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The scene of the Polyomyelitis in the tomb of Userhat

No one seems to have noticed that the barber on the left presents an atrophy of the lower part of his left leg, which typically indicates an after-effect of polyomyelitis . This shows well on examining the images carefully: the member is atrophied, and the foot didn't disappear into the small damaged area which has removed the feet of the man seated in front of him, but is vertical, with the very obvious heel. The general attitude of the subject is also evocative, and differers from that of his healthy colleague on the right , and the above stated
To date,

 the earliest known representation of this illness is on a stela of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum in Copenhagen, the so-called "polio stela". This dates from the end of the 18th or the 19th Dynasty. A photo montage clearly shows the likeness between the attitudes of the characters. 


The scene in the tomb of Userhat dates from the reign of Amenhotep II, and would therefore be the oldest (by a little ...) known representation in the world of the aftermath of poliomyelitis, confirming the existence of this illness in these remote times.

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  1. This shows well on examining the images carefully: the member is atrophied, and the foot didn't disappear into the small damaged area which has removed the feet of the man seated in front of him, but is vertical, with the very obvious heel. toursinegypt.co.uk

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