Oncology and Infectious Diseases in Ancient Egypt: The Ebers Papyrus’ Treatise on Tumours 857-877 and the Cases Found in Ancient Egyptian Human Material
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This dissertation focuses on pathogenic elements found in the Ebers papyrus: a series of prescriptions that are believed to be the remains of a “book of tumours” which deals with what appear to have been benign ganglionic masses, polyps, sebaceous cysts, varicose veins and aneurysms. Discussion of this Treatise on Tumours (paragraphs 857-877) includes the previous probable identification of a disease, the analysis carried out to date by several Egyptologists, and my own interpretation which combines the linguistic approach adopted by these scholars in the past, and the medical observations of scientists in more recent years: in total we have descriptions of neoplasias versus swellings. This work also includes some references to the plants mentioned as treatments for the illnesses described in the 21 paragraphs of the Papyrus’ last section on tumours (what it is now thought to be oncological concerns) taking into account the problem of translation, since some plants are still unidentified today.References are made to material evidence found in Egyptian mummies in several sites revealing the presence of a tumour, e.g. Brothwell, 1981, Strouhal, 1999, (Ruffer, 1914), Cockburn, 1998, 1980, (Spigelman, 1997), Van Hasselt, 1999, Estes, 1989, Capasso, 2005, Leslie and Levell, 2006, Halperin, 2004, Mark, 2006, and Nerlich and Zink, 2006.