Ancient Israel was the land bridge connecting the two major civilizations of the ancient Near East, Egypt and Mesopotamia, and its culture was influenced heavily by both. Cylinder seals — small cylinder-shaped stones etched with figures and cuneiform used as a signet — occasionally featured men and women in erotic poses. The Babylonians, writes Prof. This is the destiny of mortals. That excavators found the erotic artwork in high-traffic rooms of homes leads Assante to infer that they were accessible to men, women and children. The depiction of couples engaging in rear entry may be indicative of that practice.