The aim of this dissertation is to determine the internal system of healing plants used in medicine conveyed in cuneiform script, and thus to improve our knowledge of the ancient understanding of illness and healing.



Medical tradition in the Ancient Near East strongly relied upon plants as healing agents. Nevertheless our understanding of those plants, e.g. why a specific plant was used, is still very rudimentary. This project seeks to fill in part of the gap by investigating the usage of plants as simplicia in the 1st millennium BCE. In order to achieve this three major text groups are analyzed: the list of Simplicia, a text series with the ancient name šammu šikinšu, and recipes giving therapeutical instructions. While all texts share common features in structure and concept, their content focuses on different aspects of medical practice and may even differ widely considering the indication and application of certain plants.