How to Mellify a Corpse: And Other Human Stories of Ancient Science & Superstition

How to Mellify a Corpse: And Other Human Stories of Ancient Science & Superstition

by Vicki León
     
 

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In How to Mellify a Corpse, Vicki León brings her particular hybrid of history and humor to the entwined subjects of science and superstition in the ancient world, from Athens and Rome to Mesopotamia, the Holy Land, Egypt, and Carthage. León covers subjects as diverse as astronomy and astrology, philosophy and practicalities of life and death…  See more details below

Overview

In How to Mellify a Corpse, Vicki León brings her particular hybrid of history and humor to the entwined subjects of science and superstition in the ancient world, from Athens and Rome to Mesopotamia, the Holy Land, Egypt, and Carthage. León covers subjects as diverse as astronomy and astrology, philosophy and practicalities of life and death (including the titular ancient method of embalming), and ancient mechanical engineering. How to Mellify a Corpse of course invokes legendary thinkers (Pythagoras and his discoveries in math and music, Aristotle's books on politics and philosophy, and Archimedes' "Eureka" moment), but it also delves deeply into the lives of everyday people, their understanding and beliefs.

A feast for the curious mind, How to Mellify a Corpse is not only for those with an interest in the experimental: it's for anyone who's inspired by the imagination and ingenuity humanity uses to understand our world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this delightful follow-up to IX to V, her entertaining look at work in the ancient world, León explores the tangled webs of science and superstition in Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and other ancient societies. With her characteristic deadpan humor, verve, and wit, she brings to life the practices of ordinary folks as they sought practical ways to avoid the evil eye, battle stronger enemies, and understand strange and marvelous astronomical events. Copulating during a strong north wind and ingesting magical potions were believed to guarantee a male child. Greeks and Romans placed gouty limbs on electric eels in order to ease their pain. Scythian warriors dipped their arrows in snake venom, human blood, and feces to ensure their targets would die a slow and gruesome death. Many ancient cultures touted the antiseptic properties of honey, using honey-soaked bandages to bind wounds. Many Greeks attributed the visions of soothsayers and diviners to "mad honey" made from the nectar of laurel and oleander plants. León’s rollicking tour helps us see that the daily lives and worries of the ancients were not far removed from our own. (July)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781620402979
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
01/29/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
638,257
File size:
8 MB

Meet the Author

Vicki León is a writer, traveler, and historian who has built a wide readership with her Uppity Women series. She lives in Morro Bay, California. Her website is www.vickileon.com.
Vicki León is a writer, traveler, and historian who has built a wide readership with her Uppity Women series. She lives in Morro Bay, California.

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