Words Crush Wednesday – An Unusual Method of Healing

Published February 10, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

This week’s Words Crush Wednesday is from The Scientific Revolution by Steven Shapin, the book I had to read for this week.  (Next week’s is also going to be from this book…so the quotes may start really falling behind me!)

I wanted to quote this because it reminded me of a myth.  The quote is:

It was part of the mechanists’ credo that all genuine effects in nature were to prove explicable based on ordinary, comprehensible mechanical and material causes.  So [Sir Francis] Bacon was suspicious of the claimed matter of fact involved in the celebrated “weapon salve.”  It had been commonly avowed that a wound caused by a given weapon might be healed by anointing not the wound itself but the sword or knife that caused it, even when wound and weapon were up to thirty miles apart.

Obviously the idea of a “weapon salve” made me think not of putting medicine on the weapon (though that’s a pretty unexpected way to try to cure a wound!) but of making medicine from the weapon!

Because — as you might expect, coming from me — that happened at one point in the Trojan War.

The short version is this:  the Greeks, in their first sailing for Troy, missed it entirely, landing in Mysia, to the south.  Of course, they start laying waste to the place anyway, because that’s what they do.  They’re in the realm ruled by Telephos, a son of Heracles, and he of course goes out personally to fight off the attackers.  (That being the norm for kings at the time, even ones not fathered by demi-gods.)  In the battle, he’s wounded in the thigh by Achilles, but the battle eventually ends with the Greeks realizing their mistake and sailing away again.

However, Telephos’ wound doesn’t heal.

For years.

Eventually, he seeks an oracle (which one varies), and is told that he can only be healed by the one who wounded him.  That doesn’t seem like a good idea to Telephos (or, doubtless, to anyone else!) but he’s suffered long enough that he’s willing to try anything, and goes to Mycenae looking for Achilles.  Now, what happens next varies by the teller (and it doesn’t help that we mostly only have summaries and fragments left of the majority of versions) but eventually, his situation is explained, and it’s agreed that he’ll help them find Troy (you wouldn’t think it would be hard to find, being a big trading city located on a major waterway) in exchange for having his wound healed.  (It is to be pointed out, of course, that the Greeks had received a prophecy that they could only reach Troy with the guidance of a son of Priam.  And Telephos is married to one of Priam’s daughters.  Though said prophecy may be a late excuse for their needing help to find the place.)

Anyway, in some versions, Achilles objects that he knows nothing of healing, though in other versions he can’t very well claim that, having been taught healing by Cheiron as a boy.  (In the Iliad, for example, not only did he learn healing from Cheiron, but he had since taught it to Patroclos.)  Even in the versions where he doesn’t object, he’s still clueless as to how to heal a wound that’s been festering for years on end.

But wily Odysseus, of course, has a plan.  (Doesn’t he always?)

He scrapes the rust off the tip of Achilles’ spear and puts it in the wound.

And it works!

(Of course, there’s the slight problem that bronze, like Achilles’ spear, does not rust in the sense we think of, but…well, it does oxidize in some manner.  Though why someone who’s supposed to be their best warrior would let his spear literally grow rusty is another matter entirely…)

Part of me wants to post the “Telephos” chapter from my Trojan War novel to share the full story, but unfortunately, that was one of the “omg, this sucks!” chapters I was going to utterly redo…and it’s the very one I got stuck in the middle of.  *sigh*

wcw

Advertisements

One comment on “Words Crush Wednesday – An Unusual Method of Healing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

MatthewMeyer.net

paintings, illustrations, and blog

Arwen's Butterflies and Things

My BJD creation blog. Here's where my sewing creations and projects are showcased. Some outfits are for sale. Please use the tags & catagories to navigate this blog. I love comments and reviews!

History From Below

Musings on Daily Life in the Ancient and Early Medieval Mediterranean By Sarah E. Bond

Yureya

Breath of moments

Rose B. Fischer

Author. Artist. Evil Genius.

My Tiny Joy

Where little things matter!

Klein's Other Toys

Comics, Funko Pops and Anime figures oh my!

BINARYTHIS

EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT GENDER BUT WERE TOO AFRAID TO ASK

Creating Herstory

Celebrating the women who create history

Kicky Resin

BJDs et al

Lala Land

(>°~°)><(°~°<)

A'Cloth the World

Where Textiles, Fashion, Culture, Communication and Art Come Together.

starshiphedgehog

Occasionally my brain spurts out ideas and this is where I put them

Rose B. Fischer

Author. Artist. Evil Genius.

The Social Historian

Adventures in the world of history

medievalbooks

Erik Kwakkel blogging about medieval manuscripts

Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

Poet and speculative fiction writer for teens and adults

Zounds, Alack, and By My Troth

A tragical-comical-historical-pastoral webcomic by Ben Sawyer

Project Doll House

never too old to play with dolls

knotted things

All about the things that I'm all about.

Eclectic Alli

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

Omocha Crush

Secret Confessions of a Toy Addict

C.G.Coppola

Fantasy & Science-Fiction romance Writer

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

Onomastics Outside the Box

Names beyond the Top 100, from many nations and eras

Hannah Reads Books

"To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." -Neil Gaiman

Memoirs of a Time Here-After

the writings, musings, and photography of a dream smith

Taking a Walk Through History

Walking back in time to discover the origins of every historical route on earth

SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

ΕΥΔΟΞΑ ΑΓΝΩΣΤΑ ΚΑΤΑΓΕΛΑΣΤΑ

Pullips and Junk

We're all mad about Pullips here!

mycupofteaminiatures

Handmade miniatures

Dutch Fashion Doll World

A Dutch Barbie collector in Holland

Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter

Reviews and News From the Doll World

It's a Britta Bottle!

Small Stories of a Twenty-Something Adventuring Through Life

DataTater

It's all small stuff.

The Photographicalist

Preserving the photographical perspective

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: