1. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    What type of slave is this?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Kallithrix, Feb 5, 2012.

    I'm writing a novel set in ancient Egypt, and I need to think of what to call the type of slave who would travel with the army and look after the general physical wellbeing of the officers, i.e. washing and bathing them, giving massages and treating minor injuries. I guess the main one that comes to mind is body slave, but that seems a little too low down the hierarchy. The kind of slave I'm thinking of would have some kind of rudimentary medical knowledge for treating wounds etc, although is not a trained doctor.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Kitty08
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    Kitty08 Member

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    Probably a physician's apprentice or assistant. The equivalent today would be a CNA (certified nurse assistant) but I don't know if they had a job similar to 'nurse' back then.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like you need to do some research on ancient Egypt. If slaves with that job really existed then, you'd probably be able to find the term used for them.
     
  4. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I have been researching ancient Egypt for seven years. There were slaves with the army, but the sources are so scant for this subject I can't actually find out what the different types of slave would have been referred to as. I'm not asking for expert knowledge here, as I know where to find that. I'm looking for imaginative suggestions for the right term.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Immediately what comes to mind is a physiotherapist. Whether that word is at all useful to you, I don't know, but a physio would be doing all those things, massages, treating injuries like sprains and cuts and bruises and they also give massages, organise ice or salt baths to cool down and rejuvenate strained, overworked muscles etc.
     
  6. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Thanks Jazzabel, but it's not really a term, or a profession, that existed in ancient Egypt. A doctor or physical trainer would probably have employed physiotherapy techniques, but they would not have thought of them as a separate discipline.

    I'm looking for some office or function that could be assigned to a slave in the military, not a modern profession. It's tricky, and I may just have to accept that there isn't a term out there.
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know what you mean. But I was really surprised to hear how accomplished medicine and surgery were in the Ancient Egypt, so I figured, where there are doctors, there are nurses and physios. But you are right, it might be that massages, wound dressing changes etc. were done by the slaves especially trained by doctors to do these things. I am sure they must have existed though, doctors are way too lazy to do these things by themselves :D
     
  8. TheIllustratedMan
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    TheIllustratedMan Active Member

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    How about "Hey you" or "You there, slave"?

    Assuming that they had different words for different types of slaves, why not take what you know was in use and extrapolate from there? So, maybe you had (essentially):

    Acolyte
    Builder
    Entertainer
    Harem
    House-servant

    Then the proper term would probably be Nurse. Or something similar. Are you using the Egyptian words for each type of slave, or the English? If the English, I think Nurse would suffice. If the Egyptian, try to figure something out that's close to the same meaning (person who gives medical care).

    Personally, I'm not convinced that there would be a distinction made in title. They'd all be slaves (or indentured servants, or whatever they actually were). You may know better.
     
  9. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Thanks TIM (I like that as an acronym - it works :D)

    I think 'nurse' is too modern and, well, feminine as a term. Nursing is actually a relatively modern profession, as prior to the Crimean war most nursing was done by nuns - that's why nurses are referred to as 'sisters'.

    I think there was more distinction made between slaves in Egypt than in other cultures - Egyptian slaves could actually be educated and rise to some very high positions in government. A slave would have been referred to by the function they performed, and one with any kind of medical training would have been far more highly prized than a common house servant or cook. It's that function I'm trying to find a name for - a slave who is more than a body servant, but less than a doctor.

    I've gone with attendant right now, but it just feels too generic and vague... :rolleyes:
     
  10. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    One might have, perhaps, a formal title and an informal one. To the latter:

    - During the Raj, British gentlemen on the golf course were often attended by Jam Boys...locals slathered in jam to attract bugs.. Delightful. Your folk are perhaps using a lot of honey on wounds, or whatever..

    - Are these native slaves or the spoils of war? If the latter, perhaps one of the conquered places was famous as some centre of medical learning (or witch-doctoring)... and your folks have been largely drawn from there and are thus all named after the territory.

    You might use - describe - the official position but once and thereafter use the informal term. You might struggle to hit upon an official title that does not sound anachronistic or twee.
     
  11. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    Oh, I don't know. When I read the description, I thought, medicine slave.
     

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