Chapter 2. Who Did What to Whom?

  1. Markham J. Geller

Published Online: 19 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444319996.ch2

Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice

Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice

How to Cite

Geller, M. J. (2010) Who Did What to Whom?, in Ancient Babylonian Medicine: Theory and Practice, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444319996.ch2

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 16 APR 2010

Book Series:

  1. Ancient Cultures

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405126526

Online ISBN: 9781444319996



  • Babylonian healing therapy - divided between activities of mašmaššu-exorcist and the asû-“physician”;
  • āšipu, a professional priest-master of art of exorcism;
  • exorcist, operating primarily under assumption - diseases ultimately caused by divine will or fate;
  • mašmaššu- exorcist, most common term used in colophons of tablets;
  • professional title classification of exorcists;
  • the exorcist in Sumerian literature - word maš.maš in epic accounts of rivalry between king of Uruk and king of Aratta;
  • priest vs layman - in healing delivery;
  • namburbî - a bad omen undoing ritual;
  • bārû - predicting future of the king and nation;
  • quacks and quacksalvers


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Professional Title Classification

  • The Exorcist in Sumerian Literature

  • Mašmaššu or Āšipu?

  • Priest vs Layman

  • Quacks and Quacksalvers