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Epilepsy in Mesopotamia reconsidered --- Hector Avalos

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Chapter Summary

Identifying diseases in ancient Mesopotamia has always encountered philological difficulties. Such difficulties are complicated further by the fact that the modern classification of some diseases is still variable, and this includes controversy about whether certain symptoms should be classified as epilepsy. It is in this light that Marten Stol's Epilepsy in Babylonia provides a fresh opportunity to review some of the problems involved in the study of Babylonian and Near Eastern medicine in general. The condition identified by Marten Stol as "epilepsy", had received little attention from Assyriologists. In Epilepsy in Babylonia, Stol profiles some of the basic historical sources for the study of epilepsy, and announces that his principal aim is to "survey how the Babylonians viewed and treated epilepsy". Stol provides an edition and translation of the extant portions of the Diagnostic Handbook focusing on epilepsy.

Keywords: ancient Mesopotamia; Assyriologists; Babylonian medicine; Diagnostic Handbook; epilepsy; Marten Stol



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