Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice by Markham J. Geller

By Markham J. Geller

Using a superb number of formerly unknown cuneiform capsules, Ancient Babylonian drugs: concept and Practice examines the best way medication was once practiced through quite a few Babylonian execs of the second and 1st millennium B.C.

  • Represents the 1st assessment of Babylonian medication using cuneiform assets, together with documents of court docket letters, scientific recipes, and commentaries written through old scholars
  • Attempts to reconcile the ways that drugs and magic have been related
  • Assigns authorship to numerous different types of clinical literature that have been formerly thought of anonymous
  • Rejects the method of different students that experience tried to use glossy diagnostic easy methods to historical illnesses

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Extra info for Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice

Example text

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the physician’s observations were limited to the external anatomy of his patients, the combination of observation and experience led to some impressive results. 27 Medical Predictions By the mid-first millennium BC, the increased ability of Babylonian astronomers to make accurate predictions had a putative influence upon other sciences as well. The problem with other disciplines, such as medicine or magic, was the lack of any real mathematical basis for predictions regarding the physical and mental health of patients.

18 Occasionally tablets attest to the effectiveness of the drugs mentioned, such as an Assur tablet serving as the equivalent of a modern Physician’s Desk Reference listing various measures of common drugs, with the following appended note: This lotion is effective and tested against jaundice and hepatitis. irAssur, who “hastily excerpted” the recipe and wrote the tablet. What we have here is a good example of “experience,” in which the scholar or physician brings to mind an earlier successful formula or treatment, which was noted and recorded.

Indd 27 2/4/2010 1:37:33 PM 28 Medicine as Science hand, other types of formal literary incantations from Mesopotamia, mostly in Akkadian, which mainly deal with protection against witches and witchcraft. There is a third genre of more “down-to-earth” types of magic, concerned with the seamy side of life, such as rivalry at court or love magic, and these incantations are often somewhat more vulgar, both in content and language. This scheme is very skeletal but gives a rough idea of genres. The essential formal elements of these incantations thus consist of a ritual solution to the patient’s difficulties being communicated via a dialogue between Marduk and his father Ea.

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