The Lost Language of Ancient Babylonian Plants: From Myth to Medicine

Barbara Böck

Abstract


The Sumerian myth of Enki and Ninursaga, which conveys Enkis metaphorical nature as power behind the irrigation of the Mesopotamian marshlands, contains a passage that brings together plants, pains and deities. The raison dêtre for the choice of these eight plants has so far escaped scholars. In analysing the evidence for the plants according to cuneiform literary and medical sources the present contribution offers a discussion of their nature and possible connection with the god Enki providing thus an explanation for their choice and shedding light on the storytellers motivation for including the episode on plants in the myth. 

Key words: Enki and Ninursaga - Enki and Fishes - Aquatic Plants - Medicine

and Myth

 

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