Chapter 4 Training in Anatomy and Physiology as šamallû ṣeḫru

In: Medicine in Ancient Assur
Troels Pank Arbøll
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Kiṣir-Aššur copied treatments for snakebites, scorpion stings, and horse maladies on RA 15 pl. 76, and these cures only occur during Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru-phase. They are found on a tablet that was labelled as the 32nd(?) extract. This tablet likely played a role in Kiṣir-Aššur’s education as šamallû ṣeḫru, although it is difficult to evaluate what impact this knowledge had on his overall education. This chapter discusses the possible benefit in practical, physiological, and educational knowledge that Kiṣir-Aššur may have gained from RA 15 pl. 76.

The first section investigates the snakebite and scorpion sting treatments on the obverse of RA 15 pl. 76 in the context of envenomation. By analysing the cultural and physical role of snakes and scorpions in Mesopotamia, the section argues that the physical effects of venom produced remarkable effects. These outcomes were observed as an awe-inspiring force, which also illustrated vividly how various physiological processes functioned in actual patients. Whether or not Kiṣir-Aššur was involved in these treatments himself, the section argues that this knowledge introduced him to powerful fluids which were associated with bile and saliva in humans. By extension, venom may have been used to illustrate awe-inspiring fluids inherent in various species.

By discussing the role of veterinarian knowledge among exorcists in the NA period, Section 4.2 evaluates Kiṣir-Aššur’s use of such knowledge for understanding human physiology based on the reverse of RA 15 pl. 76. Additionally, it discusses Kiṣir-Aššur’s possible practical use of such treatments. The following section discusses animal variants of human illnesses to contextualize veterinarian medicine within the therapeutic corpus. Finally, Section 4.4 evaluates the use of animal anatomical terms in medical texts to argue that animal physiology and anatomy were occasionally used to explain human physiology and anatomy. Thereupon, certain physiological overlaps related to breathing, with a focus on the nose, are investigated to argue that Kiṣir-Aššur may have acquired anatomical knowledge about the nose, throat, lungs, and breath from certain treatments applied via a tube into the nose.

4.1 The Role of Venom in Kiṣir-Aššur’s Anatomical Understanding

This section argues that Kiṣir-Aššur was introduced to cures related to snake and scorpion venom on the obverse of RA 15 pl. 76. By applying these treatments to envenomed patients, Kiṣir-Aššur gained experience with the effects of venom. Thus, he was exposed to the power of venom as a concept, which helped him gain an improved understanding of physiological processes. Snake and scorpion venom (imtu) have pronounced physical effects on the victims (see below). What follows demonstrates that venom was considered an important cultural concept for illustrating the physiological processes of the body and for metaphorically expressing the function of illnesses. By extension, knowledge of venom and its effects was probably more important than has previously been recognized (cf. Finkel 1999: 213).

4.1.1 Snakes and Scorpions in Mesopotamia

Snakes (ṣēru) and scorpions (zuqaqīpu)1 were common in Mesopotamia and both must have been observed frequently in people’s houses,2 and their sightings were integrated into the 1st subchapter of Sa-gig.3 Evidence suggests that scorpions could be found under the bed or in storerooms,4 and snakes could easily make their way into one’s house through, e.g., a drain or sewer.5 Furthermore, both were part of the magical sphere and were used metaphorically in various cultic contexts.6 Both creatures also appear frequently on amulets against the demon Lamaštu (Wiggermann 2000: 239, 341).

The use of these creatures in Mesopotamian metaphorical and associative thought is well attested. Snakes were for example used to describe an infant child coiled up within the mother and coming out slithering like a snake.7 Scorpions were the symbol for motherhood and were related to fertility and the image of the married woman through the goddess Išḫara.8 By extension, the scorpion and snake illustrate domestic life and combine the concepts of life (renewal, birth), family (motherhood, womanhood), and death (venom).

Snakes and scorpions were therefore important for the metaphoric expression of the Mesopotamian understanding of the world, and, as we shall see below, their venom was important in the Mesopotamian understanding of how illnesses affected the body. Therefore, encountering patients suffering from these bites and stings also taught the student about both the body’s physiological processes, on the basis of observable features, and the metaphoric relationships between medical knowledge and the cause of symptoms.9

4.1.2 Venom and Physiology

Many types of scorpions and snakes were differentiated in ancient Mesopotamia, as listed, for example, in Ur₅-ra tablet 14.10 While it is difficult to correlate the historical evidence with modern taxonomy, we know at least eight species of venomous snakes and three species of venomous scorpions native to Iraq (Habeeb and Rastegar-Pouyani 2016: 67; Chippaux and Goyffon 2008: 72). Among the widely distributed venomous snakes are the Desert Horned Viper (Cerastes cerastes gasperetti), the Levantine Viper (Macrovipera lebetina obtusa/euphratica), and Field’s or Persian Sand Viper (Pseudocerastes persicus persicus/fieldi).11 Among the venomous scorpions are the Deathstalker Scorpion (Leiurus quinquestriatus) and the Fattail Scorpion (Androctonus crassicauda).12 Venomous snakes and scorpions can inject venom through bites and stings, which have a variety of physical effects, as shown in Table 5.

Table 5
Table 5

Attested effects of snake and scorpion venoma

Due to the effects of venom, the Akkadian concept imtu was generally considered to be awe-inspiring and was used as a metaphor in incantations to establish the effects of an illness or demon.13 Furthermore, symptoms such as “paralysis” (šimmatu) that were commonly experienced with bites or stings became identified as an illness category.14 Some of the very visible effects of envenomation may have been used to establish relationships between illnesses associated with snakes and scorpion venom.

One example is the so-called araḫḫi-incantations, which were used in connection to love magic, fertility, scorpion stings, “string” illnesses, and witchcraft.15 By combining these incantations’ themes with one noticeable symptom of scorpion envenomation, priapism, one cannot help but associate the scorpion stings with potency, as well as the various metaphoric relationships inherent in scorpions, such as motherhood and the (marriage) bed (see above).16 Furthermore, the name for scorpion in Akkadian, zuqaqīpu, may derive from the verbal root zaqāpu “to erect, to point upward”. The Akkadian scorpion, zuqaqīpu, has therefore been translated as the “erector”, because its venomous stinger stands erect when confronted with danger (Pientka 2004: 391). Scorpion venom could cause priapism and this symptom may provide an additional reason for this name.17

Notably, the symptoms from a lethal envenomation would have affected most bodily functions, thereby demonstrating the venom’s effect on breathing, the “strings”, the abdomen (renal and rectal symptoms), mouth, the impaired function of the motoric system (via pains, paralysis and convulsions), and perhaps even death. Furthermore, the symptoms affecting the mouth and anus would have been particularly obvious through vomiting and defecation. I therefore propose that Kiṣir-Aššur did not only learn treatments related to snakebites and scorpion stings in order to heal them, but he also used his observations of the effects of venom to visualize how the human body functioned when engaged with its awesome power.

As will be shown in the next section, venom (imtu), bile (martu) and spittle (ruʾtu, rupuštu, illātu) were to some extent conceptually interconnected. Despite being different fluids, they were equated in lexical lists and were possibly believed to possess some of the same qualities.18 The physiological functions of bites and stings may therefore have been part of a larger theoretical illustration of how interspecies physiology and such fluids in particular were believed to function. Thus, Kiṣir-Aššur may have been exposed to the framework of a “universal” venomous substance inherent in all animals and humans when learning about venom treatments. Interestingly, the majority of symptoms encountered in all the therapeutic diagnoses that Kiṣir-Aššur copied as šamallû ṣeḫru could be caused by an especially venomous bite or sting. Therefore, being exposed to victims of bites or stings would have demonstrated a majority of bodily functions for a student, on the basis of which it would have been possible to conceptualize how some aspects of human physiology functioned.

4.1.3 The Physiological Conception of Venom, Bile, and Saliva

The term “venom” (imtu), attested in connection to a variety of animals such as scorpions and snakes, was linked in lexical lists to other fluids believed to possess some of the same awe-inspiring qualities that affected various bodily processes.19 In a recension of the lexical list Diri, known from both NA Nineveh and Assur,20 lines 117–123 of the the first tablet provide readings of the Sumerogram ÚḪ as “spittle, saliva, phlegm” ruʾtu, “spittle, saliva, phlegm, froth” rupuštu, “saliva” illātu, “venom, poison” imtu, “phlegm, slime” uḫḫu, “spittle, slime, (chough as illness)” ḫaḫḫu, and “foam” ḫurḫummatu (MSL 15: 108–9). Venom and bile were lexically equated in Uruanna21 and in Malku tablet 8.22

The question of what motivated these conceptual overlaps is discussed in what follows, beginning with bile in the human body followed by a discussion of saliva in relation to witchcraft.23 Bile (martu) was known, then as now, as a yellow-green fluid derived from the gallbladder that had a significant colour and smell.24 Due to its significant colour and smell, bile was related to a variety of human problems and illnesses, such as jaundice (aḫḫāzu, amurriqānu).25 Furthermore, it may have been believed to govern certain physiological processes. Böck has recently argued: “The association of ‘bile’ with the accumulation of water … points to two Ancient Mesopotamian ideas of the body: one is that bile was believed to cause, regulate or distribute abundant water in the body; and the other is that abundant water in the intestines was believed to cause severe troubles” (Böck 2014a: 127–28).26 In one reference, divine saliva is also associated with jaundice, and by extension with bile.27

In addition to martu, another type of bile is also recognized, namely pašittu.28 Pašittu was related to the abdomen and the epigastrium through an association with vomiting.29 Furthermore, pašittu was connected to Lamaštu.30 Importantly for the present discussion, it could be written with the Sumerogram ZÚ.MUŠ.Ì.GU₇.E.31 One translation of this Sumerogram could be “the snakebite’s hurtful ‘oil’”, as a reference to the venom emanating from the snake’s tooth.32 This Sumerogram therefore seems to equate the problem with a venomous fluid (“oil”), which hurts, and is associated with the mouth (or literally “tooth” in the snake analogy). A first millennium Babylonian commentary on Sa-gig tablets 13 and 12 or 14 states: “Pašittu venom means pašittu that holds bile”.33 Kiṣir-Aššur also encountered pašittu once, namely in his šamallû ṣeḫru manuscript RA 40 pl. 116.34 As such, both fluids were associated with venom and bodily processes, possibly indicating that bile may have been considered a “venom” inherent in mammals.

Phlegm, spittle, and saliva (ruʾtu, rupuštu) were connected to witchcraft (kišpu).35 An incantation could therefore be expressed simply as “spittle”, i.e., something thrown (nadû) from the mouth (CMAwR 1: 4; Schwemer 2007a: 16–21). Spittle was an ambivalent substance, much like bile, and could grant life and recovery as well as contamination and illness.36 Furthermore, witchcraft could produce a number of characteristic symptoms. One group of symptoms comprised various abnormal states in the mouth involving phlegm and the overproduction of saliva (Schwemer 2007a: 169–70 and notes 23, 25). Excessive saliva could also be caused by scorpion envenomation and be observed as venom in the mouth of snakes about to bite. Therefore, such fluids may have been compared to spittle in the mouth of ill-wishers who were magically manipulating a victim through witchcraft or as phlegm in the lungs and throat of people under attack from witchcraft. This requires further investigation elsewhere. Although Kiṣir-Aššur may not have encountered witchcraft (kišpu) as šamallû ṣeḫru, several symptom descriptions mention phlegm.37

Regarding saliva, it is interesting to note that the Mesopotamians do not seem to have described rabies metaphorically as connected to spittle. We know from incantations that the ancient Mesopotamians were aware that rabies infected new hosts through saliva (Finkel 1999: 213–223). However, references are largely to the dog’s semen (nīlu) being in the mouth () or on its teeth (šinnu) and infecting through a bite (nišku).38

Thus, several relationships between venom and other bodily fluids can be explained through analogies inherent in the symptoms of, e.g., scorpion envenomation. As such, the overarching conceptions investigated here could have been taught to Kiṣir-Aššur in connection with his encounter with scorpion and snake venom and possibly with envenomed patients.

4.2 Veterinarian Knowledge in Kiṣir-Aššur’s Education

Veterinarian prescriptions only appear during Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru- phase, i.e., his first (traceable) stage of education, and they therefore played a role in the education that he received during this period. Kiṣir-Aššur acquired the requisite knowledge for his education from a therapeutic tradition that may have been specific to Assur (see Section 9.5.3). Within this tradition, there existed various veterinarian remedies. Although veterinarian asûs had existed in the OB period, there is, to the best of my knowledge, no evidence in the written documentation for asûs or āšipus specialized in any type of animal medicine during the NA period.39 As a result, who administered animal healing in the NA period remains uncertain.

Some anatomical terms were derived from animal anatomy (see Section 4.4.1). Human and animalistic physiology therefore likely coalesced to an indeterminable extent.40 Thus, knowledge of animalistic anatomy may have been useful for understanding human anatomy and physiology. Comparably, veterinary medicine appears as a separate discipline in the later Hippiatrica (5th–6th century CE), although some healing for horses is reported to have been borrowed from the realm of human healing and some cures are said to be effective for humans.41 Labat even saw a thematic relationship between the Akkadian medical texts and Greek and Latin hippiatric texts, suggesting that veterinarians in Anatolia drew upon Akkadian human medicine in their works (Labat 1951: XLIIIXLV).42

The inclusion of these cures in human medicine, such as the references to horse treatments in šammu šikinšu,43 could suggest that these genres were not considered separate in Mesopotamian thought. It is therefore plausible that (Assur) healers drew both on human and veterinarian prescriptions to apply treatments to humans in the NA period, even though there are only a few indications for this. Additionally, there is evidence that healers in theory also used treatments designed for humans to treat animals (see Section 3.5.2).

4.2.1 Horses and Specialists

Horses were very valuable in the NA period (Radner 1997: 305–6) and were historically part of a specialist sphere of written knowledge in Assur. Horses were important for the Assyrian army from the MA period onwards (Maul 2013: 17–18 and note 9), for which role they needed to be trained. A specialist called the susānu, “horse trainer”, was responsible for training horses for chariots (see CAD Š/3: 378–80). A number of MA texts written by a susānu instruct the reader in the “Trainierung von Wagenpferden”,44 and one such text is even stated to be the “2nd [tablet/writing-board]” of some unknown collection.45 Although this knowledge was not transmitted in writing into the NA period, the tradition exemplified by these texts may have been kept alive through oral transmission into the NA Period.46

Texts connected to the wellbeing of animals were also included in the AMC47 and the EM, of which the latter example was probably intended to prevent the spread of illness in horse stables and cattle pens, as well as camp areas.48 Perhaps included under these headings is a namburbi-ritual from Nineveh, which was performed so “that diʾu-illness, plague and pestilence may not approach the king’s ho[rses and] troops”.49 This ritual even included the participation of the king himself, was performed in camp (lines 27 and 65),50 and included the exorcist making amulets for the horses (line 60).51

Maul (2013) recently edited a group of texts attested from the MA period to the 7th century in Nineveh that are connected to the purification of the stables.52 The MA tablet VAT 10035 (= ms A) contained an initial incantation only in Sumerian, to which the later copies added interchanging lines of Akkadian (Maul 2013: 20–21). Although ms A states that it was copied from an “Akkadian tablet”, probably referring to Babylonia, this tradition was surely sustained, translated, and transmitted through the first millennium in an Assyrian tradition.53 The texts mention that horses were subject to an elaborate ritual performed by an exorcist. Therefore, these MA and NA texts, combined with the examples of veterinarian medicine found in the N4 collection, point to the existence of various traditions concerning knowledge of horses in Assur.

However, only in an unpublished and undated Assur document regarding a number of equids to be delivered to the city Ubasê do we encounter an exorcist, called Nabû-gamil(?), in connection to an actual equid.54 Although the text does not seem to describe a regular levying of horses, known from the so-called Horse Lists from Assur and Nimrud,55 it is unclear if the equid was a “donation”.56 Furthermore, at least one tamītu divinatory question (KAR 218 = N4 no. 108) excavated in N4 concerns a white horse’s suitability to pull Marduk’s chariot, and even makes use of a tube (gišSAG.KUD) to whisper the prayer into the ear of the horse (Lambert 2007: 80–83). This document could therefore point to a relationship between horses, the Aššur temple, and exorcists.57

Nonetheless, we must imagine that ill animals were in need of care. Although a veterinarian professional not attested in the written documents could have administered such treatments, the Assur horse traditions together with the horse prescriptions inherent in the N4 collection and their place in Kiṣir-Aššur’s training suggest that some āšipus could have performed certain functions as veterinarians in 7th century Assur (see also Steinert 2018d: 276; Panayotov 2015: 486–488).

4.2.2 Kiṣir-Aššur and Veterinarian Knowledge

Kiṣir-Aššur’s copying of texts during his šamallû ṣeḫru education suggests that veterinarian knowledge was as important as treatments designed for humans, even though it represents a smaller part of his textual production.58 As written veterinarian knowledge only seems to be found in Assur during the NA period, the fact that such knowledge was copied by Kiṣir-Aššur attests to its importance among his medical texts. The question is what purpose these prescriptions served. RA 15 pl. 76 improved Kiṣir-Aššur’s repertoire of cures, yet, from the arguments put forth in Sections 3.5 and 4.2, three possible hypotheses can be established as to why Kiṣir-Aššur acquired this knowledge related to horses, snakebites, and scorpion stings:

  • 1) To practice veterinarian medicine. Animals in the fields were prone to be bitten or stung, and RA 15 pl. 76 was designed to heal various types of animal illnesses (bites, stings, colic).59

  • 2) As part of a training curriculum. RA 15 pl. 76 was the 32nd(?) extract in a hypothesized row of copies and could be part of a syllabus Kiṣir-Aššur needed to learn, regardless of its applicability.60

  • 3) To improve Kiṣir-Aššur’s physiological understanding of the human body, and perhaps also his knowledge of animal physiology.

Kiṣir-Aššur’s training possibly depended on a combination of these three hypotheses, although it is difficult to evaluate which focus was the most important. As suggested in Section 5.2.3, Kiṣir-Aššur may have been in charge of treating children (prophylactically) as šamallû mašmaššu ṣeḫru before becoming a responsible ritual supervisor, healing adults as mašmaššu. If Kiṣir-Aššur aided his father in healing animals during his šamallû ṣeḫru-phase, I cautiously suggest that he initially may have been allowed more autonomy when administering treatments (perhaps under supervision) to horses and other animals before moving onto human babies. Further reasons for this suggestion are explored in Section 5.2.3.

4.3 Excursus: Animal Variants of Human Illnesses

In ancient Mesopotamia, certain illness names were used to describe what were considered animal variants of human afflictions.61 Several of these names designate illnesses that resemble the symptoms observed in humans, albeit mainly in relation to externally observable symptoms.

In the NA period, sheep variants of a number of human illnesses are known via Ur₅-ra tablet 13, including sheep-sikkatu, sheep-samānu, sheep-rapādu, and sheep-šaššaṭu.62 Additionally, a “Hip illness” is known in cattle and sheep variants,63 and we also know sheep with “Sick inside(s)”, garābu, and ill lungs.64 Another illness called rāšānu could afflict cattle and sheep and likely caused hair loss,65 and we also know a type of mange.66 Several of these maladies seem to manifest themselves as skin disorders.

Gods or demons could inflict illness upon animals as well as humans.67 Similarly, an evil afflicting an animal could likely be transferred to the owner.68 This probably gave rise to a contagion model similar to our concept of “zoonosis”, i.e., diseases spreading from animals to humans.69 Evidence suggests that domesticated animals were often afflicted in herds or flocks due to their proximity.70 Therefore, we find references to epidemics and stalls,71 as well as purification rites for the pens of cattle, sheep, and horses in the healers’ corpora.72

As we have already seen, horse colic (kīs libbi) was also an identifiable illness. In addition to the known prescriptions, we also find plants that are described as useful against horse colic in two copies of šammu šikinšu and a fragment of a “therapeutic vademecum”.73 Why this horse disorder was one of the only animal illnesses found in the therapeutic material is uncertain, although we know that cattle and horses were considered especially important to individual households. It is therefore conceivable that the owners would go to great lengths to ensure their survival.74

Only veterinarian medicine concerning horses seems to exist in the NA therapeutic corpus. However, the lexical traditions in particular points towards an overlap between human illnesses and their animal counterparts. As argued in Section 4.2, the relationship between veterinary and human healing in Mesopotamia seems to have been fluid. Animals were for many reasons useful to both men and gods combined, and animal metaphors as well as physiological concepts were used to describe how humans functioned.75 That animal ailments overlapped with predefined human illnesses could explain why there are so few veterinarian texts because human medicine may have been applicable to animals.

4.4 Animal and Human Physiology: The Reverse of RA 15 pl. 76

The Mesopotamians often used vague or unclear terminology regarding the organs contained in the torso and other areas of the body.76 The term libbu (ŠÀ), for example, designates the heart, entrails, womb, and abdomen (belly).77 As it was probably not easy to gain knowledge of human insides, animal anatomical terms as well as common concepts were used to describe and metaphorically illustrate the human innards. This section discusses some of these aspects in order to argue why a conceptual overlap between animal and human anatomy may have existed concerning how the stomach and nose were understood in diagnostic descriptions and treatments. Thus, this section evaluates the purpose of the reverse of RA 15 pl. 76 and provides an interpretation regarding Kiṣir-Aššur’s educational use of this text.

4.4.1 Animal Anatomical Terminology

As previously mentioned, animal dissection for various purposes (extispicy, butchers) or human battle wounds must have been sources for gaining knowledge of the insides.78 A common anatomical description, rapaštu (CAD R: 152–53), was derived from a cut of meat, thereby rendering it difficult to understand as a demarcated description for a bodily area.

Ruminant gastrointestinal physiology seems to have been relatively well known, and an incantation describes two stomachs: “The ewe eats and it regurgitates?, a[nd] the mouth gives (the food) to the first stomach (karšu), the first stomach to the omasum (riqītu), the omasum to the rear (arkatu). The dung falls down, and the grass receives (it)”.79 The extispicy corpus with its thorough knowledge of the insides of sheep includes even more terms: karšu (rumen), pî karši (reticulum), riqītu (omasum), and kukkudru (abomasum).80 Humans only have one stomach, and it is therefore peculiar that several of these terms are also attested in human medicine.81

The human karšu can be translated as “belly, stomach” or even “womb”, depending on the context.82 In relation to animal anatomy, karšu, as the rumen, and pî karši, as the closely connected reticulum, became associated with the human stomach and perhaps the opening to the stomach from the oesophagus (lower oesophageal sphincter) or the opening from the stomach to the intestines (pylorus).83 Ur₅-ra tablet 15 lists various readings of UZU.ŠÀ as libbu, karšu, qerbu, and irru, perhaps indicating a descending anatomical order in the gastrointestinal system (Cadelli 2000: 298; MSL 9: 9 lines 98–101; see also Böck 2014b: 111–19). The karšu is, however, rarely attested in the diagnostic statements (Cadelli 2000: 298 and note 65).

The pî karši, “mouth of the karšu”, is better attested in human medicine. It is known especially in relation to dugānu-illness and illnesses of the epigastrium (Stol 2006: 107, 111; Cadelli 2000: 243–44 and notes 257–58). A LB medical text groups several illnesses according to four internal organs or anatomical areas, and here pî karši occurs as an anatomically discernable “organ”.84 Stol (2006: 107) emphasized that this anatomical idea must have originated in animal physiology, and it is therefore peculiar that it was adopted in human physiological descriptions.85 As a result, animal anatomical terminology was employed on various occasions in both metaphor and practice to describe the human insides. This conceptual overlap between animal and human physiology may therefore have been useful for explaining various physiological aspects of humans.

4.4.2 Human and Equine Physiological Aspects of the Nose

The mouth and nostrils are the orifices opening to the lungs and the stomach. The nose was associated with breath and life.86 The throat and neck area was called napištu, a word that can also be read as “life, opening, air hole” and is related to napīšu “breath, breathing” (CAD N/1: 296–305; Steinert 2012: 271 and note 1).87

In Sa-gig we find the formulation šār appi “wind of the nose” associated with breath.88 Therefore, the diagnostic literature associated breath with the nose, although this may be more of an idiom than actual conceptualization.89 Perhaps because of the nose’s relationship to life, nosebleed treatment was considered a particular skill.90 Unfortunately, it is difficult to evaluate if the Mesopotamians were aware of the epiglottis’ function of directing food into the oesophagus.91 In general, breathing through the nose seems to have reflected a healthy state.92 It is therefore interesting that “wind” (šāru) was also perceived as an agent that could inflict illness.93

Only one clearly defined illness attacked both the nostrils and mouth together, namely buʾšānu.94 The illnesses treated through the nostrils, however, include buʾšānu,95 “Ill lungs”,96 suālu,97 and ašû.98 In general, the nostrils are rarely used during healing, but aside from some examples related to human illness, one good example is for horses with colic to ensure ingestion (CAD N/1: 137 with references; see Section 4.4.3). Horses are obligate nasal breathers, i.e., they breathe through their noses (Holcombe et al. 2007: 454–455). Notably, horses display symptoms such as pain through a variety of facial expressions, which importantly include dilated nostrils (Gleerup et al. 2015: 103, 109, 113; Ashley et al. 2005: 566). As a result, a horse’s state of illness could in several instances be evaluated via the nostrils, with the metaphoric relationship between breath and life. This is discussed further below.

The lungs were associated with wind and the connecting windpipe.99 Peculiarly, lungs may have been considered related to the digestion of food in connection to eating and drinking bewitched foodstuffs.100 While it is difficult to envision how the Mesopotamians conceptualized something other than air going into the lungs and moving into the gastrointestinal system, it should be noted that the kidneys are also anatomically disconnected from the digestive tract, but were still recognized as linked to urine (see Geller 2005: 1–2; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 104; Geller and Cohen 1995). Perhaps a magical component of bewitched food could be explained through the manner in which the gods receive the offering in Atra-ḫasīs, namely via smell.101

Thus, the nose appears to have been the principal breathing orifice that was considered a marker for a healthy (perhaps relaxed) state for both humans and horses. Breath was associated with wind and the throat, as well as with the lungs. Furthermore, bewitched foodstuff was related to both the lungs and areas of the epigastrium.

4.4.3 Discussion of the Veterinarian Prescriptions on RA 15 pl. 76

Kiṣir-Aššur dealt with veterinarian knowledge in his šamallû ṣeḫru manuscript RA 15 pl. 76. In the two horse treatments, a particular tube (DUG ziriqi), comparable to a “feeding tube”, was used for reaching down the oesophagus to administer solutions to a horse, presumably with colic, through its nose.102 A similar method of administering a medicament was encountered in Kiṣir-Aššur’s šamallû ṣeḫru-phase copy RA 40 pl. 116. In this text, Kiṣir-Aššur treats various cough afflictions (suālu) associated with the “windpipe” (GI.GÍD MUR.MEŠ) by trickling a fluid onto the tongue and pouring it into the nostrils with a takkussu-pipette, in addition to drinking a potion to induce vomiting.103 Thus, Kiṣir-Aššur acquired knowledge about administering medicaments through the nose and possibly also anatomical insight into the functions of the throat, lungs, and stomach.

As previously stated, only four NA prescriptions are known for treating horses, all from N4 (BAM 159, RA 15 pl. 76), of which three specify pouring the fluid into the “left nostril”.104 Stol noted that flushing ingredients through the left nostril over the right nostril must be considered an irrational practice only attested in veterinary treatments (Stol 2011: 392).105 However, the mention of right and left nostrils also occurs in Šumma izbu in relation to the features of human foetuses: “If a woman gives birth, and (the child) has no left nostril; (the child) is endowed with happiness”.106 A similar nostril distinction occurs among symptoms observed in babies in Sa-gig: “If the air of an infant’s right ‘nostril’ gets cold and that of the left gets hot, ‘Hand’ of Lamaštu”.107

In general, the various omen series tend to focus on positive and negative omens, where the interpretation depended on different schemata such as right/left as favourable/unfavourable, and they frequently incorporate impossible phenomena.108 As such, they function as artificial constructs and cannot always be taken as representative of actual occurrences or their frequency. However, the focus on nostrils is noteworthy in connection to the discussion of infants and horses. Furthermore, infants appear generally to be nasal breathers like horses (Bergeson and Shaw 2001; see Section 5.2.2).

As discussed above, horses externalize their pain, such as that experienced by colic,109 especially through the facial features. Infants can also suffer from infantile colic (Hyman et al. 2006; Wessel et al. 1954), and among the symptoms are irritability, compulsive crying, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain.110 Interestingly, both horses and infants would have been unable to communicate their symptoms properly, and therefore other indicators were needed to diagnose the problems. Thus, breathing through the nose by horses and infants, or the lack of breathing (e.g., children screaming), was indicative of possible problematic physiological states.

Digestive problems, such as kīs libbi in horses, could be treated through their noses. In addition to the advantage of administering a potion to an animal that would otherwise not have imbibed it, there may be a metaphoric relationship between kīs libbi and the nose. As breath (or life) seems to be linked to the nose, this could explain why one could treat the physical and (in humans) emotional effects of kīs libbi via the flaring nostrils of a hose. The horse would look emotionally disturbed, which would add to the diagnosis of kīs libbi.

Regardless, it seems that knowledge about the function of the oesophagus and trachea was difficult to gain, and, by exposing Kiṣir-Aššur to these veterinarian as well as human treatments with pipettes, he would have learned about these physiological areas. An overlap may have existed between human and animal physiology in terms of the nose and breath. Kiṣir-Aššur could therefore have been introduced to the underlying physiological conceptions and the possible focus on the nose as a health indicator in animals and at least babies when he was šamallû ṣeḫru.

4.5 Summary

The manuscript RA 15 pl. 76 was examined due to its unexpected content, following the microhistoric approach seeking to solve such mysteries. The tablet illustrates that the treatments of snakebites and scorpion stings and veterinarian knowledge played a role in Kiṣir-Aššur’s education. Snake and scorpion venom were probably used for illustrating many bodily processes. The effects of potent venom would demonstrate most bodily functions to a student, and, as such, the concept was terrifying as well as an exemplar in relation to the human body. In general, snake and scorpion venom was used metaphorically to explain the power of various illnesses. As a result, various analogies and lexical overlaps existed between venom, bile in mammals, and saliva in relation to witchcraft. These overlaps drew on the power of venom to explain how these other fluids functioned to regulate and problematize various bodily processes.

Although veterinarian prescriptions appear infrequently, the city of Assur had several written traditions linked to knowledge about horses. Kiṣir-Aššur may have made use of these to treat animals. This chapter suggests that Kiṣir-Aššur used methods of treatment via the nose to acquire knowledge about human physiology from horses, as well as perhaps to treat ill animals himself. The overlap of some treatments and illnesses between animals and humans supports this proposal.

Human internal organs and processes were not properly understood in the ancient world, due to a lack of knowledge about the insides and a partial inability to use this knowledge in medical practice. It is therefore likely that animal physiology was occasionally used to explain human bodily processes. One aspect of basic bodily experience used was the relationship between the nose and breath in horses and children, who were unable to verbally communicate their symptoms. Furthermore, breathing through the nose indicated a healthy state for adults as well (see Ch. 4 notes 86–88). Kiṣir-Aššur’s treatments related to the nose would also have improved his understanding of the throat, lungs, and stomach during examination and healing, thereby improving his physiological understanding.


The word “scorpion” was frequently written with the Sumerogram GÍR.TAB, which could be translated as “the burning dagger” (patru ḫamāṭu), describing the painful sensation of being stung.


Several tablets in Šumma ālu were devoted to occurrences involving snakes (tablet 22–26) and scorpions (tablet 30–31) (Freedman 2006a; see Freedman 2006b for a commentary on the snake omens). Only fragments of Šumma ālu exist from N4 (KAL 1 no. 19, 35, 45, and 55; cf. the namburbi-rituals against snakes in Maul 1994: 270ff.). For a discussion of this series in Assur, see Heeßel 2007a: 2–10; cf. Freedman 1998: 322–23. Šumma ālu concerns everyday phenomena in the immediate environment of a man and his house (Koch 2015: 233ff. with a comprehensive overview; see also Guinan 2014: 117–18; Guinan 1996). However, a purely empirical basis for Šumma ālu seems unlikely (Rochberg 2011: 623–24).


See Labat 1951: 8–11. Snakes and scorpions were not the only creatures whose appearance was assessed during the diagnostic process.


Scorpions are observed in a number of “bed-scenes” under the marriage bed (Stol 2000: 118 and note 46 with references). A number of omens in Šumma ālu concern observing a scorpion on, e.g., a man’s bed (Freedman 2006a: 136–37 tablet 30 line 35’–36’). Scorpion incantations indicate the places in which scorpions were found (Foster 1996: 861): “It is green in the thornbush(?), it is silent in the sand, it is venomous in the brickmold”, wa-ru-uq i-na ba-aš-tim 8 ša-ḫur i-na ba-ṣí 9 im-ta i-šu i-na na-al-ba-ni (Pientka 2004: 389 and note 1; Nougayrol 1972: 141–42 obv. 7–9); CT 38 pl. 38 obv. 59 refers to a scorpion as the “wolf of the storeroom, lion of the larder” (Pientka 2004: 394; Foster 1996: 861; see also George 2016: 111ff.; Maul 1994: 344ff.; Caplice 1965: 121–23).


Šumma ālu (Freedman 2006a: 46) tablet 23 line 102–4 states: “If a snake gives birth in the asurrû of a man’s house: … (negative apodosis), 103 If a snake nests in the asurrû of a man’s house: … (negative apodosis), 104 If a woman catches a snake unaware in the asurrû and lets it go: … (positive apodosis)”; DIŠ MUŠ ina a-sur-re-e É NA ú-lid103 DIŠ MUŠ ina a-sur-re-e É NA NÁ-iṣ104 DIŠ MUŠ MUNUS ina a-sur-re-e ina la mu-de-e DAB-su-ma BAR-šú … (George 2015: 93 with further references; cf. George 2009: 156 no. 19 obv. 2–3: “The drain bore it” ú-ul-da-šu-ma! 3 a-sú-ru-um …). The asurrû can refer to either a “sewer” or the “wall footing” (George 2015: 99–102). Although the first millennium meaning seems to favour the latter, omen literature retains the original meaning (ibid.). Snakes were also associated with water and the underworld (Pientka-Hinz 2009: 217).


Snake charmers (mušlaḫḫu) were known at the NA court and are mentioned in Maqlû (Abusch 2015: 72–73 line 42, 132–33 line 94; Radner 2009: 223–24; Pientka-Hinz 2009: 214; CAD M/2: 276–77.). Foundation deposits with clay snakes are also known from 8th and 7th century Assur, (Pientka-Hinz 2009: 221 with references; Ismail 1982: 199 and fig. 3; Klengel-Brandt 1968 pl. 8). Various gods, such as Ereškigal and Ningišzida, are associated with mythological beings, which are part snake or viper (e.g., mušḫuššu, bašmu) (Pientka-Hinz 2009: 215). Furthermore, both the constellations “scorpion” (MUL GÍR.TAB) and “snake” (MUL dMUŠ) are mentioned in the astrological compendium Mul-apin (see “scorpion” and “snake” in Watson and Horowitz 2011; Hunger and Pingree 1999; Koch 1995; Hunger and Pingree 1989; see also Hallo 2008: 238).


Böck 2009c: 270–72; Stol 2000: 10 and note 59. Snakes may have been related to fertility or youth on the basis of their “renewal” when shedding their skin (Pientka-Hinz 2009: 216; see George 2003: 722–23 lines 305–6). It is noteworthy that the snake who steals Gilgameš’ plant of life smells the plant. Concerning smell and life, see Ch. 4 note 88.


Zernecke 2008; Stol 2000: 118; Prechel 1996; van der Toorn 1996: 173; van Buren 1937–39. A number of bed scenes also display a scorpion underneath the bed, probably referring to the couple’s married aspect (Winter 2012: 355). The scorpion was also the symbol of the palace women in the NA palaces, and it can be found on various objects excavated in these (Melville 2004: 50–51; Ornan 2002: 470–71). Their relationship to motherhood is clear from the fact that they carry their young around on their back after birth (Pientka 2004: 396–97). The NA queen Ḫamâ’s seal likely features Gula and her dog, with a scorpion behind the goddess (Hussein 2016 pl. 133a; see also the articles in Curtis et al. 2008 concerning the royal queens’ tombs in Nimrud). Occasionally, the false mother Lamaštu is depicted with a scorpion beneath her legs (Wiggermann 2000: 234).


See the tablet published by Nougayrol (1972: 141) with a drawing of a scorpion. It is unclear if the writer had observed a scorpion up close.


Pientka 2004: 395; Landsberger 1962: 7–9, 39–40. See also Landsberger 1934: 45–46, 54ff.


Habeeb and Rastegar-Pouyani 2016: 72–73; Harkins 2012; Warrell 1995: 435–38, 450, 454–55. During an excavation in the 1950s in northeastern Iraq, a group collected several venomous snakes, e.g., Eastern Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulana insignitus) and Desert Cobra (Walterinnesia aegyptia) (Reed and Marx 1959: 114).


See Chippaux and Goyffon 2008: 72; Shalita and Wells 2007; Fet et al. 2000: 72–73, 155–57; Lucas and Meier 1995: 212–13; see also Gilbert 2002: 41–42. In the Al-Anbar province in 2009, various snakes and scorpions, including both the Deathstalker and Fattail Scorpion, were observed (Fadhil et al. 2009: 38).


E.g., in relation to the illness maškadu: “It took half the venom of the snake (and) it took half the venom of the scorpion”, BAM 124 col. iv 14: mi-šil im-ti šá MUŠ il-qé mi-šil im-ti šá GÍR.TAB il-qé. Other examples include Lamaštu’s venom, which is occasionally described in a similar manner (Farber 2014: 156–57 line 127; Pientka 2004: 399).


E.g., Böck 2007: 266–67, 299.


Arbøll 2018b: 269–70; Abusch 2016: 169–70, 263, 350; Cavigneaux 1999b: 258–59; Cooper 1996.


This relationship between venom and its connection to potency may have influenced the reasoning behind the following medication: “If a man is ill at his testicle(s), you crush a dried scorpion, you drink it in beer and he will live”; BAM 396 col. iv 13–14: DIŠ NA ŠIR-šú GIG GÍR.TAB ḪÁD.DU ta-sàk 14 ina KAŠ NAG-ma i-ne-eš; or “If a man [is ill] at his testicle(s), you soak a living scorpion <in> a hardened vessel with oil …”; BAM 396 col. iv 15: DIŠ NA ina ŠIR x?⌉ GÍR.TAB TI.LA <ina> DUG.KAL Ì.GIŠ DIR (Scurlock 2014: 544–46; Pientka 2004: 400 and note 85–86).


Although this symptom mainly occurs in “older” children (Sofer et al. 1994: 976), it is also attested in adults in relation to scorpion stings from, e.g., the Fattail Scorpion (Bawaskar and Bawaskar 2012: 49).


Wee (2012: 253–55) and Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 696 note 261, 728 note 29) have criticized the use of lexical lists as sources for establishing connections between illnesses, as they mainly group illnesses together based on “logographic rather than pragmatic affinities” (Wee 2012: 254–55). However, Wee (ibid.: 329) himself saw a use of certain lexical material in commentaries, and Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 693, note 195, 728 note 29) stated that some illnesses associated in writing also shared symptoms. Regardless, interpretation was likely a central undertaking in understanding the scholarly written traditions, and, e.g., lexical lists and commentaries could be used to interpret omens (Frahm 2010a: 97–99; see also Veldhuis 2014: 19–23).


CMAwR 1: 195; Geller 2010: 152; references can be found in CAD I–J: 139.


The examples from Assur are exercise tablets with extracts, Civil 2004: 104–5. For Diri, see Veldhuis 2014: 182–87.


Köcher cites the fourth tablet of Uruanna line 25: “Wenn jemand durch Geifer/Gift (von Dämonen/Schlangen etc.) (imtu) krank wird, so leidet er an der Galle (martu)” (Köcher 1978: 35–36 note 59).


Malku tablet VIII line 124: imtu : martu (Hrůša 2010: 144).


Although lexical evidence is regularly criticized as a source for conception rather than groupings according to similarities in Sumerograms, the fact that all the terms quoted above could be read from the same Sumerogram indicates that these terms were related concepts (see Ch. 4 note 18).


In addition to butchers noticing bile during the removal of the liver and the gallbladder from butchered animals, inspections connected to extispicy noted whether or not the gallbladder was intact and if bile flowed from it (Koch 2000: 514 with textual references; Meyer 1987: 143–44).


This overlap occurs particularly because of the shared yellow-green colour, which in Akkadian is the same word ((w)arqu, SIG₇). Jaundice can cause yellow discolouration of the eyes, base of the tongue, and skin, and bile is naturally yellow-green. Furthermore, gall-bladder disorder can result in miscoloured stools and urine. The two common terms for jaundice are aḫḫāzu “catcher-(demon)” from aḫāzu “to seize, hold a person” and amurriqānu from warāqu “to be yellow-green”. For these illnesses and associations in cuneiform medicine and incantations, see Böck 2014a: 74, 122–28, 138–39; Scurlock 2014: 522–23; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 32–34, 136–38; Cadelli 2000: 66, 196–98, 373; Velduis 1999: 37–38; Michalowski 1981; Alster and van Dijk 1972.


See also Arbøll forthcoming; Böck 2014a: 107–110. Water was related to the process of creation and birth (Stol 2000: 4–6, 62, 125–26; cf. the beginning of Enūma eliš in Lambert 2013: 50ff.), and the connection between jaundice and bile – the latter as a regulator of water – may have been linked to the fact that infants, i.e., the product of creation and birth, regularly suffered from jaundice. For the connection between bile and stomach pains, see Steinert and Vacín 2018; George 2016: 132ff. as well as Lambert and Millard 1969: 92–93 line 47: “For his heart was broken and he was vomiting gall”, ḫe-pí-i-ma li-ib-ba-šu i-ma-aʾ ma-ar-ta-am. Bile was also related to “burning” ḫamāṭu, as evidenced by Malku tablet 4 line 54: ḫa-mi-ṭa-at lìb-bi = mar-tú “that which burns in the inside of the body = bile” (Hrůša 2010: 94–95; CAD Ḫ: 65).


The OB incantation UET 5 no. 85 obv. 1–10: i-za-an-na-an 2 ki-ma ša-me-e 3 el-li-at 4 dPIRIG-AB-GAL 5 el-li-tu-šu 6 ki-ma še-li-pí-im 7 li-i-r[i-iq] 8 i-na a!-wu-ri-[qá-nim] 9 ši-pa-a-a[t] 10 a-wu-ri-qá-n[i]m, “Nergal’s saliva pours down like rain, may his spittle become yellow as a turtle because of jaundice. Incantation against awurriqānu-jaundice” (Veldhuis 1999: 37–38; Landsberger and Jacobsen 1955: 14 note 7; CAD I–J: 85).


See Böck 2014a: 123; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 137; Köcher 1978: 36; Labat and Tournay 1945–46: 117. Pašittu etymologically means “the destroyer, eraser” (CAD P: 249; Böck 2014a: 123–24 and note 99; Scurlock 2014: 522). Böck (2014a: 123) translates the malady as “bile liquid” (cf. CAD P: 256–57). Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 137) identified pašittu as “cholecystitis”. Köcher (1978: 36) translated pašittu as “Gallenblasenkolik”. Labat and Tournay (1945–46: 115) translate “de regurgitations bilieuses” (see Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 704 note 119). Meier (1939: 302) translated pašittu as “Gallenflüssigkeit”. See also Cadelli 2000: 343, 379; Wiggermann 2000: 225 note 44.


See examples in Böck 2014a: 123–24; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 137. The illness is featured several times in the second column of the 3rd tablet of the suālu subsection of the therapeutic series Ugu (Cadelli 2000: 62–63). Pašittu is observed in the LB SpTU I no. 43 obv. 11, read by Geller as: KI.MIN MIN pa-šit-t[u₄] mar-tu₄ “ditto, ditto (‘from the mouth of the karšu’ (pylorus?)) : pašittu, the daughter” (Geller 2014: 3 with references). Neither Köcher (1978: 24), Heeßel (2010b: 30), Böck (2014a: 124) nor Steinert (2016: 231) read the MÍ and therefore read “Gallensaft, Gallenblase(nkrankheit)”. However, at least the copy indicates that the MÍ was present, and the question is how to interpret it. If we follow Geller’s transliteration, mar-tu₄, it could be a reference to “daughter”, indicating pašittu was “the daughter”, i.e., like Lamaštu (see Wiggermann 2000: 225–26). Or perhaps the illness was considered the daughter of Lamaštu, i.e., an associative symptom/demon? Notably, Lamaštu is mentioned directly above in the text in obv. 10 (Geller 2014: 3).


In Atra-ḫasīs pašittu is described as follows: “Let there be among the peoples the Pāšittu-demon, to snatch the baby from the lap of her who bore it” (Lambert and Millard 1969: 102–3), vii 3’–5’: li-ib-ši-ma i-na ni-ši pa-ši-it-tu 4’ li-iṣ-ba-at še-er-ra 5’ i-na bi-ir-ku a-li-it-ti. This role was traditionally Lamaštu’s (Farber 2014: 1–7; Wiggermann 2000: 236ff.). Wiggermann (2000: 238) provides an explanation for Lamaštu’s mythological and pathogenic roles wherein she is a (frustrated) mother (ummu) and rejected daughter (martu) of Anu who causes fever (ummu) and bile (martu).


Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 137; CAD P: 256. Note also “pašittu of blood” pašittu ša dāmu in Böck 2007: 224 ms A (pl. 28–29) col. i 17’–18’, which is the Akkadian translation of the Sumerian ZÚ.MUŠ.Ì.GU₇.E.ÚŠ.


I read the Sumerogram as ZÚ.MUŠ “snakebite” (for ZÚ as “bite”, see Appendix 2), Ì “oil”, and GU₇.E “hurtful” (cf. SA.GU₇.E = ekketu “scratching”, Böck 2014a: 29; CAD E: 69). Labat and Tournay (1945–46: 117) analyzed the Sumerogram differently, and saw it as a reference to an attack on the dental nerves (Cf. Köcher 1978: 36). Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 704 note 119) agree with “snake bite” for ZÚ.MUŠ, and see the Sumerogram as “a reference to the quality of the pain”. Cf. Böck’s discussions of the image of the snake spitting venom in relation to bile to express fury and anger (Böck 2014a: 126 and note 108 with references).


GCBC 766 obv. 4: pa-šit-tú im-tú : pa-šit-tú šá mar-tú ú-kul-lu, see Jiménez 2015 with further references and discussions concerning this tablet. Jiménez reads the entry differently as: “The ‘poisonous pāšittu-demon’ means ‘the pāšittu-demon that holds bile’”.


Obv. 1: [DIŠ] NA a-šá-a pa-šit-tú u lu-ba-ṭi GIG.


CMAwR 1: 4. However, note that such references were more frequently written UŠ₇ or UŠ₁₁. The sign UŠ₁₁ was also equated with imtu “venom” in bilingual incantations and the phrase imat marti “venomous bile” could therefore be understood as “spittle mixed with bile” (ibid.: 195).


CMAwR 1: 4. Note the 1st tablet of Atra-ḫasīs lines 231–34 in connection to the creation of man: “After she had mixed that clay, she summoned the Anunnaki, the great gods. The Igigi, the great gods, spat upon the clay …”, iš-tu-ma ib-lu-la ṭi-ṭa ša-ti⌉ 232 is-si da-nun-na i-li ra-bu-ti⌉ 233 di-gi-gu i-lu ra-bu-tum 234 ru-uʾ-tam id-du-ú e-lu ṭi-iṭ-ṭi (Lambert and Millard 1969: 58–59). However, saliva’s use in healing rituals appears to be limited (Schwemer 2007a: 18 note 60).


BAM 201 obv. 29’: … KI ÚḪ-šú ÚŠ u LUGUD Š[UB!.ŠUB?]; RA 40 pl. 116 obv. 9: … ÚḪ TUKU-ši. Note the alternative ingredient in BAM 201 rev. 41: ÚḪ dÍD ina A NAG.


Wu 2001: 34. However, note the description of the asakku-demon in Lugal-e, which also references a scorpion attack, in line 172: “he drips the (venomous) water (or saliva?) over his side”, a da-bi-a mu-un-sur-sur-re (ibid.: 42; van Dijk 1983: 73). For nīlu, see Stol 2000: 4–5.


See Stol 2011: 379–80 with references; CAD A/2: 347e. CAD attests to specialized asûs in the 3rd millennium BCE, as well as in the OB and NB periods. The only NA example stems from the annals of Esarhaddon. A broken list of deportees mentions the word munaʾʾišu,“veterinarian” (CAD M/2: 199) or “animal surgeon” (CDA: 216); a participle derived from the otherwise unattested D-stem of the root nêšu “to live” (cf. Stol 2011: 379; Borger 1967: 114 section 80 col. i 10’). The word is attested in the lexical series Lu I as: A.ZU ANŠE = mu-na-ʾi-i-šú (see CAD M/2: 199 for further references). Maul (2013: 18) considered the knowledge of the unknown “Pferdedoktoren” to be so important that it was included in the written human healing texts. In general, there may occasionally be an overlap in terminology. The asû Ur-Lugaledena from Lagaš (ca. 2100) was described as asû even though he was dedicated to Šakkan and his seal features equipment for the birth of cattle (Stol 2011: 379). In OB Mari, references to asûtu, the craft of the asû, may describe veterinarian praxis (ibid.: 379 and note 120 with references).


Animals were occasionally used for comparison in the physiognomic omens (Böck 2000: 40 with references).


McCabe 2007: 4, 6, 15, 42–43, 144–145, 276, 278.


A study of the Akkadian loanwords in the Ugaritic hippiatric texts suggests that these drew on Akkadian material as well (Watson 2004).


E.g., Stadhouders 2012: 3 §15’; Stadhouders 2011: 8 §15’.


Pedersén 1985 M1 and M2; Ebeling 1951. These MA texts were perhaps associated with similar Hittite texts (cf. Ebeling 1951: 58–60; Cohen and Sivan 1983: 2 note 6; Stol 2011: 373–74 and notes 78–80 for references; Maul 2013: 17).


Ebeling 1951: 11, ms A rev. 4’–6’: [x (x) x] 2-ú x x 30?⌉ x? šu-[…] 5’ [ŠU px-(x)-x]-ki-ni su-sa-ni DUMU […] 6’ ša pi-i li-[…]; cf. Stol 2011: 373–74 and note 76.


The commentary VAT 9426 is perhaps younger than the MA texts (Ebeling 1951: 6).


AMC line 121: “If horses in the stable [… are] reduced (and) there [is] an epidemic”, šúm-mu ANŠE.KUR.RA.MEŠ ina tar-[ba-ṣi … T]UR? BAD-a-nu G[ÁL.MEŠ]; see Steinert 2018c: 181; Steinert 2018d: 276–277.


Maul 2013: 19 and note 25; KAR 44 rev. 24, see Ch. 4 note 60.


Maul 2013: 18–19 and notes 19 and 26 with references ; Caplice 1970: 118–23. Lines 1–2: a-na di-iʾ-ḫu šib-ṭi NAM.ÚŠ.MEŠ a-na AN[ŠE.KUR.RA u] 2 ERÉN.ḪI.A LUGAL NU TE-e


Caplice 1970: 119, 121 line 27: “You have the king recite ‘Lord, the strong one of all the great gods’”, UMUN.E GÌR.RA DÌM.ME.ER.GAL.GAL.E.NE ANA LUGAL tu-šad-ba-ab. Caplice 1970: 120, 123 line 65: “(and) anger (of the gods) will not approach the king’s horses (and) camp, and …”, ug-ga-tua-na ANŠE.KUR.RA.MEŠ KARAŠ LUGAL NU TE-ḫi-ma


Caplice 1970: 120, 123 line 60: “… You [place] (the pouch) on the necks of the horses”, … ina GÚ ANŠE.KUR.RA ta-[šak-kan]. Amulet stones for the king’s and royalty’s chariots are also mentioned in other exorcistic texts (Schuster-Brandis 2008: 354–56; cf. Maul 2013: 18–19 and note 21–23 with references). Such stones were also included in a newly built trough area in connection to Sennacherib’s new ekal māšarti in Nineveh, as listed on an inscription from an inscribed trough (MacGinnis 1989: 189). See also Nadali and Verderame 2014.


The MA copy VAT 10035 (= ms A) was copied by an āšipu (Maul 2013: 19).


Maul (2013: 20–21) also noted several Assyrianisms in the later copies.


Jean 2006: 176, Ass. 10804 = VAT 20401 rev. 8–10: ANŠE NÍTAḪ ša gišBAN 9 p.dPA-ga?-mil MAŠ.MAŠ 10 x x TI x [x].


Found in Assur (Schroeder 1920 no. 31–38, 131–132; Pedersén 1985: 30 note 7) and Nimrud (Dalley and Postgate 1984: texts nos. 85, 98–118; Maul 2013: 17), perhaps to be dated to Sargon’s reign (Dalley and Postgate 1984: 18–20).


High-ranking members of society occasionally made deliveries of equines to the army (Jean 2006: 176, 183).


Kiṣir-Aššur may later have been connected to the Aššur temple, as attested by his title mašmaš bīt Aššur (see Section 8.1). For exorcists in connection to horses, see also a prescription utilizing horse sweat in Básckay 2018: 99, 106; Scurlock 2014: 413, 416. The text SAA 16 no. 70 concerns a horse that is possibly ill. A sales document of a field from 742 BCE excavated in the N24 archive in Assur demands that should any of the selling party’s family members file a lawsuit, they shall make various payments and “tie two white horses at the feet of (the statue of) Aššur” (Deller et al. 1995: 126–28 no. 136; see May 2018: 73–74 and note 91).


See Section 3.5.2.


However, note that animal symptoms resulting from envenomation may differ from human reactions (Al-Asmari and Al-Saif 2003: 65).


Bites, stings, and veterinary prescriptions appear late in the AMC lines 76–78: [… N]A! ⌈MUŠ iš-šuk-š[u] 77 … Ú.ḪI.A ša BÚR ša ni-šik MUŠ⌉ 78 [UR.GI₇] lu?⌉ [… zi-q]it GÍR.TAB SÌG-iṣ …; and lines 121–22: šúm-mu ANŠE.KUR.RA.MEŠ ina tar-[ba-ṣi … T]UR? BAD-a-nu G[ÁL.MEŠ] 120 1 DUB ša! ANŠE.KUR.RA.[MEŠ u] ša GU₄.M[EŠ]. The EM refers to symptoms and cleansing of the domesticated animal abodes, KAR 44 rev. 24: “To purify the pen of cows, bulls and sheep (and) horses”, TÙR ÁB.GU₄ḪI.A u U₈.UDU.ḪI.A ANŠE.KUR.RA SIKIL.E.DÈ.


Stol (2011: 380–81) defines an ill animal by its inability to perform its duties, but he also discusses defects described in the omen series Šumma izbu, liver omens, injuries inflicted on animals by their owner or others, as well as various defects inflicted on animals by humans.


Ur₅-ra tablet 13 (MSL 8/1: 10, 12) line 44: UDU.GAG.ŠUB.BA = šá sik-[ka-ti]; lines 57–60: UDU.[SA].AD.NIM = ditto sa-ma-nu 58 UDU.[S]A.AD.NIM = ditto ra-pa-du 59 UDU.[S]A.AD.GAL = ditto šá-áš-šá-ṭu 60 UDU.[SA].AD.GAL = ditto ra-pa-du. Utukku-demons and samānu were considered deadly for livestock (Geller 2016: 43, 234–35; Stol 2011: 382 and note 138). Sheep-sikkatu was treated with incantations in the OB period (YOS 11 no. 7 obv. 17: KA.INIM.MA UDU.GAG.ŠUB.BA; Stol 2011: 385 and notes 159, 161 and 163–64; see also YOS 11: 45 and no. 69). Perhaps related to sheep-šaššaṭu is a type of vertigo and paralysis (Stol 2011: 384 and note 158; Sjöberg 1973: 114, 119 lines 166–67: udu sag-nigin lú-al-dib-ba 167 é-gar₈ šu-ur₄-a …).


Ur₅-ra tablet 13 line 42 and 339b refers to UDU.ÍB.GIG “Sheep ill hip(s)” and ÁB.ÍB.GIG “Cow ill hip(s)” (MSL 8/1: 10, 48; Stol 2011: 385–86 notes 165–166).


Oppenheim and Hartman 1945: 158–59 lines 42–46: UDU.<ÍB>.GIG : šá qab-lu maḫ-ḫa 43 UDU.<ŠÀ>.SUR : šá nis-[ḫu] 44 [UDU.GA]G.ŠUB.BA : šá sik-[x-x] 45 UDU.GA(!)].ŠUB.BA : šá ga-ra-bi 46 [UDU.UR₅].ŠUB.BA : šá ḫa-še!-e. Sheep garābu was perhaps called girriṣānu (see CAD G: 90a; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 232, 722 note 127).


Stol 2011: 384; CAD R: 191a. It was perhaps related to the human skin illness raʾšānu, which typically afflicted the head (Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 244–45).


Possibly a variant of “itching” (SA.GU₇.E) named SU.GU₇ MÁŠ.ANŠE (Kinnier Wilson 1962: 59).


Gods could “touch” (lapātu), “hit” (maḫāṣu), and “devour” (akālu), see Salin 2015; Stol 2011: 382 and note 136; van der Toorn 1985: 71.


An example of this from OB Mari is perhaps quoted by Stol (2011: 382 note 134). Omens could designate the outbreak (miqittu) of an epidemic among the owner’s animals (e.g., Böck 2000: 300–301 line 57), adding misfortune to the man. CAD (M/2: 100) lists miqittu as “downfall, misfortune, epidemic, death”. Therefore, the misfortune of a man is an epidemic among his animals.


Some zoonotic diseases must have existed (e.g., rabies, see Wu 2001; perhaps maškadu, see Wasserman 2012; cf. Arbøll 2018a).


Codex Ḫammurabi paragraph 266: “If, in the enclosure (tarbaṣim), an epidemic (lipit ilim) should break out …” (see also paragraph 267; Roth 1995: 130; cf. Stol 2011: 381–82, 385–86 note 165; Maul 1994: 193 lines 14–17). Note a namburbi-ritual for protecting the king’s horses and troops (Caplice 1970: 118f.; cf. Stol 2011: 383 and note 141). See also the so-called “heart-grass” incantation (George 2016: 129–32; Veldhuis 1990).


AMC line 121–22; see Ch. 4 note 60.


KAR 44 rev. 24; see Ch. 4 note 60. One incantation related to these purifications is INIM.INIM.MA TÙR.ANŠE.KUR.RA SIKIL.E.DA.KAM (Tsukimoto 1985: 178–83; see Stol 2011: 377 and note 104 with further references). For magic against field pests, see George 1999.


E.g., Stadhouders 2012: 3 §15’, 12 §10’; Stadhouders 2011: 8 ms A §15’, 26–27 ms C §10’; Stol 2011: 393, discussion of CT 14 pl. 41 (= Rm. 362).


Cattle were part of the family in the OB period and were given names (Postgate 1992: 164 and note 254 with further rerences). Horses were also valuable in the NA period (Radner 1997: 305–6).


E.g., Stol 2006; Foster 2002; Scurlock 2002a; Watanabe 2002.


Steinert 2016: 205–9 and note 32–33 with references; Westenholz 2010; Stol 2006; Geller 2004; Attia 2000.


CAD L: 164; Böck 2014a: 103–4, 106, 111–19; Böck 2014b: 101–105, 111–19; Geller 2007a: 189; Stol 2006: 103.


Geller 2010: 21–22; Westenholz 2010: 9–14; Stol 2006: 103; Cadelli 2000: 290; Attia 2000: 49. As shown in the following section, incantations and treatments used by exorcists referred to specific anatomical parts of animals. Whether such knowledge was derived visually and orally from butchers, from lexical lists (e.g., Steinert 2016: 199 and notes 13–14 with references; Couto Ferreira 2009; Westenholz and Sigrist 2008; Stol 2006; Landsberger 1967), or the knowledge of the bārû is unknown. A connection between āšipu and bārû in which such knowledge could have been shared is only rarely visible, but for example an exorcist named Banūnu from Nimrud owned texts consisting of tamītu-prayers, which typically are considered part of the bārû’s work (Koch unpublished: 10 and note 57; Koch 2015: 125–27; Lambert 2007 no. 1 and 2). For extispicy in relation to anatomy, see, e.g., Wyplosz 2006; Glassner 2005; Koch 2000: 43ff.; Starr 1990: XXXIXLV; see also Cohen 2016. While campaigning, many wounds were probably treated ad hoc, see Esarhaddon’s succession treaty line 643–45 (SAA 2 no. 6). Several reliefs and NA royal annals illustrate that the soldiers of conquered cities in the 7th century were occasionally flayed (e.g., Grayson and Novotny 2012: 15–16) and hung on stakes surrounding the city (e.g., Leichty 2011: 83). Anyone interested in anatomy would have had a chance to inspect the human body in these cases. For a discussion of experts accompanying the Assyrian army on campaigns, see Nadali and Verderame 2014. Wee (2012: 5) makes a strong case that little could be learned from repeated human dissection that could not be learned from animal dissection (see also Geller 2010: 3–4, 22).


Cf. Stol 2006: 105–6; Starr 1983: 91–93; Cadelli 2000: 297 note 57–58. KAR 165 obv. 9–12 (partial duplicate BM 76986): ik-kal im-mer-tú-ma i-ʾa-ra-m[a(?)] 10 pu-u a-na kar-ši kar-ši a-na ri-q[í-ti] 11 ri-qí-tu a-na ár-kàt i-nam-[din] 12 i-ma-qut A.GAR.GAR-ma Ú.KI.KAL i-ma-ḫar; see CAD A/2: 275; CAD R: 367. Stol (2006: 105) reads i-ʾa-ra as a verbal form from the root âru translating “it advances to”. I understand it as a form of arû “to vomit”, as this makes sense in the context of ruminants “regurgitating” (cf. Cadelli 2000: 335–37). It was also translated as “vomit” by Scurlock and Andersen (2005: 117 no. 6.3). However, arû verbal forms usually end in u and rarely note the first weak root in writing (cf. CAD A/2: 316).


Although the bārû’s knowledge of the insides of sheep is typically not part of the āšipu’s knowledge, there may be indications of an overlap of some anatomical knowledge. In particular, karšu is also mentioned as cuts of meat for consumption (see Stol 2006: 106 note 13, 107; Bottéro 1995: 31, 205). The karšu– perhaps designating the entire stomach of ruminants – was offered to the Aššur temple (SAA 7 no. 188–90, 192–94, 197–98, 200–201, 203, 206–213, 216, 219). Thus, these cuts were not known exclusively to divinatory experts. That, e.g., the karšu was also known outside of specialist spheres is evident from the reference of a kitchen technique called “contorting (zâru) the rumen (karšu)” (Stol 2006: 107 note 25; Bottéro 1995: 46, edition of YOS 11 no. 25 line 41: ši-i-tum ka-ar-šu tu-li-mu-ú ta-za-ar-ma). For the relationship between medicine and cooking, see Worthington 2003: 10–11.


The kukudrum is attested once in a medical context (Stol 2006: 107 and note 23). Several hemerologies prohibit eating dates on certain days or “he will be sick of the riqītu” (Stol 2006: 106 and note 15; see AMT 6,6 line 6 and CT 51 pl. 161 rev. 20).


CAD K: 223–25; Stol 2006: 106; Cadelli 2000: 297; Köcher 1978: 23–24). The term is attested in Šumma izbu, but here it is an organ or part thereof (Cadelli 2000: 298 and note 62; Leichty 1970: 163 tablet 16 line 49’).


See Steinert 2016: 231–32, 235–36; Geller 2014: 3; Heeßel 2010b: 30–31; Cadelli 2000: 298 note 65; Köcher 1978: 23–24.


SpTU I no. 43; Steinert 2016: 230–32; Geller 2014: 3–9; Heeßel 2010b: 30–31.


Several aspects of animals and humans were compared, such as physiology, sexuality, reproduction, family, children, and death (Steinert 2012: 22–25). Animals, however, did not have ghosts (eṭemmu) (Cooper 2009: 25–26), or intellectual abilities (Steinert 2012: 25 and notes 19–21). The ancient Mesopotamians were therefore aware of differences between humans and animals, although the anatomical and physiological similarities seem to have enabled an overlap. Note a mystical text in which various animals are described as the ghosts of various gods (Livingstone 1986: 83).


Although a major problem in these analyses concern the Sumerogram for nose (KIR₄) and mouth (KA), which are written with the same cuneiform sign and are therefore identical (see for example a discussion of how to transliterate the sign in Wee 2012: 174 note 120 and 176 note 125 with references). Nonetheless, e.g., SAA 10 no. 322 states that placing tampons in the openings of the nostrils (naḫīru) “will cut off the breath” (rev. 15–16: šá-a-ru 17 i-ka-si-ir). Furthermore, several diagnoses refer specifically to the nostrils (naḫīru) or write “nose” phonetically (ap-pa-šú), making the examples less ambiguous (Wee 2012: 459–60 and note 66). A LB commentary also clarifies in one example that the reading is KIR₄ and not KA (ibid.: 710). Therefore, it seems that nostrils were associated with breath in general, at least in a relaxed state. The phrase napīš KIR₄-šú DUGUD “breathing of his nose is difficult” (ibid.: 711 note 3’) indirectly demonstrates this as well. Stol (2000: 198) noted a distinction in relation to fluids from KA (nadû “thrown, ejected”) or KIR₄ (alāku “flow”). In the OB recension of the Gilgameš Epic, Enkidu’s wake lasts seven days and nights “until a maggot dropped from his nostril” (George 2003: 278–79 col. ii 9’: a-di tu-ul-tum im-qú-tam i-na ap-pi-šu, 680–81, 686–87, 692–93).


Etymologically, napištu is derived from napāšu “to breathe freely, to rest, to expand, to become abundant” (CAD N/1: 288).


See Steinert 2012: 275 and note 19. Sa-gig tablet 6 was concerned with the nose and nostrils, and herein we find that a blocked nose with breath coming out the mouth or breath violently drawn from the nose leads to death (Scurlock 2014: 53; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 590–92; TDP: 56 lines 33–36’). See TDP: 84 lines 30–31: DIŠ ZI-šú GU₄.UD.ME u ŠÀ.MEŠ-šú it-te-nen-bi-ṭu GAM 31 DIŠ ZI-šú GU₄.UD.ME u SA.MEŠ-šú šap-ku GAM DIŠ ZI-šú i-tar-rak-ma qit-ru-bat [G]AM, “If his breath becomes rapid (lit.: jumps) and his insides are continually cramped, he will die. If his breath becomes rapid (lit.: jumps) and his ‘strings’ are tense, he will die. If his breath throbs and comes closely spaced, he will [d]ie” (Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 340). TDP: 54 line 4b: DIŠ KIR₄-šú BAD.BAD-ir GAM “if his nose is completely blocked off, he will die” and TDP: 82 line 24: DIŠ … PA.AN.BI ina KIR₄-šú DAB.DAB GIG BI NU DIN “if … his breath is ‘seized’ in his nose, that patient will not get well” (Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 537). TDP: 56 line 32 may read: DIŠ IM KIR₄-šú ina KA-šú È-a … “If his breath (šār appi) is ‘seized’ in his mouth …”.


In prescriptions, “heavy” (kabātu/DUGUD) could describe both the nose and mouth due to the reading of the Sumerogram, see Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 206 no. 9.118 with references. Note Sa-gig tablet 3 line 63: “his breath is seized in his nose so that he makes his breath go out through his mouth, it will make death mount to this throat […], na-pi-is-su ina KIR₄-šú DIB-ma ina KA-šú GARZA uš-ti-ṣi mu-tim ana ZI-šú ú-šel-la-a x x […] (Scurlock 2014: 15, 21; Labat 1951: 24 line 54).


KAR 44 obv. 18: ÚŠ.KIR₄.KU₅.DA BURU₈.KU₅.RU.DA du-ga-nu GIG u ŠÀ.SUR.KU₅.RU.DA qa-na ši-ta-šú. For such treatments, see Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 207, 539.


The epiglottis is located around the uppermost part of the larynx. Note Sa-gig tablet 9 line 62: “If … his breaths have become short (and) his breath constantly enters his throat as if he were thirsting for water …”, DIŠ … ZI.ME-šú LÚGUD.MEŠ ZI-šú GIM šá A ṣa-mu-ú i-te-ner-ru-ub … (Scurlock 2014: 68, 71; Labat 1951: 76). Here breath and water goes down the throat. In RA 40 pl. 116 obv. 8, we find the description “windpipe” (GI.GÍD MUR.MEŠ-šú; CAD E: 137–38), which may attest to the knowledge that the trachea differed from the oesophagus in the throat, although this description of the “windpipe” is mainly attested in connection to coughs (CAD E: 138).


Wee 2012: 468–69 note 76. Note the NA letter ABL 771 obv. 6–7 in which the king places a “Plant of Life” at the nostrils (Selz 2014: 658).


Böck 2014a: 36–37 and notes 148 and 150, p. 152; Geller 2010: 94–95; Cadelli 2000: 345–46. Winds could also be indicative of good or bad fortune in relation to astrological omens, see Rochberg 1988: 57–60. The female south wind had an evil aspect, and was associated with, e.g., the alû-demon, Lamaštu, and lilû spirits (Wiggermann 2007a: 134–35; Wiggermann 2000: 227–28, 242; see Jacobsen 1989: 271–73). Incidentally, Pazuzu was linked with a positive aspect of wind and became an apotropaic protector against such forces (Wiggermann 2007a: 134ff.; Heeßel 2002a: 1–3, 66–69, 84–85, 88–89). See also Wiggermann 2007a: 130; Izre’el 2001: 38 lines 15’–16’, 69 note 18, 145–46. I have not had access to Jiménez’ unpublished PhD on The Winds in Cuneiform Literature.


CAD B: 350–51; Böck 2014a: 157–58; Scurlock 2014: 389ff.; Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 40–42, 413–14; Collins 1999: 90, 185–99; Kämmerer 1995: 157; Kinnier Wilson 1966: 51–55. The incantations against buʾšānu differentiate one additional area of the throat, occasionally defined as “soft”, called the nurzu (see CAD N/2: 351). It is unclear if “cutting-of-the-throat” zikurudû (ZÍ.KU₅.RU.DA) magic could affect a victim’s ability to breathe or use the throat (CMAwR 1: 3, 199; Abusch 2008: 64–65; Schwemer 2007a: 63–64, 100–101; cf. Geller 2007a: 197–99).


BAM 543 col. i 61’: DIŠ NA KA-šú u na-ḫi-ri-šú bu-ʾ-šá-nu DAB …; col. i 66’: DIŠ KI.MIN …


AMT 54,1 obv. 8: DIŠ NA MUR.MEŠ GIG …


RA 40 pl. 116 obv. 8–9: DIŠ NA su-alu ši-ḫi GIG-ma GI.GÍD MUR.MEŠ-šú 9 IM SA₅! ú-sa-al ú-gan-na-aḫ ÚḪ TUKU-ši.


BAM 3 col. i 37: DIŠ NA a-šu-ú DAB-su …; col. i 40: DIŠ NA a-šu-ú DAB-su … (cf. BAM 497 col. ii 14; BAM 500 col. i 1). See Fincke 2000: 102 and note 804. Cf. BAM 35 col. i 20: KI.MIN relating to the illness in col. i 15’.


Suālu has its seat “between the lungs”, birīt ḫašê, whereas buʾšānu has its seat in the “windpipe” ebbūb ḫašê (Cadelli 2000: 386; Collins 1999: 185–88, 260–61).


Stol 2006: 104–5 with examples. This was perhaps connected to the presence of “phlegm, foam” rupuštu (ÚḪ) in relation to certain lung and epigastric illnesses, which were associated with witchcraft (CMAwR 1: 4; see also Geller 2010: 149–50; Geller 2007a: 196 note 36).


However, only divine beings received offerings like this. Lambert and Millard 1969: 98–99, 3rd tablet col. iv 34–36: “[The gods sniffed] the smell, they gathered [like flies] over the offering. [After] they had eaten the offering …”, [i-ṣi-nu i-l]u e-re-ša 35 [ki-ma zu-ub-b]i e-lu ni-qí-i pa-aḫ-ru 36 [iš-tu-m]a i-ku-lu ni-qí-a-am (see Foster 1996: 183). See also, e.g., the end of Ištar’s Descent to the Netherworld (Lapinkivi 2010: 22, 28, 33) line 138: “Let the dead come up and smell the incense”, BA.ÚŠ.MEŠ li-lu-nim-ma qut-ri-in li-iṣ-ṣi-nu (see Foster 1996: 408), and the 5th tablet of the Erra Epic (Cagni 1969: 126–29) lines 49–50: “In the sanctuary of the god who honours this poem may abundance accumulate, but let the one who neglects it never smell incense”, DINGIR šá za-ma-ru šá-a-šú i-na-du ina a-šìr-ti-šú lik-tam-me-ra ḫé-gál-lum 50 ù šá ú-šam-sa-ku a-a iṣ-ṣi-na qut-rin-na (see Foster 1996: 788; Bottéro 1985: 249). Food offerings could also be equated with “insence (offering)” (qutrīnu), see CAD Z: 106. Maybe this is why some of the treatments for the nostrils mentioned above also utilized fumigation, as this would be directed towards the lungs (see CAD N/1: 137 for examples). However, witchcraft texts generally mention that a patient has ingested or imbibed bewitched food or drink, and not as such smelled it. Yet, the two aspects of consuming foodstuff may not be mutually exclusive, as most people will smell as well as eat/drink their food. The relationship between foodstuff, fumigation, and the divine world requires further investigation in relation to medicine.


RA 15 pl. 76 rev. 1’–4’, 5’–8’; Stol 2011: 401–2 and note 257–58 with references. CAD (Z: 134) interprets it as a sort of pipette, von Soden as “Ton-pipette” (AHw: 1532), and Stol (ibid.) translates it as “…-Röhre”. The DUG designates it as a clay object comparable to various fluid containers (ibid.: 401 and note 256). Stol stresses the uniqueness of the instrument, as this is the only example (cf. BAM 159 discussed in Parys 2014: 23 and Böck 2009a: 117 and notes 56–57). This method for treating horses and especially colic is also attested in the Ugaritic hippiatric texts (Cohen and Sivan 1983: 9–10, 16–17 with references) and the method is still applied today (e.g., Lopes et al. 2004: 696, 702).


RA 40 pl. 116 ovb. 8–12: DIŠ NA su-alu šá ši-ḫi GIG-ma GI.GÍD MUR.MEŠ-šú 9 IM SA₅! ú-sa-al ú-gan-na-aḫ ÚḪ TUKU-ši 10 [GA]ZIsar úḪAR.ḪAR 1-niš SÚD ina Ì ḫal-ṣi ÚŠ KIR₄ EME-šú 11 [t]u-qar-ra-ár u giSAG.KUD! DIR-ma ana na-ḫi-ri-šú DUB [x?] 12 EGIR-šú KAŠ SAG NAG.MEŠ-ma i-àr-rù (Labat and Tournay 1945–46: 114–15; see CAD T: 79). For pipettes on humans, see Stol 2011: 401 and note 255–56. For appi lišāni see CAD L: 212.


BAM 159 col. v 36: … ina na-ḫir GÙB-šú DUB-ak-ma TI; RA 15 pl. 76 rev. 4’: [… ina] na-ḫir 2,30-šú DUB-[ak …]; rev. 7’: [ina] DUG?⌉ zi-ri-qí ana n[a]-ḫir 2,30-šú DUB-ak.


This is echoed in the descriptions of plants for horse kīs libbi in šammu šikinšu poured into the horse’s left nostril (see Stadhouders 2012: 3 §15’, 12 §10’; Stadhouders 2011: 8 ms A §15’, 26–27 ms C §10’).


Leichty 1970: 57 tablet 3 lines 29–32 (the line quoted is 31): BE MUNUS Ù.TU-ma KIR₄ u na-ḫi-ri NU GÁL … 30 BE MUNUS Ù.TU-ma na-ḫi-ir 15 NU GÁL … 31 150-šú NU GÁL … 32 BE MUNUS Ù.TU-ma na-ḫi-ra-šú NU GÁL.MEŠ … (cf. Scurlock and Andersen 2005: 396–97). See most recently De Zorzi (2011: 59), who emphasized obstructions of orifices as a general negative omen in Šumma izbu.


Scurlock 2014: 260, 266 line 54; Labat 1951: 224 line 54: DIŠ LÚ.TUR IM KIR4-šú šá 15 ŠED₇-ma šá 2,30 KÚM-im ŠU dDÌM.ME.


Koch 2015: 12–14; De Zorzi 2011: 46–47; Rochberg 2010; Guinan 1996. In Šumma izbu, the normal right/left opposition as favourable/unfavourable is reversed, as the observations concern malformation. A malformation on the right side makes it an unfavourable omen and vice versa (De Zorzi 2011: 52–53; Guinan 1996: 6–7; Leichty 1970: 7).


For one definition of horse colic, see Gonçalves et al. 2002: 650.


Such problems were also mentioned in the 40th tablet of Sa-gig (Volk 1999: 13; Cadelli 1997: 12–13, 26, 29). See Section 5.2.2.

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