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History of Toxicology and Environmental Health
Toxicology in Antiquity II
1st Edition - September 18, 2014
Author: Philip Wexler
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This volume, Toxicology in Antiquity II, continues to tell the story of the roots of toxicology in ancient times. Readers learn that before scientific research methods were… Read more
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This volume, Toxicology in Antiquity II, continues to tell the story of the roots of toxicology in ancient times. Readers learn that before scientific research methods were developed, toxicology thrived as a very practical discipline. Toxicologists are particularly proud of the rich and storied history of their field and there are few resources available that cover the discipline from a historical perspective. People living in ancient civilizations readily learned to distinguish safe from hazardous substances, how to avoid these hazardous substances and how to use them to inflict harm on enemies. Volume II explores the use of poison as weapons in war and assassinations, early instances of air pollution, the use of hallucinogens and entheogens, and the role of the snake in ancient toxicology.
Provides the historical background for understanding modern toxicology
Illustrates the ways ancient civilizations learned to distinguish safe from hazardous substances, how to avoid the hazardous substances and how to use them against enemies
Details scholars who compiled compendia of toxic agents
Toxicologists, environmental health professionals, science historians, general audience.
Toxicology in Antiquity
List of Contributors
Preface to the Series and Volumes 1 and 2
Chapter 1. Murder, Execution, and Suicide in Ancient Greece and Rome
Chapter 2. Chemical and Biological Warfare in Antiquity
2.1 The Concept of Toxic Weaponry in Greco-Roman and Indian Mythology
2.2 Poisons from Plants in Historical Warfare
2.3 Snake Venom Arrows
2.4 Plague and Contagion
2.5 Poisoning Water Sources and Food Supplies
2.6 Venomous Insects, Snakes, and Scorpions
2.7 Aerosol and Incendiary Weapons
2.8 Practical Issues and Ethical Qualms
Chapter 3. Anthropogenic Air Pollution in Ancient Times
3.1 Pollution of the Environment in Ancient Times
3.2 Lead in Ancient Times
3.3 Copper in Ancient Times
3.4 Environmental Awareness in Ancient Israel
Chapter 4. Poisoning in Ancient Rome: The Legal Framework, The Nature of Poisons, and Gender Stereotypes
4.1 Veneficium and Legal Terminology
4.2 Perpetrators, Trials, Stereotypes
4.3 Training for the Courts
4.4 Jurists and the Interpretation of Laws
Chapter 5. Asclepius and the Snake as Toxicological Symbols in Ancient Greece and Rome
Chapter 6. Drugs, Suppositories, and Cult Worship in Antiquity
6.2 Drugs and Cults
6.3 Bacchants and Viper Venom
6.4 Ancient Vaginal Suppositories
6.5 Drugs and Sexuality
6.6 Aphrodisiac Suppositories and Magic
Chapter 7. Kohl Use in Antiquity: Effects on the Eye
7.2 Protective Effect against UV Radiation
7.3 Antimicrobial Action and Biomedical Importance
Chapter 8. “Gleaming and Deadly White”: Toxic Cosmetics in the Roman World
8.1 A Fair Complexion
8.3 Eye Makeup
8.4 Hair Removers
Chapter 9. Poisonous Medicine in Ancient China
9.1 Etymology of du
9.2 du in Chinese Pharmacology
9.3 Aconite, the Power to Cure
9.4 Aconite, the Power to Kill
9.5 From du to pharmakon
Chapter 10. The Venomous Virgin: Fact or Fantasy?
10.1 Secretum Secretorum
10.2 Other Versions
Chapter 11. Mushroom Intoxication in Mesoamerica
Chapter 12. Entheogens in Ancient Times: Wine and the Rituals of Dionysus
Chapter 13. Entheogens (Psychedelic Drugs) and the Ancient Mystery Religions
13.1 Pharmacological Roots of Religion
13.2 Hermeneutics and a Definition of Terms
13.4 Sources, Chemistry, and Effects
No. of pages: 152
Published: September 18, 2014
Imprint: Academic Press
Paperback ISBN: 9780128015063
eBook ISBN: 9780128016343
Philip Wexler has written and edited numerous publications related to toxicology and toxico-informatics, as well as taught and otherwise lectured globally on these topics. He has been Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Encyclopedia of Toxicology including the current, 4th edition (2023) since its inception as well as Information Resources in Toxicology (Elsevier. 5th ed. 2020), and Chemicals, Environment, Health: A Global Management Perspective (CRC Press/Taylor and Francis. 2011). He has served as Associate Editor for Toxicology Information and Resources for Elsevier's journal, Toxicology and edited special issues on Digital Information and Tools. Phil is also overseeing a monographic series on Toxicology History. Volumes have been published on Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Renaissance, modern clinical toxicology, risk assessment, alternative test methods, food and nutrition, and disasters, with more in the planning stages. He is a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Taylor and Francis journal, Global Security: Health, Science, and Policy and a past recipient of the US Society of Toxicology’s (SOT) Public Communications Award.
Phil recently retired from a long federal career as a Technical Information Specialist at the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program, within its Specialized Information Services Division (SIS). His initial position at NLM was as a Fellow of its Associate Program and early work included a brief stint in the Reference Services Section. A recipient of the NLM Regents Award for Scholarly or Technical Achievement and the Distinguished Technical Communication Award of the Washington chapter of the Society for Technical Communication, he was team leader for the development of the ToxLearn online multi-module tutorials, a joint activity with the SOT. Phil had also been project officer for the LactMed file on drugs and lactation, and the IRIS (Integrated Risk Information System) and ITER (International Toxicity Estimates for Risk) risk assessment databases.
Additionally, Phil had been the guiding force behind, and federal liaison to, the World Library of Toxicology, Chemical Safety, and Environmental Health (WLT) prototype, a free global Web portal that provided the scientific community and public with links to major government agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, professional societies, and other groups addressing issues related to toxicology, public health, and environmental health prior to its migration to the INND/Toxipedia group. This multilingual tool, fed by information from a roster of international Country Correspondents, has been praised as a successful test resource for overcoming barriers to the sharing of information between countries, enhancing collaboration, and minimizing duplication. Currently on hiatus, it awaits a visionary funding source to become operational.
A trustee of the Toxicology Education Foundation (TEF), Phil had previously served as its federal liaison. He is a past Chair of SOT’s World Wide Web Advisory Team, and active in its Ethical, Legal, Forensics, and Social Issues Specialty Section. He was a member of the Education and Communications Work Group of the CDC/ATSDR’s National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposure. A co-developer of the Toxicology History Room, he is co-founder and was federal liaison to the Toxicology History Association. For many years he organized and emceed the popular Toxicology Quiz Bowl at the annual SOT meetings.
In addition to pursuing toxicology-related activities in his retirement, Phil is happy to have more time to embrace other lifelong interests. He is the author of five poetry collections, a mosaic artist, and a cactus and succulent enthusiast.
Affiliations and expertise
Retired, National Library of Medicine (NLM), Bethesda, MD, USA