In addition to being inherently phallic in shape, the Egyptians also believed that lettuce could act as an aphrodisiac. Egyptian lettuce has a very high natural rubber content – which is milky white and sticky in its natural state – and when it is broken or rubbed it emits the rubber through its membranes. The Egyptians were thus reminded of the phallus which emits semen in a similar manner when stimulated.
Seth scattered the parts of Osiris throughout the various provinces, called nomes, of Egypt, and throws Osiris' phallus into the Nile where it was eaten by a fish. Isis collected all of the pieces of Osiris in order to bring him back to life, but cannot find the phallus.…
Horus was enraged and decapitates his mother for being sympathetic to Seth, but when the Ennead heard of his matricide they vowed to punish him.…
Seth was furious, and challenged Horus to another labor, but in the end it is Horus who was awarded the kingship.
A couple of jokes about lettuce, for example, might have struck a Roman audience as hilarious, given their belief that lettuce leaves, variously, promoted or impeded sexual function.
Then Set said to Horus: "Come, let us have a feast day at my house." And Horus said to him: "I will, I will." Now when evening had come, a bed was prepared for them, and they lay down together. At night, Set let his member become stiff, and he inserted it between the thighs of Horus. And Horus placed his hand between his thighs and caught the semen of Set.
-- Patrick F. Houlihan (2001), Wit & Humour in Ancient Egypt, p. 121
After Osiris' eventual death, while Horus was growing up and planning his own revenge, Set and Horus engaged in a homosexual relationship. In one part of the myth, Set proclaimed to Horus, "How lovely your backside is." Informing his mother Isis about his uncle's ardour, Horus is told to catch Set's semen rather than becoming impregnated by the murderer of his father. Set, in doing so, was planning on humiliating Horus by showing the gods that Horus would be filled with someone else's semen.
Horus and Isis's next plan was to 'impregnate' Set with Horus' semen. His mother spreads powerful unguents on Horus' penis, after which he ejaculated into a jar, and they spread it on some lettuce, a favourite aphrodisiac to the ancient Egyptians. Set then ate the semen-covered lettuce, and so Horus (rather than Set with his first 'attack') bacame sexually dominant over his uncle. Set then asked the gods to bring the semen forth from the 'impregnated' one, to humiliate Osiris' son. The semen comes out of Set himself, and he becomes the laughing stock of the gods!
- Caroline Seawright
LobsterMitten: This is more understandable if you look at the pictures where the lettuce is shown as a tall skinny crop, growing up to a person's waist.
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