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Poison

 
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:16 pm    Post subject: Poison Reply with quote

Do we know of any records of poisoning in ancient egypt? They must have been able to use the venom of snakes.

I have heard a speculation that the famous harem revolt against Ramses III may have involved cobra venom.
It was not a really strong argument, but supposedly Ramses III was associated with protection against snake bites in later times.

I case you're wondering, no I don't just sit around in my kitchen pondering the workings of administering poison. Twisted Evil

This train of thought was brought about after reading another article about the poisoning by Dioxin of the Ukrainian politician Yuschenko. Weird case btw....

Political assassination has been around for a long time, and we know about plots against the Pharaoh. Just wondered if they included poison in their arsenal of weapons.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also curious about accidental poisoning. In particular in lead poisoning. Lead can appear in Kohl (if it's based on lead sulphite). Kohl was widely used, as were ceramics that can contain lead.
Lead poisoning can lead to irrational behavior. I wonder if it played a role in the Amarna era or in the behaviour of some of the ptolemies (not the sanest family on the block - rather poster children for a dysfunctional family)
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So that means basically everyone in Egypt was lead-poisoned, because everyone wore khol, men, women, kids, rich, poor and all! So everyone in Egypt was dysfuctional and irrational? Surely not... Laughing they keep saying on these websites that it's 'healthy' and 'keeps out eye infections'-yeah right. When I found out there was lead in kohl, it reminded me of the old Elizabethan lead based make up they used...ended up doing more damage than it covered up.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I said IF it's based on lead sulphite. It appears that kohl can be made in different ways.

There are modern instances of lead poiseoning through "bad kohl". I was just wondering if that had happened in ancient times.

I mean honestly, would I ever suggest that they were all a bunch of irrational lunatics? Shocked Oh ye of little faith....
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course you wouldn't. I just thought that all kohl was made from the same stuff and therefore it was all poisonous.

But I think I'll stick with normal eyeliner myself if i ever want to copy the Egyptian look Wink

Back to poisons, I've heard of cobra posioning-remember the Isis and Ra myth? I wonder if they used scorpion venom too. and, with posionous animals, did they extract the venom or could they use the animal itself to bite/sting the victim (a famous example is, of course, Cleopatra's asp...)
What about plant poisons? Did Egypt have any poisonous plants that could have been used?
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was wondering exactly the same thing. I can imagine either animal or plant derived poisons. I don't remember any egyptian records that mention them though.

Most countries have poisonous plants, and considering they knew about the healing properties of some plants, I would expect them to know about the bad properties as well.

I'll have to look around on the internet some.
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Psusennes
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arsenic and hemlock were the two main poisons used in Egypt. Hemlock was mainly used for discreet assasination and suicide (relatively painless), whilst arsenic was used for cold-blooded murder, and used by the Greeks and Romans to coat arrows and daggers (quick but extremely painful).
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Psusennes III
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As we now have a lot of written sources about plants, everybody can easily make some deadly recipes with common plants. While I believe, in ancient times the use of plants was more a case for a magician or a doctor (if you could call them this way). They must have had a very large knowledge of the use of plants and probably also animals, even more than we do now.

As I have studied Biotechnics and during my studies I worked a lot with plants, I know some interesting little details about them which most people don't know, I also know a dozen ways to send a man to Osiris with the simple use of very common plants Twisted Evil . (but for everybodies safety I'm not going to give you some details. Wink )
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anneke, I've come across the poisoning theory with Ramesses III, too. It would have been the surest way to make it seem Pharaoh died a "natural" death. I've also heard of the issue with kohl, but I don't know if it contains enough lead in certain forms to be dangerous. However, I'm no chemist or physician, so I don't know.

You've probably heard that lead-poisoning is one theory behind the slow decline of the Roman empire. It's population was dwendling near the end, and it's a plausible theory. The Romans were masters at waterworks, and we know many of their pipes were made of lead. But that's another culture and more suitable for another forum...

Now, the Greeks were into poisons with grand enthusiasm. Few people of the ancient world knew poisons like the Greeks, but that's another culture and more suitable for another forum...
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