The word for a dead embalmed body, which comes from the Persian mum, 'wax', alluding to the custom of anointing the body with wax and other chemical substances to prepare it for burial and to preserve it from decay. Also, any body that has been naturally well preserved.
Embalming, believed to have originated among the Egyptians probably before 4000 BC, was used by them for more than 30 centuries. In the great museum of Egyptian antiquities in Cairo, throngs of curious sightseers daily look into the very faces of the pharaohs and nobles who ruled Egypt many centuries ago.
The ancient Egyptians were preserved as mummies, thousands of which have been taken from the sands and tombs of Egypt. They practiced the art of mummifying their dead in the belief that the soul would someday return to the body and occupy it again.
From the Egyptians, the practice of embalming spread to other ancient peoples, including the Assyrians, Jews, Persians, and Scythians. Ancient embalming methods consisted of removal of the brains and viscera, and the filling of bodily cavities with a mixture of balsamic herbs and other substances.
The Egyptians immersed the body in carbonate of soda, injected the arteries and veins with balsams, filled the cavities of the torso with bituminous and aromatic substances and salt, and wound cloths saturated with similar materials around the body. The Assyrians used honey in embalming, the Persians used wax, and the Jews used spices and aloes. Alexander the Great was embalmed with honey and wax.
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Sources: Article is scheduled to be reviewed.
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