Gerda Lerner

The Sumerian word for female prostitute, kar.kid, occurs in the earliest lists of professions dating back to ca. 2400 B.C. Since it appears right after nam.lukur… one can assume its connection with temple service. It is of interest that the term kur-garru, a male prostitute or transvestite entertainer, appears on the same list but together with entertainers. This linkage results from a practice connected with the cult of Ishtar, in which transvestites performed acts using knives. On the same list we find the following female occupations: lady doctor, scribe, barber, cook. Obviously, prostitution, while it is a very old profession, is not the oldest.

1 thought on “Gerda Lerner

  1. shinichi Post author

    Women and Slavery

    in Slavery and Abolition (journal)

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    The Origin of Prostitution in Ancient Mesopotamia

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    The Creation of Patriarchy (book)

    by Gerda Lerner


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