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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

Medicine                               195
Dry medicines are crushed or ground and some of the remedies
are boiled, warmed, or cooled, as the case may be. Medica-
ments for external use are generally applied by rubbing, bandag-
ing, or poultice. The quantities of each drug are meticulously
specified in the prescriptions, minute fractional notation being
The form in which these prescriptions was drawn up was
copied, down to the smallest details, by the Greeks and passed
thence into the medical literature of other countries. Egyptian
influence, often quite unequivocal, can be recognized in Greek,
Latin, Arabic, Syriac, and Persian medical books as well as in
those of western Europe of the Middle Ages and later times.
To prove this generalization an army of instances might be
produced, but space forbids a further elaboration of this aspect
of the question, which has already been fully discussed else-
§viii. Conclusion
What, then, is the legacy that Egypt has bequeathed to
Medicine ?
In general terms it may be said that the popular medicine of
almost every country of Europe and the Near East largely owes
its origin to Egypt, and in its various migrations it has pre-
served its ancestral form almost intact throughout the ages.
Not only were many well-known drugs of universal vogue first
used by the Egyptians (such, for instance, as hartshorn, castor-
oil, mandragora, cumin, dill, and coriander), but in addition to
these more obvious examples, many of the drugs, as well as the
properties and traditions ascribed to them by the Egyptians,
that occur in the works of Pliny, Dioscorides, Galen, and even
in the Hippocratic Collection itself, are clearly borrowed from
Egypt. These later writers, and others who followed them, are '
the sources from which the compilers of herbals and boob of
popular medicine mainly drew for their material, and the works