10 Archaeological Remains That Reveal Life In Ancient Babylon

9. Babylonian Medicine


When Babylonians walked down to the marketplace, they would see more than just shopkeepers. Sick people would be sitting there, too, and they were everyone’s responsibility. No matter who you were, you were expected to take a minute to give them your best medical advice.

The elite didn’t have to do this. They could go to the temple. There, a sorcerer might sit down with them and explain what evil they’d committed to anger the gods and what charms they need to make penance. Or they might get a doctor, who would be trained to make plaster casts and to perform surgery.

The poor, though, were not so lucky. They would have to take care of their own, usually in their own home. That’s why they would go out to the marketplace, where people would pass by and, if they’d suffered the same symptoms, let him know how they treated it.

Babylonian medical tablets show they based all their medicine on what had worked in the past. They call medicines “tried and tested“ and pass them down. One, for example, outlines an illness a woman had 1,500 years ago and the way she treated it, passing a remedy that worked down through the centuries.

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