Love Songs of Enheduanna

Love Songs of Enheduanna

by Tim Hazell

 

“She makes all men turn their necks to look at her.

One looks at her passing by, this one, the unique one.”

Papyrus Chester Beatty I

 

Women of Egypt and Sumer held careers, owned property, and occupied high positions in society. Some of their most sensual love poems were written over 4,000 years before our modern era and changed attitudes towards equality. Enlightened ladies of the court who left their mark on affairs of state enjoyed freedoms that set them apart. Through their strikingly contemporary profiles and openly expressed eroticism, we can trace ancient perceptions of feminine mystique.

 

Songs of Enheduanna (late 2300 to early 2200 B.C.) comprise the portrait of a high priestess’ great ability and talent. Her father, King Sargon I, united Sumer and Akkad (north and south Mesopotamia), located in modern Iraq. Endehuanna’s love poem, “Man of My Heart,” celebrates a woman’s youthful and unabashed sensuality.

 

Man of My Heart

Man of my heart, my beloved man,

your allure is a sweet thing, as sweet as honey.

Lad of my heart, my beloved man,

your allure is a sweet thing, as sweet as honey.

 

Ancient Egyptian women were portrayed in tomb paintings and reliefs as stiff idealized forms until the advent of the New Kingdom (1570-1069 B.C.). Pharaoh Akhenaten, whose city of Amarna was established in 1348 B.C., initiated greater artistic freedoms and a break from two thousand years of tradition. Pharaoh and wife Nefertiti are shown reveling in the attention of their daughters under the rays of the sun god Aten. The king’s reforms extended to love poetry and descriptions of affection between men and women. Here is a contemporary excerpt, a young woman’s frank invitation to her beloved. 

 

I love to go and bathe before you.

I allow you to see my beauty

in a dress of the finest linen…

Come! Look at me!

 

Freshly picked, sun-warmed figs have been considered natural aphrodisiacs since ancient times. Elevated into a memorable dessert, served raw with cashew lemon cream, they become a sensual delight of the season. Many residents have black mission fig trees in their gardens or can find them readily available at the market. The perfect finale to comida under the trees!

 

Balsamic Figs with Cashew Lemon Cream

Ingredients:

 

For the Cream:

1 cup raw cashews

1 tsp. lemon zest

1-2 tsp. honey

1 tsp. best quality vanilla extract

1/3 cup water

Pinch of salt

 

For the Figs:

16 figs, cleaned

 

Suggested Toppings:

Lemon zest

Drizzled honey

Balsamic vinegar reduction

 

Directions:

Combine the cream ingredients in a blender or bowl, using a stick blender, until smooth. The consistency should be thick, similar to a cream cheese frosting. Add a limited amount of extra water, if necessary. Cut the figs in half. Remove their stems. Slice off a thin piece of skin on the bottom of each fig so that it sits flat. Arrange on a serving plate. Top with a generous portion of the cashew cream mixture. Garnish with any of your desired toppings.

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