When illness or injury inflicted people in the ancient world, they often turned to a trustworthy person who was familiar with ... magic.
That connection between the world of the physical and what today people would consider the psychological aspect of healing will get a review this fall in an October series of free lectures at University of Chicago's Breasted Hall in the Oriental Institute titled “Medicine and Magic in the Ancient World, A Search for the Cure.“
"In our own culture, we take for granted that medicine, religion, and magic are all separate things. But in fact, those categories of knowledge are cultural inventions, unique to each civilization,” said Gil Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute at University of Chicago. “The ancient Mesopotamians, Greeks and Egyptians thought about themselves and the laws of nature quite differently from the way we do. And those differences can give us deep insights into these civilizations."
Robert Ritner, Professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute, will open the series with a talk titled “The Theory and Practice of Medicine and Magic in Ancient Egypt,” from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10. The series will continue on Wednesdays Oct. 17 and 24 and Saturday Oct. 27 with talks about medicine and its connection with magic in Greece and Mesopotamia.
Egyptian doctors also were magicians, but it was not the kind of magic people see today that we consider a form of entertainment. Instead of being used for clever tricks, magic to the Egyptians was part of a comprehensive approach to life and provided a way to connect spiritually with the powers of their deities. The spells and amulets the doctors gave their patients at the end of their visit reassured them.
Egyptian medicine was based on observations of the natural world and was in many ways similar to the practice of medicine today. The Egyptian tradition of medicine lives on today in the American symbol commonly used to denote medicine. The two serpents on a staff is a symbol of Thoth, the Egyptian deity associated with magic and science.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Mental Illnesses Run In Families, So How Can We Protect Children?
- Parkinson’s Disease Reverted In Rats
- Guest Post: Ben Allanach, On Open Access
- Coming Out Of The Closet: Moths Deserve Some Love Too
- Why I’ll Talk Policy With Climate Change Deniers But Not Science
- Weighing Trees - Now With Lasers
- New Limits On VY Production From CDF: Good, But Also Disappointing
- "This is just one reason I went into chemistry. Philosophy just went flying right over my head...."
- "I've tried a very similar pedelec. The one I had was very heavy and had such a high rolling..."
- "I'm a toaster, It's my raison d'être, I toast, therefore I am.Red Dwarf..."
- "Well the bicycle I rode to school and back on for 5 years had very small very thick wheels and..."
- "Great article but just one thing. Maybe it should be.... Only One Third Of Dr. Oz Show..."
- First successful vaccination against 'mad cow'-like wasting disease in deer
- 6 percent of the people reading this article are addicted to the Internet
- Delivering drugs on demand
- Ostwald ripening: Champagne bubble physics may help address future energy needs
- antibodies from llamas might help in the fight against HIV/AIDS