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Chapter Four, Section Four
Transcript of Chapter Four, Section Four
Book of the Dead
a collection of papyri on which spells, prayers and
instructions for the dead were written
- the Egyptian writing system in which symbols represent objects, Greek for “sacred carving”
– long-lasting paper-like material made of reeds
– a huge stone slab inscribed with hieroglyphics
Why were Egyptian doctors known throughout the Mediterranean region?
•ancient Egyptians believed that disease and death were caused
by a god, spirits or supernatural force
•disease could be cured by magic and/or medicine
•Egyptian doctors made medicine, created magic spells and prayers,
fixed broken bones, worked on teeth, embalmed the dead,
practiced surgery and conducted autopsies
•a common disease was Schistosomiasis –
infection by a larval worm of a snail which resulted in anemia,
loss of appetite, urinary infection and a lower immune system
– the worm burrows into the skin and enters the veins of the human host
honey and milk were used for coughs and respiratory illnesses
What are some natural cures?
honey, a natural antibiotic, was used to dress wounds
aloe was used to treat worms, headaches, chest pains, burns, ulcers and skin diseases
dill was used to treat gas
caraway and mint were used to treat bad breath
sandalwood was used to aid digestion, stop diarrhea and to treat gout
What tools did doctors use to treat patients?
How did doctors treat a broken nose?
Source A: Instructions for treating a broken nose
If you examine a man whose nose is disfigured - part of it being squashed in while the other part is swollen and both his nostrils are bleeding, then you shall say: "You have a broken nose and this is an ailment I can treat."
You should clean his nose with two plugs of linen and then insert two plugs soaked in grease into his nostrils. You should make him rest until the swelling has gone down. You should bandage his nose with stiff rolls of linen and treat him with lint every day until he recovers.
'Papyrus Edwin Smith', c.1500BC
Source B: Instructions for treating swellings in the body
When you come across a swelling of the flesh in any part of the body of a patient and your patient is clammy and the swelling comes and goes under the finger, then you must say to your patient: "It is a tumour of the flesh. I will treat the disease. I will try to heal it with fire since cautery heals."
When you come across a swelling that has attacked a channel, then it has formed a tumour in the body. If when you examine it with your fingers, it is like a hard stone, then you should say: "It is a tumour of the channels. I shall treat the disease with a knife."
'Papyrus Ebers', c.1500BC
What was the Book of the Dead?
•the Book of the Dead was a collection
of spells for remembering the dead and
a set of instructions for the afterlife
•the papyrus rolls were found by a group
of Egyptologists (Jean François Champollion)
in the 19th century and translated
•the spells helped the dead get into
the Kingdom of Osiris
•Thoth was supposedly the author of the papyrus scrolls
Why are hieroglyphics considered to be the
greatest contribution of the early Egyptians?
•one of the oldest forms of writing – 3300 – 3200 B.C.E. (started during the Early Dynastic Period)
• used by the Egyptians for 3,500 years
•did not have vowels in the writing
but they had vowel sounds when they spoke
•ancient Egyptian word for hieroglyphics
translates into “language of the gods”
•priests used them to write prayers,
spells and texts for worshiping the
gods and honoring the dead
•royal documents were written using hieroglyphics to record historical events
•hieroglyphics were used to decorate things (i.e. jewelry)
•when the Greeks took over Egypt the priests of Egypt would use glyphs as a code
•hieroglyphics died out after the Romans conquered Egypt
How were hieroglyphics translated?
•during the French occupation of Egypt French soldiers found a large stone, the Rosetta Stone
•the Rosetta Stone had an ancient inscription that was
written in three different ways –
hieroglyphs, demotic script and ancient Greek
•Jean François Champollion was the first person
who was able to read hieroglyphics
•the stone was taken to Europe and translated
•the hieroglyphics provided important information about the history of ancient Egypt and are still being translated today
How did math develop in ancient Egypt and why did the Egyptian government need a mathematical system for surveying and measuring areas?
•Egyptians developed a
decimal system using seven
•the higher number is written in front
of the lower number
•math was needed to measure time,
measure straight lines,
calculate areas of land,
check the level of the Nile,
count money, calculate taxes
and to cook
•the Egyptians developed a calendar that was one of the closest estimations to a true year
•the Rhind mathematical papyrus dates back to 1832 B.C.E.
- equation to find the angle of the slope of a pyramid’s face
- area of a curve – trigonometry
- algebra – “From a certain amount of grain, how many loaves
can be baked?” “Given a ramp of length x and height y, how
many bricks are needed?”
- fractions were also used