Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2000-539 B.C.: Babylon had help giving birth to Medicine

The Babylonians are often said to have advanced medicine.  While this is true to a certain degree, it would not have happened if not for other groups of people who migrated to the region, particularly the Chaldeans and the Phoenicians.

While the Chaldeans are sometimes credited with introducing astrology, divination, and poisons to Babylon, this knowledge would have gone nowhere if not for the assimilation of Phoenician wisdom, particularly their system of writing. This allowed medical wisdom to be shared from generation to generation, and civilization to civilization.

The Phoenicians invented writing even before the Sumerians invented Cuneiform and before the Egyptians invented hieroglyphics. Even while their written language was primitive, it created a basic system that people could later advance and improve upon.  The Phoenician writing system, therefore, was the basic model for letters of all later people. (1, page 29)

The Phoenicians must have influenced the Sumerians, who influenced the Akkadians, who formed an empire around their capital Akkadia.  Over time, this allowed all the various groups of people emigrating to or rising from the fertile soils of Mesopotamia to learn the same language.  This, perhaps, allowed for the assimilation of all the wisdom from all the cultures that emigrated into the region.

Thus, it might have been due to the wisdom of the Phoenicians that even gave medicine a chance to evolve around the Tigris, Euphrates and Nile Rivers.  So it was the assimilation of the Phoenicians, and not just the Chaldeans, who helped the Babylonians advance medicine.

There, chomp on that wisdom while you wait for my next post.

  1. Baas, Johann Herman, author, Henry Ebenezer Sanderson, translator, "Outlines of the history of medicine and the medical profession," 1889, New York, page 29

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