Geller, M. J., 2014, Melothesia in Babylonia: Medicine, Magic, and Astrology in the Ancient Near East, 79.
Unlike in Greek, there is no single text devoted specifically to melothesia in cuneiform texts,3 although Reiner has discovered melothesia in an important source, in a Late Babylonian medical commentary from Nippur (Reiner 1993: 21f.). These medical commentaries are crucial for understanding contemporary scholarship of the Persian and Hellensitic periods in Babylonia, and their significance must not be underestimated. The entry which caught Reiner’s attention is a learned comment on the typical medical phrases, ‘If a man’s spleen hurts him’ and ‘if a man’s kidney hurts him’. What the commentary explains is that the spleen is equated with Jupiter, and the ‘the Kidney-star is Mars’ (Reiner 1995: 60, Civil 1974: 336: 7). Reiner correctly concludes that the intention of the commentary is that Jupiter governs the spleen and Mars governs the kidneys, which are clear examples of melothesia, as we know from Greek sources.
In other words, the essential elements and ingredients were available within Babylonian astronomy to construct a theory of melothesia. For one thing, within standard astronomical texts such as Enūma Anu Enlil, diseases were often connected with celestial omens, and it was an easy step to take to associate diseases with zodiacal phenomena; this idea was previously discussed by Rochberg, in her edition of a Late Babylonian tablet of lunar eclipses within the zodiac (rather than the more traditional appearance of an eclipse on a certain day of the month). (...)
Geller, M. J., 2014, Melothesia in Babylonia: Medicine, Magic, and Astrology in the Ancient Near East. Boston/Berlim/Munique: Walter de Gruyter.