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Cannibalism: Why was fresh human blood and flesh considered a cure in Europe?

And many patients are trying to gather under his body which is still tormented. The lucky ones who hear the sound of filling their cups, immediately drink the hot blood of the corpse in one breath. This is about the early days of modern Denmark.

Cannibalism: Why was fresh human blood and flesh considered a cure in Europe?

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This example is very serious, but according to the top medical experts in Europe at that time, the cure for epilepsy was in the blood. The ‘corpse medicine’ found in the early part of the modern age can be divided into two categories. A popular treatment was with embalmed corpses, which were often used to extract dried flesh from ancient Egyptian corpses and make it into a paste.

But some doctors even used the material extracted from corpses of that period as medicine. It contained fresh fat, blood, and even muscle, which was carefully dried and cleaned before use. Many physicians claim that the best treatment for the latter was ‘the corpse of a redhead, intact, fresh, and about 24 years old’ and who has ‘horribly died’.

Cannibalism

We do not know why this is so, but the treatment of corpses is not mentioned in the traditional history of medicine. But such treatments were not divinatory tales or frauds. These treatments, to some extent derived from Greek and Arab medical traditions, were not only accepted but also recommended by many educated personalities. They included the scientific philosopher Francis Bacon, the poet and preacher John Dawn, Queen Elizabeth’s surgeon John Benster and the chemist Robert Boyle.

Drops made from human skulls in 1685 were also used to treat the dying King Charles II near Britain. It is clear that the treatment of corpses was a kind of cannibalism.

Almost everywhere in Europe since the fifteenth century and beyond, the ‘ancient cannibalism’ that was recently discovered in the United States was considered evil. But no one called such treatment cannibalism. By the way, it caused anxiety among the people, but it was still a popular and attractive remedy, so much so that the merchants not only plundered the Egyptian tombs but also often deceitfully sold the people to the poor or lepers, or even camel meat. Give

This treatment continued until the end of the 18th century, but it was still available in Germany a hundred years ago.Sometimes the human skull was also used, and also the fungus called ‘Asni’ which began to grow on the skulls shortly after death.This treatment continued until the end of the 18th century, but it was still available in Germany a hundred years ago.

But how could such treatment continue for so long despite being so disgusting? The answer is that medical experts attached great importance to the classical Greek period. Also important was the fact that Latin was used for medicine in those days and there was a strict monopoly on what is permissible and what is not.

Shortly before 1599, a tourist wrote an account of a pyramid in Cairo, Egypt: ‘The bodies of the ancients were exhumed daily, they were not rotten but intact’ and ‘these were the corpses that doctors and pharmacists wanted us to They feed us without. ‘

This shows that doctors had the power to force their patients to use ingredients extracted from embalmed bodies. In 1647, preacher and author Thomas Fuller called embalmed corpses “bad food but good medicine.”

His statement could be taken to mean that human flesh was somehow cleared through various medical procedures and thus it was not barbaric to eat raw human flesh. However, this phase of refining did not depend on the power of ‘science’ but on the religious and spiritual power of the human body.

The theory is that the soul itself is immaterial, but it resides in the body and is attached to the body through a mixture of blood and air. This mixture of the soul kept circulating in the body and this was presented as an explanation for the occurrence of bodily stages.

It is considered to be the basic element of human life which played an important role in establishing the relationship between the material world and the spiritual world. For many Renaissance thinkers, healing from corpses was an alchemy that provided an opportunity to absorb the spiritual force necessary for survival.

In the late seventeenth century, the poet and physician Edward Taylor wrote: “Hot or cold human blood is useful against diseases.” And until 1747 English physicians continued to prescribe ‘fresh, warm’ blood as a treatment for epilepsy. In addition, due to ‘spiritual physiology’, human flesh continued to be eaten.

Such a person would have died in a healthy condition and his life would not have been harmed by disease or age. And if he had died of a hemorrhage, his youth would have been considered affected, because his soul would have gone out with the blood. That is why it is said that ideally he should die from drowning, strangulation or suffocation.

Terrible death also gives rise to fear.

In medical theory, it was stated that due to fear, the soul would come out of the vital organs (liver, heart and brain) and merge into the flesh. Therefore, the flesh of such a person is considered to be especially invigorating. So at first glance the Egyptian mummies known for their dryness should be devoid of this power of life? But their intact flesh is taken to mean that the soul is still intact in these corpses which have been sealed after going through the stage of embalming.

In the same way, the mold growing on the scalp of a person who died a long time ago was also considered to be full of spiritual power. Some thinkers thought that if a person was strangled, the spiritual power in his head could remain in his skull for seven years.

Remember that the embalmed corpse was said to be the corpse of a young man who had ‘horribly died’? And when it comes to drinking fresh blood, it becomes even clearer. In this case, the patient absorbs the basic substance of life in the same way that he was present inside the living body.

In 1604, we see William Shakespeare’s character Othello admiring his handkerchief because his silk was “dyed by a magical hand with a liquid made from the embalmed heart of a virgin.” Obviously, in those days young, virgin women were considered to have the highest degree of spiritual purity. The medical use of the heart was not considered strange, but this statement may be based on the common notion that the purest and finest parts of the soul are found in the left ventricle or cavity of the heart.

Ironically, embalming was considered obsolete in mainstream medicine, not only because Dr. Samuel Johnson’s contemporaries began to consider it superstitious or barbaric, but also because medicine The spiritual significance of the body began to decline. In 1782 we see physician William Blake rejoicing that “dirty and insignificant” treatments, such as “Egyptian mummies” and “men’s skulls”, are now obsolete. “These and other contaminants have lost their place in medicine.”

Thus, while defending the development of Enlightenment science, William Blake did not consider what was affected by this whole process. Because those who had been treated with corpses had now overcome their aversion to it, not out of frustration, but out of respect for the soul that was supposed to be the essence of human life. Is. So was embalming also the end of Christian spirituality? Richard Sigg teaches at Durham University. His book, Murder After Death, sheds light on medical cannibalism.

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