Medical Science in Ancient Egypt: A Translation and Interpretation of Papyrus Louvre-Carlsberg (pLouvre E 32847 + pCarlsberg 917)
Research output: Book/Report › Ph.D. thesis › Research
This dissertation presents the first true text edition of Papyrus Louvre-Carlsberg, a medical text from ancient Egypt dating to c. 1450 BCE. pLouvre-Carlsberg, which is inscribed on both recto and verso, measures just over 6 meters in length and constitutes the second-longest medical papy-rus preserved from ancient Egypt. The medical genre is relatively poorly represented in the extant source material, and the addition of this papyrus adds greatly to our knowledge of the Egyptian medical practice and its theoretical framework. This includes details of disease etiologies through numerous mythological narratives that transpose disease into the divine realm in order to offer explanatory models of illness and treatment. As such, the myths present an extraordinary emic insight into Egyptian medicine. More specifically, the papyrus contains the earliest-known herbal treatise, which provides descriptions of the appearance, habitat, uses, and religious significance of a divine plant and its seed. In addition, the manuscript contains a lengthy treatise on swellings of the skin, which are conceptualized as illnesses sent forth by the formidable lunar god Khonsu. The treatise demonstrates that many of the treatments are devised as a reflection of Khonsu’s celestial character, for instance by invoking other gods of the night sky to fight against the lunar god or by invoking gods or objects connected to fire, heat, and/or sunlight, all elements that are deemed op-posites of the nightly realm of Khonsu. Finally, the papyrus contains the earliest and one of the only known embalming manuals, which outlines various practical aspects of the mummification process. pLouvre-Carlsberg thus enables a more holistic and in-depth understanding of ancient Egyptian medicine.
|Det Humanistiske Fakultet, Københavns Universitet
|Number of pages
|Published - Feb 2021
Note re. dissertation
Ph.d.-afhandling forsvaret 8. February 2021. Vejledere: Fredrik Hagen, Kim Ryholt, Hans-Werner Fischer-Elfert.