The Lost Language of Ancient Babylonian Plants: From Myth to Medicine
Keywords:Enki and Ninursaga, Enki and Fishes, Aquatic Plants, Medicine and Myth
AbstractThe Sumerian myth of Enki and Ninḫursaga, which conveys Enki's metaphorical nature as power behind the irrigation of the Mesopotamian marshlands, contains a passage that brings together plants, pains and deities. The raison d'être 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 storyteller's motivation for including the episode on plants in the myth.