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Egyptian twins

"Possible evidence for twins in ancient Egypt before the Late period includes the representations of the joint owners Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotpe in their tomb at Saqqara (5th dynasty), and two women named Sitamun depicted on stela Louvre C 167 (Middle Kingdom). One of the two stelae of Suty and Hor states that they were born ‘on the same (?) day’ (British Museum EA 826, reign of Amenhotpe III). Material from the 15th dynasty on is much more abundant. The extreme rarity of references to twins in the earlier periods, as well as the special treatment of the proposed pairs suggests that there was some sort of taboo on twins. These pairs may have transcended the taboo in part through identification as a single social person and in part through analogy with the divine sphere, as is clearest for Suty and Hor, whose names are essentially the same as Seth and Horus. The Late period material shows that earlier patterns of avoidance disappeared. Illuminating cross-cultural parallels can be found for complex attitudes to twins, but the Egyptian material has a character specific to its own society."

Author(s):  Baines, John
Format:  Article
Publisher:  Oxford Eprints
Publication City:  Oxford
Date:  2005
Source:  Orientalia
Volume Info:  1985
Volume:  54
Number:  4
Pages:  461-482