Assistant Professor of Art History Liliana Leopardi will present the 15th Annual “Ghosts in Togas” Halloween Lecture. Leopardi will discuss “What Hollywood Does Not Tell You About Ancient Egypt: Resurrection and the Sexual Life of Mummies.” The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, in Coxe 008.
“Hollywood mummies are seemingly resurrected at a hair’s notice, or even by mistake through a simple reading of the book of the dead. Yet, the truth is a bit more complicated, and would instantly give any Hollywood mummy movie a rating of NC-17 or R,” explains Leopardi. “Sexual processes were a vital and necessary feature of rebirth. Resurrection into the afterlife, in fact, was envisioned as a process that allowed the dead to transform into manifestations of Osiris, Atum or Re in order to channel the regenerative powers of masculine sexuality.”
She explains every dead person was in effect an Osiris brought back to life through Isis’s copulative efforts. Women, on the other hand, had to temporarily alter their gender and become masculine prior to their final rebirth as women. This lecture will briefly outline the principles of a sexualized rebirth and examine the manner in which such beliefs were encoded throughout Egyptian funerary art.
An expert on Renaissance art (including precious semi-precious jewels, gems and sculpture), Leopardi also pursues work on ancient Egyptian art. She received her B.A. from USC and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts New York University.
“Ghosts in Togas” is presented by the HWS Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the National Classics Honor Society, and the HWS Classics Department.