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May 13, 1939

EFFECT OF SUNLIGHT ON BONE AS REPORTED BY HERODOTUS IN 450 B. C.

Author Affiliations

Chevy Chase, Md.

JAMA. 1939;112(19):1987. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800190101027

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  In book III of Herodotus's history, in which he describes some of his travels in Egypt and Libya, an account is given of the Persian invasion of Egypt under Cambyses. Near the mouth of the so-called Pelusian Nile, the forces of Cambyses met the Egyptians under King Psammenitus in 525 B. C. Herodotus viewed the battle field about seventy-five years later. His attention was called to the striking difference in thickness and strength of the Persian and Egyptian skulls which were still lying on the surface of the ground. His explanation of this difference is interesting, being so far as I know the earliest recorded definite proof offered of the effect of sunshine in thickening and strengthening bone tissue. A translation of chapter 12 of book III, in as nearly the simple style of the original Ionic Greek as I can make it, runs as follows:"I

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