus do we refute entropy."-- Spider Robinson
http://lon.blogspot.com -- Its a slightly less eloquent me.
 
Posts: 16135 | Location: Sydney, Australia | Registered: June 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nope. I assume you mean my response, not the line in American Gods, which I can't find right now...

You could always ask Neil through the FAQ line, although the subject would be strong enough that I'm not sure he'd be willing to handle it through there. Maybe ask him at a signing or a more private venue.

As I noted earlier, he is willing to use the subject in his fiction, and no other plausible explanation has been suggested that fits the situation.

==============
Gingerly, I clunked down the tunnel, eager to surprise my prey.
 
Posts: 1471 | Location: Erie, Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: July 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Can someone please tell me why, if a particularly beautiful Egyptian woman or the wife or daughter of somebody rich dies, they leave the body out for several days before embalming it?

...

So the embalmers don't have sex with her corpse. Aren't you glad you asked?


I has assumed it was so that she couldn't find any one in the afterlife to cheat on her husband.
 
Posts: 3 | Registered: September 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You do not need to look far for the answer to this question... It is as Primate said and if you want source, you can go straight to Herodotus:
When the wife of an eminent man dies, or any woman who was particularly beautiful or famous, the body is not handed over to the embalmers straight away. They wait three or four days before doing so. The reason for this is to stop the embalmers having sex with the women. They say that one of them was caught having sex with the fresh corpse of a woman, and was denounced by one of his colleagues.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: July 03, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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