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A Tablet on Epilepsy

© The Trustees of the British Museum

Artifact: Clay tablet
Period: Neo-Babylonian (ca. 626-539 BC)
Current location: British Museum, London
Text genre, language: Scholarly; Akkadian
CDLI page

Description: BM 47753 is an important Neo-Babylonian manuscript of Tablet 26 of the Diagnostic Handbook, the canonical Akkadian medical diagnostic series, composed of 40 tablets arranged into six chapters. Tablet 26 is the first tablet of the chapter on epilepsy. This tablet gives symptoms of epilepsy and assigns disease names and aetiologies to the various ways that the symptoms present themselves. Several terms for "fit" or "seizure" are used Akkadian medical texts, and this tablet deals with several of these as core symptoms, including miqtu "fall", ḫayyatu "fit", and ṣibtu "seizure". The main diagnoses for symptoms relating to epileptic fits or seizures are several terms for epilepsy, including bennu, miqit šamê (Sum. AN.TA.ŠUB.BA), and miqtu, as well as the Hands of several supernatural entities. The descriptions given and terminology used in Tablet 26 and in the chapter on epilepsy, more generally, reflect a keen awareness and close observation of different types of epilepsies on the part of the ancient scholars. The Tablet also showcases the language and structure of the Diagnostic Handbook, in which entries give the description of symptoms in the protasis and any combination of the diagnosis, cause, and/or prognosis in the apodosis. (Moudhy al-Rashid, University of Oxford)

Lineart: Geller, M. J. 1993 in Stol, M. 1993. Epilepsy in Babylonia. Cuneiform Monographs 2. Groningen: Styx.

Edition(s): Kinnier Wilson, J. V. and E. H. Reynolds. 1990. "Texts and Documents: Translation and Analysis of a Cuneiform Text Forming Part of a Babylonian Treatise on Epilepsy", Medical History 34, 185-198. Stol, M. 1993. Epilepsy in Babylonia. Cuneiform Monographs 2. Groningen: Styx, 55-74. Heeßel, Nils P. 2000. Babylonisch-assyrische Diagnostik. AOAT 43. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 278-296.

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tablet_on_epilepsy.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/03 12:49 by miller
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