The Quick and the Dead: Biomedical Theory in Ancient Egypt

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This volume uses a cross-disciplinary approach to examine the origins of ancient Egyptian medicine in the domestication, care and sacrifice of cattle. Ritual cattle sacrifice in Egypt led to a rudimentary understanding of animal anatomy and physiology, which was then applied to humans. Two original theories developed from this comparative medicine: Life as movement, especially seen in the fasciolations of excised limbs, and the male's role in reproduction. Discussions include Egypt as a cattle culture, the ka as an animating force, "living flesh," the possible animal origins of the ankh, djed and was hieroglyphs, the bull's foreleg and the Opening-of-the-Mouth ritual, Egypt's healing establishment, and veterinary medicine as it relates to the origin of human medicine.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004123915
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/29/2004
  • Series: Egyptological Memoirs Series, #4
  • Pages: 242
  • Product dimensions: 6.54 (w) x 9.68 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew H. Gordon, Ph.D. in Egyptology, University of California at Berkeley (1983), M.S. in Paleontology, University of Rochester (1970), has published on Egyptian archaeology, history, lexicography and religion.
Calvin W. Schwabe, D.M.V. (1954), Auburn University; M.P.H., Sc.D. (1956), Harvard University, is Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology and of Agricultural History. Among his publications are Veterinary Medicine and Human Health (Williams & Wilkins, 1984) and Cattle, Priests and Progress in Medicine (University of Minnesota, 1978).

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Sources of Egyptian biomedical knowledge 1
Ch. 2 Life and death 15
Ch. 3 Predynastic Egypt as 'cattle culture' 31
Ch. 4 The approach of comparative biomedicine 57
Ch. 5 'Live flesh' : rudiments of muscle physiology 73
Ch. 6 Physiology of the spine 95
Ch. 7 The male reproductive system 127
Ch. 8 The Egyptian healing establishment 149
Ch. 9 Egyptian biomedical science : theories and implications 167
Epilogue : broader implications of healing in a fused or integrated society 197
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