In: Medicine in Ancient Assur
Open Access


This book is based on my PhD dissertation, which was successfully defended in December 2017. It gives me great pleasure to publicly thank the foundations and people who have supported and helped me throughout the process. I gratefully acknowledge the generous financial support of the Edubba Foundation, the Carlsberg Foundation and the Augustinus Foundation, which allowed me to revise and prepare the manuscript for this book. The Edubba Foundation, the Elisabeth Munksgaard Foundation and the Augustinus Foundation kindly granted the funds to publish the volume with Open Access. Additionally, grants from the Elisabeth Munksgaard Foundation, the Augustinus Foundation and the Danish Institute in Damascus enabled me to conduct research stays in Berlin and Würzbrug during 2015 and 2016. Finally, the research was made possible by a PhD stipend from the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen.

I am eternally grateful to Nicole Brisch, whose continuous encouragement and meticulous feedback as my supervisor helped me write the foundation for this book. Words cannot express my gratitude for the academic generosity and personal support she has shown me. Furthermore, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Barbara Böck and Daniel Schwemer, who were not only inspiring co-supervisors throughout my time as a PhD student, but also continue to encourage and support my academic interests. Furthermore, Barbara Böck generously offered me the original impetus for using Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets as the focus for my study. Daniel Schwemer collated several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets in Istanbul and kindly shared the results with me on several occasions with characteristic generosity. Additionally, I am indebted to Nils Heeßel, Stefan Maul and Daniel Schwemer who allowed me to include information about several unpublished Kiṣir-Aššur tablets kept in Istanbul. My gratitude furthermore extends to Andrew George and Nils Heeßel who – in the role of opponents – meticulously read through my PhD dissertation and provided me with much valuable feedback and criticism. Their generous support is sincerely appreciated and acknowledged here. In addition, it is a pleasure to thank Claus Ambos who kindly agreed to be my pre-defence examiner and provided me with valuable comments before handing in my dissertation.

I am particularly thankful to Aage Westenholz and Inger Jentoft for their friendship, hospitality and profound interest in my work. Westenholz tirelessly discussed countless points and arguments with me on several occasions, and he took it upon himself to read through the entire manuscript and provide me with much appreciated comments and corrections. I am sincerely grateful for our friendship and the kindness he has shown me these past years. Among my Egyptological colleagues in Copenhagen, I am truly indebted to Kim Ryholt for all his thoughtful help and support in many forms from my time as a student to the present day. Furthermore, Fredrik Hagen has kindly helped me in countless academic matters these past years, and as chairman of my dissertation examination committee he raised several important points, for which I am thankful.

It gives me great pleasure to thank the Vorderasiatisches Museum zu Berlin for permission to study several of Kiṣir-Aššur’s tablets discussed in this volume. Especially Lutz Martin deserves special recognition for his assistance in helping me arrange visits to the VAM during the summer of 2015 and 2016. I am also indebted to Erica Couto-Ferreira, Eckart Frahm, Irene Sibbing-Plantholt and the BabMed project for kindly sharing forthcoming works with me prior to their publication. I am also thankful to Jacob Dahl for an invitation to present my research under stimulating circumstances in Oxford during May 2019. Additionally, I am grateful to researchers and students at the Würzburg Lehrstuhl für Altorientalistik for three inspiring months I spent there in 2016, and I am particularly thankful to the Würzburg CMAwR research group for their friendship and interest in my work. My thanks furthermore extend to my two anonymous peer-reviewers who provided helpful comments and criticism.

Jennifer Cromwell and Seraina Nett deserve special recognition and profound thanks for diligently reading through my drafts with great attention, addressing various issues and correcting my English. To Ulla Koch, I am grateful for her interest in my research and an invitation to discuss certain issues relating to my work. Mogens Trolle Larsen and Thomas Hertel are also recognized for their support and for helpful discussions about my work. It is a pleasure to also thank paediatrician Elisabeth Lund and biologist Sophie Lund Rasmussen for numerous discussions of the modern veterinary and human medical aspects of ancient medicine. Their inputs and suggestions greatly helped me shape the ideas formulated in this volume. Additionally, I am grateful to Katelyn Chin, Erika Mandarino and Kristen Chevalier at Brill for all their assistance during the process of publishing this book.

For their help in various matters throughout the years, it is a pleasure to acknowledge the following people: Jakob Andersson, Paul Delnero, Mark Geller, İlgi Gerçek, Manfred Krebernik, Piotr Michalowski, Matthias Müller, Strahil Panayotov, Hratch Papazian, JoAnn Scurlock, Kathryn Stevens, Ingolf Thuesen, Martin Worthington, and Kenneth Zysk. Among my current and former colleagues and friends at the University of Copenhagen, I would also like to thank: Rasmus Aarslev, Gojko Barjamovic, Agnieszka Bystron, Thomas Christiansen, Ole Herslund, Amanda Sass Hertel, Amber Jacob, Susanne Kerner, Bjarne Lodahl, Rune Olsen, Jes Heise Rasmussen, Rune Rattenborg, Tobias Richter, Sofie Schiødt, Rana Sérida and Daniel Soliman. Furthermore, several of my friends outside the narrow confines of the Ancient Near East deserve to be mentioned for their patience and support, especially: Kim Bavnild, Peter Engkjær, Rasmus Jensen, Christian Johansen, Daniel Theis Lund, Dennis Tougaard, Daniel Sønder, and Mikkel Zimakoff. Finally, I am grateful to my primary school teacher Erik Ingemann Sørensen for showing me that it is possible to make history come alive.

Most importantly, this work would not have been possible without the encouragement and loving support of my family, namely my beloved son Theodor, my wife, Sophie Lund Rasmussen, and my mother, Birgitte Pank Arbøll. I only wish my father, Kurt Arbøl, was alive to see this book in print. With admiration and appreciation, I lovingly dedicate this work to them.

Copenhagen, May 2020