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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: MUMMY as Medicine
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0494  Friday, 19 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Bob Dennis <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Mar 1999 11:22:04 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0487 MUMMY as Medicine

[2]     From:   Marti Markus <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Mar 1999 07:46:56 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0487 MUMMY as Medicine


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Dennis <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Mar 1999 11:22:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0487 MUMMY as Medicine
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0487 MUMMY as Medicine

Please keep the MUMMY Medicine on-line.  I am also interested in this.

Thanks.

Bob Dennis

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marti Markus <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Mar 1999 07:46:56 +0100
Subject: 10.0487 MUMMY as Medicine
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0487 MUMMY as Medicine

> A student of mine has a query on the medical use of bitumen suspension
> of powdered mummies imported from Egypt in Shakespeare's lifetime.

I had a look in Joan Lane, ed. John Hall and his Patients. The Medical
Practice of Shakespeare'sSon-in-Law. Medical Commentary by Melvin
Earles.  The Shakespeare Birthday Trust 1996.

John Hall used mummy powder for two of his patients:

William Fortesque "aged 20, was troubled with the Falling-sickness, by
consent from the Stomach, as also hypochondriack melancholy, with a
depravation of both Sense and Motion of the two middle Fingers of the
Right-hand" (p.50, observation XXIX)

Melvin Earles' comment: In this condition the patient exhibits a morbid
preoccupation with ill health. [...] at the onset of a fit the patient
was made to inhale a vapour formed by burning a mixture of the aromatic
resin benzoin, powdered mummy, black pitch and juice of rue." (p. 55)

Patient Mr. P. (Observ. XIII, p. 196) was "afflicted with a Flux of
Semen, and Night-pollutions, by which he was much weakned".  He had a
pill prescribed with gum arabic, tragacanth gum, Armenian bole, carabe
(amber), mummy powder and Mandibule Lucii piscis or jaw of pike, all
items believed to hinder or stop fluxes.

Melvin Ealres comments in a footnote on p.197: "Mummy was included in
the London Pharmacopoeia of 1618. It was said to pierce all parts,
restore wasted limbs, cure consumptions and ulcers, hinder blood
coagulation and stop fluxes and rheumes. A shortage of the genuine
article resulted in recipes for making artificial mummy from the newly
dead" (cf. Webster's White Devil, I.1.17ff)

Better get well soon,
Markus Marti
 

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