“Til death us do part”

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Herodes o Grande.

Herod the Great

The notable phrase ?Til death us do part? has dripped from impassioned lips?during?marriage vows since 1549, having been altered slightly from the earlier ?Till death us depart.? The meaning is self-explanatory: ?I will love you until we are parted by death.? However, this natural end to any marriage has recently been called into question by the alleged Egyptian law which would allow?men to legally?have sex with their deceased wives up to six hours after their death. This ?farewell intercourse? law proposal?wasn?t actually true?but the premise is nothing new.

Anecdotes of spousal necrophilia have existed for thousands of years: The tyrant Periander of Corinth is said to have murdered his pregnant wife Melissa and had sex with her corpse in the 6th Century BC. The tale was told by Herodotus (who also told us of the wandering hands of the Egyptian embalmers) and gave rise to the necro-euphemistic phrase ?Placing your loaves into a cold oven.? Herod the Great, we are told, preserved the body of his deceased wife, the beautiful Mariamne, in honey for seven years in order to have intercourse with her after he?d had her killed.

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