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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

184                              Medicine
deposited in various museums. But amongst the Graeco-
Egyptian medical papyri there are some which are clearly of
Greek and not of Egyptian origin. These latter fall into our
Group I, and amongst them may be mentioned the Golenischef
Papyrus (gynaecological; 3rd cent. A.D.) and the Cattaui Papyrus
(surgical; also 3rd cent.).
It is mainly from an analysis of the foregoing material that
our knowledge of Egyptian medicine is derived.
 iii. Magic and Medicine
Magic played a very prominent part in the social and religious
life of the Egyptians: it affected not only the relations of men
with their living fellows but with the dead and with the gods.
By the Egyptian, magic was believed to be a sure means of
accomplishing all his necessities and desires and of performing,
in short, everything that the common procedure of daily life was
inadequate to bring about. Amongst the numerous purposes
for which magic was employed, the activities of the magician
are most commonly met with in the prevention and cure of sick-
ness and injury, the bites and stings of noxious animals, and
other misfortunes and accidents affecting the individual. These
medical applications of the magic art, besides being the most
numerous, well exemplify the procedure of the practitioner.
In the numerous medico-magical texts which have come down
to us the idea of possession is very evident, for diseases are
usually treated as if personified and are harangued and addressed
by the magician. It is generally stated or implied that disease
or suffering is due to the actual presence in the patient's body
of the demon itself, but almost as often it is implied that the
suffering is due to some poison or other evil emanation that the
demon has projected into the patient's body.
In such cases the simplest method of procedure was the recita-
tion of a spell in which the disease-demon was summarily com-
manded to quit, or the poison to flow forth, and leave the