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date: 19 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter studies the influential tradition of Mesopotamian medicine. Two distinct kinds of medical experts collaborated to diagnose and to treat illness, the āšipu and the asû, who are respectively analogous to the Greek iatros and pharmakopōlēs. Assyrian herbals are organized by medical effect, much like Dioscorides’ herbal. The Diagnostic and Predictive Series, standardized by ca 1050 bce, provides evaluations of illnesses from head to toe, plus evaluations by category such as fever, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics. Mesopotamian medicine was very familiar with contagion. The attribution of diseases to gods, ghosts, or demons was simply the āšipu’s way of subdividing broad categories of disease, much as we aggregate symptoms.

Keywords: contagion, diagnosis, Diagnostic and Predictive Series, diseases, epilepsy, herbals, prognosis

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