Lot 1073: Thomas Greenhill NEKPOKEDEIA OR THE ART OF EMBALMING 1705 Antique English Medical Reference & Egyptology Mummification Right Of Burial Funeral Ceremonies Nile River
October 22, 2016
Freeville, NY, USALive Auction
Title: Nekpokedeia: or, the Art of Embalming; wherein is Shewn the Right of Burial, and Funeral Ceremonies, Especially That of Preserving Bodies after the Egyptian Method. Together with an Account of the Egyptian Mummies, Pyramids, Subterranean Vaults and Lamps, and Their Opinion of the Metempsychosis, the Cause of Their Embalming. As Also a Geographical Description of Egypt, the Rise and Course of the Nile, the Temper, Constitution and Physic of the Inhabitants, Their Inventions, Arts, Sciences, Stupendous Works and Sepulchres, and Other Curious Observations Any Ways Relating to the Physiology and Knowledge of This Art.
Author: Thomas Greenhill - Thomas Greenhill (1669?–1740) was a surgeon who worked in London and was also author of a book "Νεκροκηδεία (Greek, literally Dead-funeral) or The Art of Embalming" on embalming. He was also surgeon to Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk. He was born after the death of his father, William Greenhill, the last of 39 children born to Elizabeth Greenhill [Courtesy Wikipedia]
Publisher: Printed for the Author
Binding Style: Hardcover
Pagination: vii/ii/365 pages
Width: 7.75" Height: 9.5"
Book Details: Nekpokedeia is a collection of all things related to death and burial, focusing in particular on the history and art of embalming. Greenhill believed that embalming was a subject just as important as anatomy or surgery and advocated for its practice, discussing it from a medical as well as a religious perspective. The book is divided into three letters, all addressed to a specific doctor: the first to Charles Bernard, Serjeant Surgeon to Queen Anne, the second to John Lawson, the former president of the Royal College of Physicians and the third to Hans Sloane, secretary to the Royal Society (whose vast collection was to become the founding collection of the British Museum). As is perhaps to be expected a large proportion of the book is devoted to exploring the practise of mummification in Ancient Egypt, though it is an exploration long and meandering with many deviations, such as the section on the temperament of the Egyptian people whom he states are hot and dry and of a chearful Temper, yet delight much in an idle and lazy kind of Life, being immoderate votaries to Venus. Large sections of the book, as Greenhill himself admits, are borrowed from previous works, as are the illustrations, in particular from Athanasius Kirchers work on Ancient Egypt from 50 years earlier. Greenhill's book was originally meant to consist of three parts, but only the first was published and this by subscription. Other examples of the book have an altered title: "...Especially that of Preserving Bodies in most nations of the world"" etc. as opposed to this presumably earlier version: "Especially that of Preserving Bodies after the Egyptian Method," etc.
Condition / Notes: This antique volume has separated boards with marbled paper covers and a leather spine cover showing stamped gilt lettering/ornamentation, with moderate chipping and loss at the top. The text block is solid. The pages show mild to moderate age toning and scattered marginal spotting/smudging.
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