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Ritual

(8,221 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
[German version] I. Term Ritual refers to an elaborate sequence…

Wisdom literature

(3,886 words)

Author(s): Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | S.SC. | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg)
I. Ancient Near East [German version] A. Definition When applying the term wisdom literature (WL) to ancient Mesopotamian literature we need to distinguish between the idea of wisdom (Akkadian nēmequ, Sumerian nam.kù.zu, 'precious knowledge') [10; 11] as 'wealth of general human experience' and the concept of wisdom as expertise in a cult. On the one hand, there are a number of non-homogenous, formally different literary genres in which knowledge, procedures, advice and behavioural guidelines are passed on; on the other han…

Veterinary medicine

(881 words)

Author(s): Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Touwaide, Alain (Madrid)
I. The Ancient Orient [German version] A. Sources Indirect: The Akkadian collection of Ḫammurapi’s laws (18th cent. BC) mentions the treatment of oxen (Cattle) and donkeys [1. 70, § 224 f.]. Direct: we know of ten remedies in Ugaritic, and six confirmed as such in Accadian; they confine themselves to the treatment of diseases in horses [2]. Böck, Barbara (Madrid) …

Pharmacology

(2,168 words)

Author(s): Touwaide, Alain (Madrid) | Böck, Barbara (Madrid)
[German version] I. Etymology The Greek term for pharmacology (ὁ περὶ φαρμάκων λόγος/ ho perì pharmákōn lógos, Pedanius Dioscorides, De materia medica praef. 5) means 'science of remedies'. Originally, the term φάρμακον/ phármakon, whose etymology is not known, did not specifically refer to a medical drug, but to any substance introduced into the body with the ability of changing the body's structure or function. The Latin term medicamentum points to the aspect of assistance and support, as does βοήθημα/ boḗthēma.

Proverbs

(1,254 words)

Author(s): Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Hoffmann, Lars | Damschen, Gregor (Halle/Saale)
I. Mesopotamia [German version] A. Concept According to lexical texts (1st half of the 2nd millennium BC), the Sumerian term for proverbs was i-bi-lu. The Akkadian tēltu(m) is known primarily from the epistolary literature of Assyria and the city of Mari (1st half of the 2nd millennium BC) [7]. Both terms refer not only to proverbs in the modern sense, but also to the fable and anecdotes, riddles and witty sayings. Böck, Barbara (Madrid) [German version] B. Sources The earliest Sumerian sources of proverbs are collections of proverbs and so-called 'proverb-poems'. The proverbs in these poems, worked in…

Medicine

(6,211 words)

Author(s): Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Nutton, Vivian (London)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia Magic formulae - such as spells, apotropaea, and prophylacterics - and rational elements, i.e. empirically derived treatment methods with plant, mineral, or animal substances, characterize the image of medicine in a Mesopotamia. The treatment of diseases - seen as either caused by demons, or as a punishment sent by the gods, or as the result of being bewitched, as well as the result of natural causes - was the domain of two different experts, the asû, more versed in herbal lore, evident from as early as the mid-3rd millennium BC, and the spe…

Dentistry

(659 words)

Author(s): Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Nutton, Vivian (London)
I. Ancient Orient [German version] A. I. Sources The main source for Mesopotamian dentistry consists in two chapters from the medical manual ‘When the top of a person's head is feverishly hot’ (1st millennium BC; cf.  Medicine I) and there are also isolated texts of prescriptions. The oldest textual evidence is a cuneiform tablet from the ancient Babylonian period ( c. 18th to 16th cents. BC). The majority of the texts is accessible only in cuneiform autographs; for partial translations cf. [1]. Böck, Barbara (Madrid) [German version] B. Dental diseases and treatment Various periodont…

Riddles

(1,754 words)

Author(s): Gärtner, Hans Armin (Heidelberg) | Böck, Barbara (Madrid)
[German version] I. Definition a) A riddle is an encrypted formulation, related to the figurative speech of metaphor and posing a question; its answer (= solution) requires - indeed, provokes - the memory and imagination of the person addressed; an analogical inference is generally helpful to finding the answer [1. 261]. The person who poses the riddle has superior knowledge; hence the addressee concedes expertise to that person or authority (e.g., the seer or oracle); at the same time, the guesser …