Generally, lamentation—the sorrowful bewailing of death or tragedy, often public—is the job of women. This is because, stereotypically, women are more comfortable expressing sorrow with tears than are men who, stereotypically, tend to express their strong emotions with anger.

This was also true in ancient Egypt, but as was so often the case, Egypt was a little bit different. If we can believe Herodotus, both men and women offered dramatic demonstrations of grief. He writes that when someone in the household died, men, like women, would “gird their dress below their waist,” (meaning that they hiked up their garments to bare their legs?), go out into the streets, beat their chests in grief, and throw mud or dust upon their heads.

Osiris, of course, is the archetypal dead Egyptian and Horus models male grief in bewailing the death of His father in several ancient texts dealing with the subject. In…

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