Even in the twenty-first century, medicine remains something of a mystery. In a few significant areas we are hardly better informed than ancient and medieval practitioners. Yet when the topic of ancient medicine is broached, too often the tendency is to dismiss it solely as the product of ignorance and superstition. By delving into the way medicine was actually practiced by various Babylonian professionals of the 2nd and 1st millennium B.C., Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice shatters some of our preconceived notions about ancient medicine. Through the use of a great variety of extant cuneiform tablets -- many previously unknown -- noted Assyriologist and ancient language expert Markham J. Geller reveals the rich legacy of Babylonian healing techniques. Challenging the traditional view of ancient medicine that rigidly distinguishes between science and superstition, Geller shows how ancient healing methods and strategies embodied a vastly more complex relationship between medicine and magic. He theorizes that when viewed from the perspective of a patient concerned only with the efficacy of treatment, medicine and magic were simply dual approaches to healing. Geller also examines basic therapeutic concepts utilizing medical commentaries ascribed to physician-scribes among Babylonian scholars -- a source not previously researched. Original and provocative, Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice offers startling new insights into the dark and distant roots of modern medicine.
Keywords: Ancient Babylon, Babylon, Babylonian Medicine, Ancient medicine, Ancient Culture