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Ancient Babylonian Medicine

This report will examine ancient Babylonian medicine. Under the Amorites, the "Golden Age of Babylonia" began roughly around two millennia B.C. Although this era was short-lived, the foundations of medical practice were developed. This discussion will include the geographical setting and culture, as these factors were central to the practice of medicine in ancient Babylonia--a practice which included elements of religion and magic.

The term, "Mesopotamia," is Greek for "the land between the rivers (Sigerist, 1955, p. 378)." This region comprises the geographic area between the Euphrates to the west and the Tigris in the east. Both rivers originate in the mountains of Turkey and flow southeast to the Persian Gulf. The course of the Tigris is shorter; whereas the Euphrateswhich carries more waterfollows a much more tortuous route. Near Baghdad, Iraq, the distance between the two rivers narrows. Then, upon subsequently separating again, the rivers merge at the Shatt elArab. This gives the region an hourglass shape, dividing it into Lower and Upper Mesopotamia. It was in Lower Mesopotamia, that Babylonian culture arose (Sigerist, 1955, p. 379).

Between about 10,000 to 4,000 B.C. humans advanced from food gatherers to food producers and mesolithic cultures were gradually succeeded by the beginnings of civilization. Perhaps one of the most important developments was the domestication of wheat and barley in the Near and Middle Eastan area which includes Mesopotamia. By about 8,000 B.C., the region's climate had settled into a pattern similar to that which exists today: the lowlands were mostly hot and dry; whereas, during the winter, the hills received enough rainfall to support the cultivation of wheat. Where the land was sufficiently fertile, permanent settlements arose (Bronowski, 1973, p. 64). Better food supplies gave rise to larger populations. Rates of population growth increased even more rapidly about ...

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Ancient Babylonian Medicine. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:38, March 22, 2019, from