Skip to comments.Unpublished Egyptian texts reveal new insights into ancient medicine
Posted on 08/22/2018 7:52:29 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
The University of Copenhagen in Denmark is home to a unique collection of Ancient Egyptian papyrus manuscripts. A large part of the collection has not yet been translated, leaving researchers in the dark about what they might contain. "A large part of the texts are still unpublished. Texts about medicine, botany, astronomy, astrology, and other sciences practiced in Ancient Egypt," says Egyptologist Kim Ryholt, Head of the Carlsberg Papyrus Collection at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark... "It's totally unique for me to be able to work with unpublished material. It doesn't happen in many places around the world," says PhD student Amber Jacob from the Institute for the Study of The Ancient World at New York University... one of four PhD students working on the unpublished manuscripts... focusses on the medical texts from the Tebtunis temple library, which existed long before the famous Library of Alexandria, up until 200 BCE. In one of the texts, she has found evidence that Ancient Egyptians knew about the existence of kidneys... The papyri also reveal insights into the Egyptian view on astrology... "Today, astrology is seen as a pseudoscience, but in antiquity it was different. It was an important tool for predicting the future and it was considered a very central science," says Ryholt... Astrology was their way of avoiding going to war on a bad day, such as when the celestial bodies were aligned in a particular configuration... The unpublished manuscripts provide a unique insight to the history of science, says Ryholt. "When you hear about the history of science, the focus is often on the Greek and Roman material. But we have Egyptian material that goes much further back. One of our medical texts was written 3,500 years ago when there was no written material on the European continent," he says.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenordic.com ...
Instructions for a 3,500-year-old pregnancy test. (Photo: Carlsberg Papyrus Collection / University of Copenhagen)
This little piece of papyrus is believed to contain a type of oracle question. The author has written two possible outcomes for a situation and asked the gods to indicate which one was the truth. (Photo: The Papyrus Carlsberg Collection/ University of Cop
What did they recommend for leprosy?
That's actually the ancient Egyptian form of the SIM card. Service tended to be spotty, and data ran slow.
” Take two beetles and papyrus me a message in the morning.”
Looks like she has some Egyptian scrip on her arms. She takes her job seriously.
I say scan it all and publish it on the net. Let the autists devour it and spit out the translations in a few weeks. Give them a real challenge for the good of mankind. Ancient wisdom might be good for us.
I don't think the right arm is hieroglyphs -- looks like somethin' else, though, non-European cultural appropriation twaddle.
In Herodotus, an Egyptian treatment of eye ailments is given, the use of crocodile dung is recommended. The first modern translator into German mocked this, but it turns out that crocodile dung has a naturally occuring antibiotic.
They'd have to be pulled away from kicking everyone's asses in chess down at the park.
How do you even learn to read that?
They carved people up to make them into mummies. The kidneys are kind of hard to miss. And they are connected to the bladder so their role is not hard to figure out.
Tell me they knew about the Pituitary gland and how it worked, that would be impressive.
a passel of manuscripts locked away in Copenhagen with 4 researchers on the translating job?
how about, have those four researchers photograph each manuscript, put them up on a website, and crowd-source translations.
Knowledge shouldn’t be locked away in some dusty university or museum basement like a personal treasure. Get it out there.
Must be hard, right? Imangine, if you will, the abilities of the people who first cracked it, who figured it out -- and not even Greek, although it is reportedly easier to learn to read and write Greek than it is to speak it. But the Rosetta Stone had a Greek text, a Demotic text, and a hieroglyph text, on the same surface, with approximately the same information, and that allowed a cracking of not one but two scripts. Turns out that even when it was in use, hieroglyphs were hard to use, hard to learn, hard to teach, and just all-around a pain the ass, and that led to our alphabetic scripts, which are easy to use, easy to teach, easy to learn, and at least as flexible as cunieform. Even cuneiform won out over hieroglyphs, probably due to that. Hieroglyphs were used for official texts (and damned few of those were used for things like "enter here" signs at the Egyptian temples) and for reliigious texts on tomb walls and such.
Cuneiform was cracked using old tablets in Akkadian, which is an extinct Semitic language; but the archive from which the translators were working was made up of two different languages, and even before either one of them was figured out, it was possible, by the sequences of characters, to sort them into two piles. Someone fluent in modern Semitic languages made a dent in in the cracking of Akkadian, and in the process came to realize that the script, cuneiform, hadn't been invented for the writing of Akkadian, even though most known texts are probably in Akkadian (that was the language of diplomatic correspondence for a couple of thousand years, most of it written in cunieform, which finally died out about 400 AD). Turned out that the second language in the archive was the originating language of cuneiform, and was Sumerian, a language unrelated to any other known language, and previously unknown from ancient texts, and the people themselves previously unheard of. That must have been a pop-the-champagne moment for a bunch of liberal arts geeks, eh?
Yeah, sure, why not -- 4 PhD candidates should just forget about accomplishing the things they need to accomplish to earn their PhDs, and waste a bunch of time (and money, ultimately) to put an entire archive -- which you'll have noticed isn't in complete pages, but fragments, which have to be put together like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing -- online, where nothing would happen for years, no one would be able to figure it out because its so specialized, and maybe they could get jobs working at a florist shop.
The pregnancy test is remarkable -- if that could be experimentally verified by modern researchers, people from now on would save a fortune.
...and the Rosetta Stone tattooed on her hindquarters.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.