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Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice

ISBN: 978-1-119-02552-8
240 pages
May 2015, Wiley-Blackwell
Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice (1119025524) cover image


Utilizing a great variety of previously unknown cuneiform tablets, Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice examines the way medicine was practiced by various Babylonian professionals of the 2nd and 1st millennium B.C.
  • Represents the first overview of Babylonian medicine utilizing cuneiform sources, including archives of court letters, medical recipes, and commentaries written by ancient scholars
  • Attempts to reconcile the ways in which medicine and magic were related
  • Assigns authorship to various types of medical literature that were previously considered anonymous
  • Rejects the approach of other scholars that have attempted to apply modern diagnostic methods to ancient illnesses
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

List of Abbreviations x

Acknowledgments xii

Introduction to Babylonian Medicine and Magic 1

1 Medicine as Science 11

2 Who Did What to Whom? 43

3 The Politics of Medicine 56

4 Medicine as Literature 89

5 Medicine and Philosophy 118

6 Medical Training: MD or PhD? 130

7 Uruk Medical Commentaries 141

8 Medicine and Magic as Independent Approaches to Healing 161

Appendix: An Edition of a Medical Commentary 168

Notes 177

References 202

Subject Index 211

Selective Index of Akkadian and Greek Words 217

Index of Akkadian Personal Names 220

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Author Information

Markham J. Geller is Professor of Semitic Languages at University College London and Professor for the History of Science at the Free University Berlin. He is the author of Evil Demons: Canonical Utukkū Lemnūtu Incantations (2007) and Melothesia in Babylonia (2014), editor of Melammu, the Ancient World in an Age of Globalization (2014), and co-editor of Disease in Babylonia(2007) and Imagining Creation (2008).  

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