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How to Mellify a Corpse: And Other Human Stories of Ancient Science & Superstitionby Vicki Leon
Synopses & Reviews
In How to Mellify a Corpse, Vicki León brings her particular hybrid of history and humor to the entwined subjects of science and superstition in the ancient world, from Athens and Rome to Mesopotamia, the Holy Land, Egypt, and Carthage. León covers subjects as diverse as astronomy and astrology, philosophy and practicalities of life and death (including the titular ancient method of embalming), and ancient mechanical engineering. How to Mellify a Corpse of course invokes legendary thinkers (Pythagoras and his discoveries in math and music, Aristotle's books on politics and philosophy, and Archimedes' "Eureka" moment), but it also delves deeply into the lives of everyday people, their understanding and beliefs.
A feast for the curious mind, How to Mellify a Corpse is not only for those with an interest in the experimental: it's for anyone who's inspired by the imagination and ingenuity humanity uses to understand our world.
"In this delightful follow-up to IX to V, her entertaining look at work in the ancient world, LeÃ³n explores the tangled webs of science and superstition in Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and other ancient societies. With her characteristic deadpan humor, verve, and wit, she brings to life the practices of ordinary folks as they sought practical ways to avoid the evil eye, battle stronger enemies, and understand strange and marvelous astronomical events. Copulating during a strong north wind and ingesting magical potions were believed to guarantee a male child. Greeks and Romans placed gouty limbs on electric eels in order to ease their pain. Scythian warriors dipped their arrows in snake venom, human blood, and feces to ensure their targets would die a slow and gruesome death. Many ancient cultures touted the antiseptic properties of honey, using honey-soaked bandages to bind wounds. Many Greeks attributed the visions of soothsayers and diviners to 'mad honey' made from the nectar of laurel and oleander plants. LeÃ³n's rollicking tour helps us see that the daily lives and worries of the ancients were not far removed from our own. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Leon brings her particular hybrid of history and humor to the entwined subjects of science and superstition in the ancient world. Leon covers subjects as diverse as astronomy and astrology, and philosophy and practicalities of life and death.
About the Author
Vicki León is a writer, traveler, and historian who has built a wide readership with her Uppity Women series. She lives in Morro Bay, California. Her website is www.vickileon.com.
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History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Ancient History