This project focused on Late Babylonian astrological medicine (6th – 1st century BCE). It analysed cuneiform tablets, both edited texts as well as unpublished ones.
Most tablets originate from archives and temple libraries in the two cities of Babylon and Uruk, the main centers of scholarly life in that era. Particular consideration is given to the zodiac and the micro-zodiac and to the process by which astrological knowledge began to be integrated into the healing arts. One astro-medical and astro-magical therapeutic system is the so-called ‘stone-plant-wood’-schema. In this system materials from the three groups of nature in the name of the schema are associated with the zodiacal signs. Two different versions of it existed: a standard one in connection with zodiac (which had a calendaric forerunner) and an advanced version in connection with the 144 micro-zodiac signs. The standard zodiac schema was also integrated in a comprehensive iatromathematical calendar, an astro-medical system which consisted inter alia of a group of calendar texts (menologies that give prescriptions for each day of the schematic 360-day calendar), remedies made of animal substances that were associated with the signs of the (micro)-zodiac, and melothesia i.e. a concept ascribing to each of the zodiac signs an influence on a specific region of the human body. Late Babylonian astrological medicine formed the basis for later Hellenistic astro-medicine which adopted many of the Babylonian concepts and methods.
This Ph.D. project has been written within the program “History of Ancient Sciences” (HistAS) of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS) and was successfully completed in 2018.