Nonlinear development of medicine in ancient Mesopotamia

  • Mislav Cavka
  • Vlatka Cavka
  • Tomislav Madzar
  • Hrvoje Cavka
  • Boris Olujic
  • Zeljko Busic
Keywords: history of medicine, history ancient, ancient lands, barber surgeons, Iraq, astrology


Aim: Analysis of 6 ancient sources. Methods: Studying of translated ancient documents. Conclusion: Medicine as a science appeared very early, probably already in the dawn of civilization. By the end of the third millennium a tablet clay testified of complexity of Sumerian pharmacology. Techniques are preserved and transmitted through generations. In 18th century b. c. profession gained great reputation and remarkable skill. But fear from rigorous punishments (an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth) and instability of political situation slow down progress of knowledge and development of new skills. Over the time, they relied more and more on eldritch forces and in the end, if we can believe to Herodotus's testimony, medical profession cease to exist. Although gods and demons were not mentioned in the beginning, it does not mean that they were not worshipped. Later they multiplied and they could form a smaller pantheon of health deities. Goddess Ninisina or Gula rose above all of them, keeping the title of healer of the black headed nation − the Sumerians, and later of all nations in Mesopotamia.


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Cavka M, Cavka V, Madzar T, Cavka H, Olujic B, Busic Z. Nonlinear development of medicine in ancient Mesopotamia. Acta Chir. Croat. [Internet]. 2006Dec.1 [cited 2023Mar.30];3(1):39-3. Available from:

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