Archeology Science

5,000-Year-Old Prescription Found In Southeastern Turkey – Evidence Of Advanced Ancient Knowledge

5,000-Year-Old Prescription Found In Southeastern Turkey - Evidence Of Advanced Ancient Knowledge

Medical prescription belonging to the Sumerians has been seized by the Police Department in Diyarbakır.

 The cuneiform script used on ancient document is considered  to be one of the earliest systems of writing, was invented by the Sumerians. The cuneiform writing system was in use for more than three millennia, through several stages of development, from the 34th century BC down to the second century CE.

Experts are currently investigating the origins of the ancient artifact dating back to 3,000 B.C., as well as where it was before being brought to Diyarbakır. The cuneiform script was discovered in an excavation.

The translation of the script was launched by Babylon expert, Professor Leon Legrain, in 1940 and finalized in 1953 with contributions from Martin Levey and Samuel N. Kremain.

Other known surviving Mesopotamian medical records consist of roughly 1000 cuneiform tablets, of which 660 medical tablets from the library of Ashurbanipal are preserved in the British Museum. About 420 tablets from other sites also survived, including the library excavated from the private house of a medical practitioner (an asipu) from Neo-Assyrian Assur, and some Middle Assyrian and Middle Babylonia texts.

5,000-Year-Old Prescription Found In Southeastern Turkey - Evidence Of Advanced Ancient KnowledgeLeft:Library of Ashurbanipal at the British Museum / Right: Sumerian medical tablet (2400 BC), ancient city of Nippur. Lists 15 prescriptions used by a pharmacist.

Most of these Mesopotamian medical tablets were not discovered until the nineteenth century, and because of difficulties with translation of cuneiform script, many of these tablets were not understood by scholars until recently. Another factor that must be taken into consideration is that since these tablets survived by unintended burial rather than by manuscript copying, and they were not preserved until comparatively recently in conventional libraries or museums, the medicine they record did not necessarily play a conventional role in the Western medical tradition. What influence their contents might have had on the practice of later physicians remains unclear.

5,000-Year-Old Prescription Found In Southeastern Turkey - Evidence Of Advanced Ancient KnowledgeAn Arab folio on which is depicted a pharmacist preparing an elixir. From the manuscript of the De Materia Medica by Dioscorides, 1st century CE. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The surviving Mesopotamian medical texts reveal that ancient doctors diagnosed and treated a wide variety of conditions and diseases, with mixed success. Among them were typhus, smallpox, bubonic plague, gonorrhea, gout, tuberculosis, epilepsy, colic, diarrhea, and various intestinal problems. Some forms of mental illness were also recognized, though not properly understood. The germ theory of disease was unknown, of course, and was not discovered and proven until the nineteenth century; yet it appears that some doctors were aware that a disease could be passed from person to person and therefore that it was helpful to limit a sick person’s contact with other people.

Because no one in ancient Mesopotamia knew about the existence of germs, it was assumed that most illness was caused by evil spirits or demons sent by the gods to punish humans, and only way to receive healing – from the gods. So doctors in Mesopotamia were mainly the agents through which different deities worked in order to maintain the health of the people.

 

 

5,000-Year-Old Prescription Found In Southeastern Turkey – Evidence Of Advanced Ancient Knowledge
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