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The male sexual impotence and the crisis of masculinity in ŠÀ.ZI.GA spells and rituals

Förderungszeitraum: April 2013 - März 2016
The aim of research is the study of male sexual sicknesses in Mesopotamia and the consequent cultural construction of masculinity. Thus, the main objective is the philological and anthropological analysis of neo-Assyrian rituals and spells collection, “raising of the heart” ŠÀ.ZI.GA.
The texts, that will be analyzed, are defined in Sumerian ŠÀ.ZI.GA and in Akkadian nīš libbi. This expression seems to mean “sexual interest”, “desire” and “libido”. This collection contains rituals and spells to recover this sexual potency or libido. However, the expression is not only mentioned with regard to cases of male sexual desire, but also cases regarding the ability to have intercourse and to have a sufficient erection. Many expressions refer to the loss of the ability of the male genital organ to sexually function.
Through a comparison with other documents, the terms related to male sexual impotence and construction of masculinity will be investigated.
Theoretical and methodological tools of Social Sciences will be used to researching. I will consider the History of Medicine, Sociology of Sickness, Medical Anthropology, Gender Studies and the History of Religions.
The expected result is a knowledge of the Mesopotamian conception of illnesses related to male sexual sickness, to understand it in a dimension not only biological, but also psychological and emotional, with its social and cultural implications.