History of Toxicology and Environmental Health

Toxicology in Antiquity Volume I


  • Philip Wexler, National Library of Medicine's (NLM) Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program

Toxicology in Antiquity is the first in a series of short format works covering key accomplishments, scientists, and events in the broad field of toxicology, including environmental health and chemical safety. This first volume sets the tone for the series and starts at the very beginning, historically speaking, with a look at toxicology in ancient times. The book explains that before scientific research methods were developed, toxicology thrived as a very practical discipline. People living in ancient civilizations readily learned to distinguish safe substances from hazardous ones, how to avoid these hazardous substances, and how to use them to inflict harm on enemies. It also describes scholars who compiled compendia of toxic agents.
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Toxicologists and other professionals working in environmental health fields, as well a more general audience interested in the history of toxicology


Book information

  • Published: May 2014
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-800045-8

Table of Contents

1. Toxicology in Ancient Egypt
2. The Death of Cleopatra: Suicide by Snakebite or Poisoned by Her Enemies?
3. Mithradates of Pontus and His University Antidote
4. Theriac Magna: The Glorious Cure-All Remedy
5. Nicander, Theriaka and Alexipharmaka: Venoms, Poisons and Literature
6. Alexander the Great: A Questionable Death
7. Harmful Botanicals
8. The Case Against Socrates and His Execution
9. The Oracle at Delphi: The Pythia and the Pneuma, Intoxicating Gas Finds and Hypotheses
10. The Ancient Gates to Hell and Their Relevance to Geogenic CO2
11. Lead Poisoning and the Downfall of Rome
12. Poisons, Poisoning and Poisoners in Ancient Rome