A friend currently living in the desert recently wrote to say that she’d been stung by a scorpion and that, in her words, “it royally sucked.” No doubt. So, Agave, you and your scorpion-stung foot are the inspiration for this week’s edition of Isiopolis.

Since much of Egypt is dry desert, Egypt has plenty of scorpions to go around. It’s true today just as it was in ancient times. In fact, the danger of scorpion sting was ever-present; and because scorpions are smaller and harder to spot, the chance of getting stung by a scorpion outweighed that of snakebite. Whether an Egyptian’s experience of scorpion sting merely royally sucked or took her to the afterlife depended on which scorpion did the stinging as well as the size and health of the victim. For instance, one of the most poisonous scorpions in the world, the Palestine Yellow, is found in Egypt today…

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