Challenges of Infant Mortality in Ancient Egypt: Amulets, Spells and the Divine—Part II

Challenges of Infant Mortality in Ancient Egypt: Amulets, Spells and the Divine—Part II

Among all the perils that the ancient Egyptians battled through their use of religion and magic, none came close to the poignant and desperate prayers they made to save the lives of their offspring. In a time when the lack of proper medication and the understanding of how and why diseases struck existed; the people did the very best they could by beseeching the pantheon of gods and goddesses for help. Magical amulets, wands and spells were the most sought-after means of protecting children and their mothers against the influence of malignant forces. So successful were some spells to combat infant deaths, for instance, that they were passed down faithfully through word of mouth from generation to generation.

(Read Part I here)

Mother Love: Detail from a relief shows Pharaoh Seti I as a child sitting on the lap of goddess Isis. Her right arm is resting on his back while she gently caresses his face with her left hand. This scene can be found on the western wall of the Second Hypostyle Hall. Temple of Seti I, Abydos.

Mother Love: Detail from a relief shows Pharaoh Seti I as a child sitting on the lap of goddess Isis. Her right arm is resting on his back while she gently caresses his face with her left hand. This scene can be found on the western wall of the Second Hypostyle Hall. Temple of Seti I, Abydos.


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