Bath is the immersion of the body in water, or an apparatus for this purpose. The use of the bath as an institution apart from occasional immersion in rivers or the sea, is, as might be anticipated, an exceedingly old custom. Homer mentions the bath as one of the first refreshments offered to a guest; thus, when Ulysses enters the palace of Circe, a bath is prepared for him, and he is anointed after it with costly perfumes. No representation, however, of a bath as we understand it is given upon the Greek vases, bathers being represented either simply washing at an elevated basin, or having water poured over them from above. In later times, rooms, both public and private, were built expressly for bathing, the public baths of the Greeks being mostly connected with the gymnasia. Apparently, by an inversion of the later practice, it was customary in the Homeric epoch to take first a cold and then a hot bath; but the Lacedaemonians substituted the hot-air sudorific bath, as less enervating than warm water, and in Athens at the time of Demosthenes and Socrates the warm bath was considered by the more rigorous as an effeminate custom.
The fullest details we have with respect to the bathing of the ancients apply to its luxurious development under the Romans. Their bathing establishments consisted of four main sections: the undressing room, with an adjoining chamber in which the bathers were anointed; a cold room with provision for a cold bath; a room heated moderately to serve as a preparation for the highest and lowest temperatures; and the sweating-room, at one extremity of which was a vapour-bath and at the other an ordinary hot bath. After going through the entire course both the Greeks and Romans made use of strigils or scrapers, either of horn or metal, to remove perspiration, oil, and impurities from the skin. Connected with the bath were walks, covered race-grounds, tennis-courts, and gardens, the whole, both in the external and internal decorations, being frequently on a palatial scale. The group of the Laocoon and the Parnese Hercules were both found in the ruins of Roman baths.
With respect to modern baths, that commonly in use in Russia consists of a single hall, built of wood, in the midst of which is a powerful metal oven, covered with heated stones, and surrounded with broad benches, on which the bathers take their places. Cold water is then poured upon the heated stones, and a thick, hot steam rises, which causes the sweat to issue from the whole body. The bather is then gently whipped with wet birch rods, rubbed with soap, and washed with lukewarm and cold water; of the latter, some pailfuls are poured over his head; or else he leaps, immediately after this sweating-bath, into a river or pond, or rolls in the snow.
The Turks, by their religion, are obliged to make repeated ablutions daily, and for this purpose there is, in every city, a public bath connected with a mosque. A favourite bath among them, however, is a modification of the hot-air sudorific-bath of the ancients introduced under the name of Turkish Bath into other than Islamic countries. A regular accompaniment of this bath, when properly given, is the operation known as 'kneading,' or massage, generally performed at the close of the sweating process, after the final rubbing of the bather with soap, and consisting in a systematic pressing and squeezing of the whole body, stretching the limbs, and manipulating all the joints as well as the fleshy and muscular parts.
Public baths were common in Europe during the late 19th century, but the first English public baths and wash-houses of the kind common in all cities during the late 19th century were established in Liverpool and near the London docks in 1844. In 1846 an act was passed for their encouragement, and a Baths and Wash-houses Act of 1878 authorized the establishment of cheap swimming-baths.
The principal natural warm baths in England are at Bath in Somersetshire (the hottest), and Brixton and Matlock in Derbyshire. The temperature of the Bath springs ranges from 109 to 117 degrees, while that of the Buxton and Matlock waters scarcely exceeds 82 degrees. The baths of Harrogate, which are strongly impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen gas, are also of great repute for the cure of obstinate cutaneous diseases, indurations of the glands, etc. The most celebrated natural hot baths in Europe are those of Aix-la-Chapelle, and the various Baden in Germany; Toeplitz, in Bohemia; Bagnieres, Bareges, and Dax, in the south of France; and Spa, in Belgium. Besides the various kinds of water-bath with or without medication or natural mineral ingredients, there are also milk, oil, wine, earth, sand, mud, and electric baths, smoke-baths and gas-baths; but these are as a rule only indulged after specific prescription.
The practice of bathing as a method of cure in cases of disease falls under the head of hydrotherapathy; in the 19th century it was advised that even when bathing was employed simply for pleasure or purification due regard should be paid to the physiological condition of the bather. During the Victorian era in Britain writers were concerned about the potential dangers of bathing, and one warned:
'in many cases cold bathing should be avoided altogether, especially by those who have any tendency to spitting of blood or consumption, by gouty people, or by those who have any latent visceral disease or apoplectic tendency. Wherever the bath is followed by shivering instead of by a healthy reactionary glow, it is undesirable; and a cold bath in the morning after any debauchery or excess in eating or drinking on the previous evening is exceedingly imprudent. Delicate persons and children ought not to bathe in the sea before ten or eleven o'clock in the morning, and in no case should bathing be indulged after a long fast. In cold streams and rivers additional precautions should be taken, the cold plunge, when heated or fatigued, being frequently attended with fatal results. Even warm baths are not wholly free from danger; apoplexy and death having been known to follow a hot bath when entered with a full stomach. As a rule the temperature should not exceed 105 degrees, and they should not be too long continued. Frequent indulgence in them has an enervating effect, though the majority of people need as yet no renewal of Hadrian's prohibitive legislation in this matter.'
The eminent author, George Black, in 1892, while generally encouraging bathing, and describing bathing as 'likely to be of excellent use and efficacy both in the prevention and cure of disease.' Also went on to warn:
'Baths should never be taken immediately after a meal, nor when the body is very much exhausted by fatigue or excitement of any kind, nor during nor just before menstruation; and they should be sparingly and guardedly used by pregnant women.'
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Belch means to discharge gas from the stomach through the mouth. The word belch is also used to describe smoke or steam forced out with violence, such as a chimney may belch out smoke.
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Breaking on the wheel was a form of torturous execution employed for criminals until the 18th century in Europe. The victim was laid on his back, spread-eagle, and fastened to the spokes. The executioner then smashed each limb in turn with a sledge-hammer or iron bar before finally delivering the death blow to the stomach. Earlier forms of breaking on the wheel during the Middle Ages involved the victim being tied to a large wheel like a cylinder, which was then rolled down a hill or over iron spikes.
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Drowning means death by the air being prevented entering the lungs owing to the month and nostrils being immersed in a liquid, the liquid being commonly water. Death may, therefore, occur by drowning in a small quantity of water. Thus a child may fall head downwards into a tub and be drowned, though the tub is not half full of water, sufficient to cover the mouth and nostrils being all that is necessary, and an adult overcome by a fit or by drunkenness may fall on a road with their head in a ditch or pool of water, and drown. Death is thus due to suffocation, to the stoppage of breathing, and to the entrance of water into the lungs. When death has been caused by drowning, the skin presents the appearance called goose-skin (cutis anserina), the face and surface of the body generally are usually pale, a frothy liquid is found in the lungs and air-passages, and about the lips and nostrils; water may be found in the stomach, and clenched fingers, holding substances grasped at, may serve to show that a struggle has taken place in the water, and that the body was alive at the time of immersion.
Drowning was formerly a mode of capital punishment in Europe. The last person executed by drowning in Scotland was executed in 1685. In Ireland there was an execution by drowning so lately as 1777.
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Gastromancy is divination by means of the sounds from or signs on the stomach.
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Hara-Kiri is a form of ritualistic suicide in which the participant disembowels them self by cutting across the stomach and then upwards, using a special knife. It was popular among the military class in feudal Japan.
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A poison is any agent capable of producing a morbid, noxious, dangerous, or deadly effect upon an animal when introduced either by cutaneous absorption, respiration, or the digestive canal. Poisons are divided, with respect to the kingdom to which they belong, into animal, vegetable, and mineral; but those which proceed from animals are often called venoms, whilst those that are produced by disease were formerly known as a virus. With respect to their effects they have been divided into four classes, namely, irritant, narcotic, narcotico-acrid, and septic or putrescent. Many poisons operate chemically, corroding the organized fibre, and causing inflammation and mortification. To this class belong many metallic oxides and salts, as arsenic, one of the most deadly poisons; many preparations of copper, mercury, antimony, and other metals; the mineral and vegetable acids; the substance derived from some plants, as the spurges and mezereon; and cantharides, from the animal kingdom.
Other poisons exercise a powerful action upon the nerves and a rapid destruction of their functionality. These are the sedative or stupefying poisons, and belong for the most part to the vegetable kingdom. Opium, hemlock, henbane, belladonna, are the best-known forms of this poison. Prussic acid, a poison obtained from the kernels of several fruits, the cherry-laurel, etc, is one of the most rapid destroyers of life. Among plants there are many which unite the properties of both kinds, as the common foxglove, and the monkshood or aconite. An alkaloid is extracted from the latter, 1/16th of a grain of which has proved fatal. Another class of poisons suddenly and entirely cause a cessation of some function necessary to life. To this class belong all the kinds of gas and air which are irrespirable, suffocating vapours, as carbon dioxide gas, fumes of sulphur and charcoal, etc. Many preparations of lead, as acetate or sugar of lead, carbonate or white-lead, etc, are to be counted in this class.
The effects of poisons materially depend on the extent of the dose, some of the most deadly poisons being useful remedies in certain quantities and circumstances. Antidotes naturally vary with the different kinds of poisons. They sometimes protect the body against the operation of the poison, sometimes change this last in such a manner that it loses its injurious properties, and sometimes remove or remedy its violent results. Thus in cases of poisoning by acrid and corrosive substances we use the fatty, mucilaginous substances, as oil, milk, etc, which sheathe and protect the coats of the stomach and bowels against the operation of the poison. Against the metallic poisons substances are employed which form with the poison insoluble compounds, such as freshly prepared hydrated oxide of iron, or dialysed iron for arsenic, albumin (white of egg) for mercury; Epsom or Glauber's salts for lead. Lime, chalk, and magnesia are the best remedies for the powerful acids. For cantharides, mucilage, gruel, and barley-water were formerly employed. We oppose to the alkaline poisons the weaker vegetable acids, as vinegar. Prussic acid is neutralized by alkalies and freshly precipitated iron oxide of iron. To arouse those poisoned by opium, one can use coffee and ammonia, and belladonna as an antagonistic drug. Chloral-hydrate poisoning is similarly treated; and for strychnia or nux vomica, animal charcoal in water and chloral-hydrate are used. In Great Britain the sale of poison is regulated and restricted by the Pharmacy Acts. Poisoning was common in ancient Rome, and in France and Italy during the 17th century.
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To swallow is to pass something such as food or drink through the mouth to the stomach by means of the muscular action of the oesophagus.
To swallow up means to engulf or destroy as if by ingestion. In this context the term swallow is usually applied to countries or businesses which aggressively take over others.
To swallow is to endure without retaliation. One may swallow one's pride and allow someone else to insult one so as to avoid making a scene.
A swallow is another term for a single mouthful.
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John Coustos was accused of the crime of freemasonry and in 1743 was imprisoned by the Inquisition of Lisbon, surviving the ordeal he documented what occurred. Refusing to divulge the secrets of his order, Coustos was taken to the torture chamber. Stripped of everything but his underpants, he was fixed on his back on the rack, his neck enclosed in an iron collar, and his feet attached to two rings. Two ropes the size of a man's little finger were wound around each arm and leg and passed through holes made for the purpose in the rack. The ropes were drawn tight by the executioners, cutting through the flesh to the bone, and causing blood to gush out from the wounds made. According to Coustos the 'executioners bent their strength to the task four different times' and at the fourth time their victim fainted through the loss of blood and pain.
After he was allowed to recuperate for six weeks, Coustos was again brought to the torture chamber. This time the procedure was somewhat different. He was made to stretch out his arms with the palms of his hands turned outwards. His wrists were tied, and then a machine gradually drew his hands together behind him until the backs of them touched. This was repeated twice more, and in the process his shoulders were dislocated and blood gushed from his mouth. He was taken back to his dungeon, and his bones were set by surgeons. Two months later Coustos was back in the torture chamber. This time a thick iron chain was passed twice around his body, crossing over his stomach. The chain terminated in rings which were fastened to his wrists. He was then placed against a thick wooden partition, at each end of which was a pulley. Ropes were fastened to the rings on his wrists and run through the pulleys, the other ends being fixed to a roller. This roller being set in motion, the ropes gradually tightened, pulling the chain tighter across his stomach until it bit into his flesh and pulled his wrists out of joint and dislocated his shoulders. The surgeons again set his bones, and after the wounds had healed Coustos was tortured the same way again. Through it all Coustos remained silent. Failing to get answers from him, the Inquisition sentenced Coustos to four years service as a galley- slave and banished him from the country.
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An abomasum is the fourth stomach of a ruminant.
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