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Flashcards in Egyptian medicine Deck (20)
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What is the period after prehistory known as and how long does it span?

Protohistory, period between prehistory and history


Which civilizations were prominent in the prohistoric era?

Two civilizations:
- Mesopotamians
- Egyptians


What texts related to medicine were recovered from mesopotamian civilizations?

- Texts from that period can be distinguished as diagnostic or therapeutic
- More important is the presence of lexicons that gives us anatomical and disease terminology


What did did the diagnostic texts talk about in mesopotamian civilizations?

Explains what the healer must look for on the way to the patient's home or the symptoms and/or behavior of the patient


What did did the therapeutic texts talk about in mesopotamian civilizations?

Describes therapy for symptoms giving precise indications of a correct applications of medicines (plant, animal, mineral parts


How did mesopotamian perceive diseases?

That most disease were supernatural, but we have the first step towards real medicine because they started to recognize the natural origin of some of them such as food poisoning, alcohol ingestion


How many types of healers did mesopotamians have and what was there role and duties?

Two types of healers who often worked in team :
1- The asuu, the lower one that could be male or female, who dealt with the physical aspects (pills. potions, and patches) of curing diseases. He was midway between a nurse, a physician and a pharmacist.
2- The asipu (magician), the upper one a that could be only male and was a member of the clergy, who used omens and incantations, but also relied on diagnostic techniques and therapeutic means. They gave the instructions to the asuu about the drugs prepared by the asuu. He was the chief of the ward or hospital of that time and was the only one who could perform the surgical - ritual knife.


What was the medical treatment in mesopotamian medicine?

- The medical treatments relied mostly on the ability of the aszipu work with the asuu that had to make the appropriate bultu , a smelly semisolid/liquid mush made with herbs and other ingredients as mud, animal dung and other elements that were mixed, pounded, cooked and stained.
- Sometimes he would combine real medicine such as using opium poppies as a pain reliever and sleep medicine
- They also had rituals were priests that would carry it out the the aszipu


Why were the treatments and diagnosis not primitive?

- They knew how to sanitize using things such as hot water and alcohol
- They used bandages made out of mud
- They can be credited with two medical discoveries:
- We find the term inflammation that was known and recognized
- They could treat boils and abscess by putting hot stones close to them till they would somehow mature and it would be possible to open them and remove the pus


What did Mesopotamia start in terms of medicine?

They started legal medicine:
- In the Hammurabi’s code, the first written collection of laws, we find the rules for payments and punishments.
->If an aszipu performed a surgical operation on someone important with a bronze lancet (magical knife) and has saved the important person's life and shall preserve the eye of the patient, he shall receive a large sum of money but if a physician performed a major operation on a an important person with a bronze lancet and he has caused his death or has caused the loss of vision to that person, they shall cut off his hand (since he doesn’t know how to use it).
- On turn, there were no laws governing non-surgical treatments, and this is in keeping with the Mesopotamian view of disease: if someone became sick it was his faults for having sinned, or he had become the victim of outside agents, such as evil spirits, a god, etc


What did herodatus say about Egyptian medicine?

- Herodotus in his stories wrote that Egyptians were more skilled in medicine than any of mankind
- Egyptian doctors were called to heal Babylon, greek kings and those who could afford pay


How great was egyptian medicine?

Their medicine left a huge legacy!


What type of gods did egyptians have?

They had a group of health-related gods who include:
- Isis
- Horus
- Thot
- Seth
- Imhotep (not a god but actually a man who was later made a god)


Who was Isis?

- Isis (goddess of healing and being the mother of Horus, she was also seen as the goddess of motherhood and fertility ) was the most important one.
- She healed the body of Osiris (her husband and her brother) after he was dismembered by Seth, their brother


Who was Horus?

Horus, the son of Isis, fought Set to avenge his father and during their fight he lost his left eye that was restored by Thot (the inventor of writing, god of knowledge, magician and healer of gods).
- His left eye became a symbol of regeneration and healing. From this symbol nowadays derives the letter R that we write at the beginning of the doctor’s prescriptions for recipe


Who was Set?

Was seen God of chaos, death and diseases after having dismembered Osiris


Who was Imhotep?

- He was the chief in multiple discipline (scribe, architect, and physician)
- He was so good that immediately after his death he was made a demigod and 2000 years later when Persians conquered Egypt he was elevated to the role of god
- People often visited his grave there who wanted to get healed and would sleep and pray (beginning of the concept of hospitals)
- William Osler (one of the most important medical figures between the 19th and 20th century) considered him “the first figure of a physician to stand out clearly from the mist of antiquity”.


What would Ancient egyptians write on?

- Egyptian wrote down what they did either on walls or on papyri.
- We have images of complete sets of medical and surgical tools such as knives, cups, forceps and any other instrument.


What were ancient egyptian first to do i medicine?

Egyptians were the first who did a statistical research on diseases


What did egyptian realize about diseases?

- They realized that diseases were either:
casual (like a wound) or
due to evil spirits
- They must use both pharmacological and surgical therapies as well as magical spells