Ancient Babylonian Magic and Medicine

1500 [CRN: 24365]

A survey of ancient magic and medicine focusing on Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq, ca. 2500-300 BCE), with an emphasis on beliefs about the body, health, illness, and the causes of disease, such as witchcraft or angry gods. Topics will include the training of healers, exorcists, and herbalists; concepts of contagion and plague, modalities of treatment, incantations, prayers, and empirical remedies like prescriptions; ancient perceptions of problems like sexual dysfunction, the perils of pregnancy, tooth decay, epilepsy, and mental illness. Readings will be drawn from ancient texts (in translation), archaeology, and parallels with ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Bible. No prerequisites. Not open to first year students. WRIT
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