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3 Gula’s ‘Hand’ in the Handbook of Diagnosis and Prognosis, Sakikkû

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Chapter Summary

The belly was not the only body part that was linked to Ninsina/Gula but also the skin as well as the 'cord-like system' of the body, Sumerian sa or Akkadian šerʾānu. This chapter discusses how this conceptual framework was developed in the medical literature of the first millennium BC presenting the textual evidence. Among the many Gods to which the Sakikkû handbook attributes afflictions is the healing Goddess Gula. In order to create a context for her appearance the book analyses the apodoses of the preserved parts of the handbook. The disease terms sāmānu, ašu, ṣītu, ṣarrišu, and šadanu denote afflictions of the skin which have been summarized under the generic term simmu, skin sore. Due to the preponderance of references to the 'hand' of Gula in chapter XL of the handbook, J.A. Scurlock characterizes Gula as the 'Goddess of infants' diseases'.

Keywords: šadanu; Goddess Gula; medical literature; sāmānu; Sakikkû handbook



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