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Rethinking the History of Medicine: 'Rationality' and 'Magic' in Babylonia and the Graeco-Roman World

Year Group 2000/01

Theme group comparing Babylonian and Greek medicine, attempting to discover the rationales in both systems and looking for similarities and differences.

About the topic

The nucleus focused on the comparison between Babylonian and Greek medicine, attempting to discover the rationales in both systems and looking for similarities and differences. To this end, the group came together in sessions, every fortnight, studying important topics of common interest: anatomy, internal diseases (particularly of the heart and the lungs), urinology, gynaecology, fevers, etc.
The earliest sections of the Hippocratic corpus were compared with Babylonian medical texts, with some surprising results: there seemed to be many common attitudes and techniques.
During the year, members of the group and the group as a whole gave presentations to a larger audience (NIAS, The Hague, Leiden, etc.). At the end of the year, a conference on the theme was organised on 22-23 June 2001, with ten invited speakers: Classicists, a medical historian, an Egyptologist, and several Assyriologists.

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