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Abstract

Medicine and pharmaceuticals in Mesopotamia during the span of c. 3000-1000 BCE were more sophisticated than many ancient and modern scholars from other cultures would concede. The limited historical evidence in the form of cuneiform texts and the complementary archaeological material allow for medical practice in this long time span to be examined as a whole. There were two dichotomous traditions of healing present in ancient Mesopotamia, one more therapeutic and one more religious; they were non-competitive and both considered reputable and essential. The therapeutic tradition is given a closer examination in order to provide a picture of how pharmaceutical and surgical treatments first developed and how they might have compared to the first empirical treatments of illness in other ancient Mediterranean cultures. Types of medical practitioners, pharmaceutical medicine, and surgery are the primary foci of discussion. Little explicit medical theory was recorded, so medical theory and anatomy are excluded.

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