The role of magic and medicine in the lives of ancient Egyptian women and their children

Witts, Jennifer (2005-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis investigates the role that magic and medicine played in the lives of ancient Egyptian women and children. In a time when giving birth often ended in the death of the mother and child, and child mortality was extremely high, a variety of protective measures were undertaken by the ancient Egyptians. Medicine as the scientific treatment of ailments and women's health in general did exist in Egypt, however, life in Egypt was determined by religion and especially magic. The health of the ancient Egyptian woman and her child was studied by looking at the way in which magic influenced medicine, as well as by looking at how this connection between magic and medicine influenced the life and health of ancient Egyptian women and children. The research model followed was that of an interlinking society in which each aspect of Egyptian life had varying impacts on each other. The degree of impact of magic on aspects such as menstruation, conception and pregnancy was investigated, as well as, the magico-medical spells, amulets and other devices that were used to protect a woman and her baby. A catalogue of sources is given, including written and non-written sources. The first included the medical papyri and magical spells against evil forces and sickness. The second group were visual representations, divine statuettes, amulets and the specialized magical stelae (cippl) and "magical wands" ("Zaubermesser"). This thesis attempts to better understand how feminine issues such as menstruation, pregnancy, and giving birth were perceived and contended with, as well as to shed some light on the medical and magical treatment and protection of the women and children in ancient Egypt.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die rol wat magie en medisyne in die lewens van vrouens en kinders in antieke Egipte gespeel het. In 'n tyd toe die geboorte van 'n kind baie keer die dood van die ma en haar baba veroorsaak het, en kindersterftes uiters hoog was, het die antieke Egiptenare 'n verskeidenheid beskermingsmaatreëls gebruik. Medisyne as die wetenskaplike behandeling van siektes en vroulike gesondheidsorg het in Egipte bestaan, maar die lewe in Egipte was egter bepaal deur die godsdiens en veral die magie. Die gesondheid van die vroue en kinders van antieke Egipte is bestudeer deur te kyk hoe magie medisyne beïnvloed het, sowel as om te kyk hoe die verband tussen magie die medisyne die lewe en gesondheid van vroue en kinders in antieke Egipte bepaal het. Die navorsingsmodel wat gevolg is, is van 'n samelewing waarbinne elke aspek van die lewe in Egipte 'n impak op die ander het. Die graad van impak van magie op aspekte soos menstruasie, konsepsie en swangerskap is ondersoek, sowel as die "magies-mediese" spreuke, amulette en ander middels wat as beskerming vir die vrou en haar baba gebruik is. 'n Katalogus van bronne is ingesluit en sluit beide skriftelike en nie-skriftelike bronne in. Onder die eerste groep val mediese papiri en magiese tekste teen bose magte en siekte. Die tweede groep gee aandag aan visuele voorstellings, godebeeldjies, amulette en die gespesialiseerde magiese stelae (cippl) en "toorstaffies" ("Zaubermesser"). Hierdie tesis poog om beter te verstaan hoe vroulike sake soos menstruasie, swangerskap en geboorte gesien en hanteer is, sowel as om meer lig te werp op die mediese en magiese behandeling en beskerming van vrouens en hulle kinders in antieke Egipte.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50522
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