Shepherd of the Royal Anus

Strange job title. 'Shepherd of the Royal Anus' (neru pehut) was a title held by several court physicians in Ancient Egypt, including Ir-en-akhty (who lived during the First Intermediate Period) and his predecessor Khuy. It could also be translated as 'Herdsman of the Anus' or 'Guardian of the Anus'. Here's a partial explanation:

As in all ancient cultures, the doctor was part of the priesthood. Each physician was responsible for curing only one illness. The god-king was attended to by a host of medical practitioners, each specializing in one body part and bearing such titles as Royal Keeper of the Pharaoh's Left Eye, Royal Keeper of the Pharaoh's Right Eye, or Shepherd of the Royal Anus.

And more:

[Neru Pehut was] a title borne by physicians qualified to prescribe and administer medicines rectally. Herodotus frequently speaks of the alimentary canal: the Egyptians, he says, 'purge themselves, for their health's sake, with emetics and clysters." Diodorus Siculus, writing four hundred years later, echoes this observation, saying that 'in order to prevent sicknesses they look after the health of their bodies by means of drenches, fastings, and emetics.' Enemas were among the most common modes of treatment, employed several times a month for preventive purposes.
     Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 01, 2012
     Category: Medicine | Odd Names | Ancient Times

Ya' think, maybe, this is where the saying, "It's a sh1tty job, but somebody has to do it." got started?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 09/01/12 at 09:59 AM
Good news is, we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel.
Bad news is, it's the Shepherd of the Royal Anus, coming the other way. Looks like we're royally in the caca.
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 09/01/12 at 05:58 PM
I can't remember where I read this. The second in command for the English king (Henry XIII) had the HONOUR of wiping the royal butt. This is where the phrase "Brown Nosing" came from.
Posted by BMN on 09/01/12 at 05:58 PM
I wiped many, many butts during the 14 years I was a nurse aid. None of them were royalty but some of them sure acted like they were.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/01/12 at 09:46 PM
EVERYONE, and I do mean everyone competent, should spend at least a month working as an aide in a nursing home. This is how you learn the reality of life as it truly is. Then spend a week working in ICU, then a maternity ward. Your outlook on life will never be the same. (Personally, I did not do either, but was a city cop for three years, which was roughly equivalent). Birth, death, debility, insanity - the human condition at its most honest, if not finest reality.
Posted by done on 09/02/12 at 01:48 AM
You get 3 of those 4 in a nursing home and it definitely does change your outlook on life.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/02/12 at 01:54 AM
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