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Medicine in Ancient Mesopotamian Civilization. Assist.Prof.Dr. Mehmet KARATAŞ Department of History of Medicine and Ethics. MESOPOTAMIA N CULTURE. The ancient region of southwest A sia called Mesopotamia which means between two rivers ( Tigris and Euphrates ).

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medicine in ancient mesopotamian civilization

Medicine in Ancient Mesopotamian Civilization

Assist.Prof.Dr. Mehmet KARATAŞ

Department of History of Medicine and Ethics

mesopotamia n culture
MESOPOTAMIAN CULTURE
  • The ancient region of southwest Asia called Mesopotamia which means between two rivers (Tigris and Euphrates).
  • In the 4th millennium BC, city states developed in southern Mesopotamia. The most prominent among them was Sumer,to which we owe the invention of writing.
mesopotamia n culture1
MESOPOTAMIAN CULTURE
  • Mesopotamian people deeply believed on supernatural beings and events and they were afraid of numerous sins.
  • Astrology is an important concept in this civilization. Observations of the astrologers, which were meticulously recorded on a nightly basis over many centuries, led to accurate predictions of various astronomical phenomena and the correct calculations of the solar and lunar year.
mesopotamian medicine
Mesopotamian Medicine

The Concept of Disease

  • The Mesopotamians believed that disease was a punishment sent by the Gods to men for their sins.
  • The ‘sins’ were not only crimes and moral offences, but also small errors and omissions in the performance of religious duties, or unintentional breaking of some taboo.
mesopotamian medicine1
Mesopotamian Medicine
  • The Gods also allowed demons to make possession of the sick person. Ilness was therefore essentially a condemnation to morally unclean man. So they believed that the diseases had supernatural causes.
mesopotamian medicine2
Mesopotamian Medicine
  • Headaches, pains, intestinal ailments, impotence were described and believed that different demons were responsible for them. The treatment depended on expelling them out with magical and religious practices.
  • In many cases, treatment depended on magical and religious practices.
mesopotamian medicine3
Mesopotamian Medicine
  • Baru-priest or diviner was asked to find out the hidden sin responsible for the illness and the prognosis of the disease. Also interpreted dreams.
  • Ashipu-priest, diagnosed the ailment, used magical rites, charms, spells, prayers and sacrifices for the patient in order to get rid of that demon causes the illness. He was also an exorcist. He also could refer the patient to Asu.
mesopotamian medicine4
Mesopotamian Medicine
  • The physician Asu was neither a priest physician nor a witch-doctor. He belonged to an upper class and spend some years with a senior physician. He used herbal remedies, as well as other interventions.
  • This civilization had very good information about medicinal plants. They used hundreds of plants as therapeutic agents.
mesopotamian medicine5
Mesopotamian Medicine

Hepatoscopy

Although they did not have an idea about anatomy, they believed that liver was the center of life. Clay models of livers were founded in archeological sites.

It is believed that they used those liver models in order to diagnose disease or illnesses in magical rituals. Livers of the sacrificed animals were compared with this clay liver models and commented by the physician for the prognosis of the disease.

mesopotamian medicine6
Mesopotamian Medicine

Code of Hammurabi and the Responsibility of Physician

Towards the end of his reign, Hammurabi (1700-BC) ordered his royal decisions to be carved on stelas which were placed in temples. One of this stelas was found in very good condition and was transported to Louvre museum in Paris in 1901. Besides other orders, it contains regulations related with medicine and physicians.

mesopotamian medicine7
Mesopotamian Medicine
  • The Code of Hammurabi devotes 10 short statements out of 282 provision to the fees due to medical practitioners and their punishment for failure. Besides the fixation of the price of certain operations, severe punishments for a physician’s failure listed in the code as well for example cutting of the hands of the physician etc.
  • All those gives the impression that medical profession was controlled by the State.
things to remember from mesopotamian medicine
Things to remember from Mesopotamian Medicine
  • The concept of disease and its causes in Mesopotamian medicine
  • Various physicians – different classes
  • Hepatoscopy
  • Herbal medicines
  • Codes of Hammurabi and their importance in history of medicine
konuyla lgili soru cevap
Konuyla İlgili SORU/CEVAP

Soru 1:

Antik Mezopotamya tıbbının tanıda özellikle kullandığı yöntem neydi?

Cevap 1: Hepatoskopi

Soru 2:

Hammurabi yasaları gereği tıbbi müdahalelerde yapılan hatalarda uygulama neydi?

Cevap 2: Kısasa kısas ile ceza uygulanmıştır

references
References
  • A. Selim ATAY, İnönü Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, translation
  • Tolga GÜVEN, Marmara Üniversitesi Tıp Tarihi ve Etik AD ders notları
  • Ali Haydar BAYAT, Tıp Tarihi
  • Emine ATABEK, Şefik GÖRKEY, Başlangıcından Rönesansa Kadar Tıp Tarihi
  • Çağlar Boyu Tıp, Roche Yayınları
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
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