Filler Miscellany

Heroic medicine in the Iron Age

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 25 July 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:288
  1. Mark Petticrew, research fellow
  1. York

    The Táin Bó Cuilaigne (the Cattle Raid of Cooley) is an Iron Age epic of valour, bravery, and bloodshed which has been compared with the Iliad. It features a range of violent heroes engaged in bloody and improbable deeds, which are supposed to have taken place in Ireland around the first century BC or before.

    One medical episode tells of the warrior Ceithern being so badly wounded in battle that his entrails were falling from his body.1 He called for a doctor, only to be told that nothing could be done for him. Clearly dissatisfied with …

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