Mesopotamia Egypt and India

Sumerian temple records from the middle of the third millennium bc mention gala priests, who for centuries served the goddess Inanna/Ishtar. These priests and their later equivalents in Babylonia and Assyria adopted female dress and manners and engaged in passive anal intercourse with other men. The written word for gala combined the symbols for penis and anus. Babylonian and Assyrian omens even instructed men to have sex with these priests to bring good luck. But not all types of homosexuality were considered positive. Middle Assyrian laws from 1250 bc decreed severe punishments for men who falsely accused others of passive homosexuality or who raped companions (Roscoe, 1997). Similar associations of passive homosexuality with humiliation come from Egypt. In one ancient myth the god Horus rapes the god Seth to humiliate him (Roscoe, 1997), and in the Book of the Dead (after 2000 bc) a dead man argues that the god "Atum has no power over me, because I copulate between his buttocks" (Gregersen, 1983). Records of homosexuality from India date from a much later period. Law books from the 4th century bc refer to eunuchs occupying important posts in Indian courts. Later records show that some had affairs with their masters, and may have been castrated specifically for sexual purposes. The Kama Sutra (5th century ce) gives instructions on how to be fellated by eunuchs (Murray, 2000).

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