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1 Introduction

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Chapter Summary

Many aspects of medicine, in particular, the technical skills such as setting bones or recognizing healing plants, were not subject to written tradition but passed on from mouth to mouth over many generations. The corpus of Ancient Babylonian medicine that has survived is impressive: more than one thousand texts written in cuneiform and impressed on durable clay tablets are kept in the museum collections worldwide. Publications range from text critical editions, the study of illnesses, the interpretation of incantations that are imbedded in medical recipes and the analysis of the performance of rituals and rites of sympathetic magic, to the discussion of the interrelationship between magic and ostensibly medical-therapeutical cures. Originally, the Babylonian pantheon included several independent healing goddesses who during the course of the period from the third to the second millennium BC merged into the figure of Gula.

Keywords: Ancient Babylonian medicine; cuneiform; Gula; healing plants



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