Friday 22 February 2019

Pagan Eye: Magic & Medicine at the Assyria Exhibition

My favourite part of the Ashurbanipal, King of the World, King of Assyria exhibition at the British Museum is the Library of Ashurbanipal. Yes, I know tablets inscribed with cuneiform might not look as impressive as panels with scenes of hunting and warfare, but I'm far more interested in learning than in battles and cruelty to lions.

The Library of Ashurbanipal is a collection of more than 30,000 clay tablets and fragments found by archaeologists in the ruins of the city of Nineveh. Naturally, only a few are on display at the current exhibition, but they give an idea of the huge breadth of learning available to the Ancient Assyrians. The picture above shows tablets containing magical and medical knowledge. Apparently doctors were responsible for providing their patients with amulets to protect against demons and ghosts, as well as healing their ailments.

I went to the exhibition back in December, but I've been a bit slow in blogging about it. It is still on until this Sunday, so you could see the exhibition before it shuts if you haven't already done so. However, if you do miss it, there are Assyrian clay tablets in the regular British Museum display cabinets upstairs - which you can see for free - and several of those currently in the exhibition will be returned there.

The British Museum is at Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. For more details visit

On each Pagan Eye post, I show a photo that I find interesting, with a few words about it. I'm not quite sure what I'll be including - it could be a seasonal image, a pagan site, an event, or just a pretty picture.

If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself and you must confirm that you are submitting it for A Bad Witch's Blog.

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