The Oldest Known Illustration of Circumcision (2400 B.C.E.)

Circumcision_Sakkara_3

What do we have here? Just the oldest known illustration of circumcision being performed. Actually, it’s a colorful re-creation of a bas-relief (see original here) found in an Egyptian tomb built for Ankhmabor in Sakkara, Egypt. It dates back to around 2400 B.C.E.

The origins of circumcision remain unclear. According to this online essay, a stele (carving on stone) from the 23rd century B.C.E. suggests that an author named “Uha” was circumcised in a mass ritual. He wrote:

“When I was circumcised, together with one hundred and twenty men, there was none thereof who hit out, there was none thereof who was hit, and there was none thereof who scratched and there was none thereof who was scratched.”

By the time you get to 4,000 B.C.E., you start to find exhumed Egyptian bodies that show signs of circumcision. And then come the artistic depictions. The Sakkara depiction comes with the perhaps helpful written warning,“Hold him and do not allow him to faint.”

via Elif Batuman

Related Content:

How the Egyptian Pyramids Were Built: A New Theory in 3D Animation

Louis Armstrong Plays Trumpet at the Egyptian Pyramids; Dizzy Gillespie Charms a Snake in Pakistan



Make knowledge free & open. Share our posts with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms:

by | Permalink | Comments (10) |

Choose a comment platform

Comments (10)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  1. Randy says . . . | June 17, 2014 / 7:10 pm

    “there was none thereof who hit out, there was none thereof who was hit, and there was none thereof who scratched and there was none thereof who was scratched.”

    That suggests that normally there would have been those who had to be forced to submit to mutilation of their genitals, but some factor was causing them to go willingly.

    It’s sad to know that after so many millennia, this practice is still going on.

  2. Anon says . . . | June 17, 2014 / 7:23 pm

    No, it suggests that in an era long before anesthesia, a ritual surgeon could expect to be the target of reflexive blows by those who were overcome by pain. The images and second inscription make that quite clear.

    Uha probably mentioned it as a matter of bragging about his circumcision group’s collective discipline.

  3. Nater says . . . | June 18, 2014 / 1:06 pm

    Randy:
    Circumcision was beneficiary in this time since sand getting stuck in your foreskin could get you infected and you’d die.
    There’s nothing beneficial about circumcision today.
    It kills off 2000 nerve endings, can cause damage to your penis, along with impotence and gland issues just from the removal of the foreskin itself.

  4. Buddy says . . . | June 18, 2014 / 2:30 pm

    Wrongo, Nater. It is very evident that Circumcision in infants prevents penis cancer and reduces the chances of catching an std.

  5. Stan says . . . | June 19, 2014 / 3:03 am

    I can understand a pharmaceutical company, that makes hundreds of millions selling lubricants to return normal function to genitals, being anti-choice – since it;s not reversible. But not a parent. Also, wasn’t it typically an Islamic or Jewish tradition to focus the mind on God?

  6. Ren Kay says . . . | June 19, 2014 / 6:06 am

    well, let’s see….what was the purpose in all those rules the Hebrews had? Prophylaxis, survival in the desert. Don’t eat pig, don’t get trichinosis. Have one day a week off, breed and continue to exist. Circumcise the males, don’t get STD’s. Whether it’s God or The Aliens, some sky person told that tribe how to live, and guess what? We’re still here today? Met any Canaanites lately? Duh…

  7. Buddy says . . . | June 19, 2014 / 7:55 am

    Good call, Ren Kay. On that topic, it’s interesting how some religions will incorporate practices that make physical sense. This example is a good one, but also, we recently discovered that fasting for 72 hours will cause the body to kill off weak white blood cells and to create new and healthier white blood cells, once eating has resumed. I am not religious at all and humans clearly don’t know everything. But, it’s interesting that we observe practices, or even trends, that yield positive results, sometimes, for whatever reasons, superstitious or otherwise, and then we discover valid and accurate scientific benefits to them later on. With an emphasis on sometimes.

  8. Kelly Carter says . . . | June 19, 2014 / 10:34 am

    I think we’re now closer to being able to translate the squiggly lines, snake, and bird symbols coming out of the guy on the right. It’s something like, “Holy f#ck, this $h1t hurts like a m0th3r!!!”

  9. Yahcanon Ben Ysrayl says . . . | June 20, 2014 / 5:42 pm

    Gen 17:9 And YAH said to Aḇraham, “As for you, guard My covenant, you and your seed after you throughout their generations.
    Gen 17:10 “This is My covenant which you guard between Me and you, and your seed after you: Every male child among you is to be circumcised.
    Gen 17:11 “And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall become a sign of the covenant between Me and you.
    Gen 17:12 “And a son of eight days is circumcised by you, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with silver from any foreigner who is not of your seed.
    Gen 17:13 “He who is born in your house, and he who is bought with your silver, has to be circumcised. So shall My covenant be in your flesh, for an everlasting covenant.
    Gen 17:14 “And an uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, his life shall be cut off from his people – he has broken My covenant.”
    Curcumcision dates back way longer than that eygptian painting….
    Its the bond of the covenant between Abraham seed and YAH.. NOT THE JEWS.. But the HEBREWS..

  10. James says . . . | June 20, 2014 / 7:57 pm

    MODERN WHITES IMITATING ANCIENT AFRICANS!

    It is the greatest insanity when Judaists and even Christians try to justify this barbaric ritual of male genital mutilation.

    Modern whites who invented cars and jet planes cutting off their own bodies because African barbarians did so 4000 years ago! How insane!

Add a comment

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Quantcast