Babylonian Medicine

Freie Universität Berlin

New publication by Markham J. Geller: Melothesia in Babylonia

Melothesia in Babylonia. Medicine, Magic and Astrology in the Ancient Near East, by Markham J. Geller. Volume II of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Ancient Cultures (STMAC), Walter de Gruyter Verlag, Berlin.

This book examines the Babylonian background of melothesia, the science of charting zodiac influence in the human body, which transformed older divination by connecting astrology with medical techniques. Special attention is given to a text from late-5th-century Uruk, which is argued to be an important representative of this new approach to the healing arts, previously only known from Greek and medieval astrology.

In his introduction, Markham J. Geller writes:  “Any similarities between Babylonian and Greek medicine may reflect an increasing globalisation of knowledge in the ancient Mediterranean world, after the advent of philosophical thinking in Greece and advances in astronomy and mathematics within contemporary Babylonian scholarship. Comparisons, however, between Babylonian and Greek medicine are not always obvious because of the very different nature of the source materials. Greek philosophers wrote elaborate and even polemical treatises putting forth their medical theories, while the impressively large and complex corpus of Babylonian medicine consisted primarily of Listenwissenschaften, i.e. lists of symptoms and materia medica, as well as therapies listing appropriate drugs and procedures for alleviating symptoms, with little in the way of theoretical speculation.

One must therefore look beyond the forms in which the information was given to discover whether similar notions were being shared between Babylonian and Greek scholars…”  Do look beyond at: de Gruyter online.


Science, Technology, and Medicine in Ancient Cultures is a series by De Gruyter Verlag, edited by Markus Asper, Philip van der Eijk, Markham J. Geller, Heinrich von Staden and Liba Taub. The series aims to advance an inter-disciplinary and inclusive approach to the study of science in the ancient world, ranging from mathematics and physics, medicine and magic to astronomy, astrology and divination and covering the Mediterranean world, the Near (Middle) East, and Central and East Asia.

Der Beitrag wurde am Friday, den 2. January 2015 um 21:56 Uhr von Agnes Kloocke veröffentlicht und wurde unter Allgemein abgelegt. Sie können die Kommentare zu diesem Eintrag durch den RSS 2.0 Feed verfolgen. Kommentare und Pings sind derzeit nicht erlaubt.

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