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versión On-line ISSN 2340-7948versión impresa ISSN 0211-9536


TOPFER, Susanne. The physical activity of parturition in ancient Egypt: textual and epigraphical sources. Dynamis [online]. 2014, vol.34, n.2, pp.317-335. ISSN 2340-7948.

Many medical and magical texts concerning childbirth and delivery are known from ancient Egypt. Most of them are spells, incantations, remedies and prescriptions for the woman in labour in order to accelerate the delivery or protect the unborn child and parturient. The medical and magical texts do not contain any descriptions of parturition itself, but there are some literary, astronomical and mythological texts, as well as a few incantations, which describe the biological act of childbirth and also miscarriage in more detail. Besides the textual sources, the decoration of temple walls and mammisis (birth houses), as well as illustrations on a birth brick provide an insight into the moment of delivery. In this paper, I focus on the "scientific" depiction of the biological act of childbirth, on how it is described in non-medical sources. Although the main sources are mythological-theological texts with numerous analogies, it is remarkable how many details they provide. They contain descriptions that would be expected in the context of medical sources.

Palabras clave : miscarriage; umbilical cord; midwives; mammisi; birth brick; aborto espontáneo; cordón umbilical; parteras; casas de parto; ladrillo de parto.

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