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By Markham J. Geller

Using an excellent number of formerly unknown cuneiform drugs, old Babylonian medication: idea and perform examines the best way medication was once practiced by way of quite a few Babylonian pros of the 2d and 1st millennium B.C. Represents the 1st review of Babylonian drugs using cuneiform resources, together with data of court docket letters, scientific recipes, and commentaries written by means of historic scholarsAttempts to reconcile the ways that drugs and magic have been relatedAssigns authorship to numerous varieties of scientific literature that have been formerly thought of anonymousRejects the strategy of alternative students that experience tried to use sleek diagnostic tips on how to old health problems

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Extra resources for Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice (Ancient Cultures)

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Types of disease classifications in medical texts differ from each other significantly. “Kidney-disease” and “rectal disease” were, transparently, seated in specific organs. The designation sua¯lu or “cough” for a type of disease refers to a symptom of the illness, while Hand of the Ghost refers to a potential cause of the disease (in theory, at least). indd 25 2/4/2010 1:37:33 PM 26 Medicine as Science that there were many facets to the Babylonian disease repertoire, it is unclear why very different conditions were often treated with the same prescriptions.

May witches bewitch you, I will break your bond. May cult-players bewitch you, I will break your bond. May ecstatics bewitch you, I will break your bond. (Maqlû VII 92–7, translation Abusch 2002: 10) At first glance, it seems that we ought to have in Maqlû a more intimate view of the patient in which he expresses his own fears and anxieties, but a more extensive look at the text leaves us in doubt. The text itself is repetitive in places and formulaic, almost like liturgy, and we assume that this lengthy and nicely phrased text was intended to be recited by the patient or by a proxy, such as the incantation priest.

Babylonian healers were adept at observing symptoms of patients and recording them scrupulously. One of the staples of Babylonian therapy, the lengthy list of symptoms comprising the so-called Diagnostic Handbook (Labat 1951; Heeßel 2000), allows us but few insights into ancient disease taxonomy, since symptoms were not assigned to the diseases which generated them, but rather to the parts of the human body which exhibited these symptoms. There is virtually no evidence that symptom lists were compiled from case histories, but they were largely a conglomeration of symptoms drawn from many different patients, for the purpose of describing disease in general and not illnesses associated with any single individual.

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