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TitleDawson - Medical Texts 4
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Table of Contents
                            p.[185]
	p.186
	p.187
	p.188
		Volume Information [pp.231-241]
		Front Matter
		Excavations at Tell el Amarna: Preliminary Report for the Season 1933-4 [pp.129-136]
		Eight New Cuneiform Fragments from Tell el Amarna [pp.137-138]
		Some Aspects of Amūn [pp.139-153]
		A Statue of a Serpent-Worshipper [pp.154-156]
		A Letter to the Dead on a Bowl in the Louvre [pp.157-169]
		Pettigrew's Demonstrations upon Mummies. A Chapter in the History of Egyptology [pp.170-182]
		A Foundation Scene of the Second Dynasty [pp.183-184]
		Studies in the Egyptian Medical Texts: IV (Continued) [pp.185-188]
		Foreigners in the Tomb of Amenemḥab (No. 85) [pp.189-192]
		"Phocaean Gold" in Egypt [pp.193-194]
		Magical Texts in Coptic: II [pp.195-200]
		Christianity and the Ḳura'án [pp.201-203]
		Arthur Surridge Hunt [pp.204-205]
		Bibliography: Christian Egypt (1933-1934) [pp.206-212]
		Notes and News [pp.213-217]
			untitled [pp.218-219]
			untitled [pp.219-221]
			untitled [p.221]
			untitled [pp.221-222]
			untitled [pp.223-228]
			untitled [pp.228-229]
			untitled [p.229]
		Correspondence [p.230]
		Back Matter
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

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Page 2

STUDIES IN THE EGYPTIAN MEDICAL TEXTS-IV
BY WARREN R. DAWSON

(Continued from Journal, xx, 41-6)

15. The affection called Tq,'
THIS word has generally been translated "swelling" and sometimes "boil", "ulcer" or the
like, but I believe it to mean a sharp or acute pain, popularly a." shooting pain".

B. Ebbell (A.Z., LXIII, 115) came somewhat nearer the truth when he proposed
"rheumatism" as the meaning of gtt, but his rendering does not fully account for all the
occurrences of the word in the medical texts, although it may be appropriate to some few
of them. The following are the instances of the word in the medical papyri:
1. E 51. 15 (294). " Beginning of the remedies for reducing (F rm q g ( ) gtt in the groins."

An external remedy in which a plant (which I shall attempt to identify in ? 17) is ap-
plied to the affected region, " then it (the pain) subsides immediately ". There is a dupli-
cate of this remedy in H 3.4 (35), where i is corruptly written for stt. Perhaps hernia.

2. E 51. 19 (295). For gtt in the neck which causes pain when the head is inclined. External

remedy. This oft-quoted passage is generally understood to refer to boils, but it is

clearly a case of fibrositis, or "stiff-neck".
3. E 52. 6 (296). Here gtt is a symptom of some stomach trouble which makes the abdomen

rigid. There is a duplicate in E 25. 3 (102), where gtt has wrongly the additional
determinative Z, doubtless borrowed from q'-t . In both passages gtt is

qualified as e m <,, the meaning of which is unknown to me.
4. E 52. 7 (297). For gtt m hat, pain in the belly. The remedy is an internal dose containing

figs, cumin, and other sedative and carminative drugs. Duplicate in B 11.5 (136), which
adds "and in all other parts of the body". Probably colic, or some other form of
acute "stomach-ache".

5. E 52. 15 (300). Similar to No. 4, but adds to title "of a man or of a woman"
6. E 52. 10 (298). For stt in the front of the head and in the neck. External application to

the head. Probably neuralgia or similar.
7. E 52. 13 (299). The same, but treated by an internal dose.
8. E 103. 12 (856f.). Pain in the arm and trembling of the fingers diagnosed as stt. The

Berlin duplicate has stt of the fingers, instead of "trembling". This may be paralysis
agitans.

9. B 4. 9 (48). gtt of the sides (P3,"costal cage"). Internal dose.
10. B 11. 7 (138). For all kinds of stt which come and go (htht) in a man's flesh. Internal

dose. Shooting or intermittent spasms of pain.
11. B 11. 11 (139). For stt which are painful in summer and in winter in all parts of the body.

External remedy applied to the thorax.
12. B 11. 12 (140). For stt which are painful in winter in all parts of the body. External

remedy.
13. B 12. 1 (141). Similar to No. 12.
14. B 12. 2 (142). For stt which gives pain under the right or left breast (i.e. in the R. or L.

hypochondrium). External remedy.
Bb

Page 3

WARREN R. DAWSON

15. B 12. 3 (143). For stt in the bladder or uretha (painful micturation). Internal dose.
Perhaps inflammation of the prostate gland. B 12. 4-5 (144-7) are other remedies for
the same.

16. B verso 2. 9 (201). For gtt in the ear. Remedy applied to ear. Acute otitis media or some
other form of ear-ache. B. verso 2. 12 (203) is similar.

17. Edwin Smith 15. 1. Dislocation of the ribs causes acute pain (9tt) in the costal cage
(P P ) In this papyrus .tt is written B ̂ ,.

18. Ed. S. 16. 18; 17. 2. A wound in the shoulder causes stt in the scapula (i.e. in the nerves
and muscles of the scapular region).

From an examination of the above-mentioned cases it will be seen that there is not one
in which the meaning "swellings" or "boils" is necessary or even probable, and to many
such a significance is wholly inappropriate. The sense in every case is satisfied by the trans-
lation "acute pain", or "shooting pain". In some cases the pain might be of a rheumatoid
character, but such cannot be the meaning in Nos. 1, 4, 6, 15-18. In the numerous remedies
for pains and stiffness in the muscles and joints which are undoubtedly rheumatoid or
arthritic, the word gtt is never once used.

It may be added that the meanings "swellings" or "rheumatism" are quite inapplicable
to the sense in Pap. Bremner-Rhind, 5, 26.

16. The plant , P.
This herb, "Thoth's feather", or "ibis-wing", is thus employed in the medical papyri:

External Uses
Mouth-wash for teeth: E 89. 9 (745).
For pain in right side: E 90. 9 (758).
Emollient for stiff joints: E 83. 15 (669).

Internal Uses
Vermifuge: E 22. 12 (79).
For pain in head and neck: E 52. 13 (299).
For pain in left side: E 79. 11 (631).
For pains in stomach or belly: B 13. 9 (155); B 14. 1 (157); B 14. 5 (160).
Apuleius Barbarus (Herb., ii) gives Ibeos Pteron as one of the synonyms of his Herba

quinquefolium. This is the TrevTrdvAov of Dioscorides (De Mat. Med., iv, 42), which is one or
more of the many species of Potentilla, probably P. reptans. The Egyptian uses of " Thoth's
feather" are consistent with those of Dioscorides, from whom Apuleius borrowed. The
striking and unusual vernacular name given by the latter suggests that identification of this
plant with a species of Potentilla is very probable.

17. The plant pB o f'
This herb is not of common occurrence in medicine, but a gloss in a passage of the Ebers

Papyrus defines its nature. The prescription, which is repeated in Pap. Hearst [E 51. 15-20
(294) =H 3. 4-6 (35)], is for acute pains in the iliac region ( je, ), and it begins thus:
" There is a herb, 4nwtt is its name; it grows on its belly like the kWdt and its flowers are like
the lotus. Its shoots are found like 'white-wood' (

'
'.=). Gather it and smear it on the

groins, then it (the pain) subsides immediately. Its seeds, made into a cake, are given for
(i.e. to relieve) the pain."

186

Page 4

STUDIES IN THE EGYPTIAN MEDICAL TEXTS-IV 187

The herb is also taken internally as a vermifuge [E 22. 19 (83)], and applied externally
for pain in the right side [E 90. 11 (759)].

The description of the herb, a trailing plant with bell-like flowers, suggests a kind of
Convolvulus. There is a species, C. hystrix, that is common in Egypt at the present day, and
actual specimens of it were found amongst the floral remains discovered by Petrie at
Illahun (P. E. Newberry in Petrie's Kahun, Gurob and Hawara, 1890, p. 47). The plant was
also used for making garlands, a use to which it is well adapted.

Naville attempted to show that the magical plant of Nefertum, 1 , = is a lotus, and
that the plant described above is identical with it.1 His demonstration is, however, uncon-
vincing and rests, in my opinion, upon a mistranslation of the phrase "it grows upon its
belly", i.e. trails, which phrase he renders "elle croit sur son bulbe"-a general character

applying equally to every species of bulbous plant whatsoever.

Many of the Convolvulaceae are important in medicine, the seeds and roots secreting
powerfully active juices. The k;dt, the plant to which snwtt is likened, will be dealt with in
a future paragraph of these notes. The Common Bindweed of Egypt (Convolvulus hystrix)
appears to me a probable identification of this herb.

18. The Beetle in medicine

The beetle, which in the medical texts is always written simply 0, without phonetic
complements, is always employed externally. The wings and body of a beetle are used in an
emollient for stiff joints [H 8, 15 (115)]; to promote delivery of a child the hkw (? wing-cases)
of a beetle are used in an ointment [E 94. 21 (807)]; and in a prescription for expelling the
"artifice of spells" a large beetle, the head and wings of which have been cut off, is to be
burned, put into fat, and applied [E 81. 13 (733)=H 11. 12 (159)].

Now the word, written simply 4 in the medical texts, is always read hprr as it is in the

Pyramid Texts, for instance, where the phonetic complements are added (e.g. ? 697), but
it seems to me likely that this is not the true reading, and that 0, or I, is used as the
word-sign for

' s Iq 4. This creature is represented in the Book of the Dead (? 32)
as a large beetle or cockroach. In the Berlin Med. Papyrus, in a fumigation to expel "influ-
ence" (_ _ ), a beetle, corruptly written

-
== , is one of the ingredients used

[B 5. 11 (59)]. In the Demotic Magical Papyrus (verso, 2. 17), in a recipe to drug an enemy,
a beetle is burned in styrax and medicated. Here the word is written in cipher ertye, but
it is doubtless the same as '&]; 9 4. These two cases, which prove that the beetle used
for medico-magical purposes was called rps;y, suggest that the same reading should be

applied to the beetle when written simply A and put to similar uses in the Ebers
prescriptions.

19. The animal T-
This word occurs once only, so far as I am aware, in the medical papyri, and that is in a

remedy to prevent kkt from devouring corn in a granary [E 98. 7 (849)]. As the remedy is a
fumigation with gazelle's dung, it would seem, on the face of it, more likely that kkt is not a
"rat", as usually translated, but "weevil ", a much more serious pest for which fumiga-
tion is appropriate. On the other hand, kkt would seem to have been a mammal, or at least
some animal larger than a weevil, as its brain is mentioned in a spell in Pap. Leiden I. 345.
G 1. 8, ^ < DQ1

[
P9 , 1X One can hardly imagine the magician reciting his spell over

the brain of a weevil-an impossibility! As, however, there is a large lacuna after kk in the
Leiden papyrus, the word is not certainly the same as that in Ebers.

1 Revue de l'Eg. anc., I, 31-44.

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