Scary Papyri II– Self Help Medicinal Cures



Medicine in antiquity was one part home remedy, one part common sense, and one part Hippocratic let the body heal itself. But the desperate also would go to the gods and the healers, and what passed for ancient doctors and medicine. Such treatments as listed above could be of relevance to NT studies, as it seems quite possible Paul had eye troubles (see Galatians 4.12-16 (why the metaphor about tearing out their eyes and giving them to Paul). Since the eyes were viewed as the windows of the soul, a man with weeping or oozing eyes would be viewed as potentially evil, and would often cause the superstitious to spit, to ward off evil influence. Paul definitely had an ethos problem, and this was complained about in Corinth (‘his letters are heavy, but his personal presence contemptible…’).

In terms of preventive medicine, there was such a thing as toothpaste in antiquity, but you are not going to like what it’s made of….

Amulets like these glass ones were used to ward off snake bite. Note which body parts make up these amulets..

Eye amulets were quite common as well…