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Saturn, see below p. Sometimes evil omens from a planet were seen as the expression of anger of the god whose celestial image the particular planet was e. The signs were not always sent by a god through his particular planet. Predicting an eclipse of the moon in Addaru January B. If you make the observation for the well-being of the king, the city and its people, they will be well. In the beginning of the year a flood will come and break the dikes. As a substitute for the king, I will cut through a dike, here in Babylonia, in the middle of the night. No one will hear about it! So Nergal-etir proposes to avert the flood by fulfilling the apodosis on a small scale himself, on behalf of the king.

An apotropaic ritual was always an option. This is a far cry from the gods ruling the universe by their immutable will. But performing [the apotropaic] rituals which always involved prayers and offerings was by no means enough: And only exceptionally were omens sought to elucidate the cause of misfortune. An Empirical Basis of Babylonian Divination?

According to the Babylonians themselves, divination was once long ago revealed to mankind by the gods see p. But it shares some of the defining traits of modern science: So perhaps it is not surprising that alone among the countless divinatory systems of the world, Babylon- ian divination has been saddled with an empirical background.

The omens portending the gods' displeasure and impending punishment were gleefully repeated by Esarhaddon in his inscriptions see Chapter 7. The argument is that protasis, the ominous phenomenon, was linked to apodosis, the signified event, by "circumstantial association". The details of the entrails of a sheep, sacri- ficed, one must assume, for purposes unrelated to divination, put the person in charge of the sacrifice on the alert, so that he linked them with a contemporaneous historical event and recorded it for future reference.

A similar origin has been proposed for astrology by P. Huber who suggests that lunar eclipses were linked to the death of certain Old Akkadian kings see below p. Such empirically established omens are what we call "historical" omens. Closely following the empirical stage, the argument goes on, came the theoretical stage when the omina were written down in long tabular compendia on tablets. At the same time, the empirical findings were "phrased in accordance with the code", 4 i.

The technological advance YOS 10 56 iii 8 f. Rutten in RA 35 p. For a description of the code, see Starr , ch. In my opinion, the idea of an empirical background of Babylonian divination is very difficult to uphold. Various objections may be raised against it, and I shall mention a few briefly. It is generally agreed by modern philosophers of science that knowledge about the world is rarely obtained by purely empirical observation, without some pre-existing theory to integrate the observed data.

It is not explained by the proponents of the theory why the Sumerians never. In fact, a purely Akkadian origin has repeatedly been suggested. The "historical" omens form a very small minority about 1 to in the vast Babylonian divinatory system, with a carefully elaborated theory and systematization that has little to do with history. The fact that two or more different protases are related to the same historical event 2 mightbeaknodc therlainspbwomu phenomenon and its significance was not necessarily established by empiri- cal means.

The "history" embedded in the omens shows a remarkable agreement, not so much with historical fact as we know it, rather with the "historical tradition", i. Hanson, Patterns of Discovery , esp. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery p. According to Cooper, the "historical value of the apodoses is nil". The liver models from Mari, from about B. These 32 liver models, all inscribed, were found together with tablets of various contents, written more than a century later, in a room in Zimrilim's palace.

The inscriptions follow four basic patterns: Four texts add "it will look like this" 12b, 19, 23, 29 4 Event alone Nos. This type simply correlates the shape of the liver with the event. It is timeless and may refer to the past as well as the future. The graphic information on the Mari livers, i. On what criteria is the distinction made between "real" historical omens and "legendary" ones? It might be argued that, unlike the legends, the omen literature knows all five Sargonic kings; but it is obvious that Rimush, Manishtusu and Sharkalisharri cannot all have been murdered by their courtiers with their seals.

It is noteworthy that Gilgamesh and the Sargonic kings are the leading characters in most of the Old Babylonian literary works dealing with the country's history, and it would seem that what we have in the "historical" omens is basically the Old Babylonian literary tradition, supplemented with some names from the Sumerian King List. Group 3 is clearly a forecast of how the liver will appear in association with a specified event. Group 2 would then be a reconstruction of what the liver would have looked like in association with spectacular but partly legendary!

Common to both is the basic assumption of the interconnection of sign and event: A similar reasoning probably underlies most "historical" omens. It could even be argued that the "historical" apodoses merely served the same basic purpose as other apodoses, namely to convey whether the feature described in the protasis was a favourable or an unfavourable omen. Renaat Devisch has suggested to understand African divination as part of a comprehensive semantic system, interlocking with all other areas of a people's experience.

The latest instance of such "models" known to me is a bronze fish from Babylon with a fish-omen inscribed on it, L. Jakob-Rost, "Ein babylonisches Omen aus dem Jahre v. Traditional divination cannot be said to be pre-scientific any more than any other authentic symbolic practice, nor can it be said to be contrary to a rational outlook: But this practical view of the craft does not preclude that Babylonian divination in its origin had other goals besides, perhaps along the lines suggested by Devisch. The text known as The Diviner's Manual, referring to the interconnection of signs in the heavens and signs on Earth, and the symbolic character of the code of liver divination, 2 suggest that to the thinkers, more was involved here than mere fortune-telling from cards.

We should not confuse the engineer's mastery of materials and forces with the physicist's probings of the Universe, and most of what we have of omen texts belong to the engineer category — divination in its practical, applied form. Empirical obse rv ation may have played its part, but it was not fundamental. The solution must be sought elsewhere. Our own natural sciences are based on a premise so simple that it is usually taken for granted: Things behave according to universally valid laws.

It is our task to discover those laws, and the means to do so is obse rvation, supported by the controlled experiment. In a similar fashion, Babylonian divination is based on a very simple proposition: Things in the Universe relate to one another. Any event, however small, has one or 1 Devisch , p. This was revealed to us in days of yore by the gods, and our task is to refine and expand that body of knowledge. The means to do so is mystical speculation supplemented by observation. There is no evidence that the Mesopotamian scholars ever attempted to verify the results of their speculations by experiment.

Nevertheless, the Neo-Assyrian astrologers undoubtedly believed in their craft and found it confirmed by events. For example, in LAS , Akkullanu tells the king that "the series says in connection with this Nisan eclipse: A full month has not yet passed before his chief judge lay dead! In this way, we might account for the few omens mentioning kings from Old Babylonian to Neo-Assyrian times' — the exact reverse of the "empiricism" hypothesis!

Babylonian Astrology Traditional Babylonian astrology differs in two important aspects from the other Babylonian divinatory disciplines: In a few cases, however, the apodoses of the astrological omens apparently concern the king as a private individual. If the eclipse does not affect the king: Rains in the sky and flooding of the rivers will cease. There will be famine in the land, the people will sell their children. Modern and classical astrology often takes the form of casting "horoscopes" which concern the fate and character of the individual. Classical Babylonian astrology does not concern the individual 4 butheplicgodfsatnhekig,lrdysa.

Henitc astrology presupposes a Ptolemaic, geocentric, cosmology, with the earth surrounded by the seven concentric planetary spheres. The terrestrial, sublunar, world was perceived as sharply separated from the celestial, superlunar, realm. In Hellenistic and modern astrology, the celestial bodies are believed to exert direct, physical, influence on the sublunar world and especially man by means of rays.

Celestial phenomena were included among popular forms of provoked divination, especially omens from shooting stars. STT I 73 Reiner is a collection of prayers-cum-rituals for obtaining omens concerning recovery from illness or the success of an undertaking. The ominous phenomena included the movements of an ox and shooting stars.

These omens must be considered provoked, observation of a shooting star can be accomplished within half an hour on a clear night. This form of divination probably fell in the sphere of the tgipu, exorcist Reiner p. There is no evidence that the movements of the celestial bodies were ever envisaged as spheric, even in the latest and most advanced stages of Babylonian mathematical astron- omy. These signs may be seen as communications from the gods, or as independent signs of the black-cat-crossing-the-street type. As a rule astronomy and astrology have always been treated separately, while in fact they were never regarded as separate before the end of the Renaissance — and certainly not in Ancient Mesopotamia.

What can be described as primarily astronomical texts known from the first half of the first millennium, the astronomical compendium Mul. Rochberg-Halton 3 recommends that historians dif- ferentiate between the specific goals and methods of ancient astronomy and astrology. But she also stresses that "the training and interests of the scribes in both these areas very likely stemmed from one intellectual tradition".

The zodiac, which arguably was invented for astronomical purposes — it is used as a reference point in mathematical astronomical texts — was incorporated into astrology, both the new form, horoscopy, and in developments of old-fashioned omen texts. The shorthand forms of the names of planets and the zodiacal signs was used both in astronom- ical as well as in late astrological and magical texts.

With the rise of mathematical astronomy in the fifth century B. In fact, the whole discipline of astrology became fundamentally changed, both in its basic principles and its uses, as will be described below, Chapter 8. The Astronomical Background Since the features of the night sky may be unfamiliar to a number of readers — those who dwell in cities hardly ever have a chance to acquaint themselves with planets and stars in natura — a few words on the astro- nomical background for Babylonian astrology may be in order.

The fixed stars are called thus because they maintain a fixed position in relation to each other. To a Babylonian observer looking south, the stars will seem to move towards the right in circular orbits around the celestial north pole, from east to west. One point appears to stay immobile, the celestial north pole, the point of the celestial sphere directly above the Earth's geographic north pole.

The celestial South pole, invisible from Babylonia, is ignored here. Dif- ferent parts of the celestial sphere is visible from different positions on Earth. The appearance of the night sky changes over the centuries due to a phenomenon called precession. The celestial north pole slowly moves around the pole of the ecliptic, and in B. Two thousand years ago, the vernal equinox was still in Aries long. Today, the zodiacal sign Aries covers the zodiacal constellation Pisces.

The precession means that while the latitude of the stars remain more or less the same, not only the longitude of the stars change but also their right ascension and declina- tion. Different stars are prominent at night at different seasons, so it is possible to use the heavens both as a clock and a calendar and correlate, e. This is because the sun appears to move in relation to the stars. The sidereal day the time taken for one daily rotation of the celestial sphere is 4 minutes shorter than the solar day. The stars perpetually seem to overtake the sun. The horizon was divided into the Paths of Anu, Enlil and Ea.

The Path of Ea lies to the north, Anu is in the middle, and Enlil lies to the south. The boundaries between the Paths may be gleaned from the ideal calendar of Mul. The sun, as also the moon and the five planets, take part in the daily east-west rotation of the stars, but they also move in relation to these as well as each other. The path of the sun, the ecliptic, is in the middle of the zodiacal belt.

During the year the sun completes one full circle moving towards the left, i. He suggests p. It was turned counterclockwise, the dividing line on the right side representing the eastern horizon. The stars of Enlil would rise in the north, those of Anu in the middle and those of Ea to the south, see Schott, "Das Werden der babyl. The eastern horizon was described as "the cattle pen". The road of the sun at the foot of the Cattle pen is the path of Ea, the road of the sun in the middle of the Cattle pen is the path of Anu, the road of the sun at the head of the Cattle pen is the path of Enlil.

Vernal equinox is the intersection between the ecliptic and the equator where the sun passes on its way to a northerly declination. The zodiacal signs are a mathematical construction and do not correspond to the portion of the sky occupied by the zodiacal constellations whose names they bear. The moon travels through the zodiac in a little less than 30 days synodic month.

The new moon first becomes visible in the evening just after sunset. Then it approaches the morning sun, waning, until at neomancy it is again in conjunction and disappears in the rays of the rising sun. In the Babylonian lunar calendar, the month started at the first sighting of the new moon. The motion of the moon is very complicated indeed due to the elliptical form of the lunar orbit. At a solar eclipse the moon stands exactly between the Earth and the sun. The shadow of the moon blocks out the sun's light for a small area on Earth. By coincidence, the sun and the moon appear to be of the same size, so the area covered by the moon's umbra, i.

Obviously, this can happen only at new moon, just before the be- ginning of a Babylonian month. In any given location a total solar eclipse can be seen only once in F! Lunar eclipses can only occur when the moon is in opposition to the sun, that is, at full moon, around the middle of a Babylonian month. Eclipses of the moon are actually rarer than solar eclipses, but since a lunar eclipse is visible from more than half the Earth, lunar eclipses can be seen quite frequently in any given place. The dark shadow is the umbra of total eclipse and the shaded area is the penumbra of partial eclipse.

The dark line is the area on Earth where the total eclipse is visible. A lunar eclipse does not extinguish the light of the moon entirely. Since the Earth, unlike the moon, has an atmosphere, sunlight is refracted through the atmosphere into the shadow of the Earth. Seen from the moon where the phenomenon would be registered as a solar eclipse the Earth must appear as a black disc, four times the size of the sun, surrounded by a corona of the most brilliant sunset colours imaginable — a circle of fire against the black, starry sky. Seen from here, the moon takes on a reddish hue, varying from orange to a dull red-brown.

During a lunar eclipse, the Earth's shadow can be seen to advance across the disc of the full moon from east to west. In some instances, the Earth's shadow covers only a part of the moon, a partial eclipse. The maximum number of eclipses in one calendar year is seven, five solar and two lunar or four solar and three lunar.

The planets may be classified in two groups, the inferior, or inner, planets: Mercury and Venus, and the superior, or outer, planets: Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The planets not only move steadily along the zodiac like the moon and the sun, but at irregular intervals seem to slow down in their courses, remain stationary and move westwards.

The inner planets have orbits around the sun inside that of the Earth, which means that they can only be seen within a certain distance elonga- tion from the sun: This again means that they are only visible in the evening after sunset, or in the morning before sunrise. They are twice in conjunction with the sun: The outer planets, on the other hand, having orbits outside that of the Earth, can be in opposition to the sun, visible all night.

They not only move steadily towards the east along the zodiac like the sun and the moon but appear to slow down and remain stationary in relation to the fixed stars, then move backwards toward the west, stop again and move on east- ward. An outer planet only becomes invisible once, near conjunction with the sun. Mercury is difficult to observe. Most of the time it is invisible, hidden in the twilight of the sun or the mists of the horizon.

It is the fastest-moving planet, with a synodic period of only days. Venus is by far the brightest celestial object, except for the sun and the moon. It is often visible even while the sun is above the horizon. Its luminosity does not vary much. Its synodic period is days. Mars has a distinctly reddish colour. Its luminosity varies greatly, according to its distance from the Earth, at its best it is almost as bright , as Jupiter.

Jupiter is the brightest planet after Venus, of a brilliant white colour, not varying much in luminosity, and clearly the dominating feature of the midnight sky when in opposition to the sun. Its synodic period is days, its sidereal period Saturn is much dimmer than Jupiter, with an almost constant luminosity of about one-fifth of Jupiter's.

The next evening the star will already have risen at sunset. The distance along the horizon, measured in degrees, from due south towards the west. This phenomenon is called Earthshine. Eclipses can only occur when the moon is in or very close to the ecliptic. The next evening the star will already have set at sunset and is no longer visible at night until next heliacal rising. Synodic month of the moon: The ecliptic is divided into twelve equal parts, the signs of the zodiac.

The zodiacal signs are a mathematical construction and do no longer corespond to the portion of the sky occupied by the zodiacal constellations whose names they bear. The zodiacal signs are: In fact, if any deity in the third millennium deserves credit for being interested in the stars it would be Nisaba. She is said to measure heaven and earth, to know the secrets of calculation 3 4 She was associated in some and,togehrwiSu"cnthedays.

It was kept in her "House of Wisdom", 8 and Lambert p. This particular text, from Assurbanipal's library, is written in Assyrian dialect. In the following discussion, these two articles are cited as Alster and Selz, respectively. A iv 26; Hallo RAI 17 p. It is tempting to assume that this lapis-lazuli tablet was a kind of star-map or symbolic representation of the sky.

A IT 23 — vi 2 she is said to consult the tablet in order to tell Gudea with a bright star to begin the construction of Ningirsu's temple. This passage is cited by Falkenstein as an indication, however faint, of some interest in astrology. The passage which mentions a sign giskim which Ningirsu promises to give Gudea Cyl. A ix to build his temple, the bright star to call for his rites, may be understood in a similar way.

The decay of this tradition in Old Babylonian times is vividly illustrated in the hymn to Enlilbani ca. The overall impression given by the Sumerian sources is that Nisaba was mainly concerned with the management of agriculture and the timing of activities that were dependent on the yearly seasons. The knowledge of astronomy not astrology!

Similar statements are apparently the basis for the description of Nisaba as "Deuterin der Himmelschrift" by Selz, p. The Sumerians undoubtedly watched the sky and defined and named some of the constellations and planets. Most of the names of celestial bodies were Sumerian throughout the later periods, and some of them at least must have Sumerian origins.

Thus the origins of Babylonian astrology is not to be sought among the Sumerians — their perspective of the world was very much Earth-centered. This differs somewhat from the situation in extispicy, where Sumerian practice of the art is well attested, if only indirectly. Weidner suggested4 that the omens mentioning Sargon 5 and Ibbi-Sin in- corporated in the canonical series Enuma Anu Enlil may actually derive from contemporary observations and that, consequently, celestial omens Contrary to Weidner's statement in RLA "Fixsterne", no star list of the third millennium su rv ives.

However, the occurrence of the star name mul 'sul--gi in two of these lists MSL XI - viii 41, rev. Horowitz, ASJ 13 p. In Shulgi Hymn B we hear that a star will be born in honour of the king. Reiner, SpTU I p. The phrase mds lu mu gd is found in IAS v 13 and duplicates. These omens are most likely to be treated like the "historical" omens in general, see above p. It has been suggested 3 that some of the exceptionally detailed descriptions of lunar eclipses in EAE 20 and 21 may be based on observa- tions.

But, as pointed out by Rochberg-Halton, 4 some of these eclipses could not have occurred as recorded, and it seems a little problematic to pick out some of them for chronological purposes, as done by Huber, 5 ignorthes. He is also mentioned in ACh Ishtar 2: Ibbi-Sin is mentioned in ACh 2. It is an omen of Ibbi-Sin, king of Ur, who went to Elam in captivity, weeping. The remarkable coincidence only holds true if Sollberger's relative chronology of the Akkad dynasty is correct — and there is some reason to doubt that it is.

However that may be, it is not very likely that astrology had origins separate from that of the other divinatory sciences. The most cogent argument for a third-millennium origin of Babylonian divination, including astrology, would be its advanced state of develop- ment already in the Old Babylonian period. It was hardly born like Athena. The texts are already highly structured, as is indeed the case with most early omen texts.

According to that, Naram-Sin may have reigned for 56 years, not Rochberg-Halton is preparing a volume on celestial divination in the second millennium with an edition of Old Babylonian eclipse omens. The only text from Babylonia proper that has been published3 concerns the weather and lunar phenomena other than eclipses. Rochberg-Halton mentions an unpublished tablet with solar and meteorological omens.

The "Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa", 6 which constitutes tablet 63 of EAE, should also be mentioned here, as the observations on which at least some of the protases were formed, were made in Old Babylonian times.? The apodoses are standardized in the form well known from astrological omens in general and give the impression of being later additions, rather than, for example, reflecting contemporary events.


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The lunar eclipse texts, which are the only ones to have been studied in any detail so far, and whose development in the succeeding centuries 1 Rochberg-Halton p. I am not sure whether this is identical with the text mentioned by Bottero p. Sileiko , see also Bauer Another text, VAT , which was mentioned by Meissner p. The mistake was probably caused by the mention of stars and Sulpae Jupiter in i Both the sign forms and the orthography suggest an Old Babylonian origin of this tablet. It does not seem overly fanciful to assume that it was part of the booty carried from Babylon by Mursilis I in Its duplicates show Hittite sign forms.

It is possible that this omen originally was a report ibid. He argues that all the 21 years covered by the text stem from obse rvations in Ammisaduqa's 21 years' reign, rather than just the first 8 Reiner and Pingree p. They all contain omens arranged according to date, and two of the texts contain omens with other variables in addition. Apparently the variables always appear in the same sequence: Some of these parameters were considerably expanded and elaborated in later editions of EAE, most conspicuosly the days of occurrence, but also 3 where quadrants of the moon correlate with terrestrial geography OB: Elam is included only once in direction omens, but appears in other contexts.

All the variables are found in EAE and in much the same formulary, only the formulary of the protases concerning the date, which varies in the Old Babylonian texts, was streamlined in later editions. As far as I know, this text has no direct parallels except for a few passages. But celestial divination seems to have played no significant role in Mari. Asqudum had access to Babylonian learning3 besides the technique of liver divination, but apparently he did not know much of Babylonian astrology.

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On the other hand, it seems to have been standard procedure, at least at Mari, to elicit further information about the significance of an eclipse, or any other extraordinary event, by means of extispicy, 4 as was also done later see below p. From this period we also have evidence that celestial bodies played a part in fields outside astrology proper. Especially the Pleiades may already have held a prominent position cf.

On seal cylinders, from Protoliterate to Late Assyrian times, seven points often appear. At least in some instances, the Pleiades may be represented; but their significance on the seal cylinders is unknown. Lambert, MARI 4, p. Most of the clear instances of the Pleiades come from Assyria. Note 7 on the next page They seem to be regarded as gods in their own right, invoked when those normally in charge of decision-making have gone to sleep 1. One is addressed to Ninsianna, the other to Annunitu, both, be it noted, hypostases of Ishtar, who are asked to give him a favourable omen.

These prayers bear some resemblance to tamitu-texts. Reiner suggests the first to be a prayer to Venus as a morning star since she is referred to in the masculine and is called "lord Ninsianna". But the characteristic "international" horizon of Mesopotamian astrology is already in evidence. Also, the apodoses are concerned with public affairs.

Rochberg-Halton 5 takes this as an indication that astrology was "closer to the academic forms of divination, i. Ninsianna is known to be a bisexual deity Meyer ibid. According to one tradition, Venus was male as the morning star and female as the evening star; according to another it was the other way around, see below p. In this context may also belong CT 42 6, a trilingual Old Babylonian ritual which mentions mul. These latter could answer specific questions from individuals about their private affairs.

This interesting suggestion, that public means "scholarly", and "private" means "folklore", which might have deserved some elaboration, does not quite car ry conviction: Old Babylonian extispicy, undoubtedly a "scholarly" branch of divination, is frequently about private affairs. The Middle Period Our knowledge of the history of astrology during the later centuries of the second millennium is very meagre indeed, due to the well-known paucity of contemporary sources from Babylonia itself.

We do happen to know that astrology was in actual use during the second dynasty of Isin at the court of Marduk-nadin-ahhe B. I That astrology had indeed gained in importance might also be suggested by the following passage from the curses of a kudurru inscrip- tion: The symbolic decorations of the kudurrus, some of which probably represent the deities in their celestial aspects, 3 point in the same direction. Ursula Seidl has chosen to regard none of them as such, but to me it seems rather certain in the case of the moon, the sun and Venus, perhaps also Virgo, Hydra, Corvus, Taurus and mul.

The ear of corn represented on the kudurrus might therefore be taken to represent Virgo. The same holds true for Hydra mul. This text could be a report since the meteorological phenomena listed could all have taken place in one day, 2 and the tablet was probably not much larger originally and is only inscribed on one side. If this text is indeed a report, it is possible that astrology had already obtained some importance in official or public affairs.

The series may of course have existed earlier. It is an assyriological commonplace that the great series, including EAE, received more or less their "canonical" shape in the late second millen- nium. This is largely due to the fame of scribes and scholars from this period, many of whom are known to us by name from, for instance, the "Catalogue of Texts and Authors".

According to the second list in that text, Enuma Anu Enlil 4 belonged to the exorcist's compendium ascribed to Esagil-kin-apla, who lived in the reign of Adad- apla-iddina B. Another Nippur text, unpublished, is described by Rochberg-Halton p. See also Lambert and , and Rochberg-Halton p. GIG and produced a proper edition' out of the mess that confronted him, "twisted threads without duplicates". Whether he actually did the same work on EAE is of course impossible to say, but the subscript of one of the sources for the "Babylonian" recension of EAE tablet 20 2 states that it was written according to a writing board from the 11th year of Adad-apla-iddina, and might thus have been a part of an Esagil-kin-apla edition.

Certainly the confused and contradictory state of the astrological omen tradition around the mid- second millennium, as known to us from the peripheral areas, 3 fits the description "twisted threads without duplicates". The textual developments in the last centuries of the second millen- nium are difficult to follow.

Most of the sources come from Assyria, and it has been claimed that an independent Assyrian tradition can be detected. Pingree suggests that the two lists of ziypu stars Mul. She distinguishes between two types of texts, the so-called transitional type and the EAE ty pe. The "transitional" texts retain some of the characteristics of the Old Babylonian texts but also show the tendency known from the Neo-Assyrian texts to standardize the writing of the protasis with logograms.

In the Middle Assyrian eclipse texts are included elements not found in the Old Babylonian texts, such as wind. Apart from the eclipse texts, we have KAR , very fragmentary, protases mostly missing, which also concerns lunar eclipses. At least the last two of these texts come from a private library belonging to a family of scribes in Assur, evidently with a broad range of interests. Due to the regrettable paucity of sources from Babylonia itself, the neigh- bouring countries supply better and ampler evidence of the evolution of divination in the late Old Babylonian and Middle periods.

This is the library M2, ibid. A fact that has often been noted is the high proportion of astrological omens as opposed to other Mesopotamian divinatory genres at Hattusas: The divination texts are of course vastly outnumbered by the Hittite oracle texts by 10 to 1. The Hittite astrological texts most likely reflect Babylonian originals of varying dates, ranging from Old Babylonian to ca. Laroche, Catalogue des textes hittites, nos. The text was edited with an unpublished join, given in transliteration and translation only, by H. The join has since been published as KBo 36 no.

The compiler of the catalogues was evidently much more interested in the treaties and rituals, the astrological texts receive cursory treatment. We do not have — as far as I know — any texts dealing with planetary omens, and the fixed stars play a very minor role. The exact meaning of the protasis is uncertain. After a division line the section is followed by omens of which only the first signs tdk-ku d 3[0 - - -], " if the m[oon]" are extant.

The text ends with the invocation of the stars of the paths of Ea, Anu and Enlil. Emar Another relatively large group of astrological texts has been found in the recent excavations at Emar. All the Emar texts those published at least 1 areinAkd tfromhe13cnuy.

Twrepatofh library of the temple Ml, which seems to have been a kind of Pantheon. They were kept in a place of their own in the temple, together with other texts of Mesopotamian learning. Here again the omens mostly concern the moon and the sun — only two fragments nos.

Two tablets3 seem to be a long and a short version of the same text. They parallel the Hittite-Akkadian bilingual see p. It is written not too meticulously, for instance the month of Addaru appears in the place of Dumuzu 1. The text from Qatna see below is closely related, their common apodoses for Simanu are not found in the canonical EAE. It ends with a passage which parallels most closely the Sumerian introduction to the canonical version of EAE, see below p.

Laroche, 'Documents hittites et hourites' in: Dominique Beyer, Paris, A mere fragment,' found in much disturbed context dating to the middle of the second millennium, represents the divinatory literature at this site. It is written in Middle Babylonian script and displays many syllabic spellings, among which the West-Semitism sa-me-e 2 stands out.

It contains two sections, both dealing with earthquakes. Apparently, it is an extract copy — there is no colophon — made from a damaged original hi- pi, lines 19 and The spelling sa-me-e is well known from the Amarna tablets. Two large fragmentary tablets, Wiseman, AT nos. They are badly written, apparently by the same scribe, and the sign AS is often used to indicate abbreviations e. Both texts deal with eclipses arranged according to month, and according to its colophon, was no. They are related to the Qatna text and no.

A fresh edition might prove useful. There is one fragment in Ugaritic containing lunar omina, probably lunar eclipses and phenomena around new moon. Further, there is the famous and often discussed report2 which may contain the oldest dateable observation of a solar eclipse May 3rd, ? Other divinatory genres are slightly better attested at Ugarit. We have 21 liver models, four of them inscribed, 4 and at least one text with what seems to be Ugaritic translations of Summa izbu. We have a fragment of a large tablet from Susa, 6 written in Akkadian and of uncertain date, but the many syllabic writings and the Bordreuil and Caquot, Syria 57 p.

According to their interpretation of the text, Mars was visible during the eclipse, which excludes the date proposed by D. They suggest instead the date March 5, B. An Akkadian fragment RS 7. It contains some logograms peculiar to Akkadian texts from Elam. It is parallel to EAE tablet 22 part I g Tablet 22 is unlike other tablets of EAE, it is more archaic and features some "Elamite" writings — even ones that the Susa fragment does not have e.

Rochberg- Halton implicitly suggests' that the sources for tablet 22 part I at least may have come by way of Elam to the Neo-Assyrian redactors of EAE since there seem to be no Middle Period or indeed Old Babylonian manuscripts from Mesopotamia. Furthermore, we have a pre-Achemenid meneological text in Elamite. Taken as a whole, the documentation from the peripheral areas shows rather clearly that the EAE existed in a fairly developed state in the 14th century and that it was known and studied in Syrian centres possibly excepting Ugarit.

The texts from Emar, Qatna, Alalakh and Nuzi are written in an orthography that differs very little from contemporary Middle Babylonian, while the Hittite texts give the impression of being more old-fashioned. What might be called the "calendrical" section of lunar eclipses seems to have been especially popular, and fragments of this section have been found almost everywhere. They list omens according to month and date 14th, 15t h , 16th, 20th and 21st — to this "classical" list of days is added the period from the 21St to the 30th, variously phrased.

This is the pattern found in some form in EAE tablets 17, 18 and Obviously, they are closely related and often show similar wording, but where enough of them is preserved and legible to permit valid com- parison, a very muddled picture emerges. Farber discusses the problem of the origins and dissemination of EAE Texts from Babylonia are scarce, and none of them throws any light on the developments of astrology. And there is as yet no evidence that the Assyrian kings before Sargon II took more than a marginal interest in astrology see p. In contrast, the century from the accession of Sargon to the death of Assurbanipal is by far the best documented period, at least in Assyria.

A unique wealth and diversity of sources allows us to see not only the most developed phase of traditional Mesopotamian astrology but also its practical application in state affairs. The bulk of the sources for Classical Mesopotamian astrology, including the "canonical" versions of EAE is found in the Neo-Assyrian royal libraries, together with -letters and reports from Assyrian and Babylonian scholars to the Assyrian king.

References to astrological omens in the royal inscriptions testify to astrology's importance in decision-making at the highest level, freely acknowledged even in official promulgations. Chapters are devoted to a closer analysis of this material. However, even as traditional astrology reached its zenith, profound changes were taking place that eventually superseded it altogether. As usual, the beginnings of these developments are shrouded in obscurity, and so far we can only get a glimpse of the results, in the astrology of the Persian and Seleucid periods.

The basic feature of this "new astrology" is the knowledge that the movements of the celestial bodies can be exactly calculated in advance. Consequently, celestial phenomena could no longer be regarded as willed communications from the gods, and, the old idea, that "signs" in heaven correlate with events on Earth, was abandoned. The uses of astrology also changed: Mathematics, more than divinatory lore, became the key to the secrets of the stars and the future. Obviously, the ability to calculate the movements of the planets did not come about as a sudden inspiration or stroke of luck.

It presupposes centuries of sustained obse rvation and recording. We have here what may well be the earliest documented instance of a scientific revolution 2 — generations of scholars patiently collecting and recording data that, under the dominant theory, were unrelated to each other, in the end undermining the theory. Concomitant with these developments, new concepts were introduced.

Each section might then be further divided into twelve equal parts. It became an important ingredient in Hellenistic astrology. Traditional astrology did not disappear overnight. At first, the gains in astronomical knowledge seem to have had little impact on the tradition. Echoes of classical Babylonian omen astrology may be found in Egyptian, 2 Greek, Latin and Indian astrology 3 and even in Aramaic texts of the Byzantine period. Isfcueimpbl to know exactly how and when the Babylonian tradition was transmitted, but is natural to assume that contact was established during the time of the Persian empire.

According to both his friends and his enemies, illiterate Nabonidus even claimed to be able to understand the EAE better than the scribes who had brought him a copy of the series from Babylon, see Verse Account v 12' ff S. Smith, Babylonian Historical Texts p. Text A deals with eclipses, relating months to countries in the manner known from Babylonian astrology. The system is adapted to the Egyptian political perspective and the countries are: There is apparently also a parallel to the paths of Anu, Enlil and Ea here called Northern: Text B contains omens pertaining to lunar phenomena, halos?

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It is evident that Damas- kios is not quoting from Berossos — whose book, Babyloniaka, he probably did not know any better than we do anyway. From this period stem not only the many copies of the series Enuma Anu Enlil and the hemerologies from Assurbanipal's library but also a wealth of correspondence between Assyrian and Babylonian scholars and the kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal.

The correspondence offers a unique opportunity, not only to see Mesopotamian scholarship in its practical applications, but also to understand some of its rationale: Admittedly, these explanations must have been rather different from whatever discussions the scholars may have had among themselves, a subject we would dearly like to know more about.

The correspondence can be divided into two categories: This classification is no modern invention. Reports and letters were distinguished in antiquity physically as well as by contents. The letters were written on vertically oblong, one column, rather slim tablets called egirtu; the reports on horizontally oblong and often thick tablets called u'iltu. The reports are mostly short and to the point, citing observations and the relevant passages from EAE or the hemerologies, etc. The letters always have the proper introductory phrases, blessings etc. It seems that Assyrian scholars were more prone to using the letter format whereas the Babylonians mostly wrote reports.

This edition was far from adequate, even by the standards of its time, and many texts were given in transliteration only. A new edition by H. Hunger, mostly in transliteration and translation only, appeared in as volume 8 in the series State Archives of Assyria. Since this work provides innumerable improvements on RMA, besides offering some additional material, I refer to the reports according to this edition as SAA 8 xx. Many of the letters and reports have been dated by Parpola on the basis of the astronomical data contained in them see LAS II appendices I-J , and in the following, all dates assigned to them are Parpola's.

The bulk of them were written around B. In ACh, Virolleaud dubbed the texts dealing with lunar omina "Sin", texts dealing with solar omina "Shamash", planetary omina "Ishtar" and meteorological omina "Adad", and edited them in this order which is not the same as the EAE. This terminology is often adapted for convenience in later literature. AfO Beiheft 22, In ACh, Virolleaud followed the then current practice of making composite texts, even to the extent of copying tablets written in Babylonian and Assyrian ductus as if they were one.

This of course clouds the true structure of EAE and is very inconvenient if one wishes to trace any evolution or divergences between possibly different traditions. One of the astrologers' most important "reference books", the astronomical compen- dium Mul. Apin, which also contains some omina, has appeared in an up- to-date edition by Hunger and Pingree in MUL.

An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform. AfO Beiheft 24, For the convenience of the reader, I offer in Appendix B a transliteration and translation of another reference book: The text is based on published material alone. Dramatis Personae In the following I will refer to scholars writing primarily on astrological topics as astrologers.

Experts in other fields, e. The king seems to have taken an active interest in the education of his scholars. In ABL , the Babylonian author informs the king that "the apprentices whom the king, my lord, entrusted to me have now learned EAE'. The change aimed at a more job- oriented training by substituting two tablets of explanatory word lists with two tablets of extispicy! The general character of their education is illustrated by the lists of acquisitions to libraries in Nineveh 6 which throw light on private libraries.

Where the names and titles of the donators are preserved, we see that not one of the tablets they give is in their own field of specialization. For example, the exorcist Arrabu from Nippur gives three tablets and five one-column tablets of EAE, two of lamentations, three of The Dreambook, in all tablets. Parpola a and SAA 7 nos.

But even if they did not copy them themselves, they at least collected the textbooks of other specialists, for instance the diviner. Even if specialization in one of the fields provoked vs. Apart from that, practitioners of the two fields of divination were undoubtedly clannish. According to BBR Both astrology and extispicy flourished in the Sargonid period, and the two branches of divination supplemented each other.

By its very nature, extispicy gave the kind of information that could not be obtained by astrology. It offered the means to corroborate and clarify other omens and could provide answers to specific questions. Nevertheless astrologers were probably the more highly esteemed diviners. In a list of scholars attached to the court, dated B.

The first group are those who, by the amount and character of their correspondence, appear to belong to an "inner circle"' mostly residing in Nineveh but not actually at court, as references to invitations or summons to visit the king 2 — and indeed the necessity of written communication itself — seem to imply. But it was probably a privilege of the inner circle to attend audiences regularly, 3 and some of the astrologers seem to have visited the king fairly often to explain or amplify their written observations and interpretations. The reports and letters were probably read to the king by scribes with a lower training, clerks attached to the court, like the ones, both eunuchs and men, who are depicted in the Assyrian reliefs from the reign of Tiglath-Pileser on, and who never seem to hold superior rank.

Summa izbu is difficult! This would also explain the king's rather frequent misunderstandings of passages in letters and reports. Munnabitu voiced similar doubts, cf. XX and c f. A scholar not employed by the king needed somebody to "take him by the hand and lead him into the presence of the king" Parpola p. Balasi himself offers to come and explain how to read a passage in Summa izbu LAS SAA 8 , from Asaridu: May the lord of kings summon me on a day that suits him, so that I can explain to the king, my lord.

Oppenheim' thinks these were only meant for the scribes who read the reports aloud to the king, since Esarhaddon never even claims to be literate. But Esarhaddon probably was not altogether illiterate. This is also supported by the fact that some of these glosses in reports written during his reign by scholars of the inner circle are so elementary that a professional scribe hardly would have needed them, for instance SAA 8 It seems that at least Esarhaddon had a special routine for receiving reports, but perhaps it only applied to reports concerning eclipses due to their special significance.

The procedure is described in the letter LAS Regarding the report on the lunar eclipse about which the king my lord wrote to me: They used to receive and introduce all reports from astrologers into the presence of the father of the king my lord. Afterwards, on the river bank, a scholar whom the king, my lord, Oppenheim p. Nowadays it should be done as it suits the king, my lord [. These two might even have belonged to the inner circle, which otherwise consisted of Assyrians: See further RLA 6 pp.

In the petition ABL , reedited by Parpola , Urad-Gula describes the rise and fall of his fortunes and gives us some information of the payment of scholars. He refers to the fact 1. But, according to a palace official, even the Chief Scribe's financial status Livingstone p. He is dying of a broken heart and falling out of the hands of the king, my lord, shattered. The poverty of the most learned of scholars, if the Chief Scribe is the same as the ummdnu of the king,' was proverbial.

The scholars were totally dependent for their positions and livelihood on the goodwill of the king, and this might lead to "humbleness and servile fear towards the monarch, and arrogance, hatred and contempt towards colleagues". Ahigar is identified in the Seleucid king-list mentioned above see p. In the Ahigar story he is said to have worked for Sennacherib; and Esarhaddon, incited by Ahigar's treacherous stepson who says that a wise scribe is dangerous, orders his death. Later the king regrets, and Ahigar is reinstated.

The letters and reports certainly abound with flatteries - such as comparing the king to the sage Adapa 4 or even to Marduk, 5 and the scholars often express their devotion and dependency in exclamations like "Who is my god, who is my lord? To whom should I be devoted but to the king, my lord! Old and trusted servants — this is how the scholars refer to themselves, and indeed the best description of their relationship with the king?

Of course, this appeal, like all the letters, is couched in the most polite terms. He obviously deems the event irrelevant to the king and says so rather outspokenly: There is no evil in the palace, and when did the king ever visit Harihumba? Only if there is something wrong in the palace should the ritual "Evil of Lightning" be performed. Did I not see earthquakes when I was young? The god wanted to open the ears of the king. He should pray, perform the namburbu and be on the alert". The king might check obse rvations and interpretations sent to him by one scholar with another.

The very knowledge that the king might thus check their statements — even if it was only to get a "second opinion" — must have prevented the ' Leaving out an apodosis or two, see LAS II sub LAS The common idea of Machiavel Tian "priests" stage-managing politics' is hardly true. The relationship of the scholars with one another was also not quite so bleak as has been supposed.

Practically all the examples cited by Oppen- heim2 of scholars discrediting their colleagues could very well be interpret- ed to have just the opposite meaning. The passage merely says: In SAA 8 , Akullanu writes: Now I have reported to the king everything that appears to me to be auspicious and that the safety of the land' with regard to the king my lord is good". His Babylonian compatriot Zakir again is perhaps a little overzealous, conscientiously sending a report SAA 8 with an omen of Scorpio and the moon explaining that "the omen is irrelevant ittum ul talappat ; but I reported it due to the watch of the king".

But all the Sargonid kings presumably demanded to be given exact information in these matters, and it was considered subversive not to report. The two astrologers watch the sky day and night but do not report anything about the king and the crown prince and have joined cause with the rebels! The king might write to ask the scholars to explain themselves better 3 orevnqustihbraon,stechlwrae. The Babylonian exorcist Bel-le'i names a gatekeeper as witness to his observation of an unnamed planet in Taurus, apparently a very ill-portending omen SAA 8 The text was edited with an unpublished join, given in transliteration and translation only, by H.

The join has since been published as KBo 36 no. The compiler of the catalogues was evidently much more interested in the treaties and rituals, the astrological texts receive cursory treatment. We do not have — as far as I know — any texts dealing with planetary omens, and the fixed stars play a very minor role. The exact meaning of the protasis is uncertain. After a division line the section is followed by omens of which only the first signs tdk-ku d 3[0 - - -], " if the m[oon]" are extant. The text ends with the invocation of the stars of the paths of Ea, Anu and Enlil. Emar Another relatively large group of astrological texts has been found in the recent excavations at Emar.

All the Emar texts those published at least 1 areinAkd tfromhe13cnuy. Twrepatofh library of the temple Ml, which seems to have been a kind of Pantheon. They were kept in a place of their own in the temple, together with other texts of Mesopotamian learning. Here again the omens mostly concern the moon and the sun — only two fragments nos.

Two tablets3 seem to be a long and a short version of the same text. They parallel the Hittite-Akkadian bilingual see p. It is written not too meticulously, for instance the month of Addaru appears in the place of Dumuzu 1. The text from Qatna see below is closely related, their common apodoses for Simanu are not found in the canonical EAE. It ends with a passage which parallels most closely the Sumerian introduction to the canonical version of EAE, see below p.

Laroche, 'Documents hittites et hourites' in: Dominique Beyer, Paris, A mere fragment,' found in much disturbed context dating to the middle of the second millennium, represents the divinatory literature at this site. It is written in Middle Babylonian script and displays many syllabic spellings, among which the West-Semitism sa-me-e 2 stands out. It contains two sections, both dealing with earthquakes. Apparently, it is an extract copy — there is no colophon — made from a damaged original hi- pi, lines 19 and The spelling sa-me-e is well known from the Amarna tablets.

Two large fragmentary tablets, Wiseman, AT nos. They are badly written, apparently by the same scribe, and the sign AS is often used to indicate abbreviations e. Both texts deal with eclipses arranged according to month, and according to its colophon, was no. They are related to the Qatna text and no. A fresh edition might prove useful.

There is one fragment in Ugaritic containing lunar omina, probably lunar eclipses and phenomena around new moon. Further, there is the famous and often discussed report2 which may contain the oldest dateable observation of a solar eclipse May 3rd, ? Other divinatory genres are slightly better attested at Ugarit. We have 21 liver models, four of them inscribed, 4 and at least one text with what seems to be Ugaritic translations of Summa izbu.

We have a fragment of a large tablet from Susa, 6 written in Akkadian and of uncertain date, but the many syllabic writings and the Bordreuil and Caquot, Syria 57 p. According to their interpretation of the text, Mars was visible during the eclipse, which excludes the date proposed by D. They suggest instead the date March 5, B. An Akkadian fragment RS 7. It contains some logograms peculiar to Akkadian texts from Elam.

It is parallel to EAE tablet 22 part I g Tablet 22 is unlike other tablets of EAE, it is more archaic and features some "Elamite" writings — even ones that the Susa fragment does not have e. Rochberg- Halton implicitly suggests' that the sources for tablet 22 part I at least may have come by way of Elam to the Neo-Assyrian redactors of EAE since there seem to be no Middle Period or indeed Old Babylonian manuscripts from Mesopotamia. Furthermore, we have a pre-Achemenid meneological text in Elamite.

Taken as a whole, the documentation from the peripheral areas shows rather clearly that the EAE existed in a fairly developed state in the 14th century and that it was known and studied in Syrian centres possibly excepting Ugarit. The texts from Emar, Qatna, Alalakh and Nuzi are written in an orthography that differs very little from contemporary Middle Babylonian, while the Hittite texts give the impression of being more old-fashioned. What might be called the "calendrical" section of lunar eclipses seems to have been especially popular, and fragments of this section have been found almost everywhere.

They list omens according to month and date 14th, 15t h , 16th, 20th and 21st — to this "classical" list of days is added the period from the 21St to the 30th, variously phrased. This is the pattern found in some form in EAE tablets 17, 18 and Obviously, they are closely related and often show similar wording, but where enough of them is preserved and legible to permit valid com- parison, a very muddled picture emerges.

Farber discusses the problem of the origins and dissemination of EAE Texts from Babylonia are scarce, and none of them throws any light on the developments of astrology. And there is as yet no evidence that the Assyrian kings before Sargon II took more than a marginal interest in astrology see p. In contrast, the century from the accession of Sargon to the death of Assurbanipal is by far the best documented period, at least in Assyria.

A unique wealth and diversity of sources allows us to see not only the most developed phase of traditional Mesopotamian astrology but also its practical application in state affairs. The bulk of the sources for Classical Mesopotamian astrology, including the "canonical" versions of EAE is found in the Neo-Assyrian royal libraries, together with -letters and reports from Assyrian and Babylonian scholars to the Assyrian king. References to astrological omens in the royal inscriptions testify to astrology's importance in decision-making at the highest level, freely acknowledged even in official promulgations.

Chapters are devoted to a closer analysis of this material. However, even as traditional astrology reached its zenith, profound changes were taking place that eventually superseded it altogether. As usual, the beginnings of these developments are shrouded in obscurity, and so far we can only get a glimpse of the results, in the astrology of the Persian and Seleucid periods. The basic feature of this "new astrology" is the knowledge that the movements of the celestial bodies can be exactly calculated in advance. Consequently, celestial phenomena could no longer be regarded as willed communications from the gods, and, the old idea, that "signs" in heaven correlate with events on Earth, was abandoned.

The uses of astrology also changed: Mathematics, more than divinatory lore, became the key to the secrets of the stars and the future. Obviously, the ability to calculate the movements of the planets did not come about as a sudden inspiration or stroke of luck. It presupposes centuries of sustained obse rvation and recording. We have here what may well be the earliest documented instance of a scientific revolution 2 — generations of scholars patiently collecting and recording data that, under the dominant theory, were unrelated to each other, in the end undermining the theory.

Concomitant with these developments, new concepts were introduced. Each section might then be further divided into twelve equal parts. It became an important ingredient in Hellenistic astrology. Traditional astrology did not disappear overnight. At first, the gains in astronomical knowledge seem to have had little impact on the tradition. Echoes of classical Babylonian omen astrology may be found in Egyptian, 2 Greek, Latin and Indian astrology 3 and even in Aramaic texts of the Byzantine period. Isfcueimpbl to know exactly how and when the Babylonian tradition was transmitted, but is natural to assume that contact was established during the time of the Persian empire.

According to both his friends and his enemies, illiterate Nabonidus even claimed to be able to understand the EAE better than the scribes who had brought him a copy of the series from Babylon, see Verse Account v 12' ff S. Smith, Babylonian Historical Texts p. Text A deals with eclipses, relating months to countries in the manner known from Babylonian astrology. The system is adapted to the Egyptian political perspective and the countries are: There is apparently also a parallel to the paths of Anu, Enlil and Ea here called Northern: Text B contains omens pertaining to lunar phenomena, halos?

It is evident that Damas- kios is not quoting from Berossos — whose book, Babyloniaka, he probably did not know any better than we do anyway. From this period stem not only the many copies of the series Enuma Anu Enlil and the hemerologies from Assurbanipal's library but also a wealth of correspondence between Assyrian and Babylonian scholars and the kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal. The correspondence offers a unique opportunity, not only to see Mesopotamian scholarship in its practical applications, but also to understand some of its rationale: Admittedly, these explanations must have been rather different from whatever discussions the scholars may have had among themselves, a subject we would dearly like to know more about.

The correspondence can be divided into two categories: This classification is no modern invention. Reports and letters were distinguished in antiquity physically as well as by contents. The letters were written on vertically oblong, one column, rather slim tablets called egirtu; the reports on horizontally oblong and often thick tablets called u'iltu.

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The reports are mostly short and to the point, citing observations and the relevant passages from EAE or the hemerologies, etc. The letters always have the proper introductory phrases, blessings etc. It seems that Assyrian scholars were more prone to using the letter format whereas the Babylonians mostly wrote reports. This edition was far from adequate, even by the standards of its time, and many texts were given in transliteration only. A new edition by H. Hunger, mostly in transliteration and translation only, appeared in as volume 8 in the series State Archives of Assyria.

Since this work provides innumerable improvements on RMA, besides offering some additional material, I refer to the reports according to this edition as SAA 8 xx. Many of the letters and reports have been dated by Parpola on the basis of the astronomical data contained in them see LAS II appendices I-J , and in the following, all dates assigned to them are Parpola's. The bulk of them were written around B. In ACh, Virolleaud dubbed the texts dealing with lunar omina "Sin", texts dealing with solar omina "Shamash", planetary omina "Ishtar" and meteorological omina "Adad", and edited them in this order which is not the same as the EAE.

This terminology is often adapted for convenience in later literature. AfO Beiheft 22, In ACh, Virolleaud followed the then current practice of making composite texts, even to the extent of copying tablets written in Babylonian and Assyrian ductus as if they were one. This of course clouds the true structure of EAE and is very inconvenient if one wishes to trace any evolution or divergences between possibly different traditions.

One of the astrologers' most important "reference books", the astronomical compen- dium Mul. Apin, which also contains some omina, has appeared in an up- to-date edition by Hunger and Pingree in MUL. An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform. AfO Beiheft 24, For the convenience of the reader, I offer in Appendix B a transliteration and translation of another reference book: The text is based on published material alone.

Dramatis Personae In the following I will refer to scholars writing primarily on astrological topics as astrologers. Experts in other fields, e. The king seems to have taken an active interest in the education of his scholars. In ABL , the Babylonian author informs the king that "the apprentices whom the king, my lord, entrusted to me have now learned EAE'. The change aimed at a more job- oriented training by substituting two tablets of explanatory word lists with two tablets of extispicy! The general character of their education is illustrated by the lists of acquisitions to libraries in Nineveh 6 which throw light on private libraries.

Where the names and titles of the donators are preserved, we see that not one of the tablets they give is in their own field of specialization. For example, the exorcist Arrabu from Nippur gives three tablets and five one-column tablets of EAE, two of lamentations, three of The Dreambook, in all tablets.

Parpola a and SAA 7 nos. But even if they did not copy them themselves, they at least collected the textbooks of other specialists, for instance the diviner. Even if specialization in one of the fields provoked vs. Apart from that, practitioners of the two fields of divination were undoubtedly clannish. According to BBR Both astrology and extispicy flourished in the Sargonid period, and the two branches of divination supplemented each other.

By its very nature, extispicy gave the kind of information that could not be obtained by astrology. It offered the means to corroborate and clarify other omens and could provide answers to specific questions. Nevertheless astrologers were probably the more highly esteemed diviners. In a list of scholars attached to the court, dated B. The first group are those who, by the amount and character of their correspondence, appear to belong to an "inner circle"' mostly residing in Nineveh but not actually at court, as references to invitations or summons to visit the king 2 — and indeed the necessity of written communication itself — seem to imply.

But it was probably a privilege of the inner circle to attend audiences regularly, 3 and some of the astrologers seem to have visited the king fairly often to explain or amplify their written observations and interpretations. The reports and letters were probably read to the king by scribes with a lower training, clerks attached to the court, like the ones, both eunuchs and men, who are depicted in the Assyrian reliefs from the reign of Tiglath-Pileser on, and who never seem to hold superior rank.

Summa izbu is difficult! This would also explain the king's rather frequent misunderstandings of passages in letters and reports. Munnabitu voiced similar doubts, cf. XX and c f. A scholar not employed by the king needed somebody to "take him by the hand and lead him into the presence of the king" Parpola p. Balasi himself offers to come and explain how to read a passage in Summa izbu LAS SAA 8 , from Asaridu: May the lord of kings summon me on a day that suits him, so that I can explain to the king, my lord.

Oppenheim' thinks these were only meant for the scribes who read the reports aloud to the king, since Esarhaddon never even claims to be literate. But Esarhaddon probably was not altogether illiterate. This is also supported by the fact that some of these glosses in reports written during his reign by scholars of the inner circle are so elementary that a professional scribe hardly would have needed them, for instance SAA 8 It seems that at least Esarhaddon had a special routine for receiving reports, but perhaps it only applied to reports concerning eclipses due to their special significance.

The procedure is described in the letter LAS Regarding the report on the lunar eclipse about which the king my lord wrote to me: They used to receive and introduce all reports from astrologers into the presence of the father of the king my lord. Afterwards, on the river bank, a scholar whom the king, my lord, Oppenheim p. Nowadays it should be done as it suits the king, my lord [.

238 zoo coloring pages for preschoolers colorful zoo coloring pages for preschoolers 202

These two might even have belonged to the inner circle, which otherwise consisted of Assyrians: See further RLA 6 pp. In the petition ABL , reedited by Parpola , Urad-Gula describes the rise and fall of his fortunes and gives us some information of the payment of scholars. He refers to the fact 1. But, according to a palace official, even the Chief Scribe's financial status Livingstone p. He is dying of a broken heart and falling out of the hands of the king, my lord, shattered.

The poverty of the most learned of scholars, if the Chief Scribe is the same as the ummdnu of the king,' was proverbial. The scholars were totally dependent for their positions and livelihood on the goodwill of the king, and this might lead to "humbleness and servile fear towards the monarch, and arrogance, hatred and contempt towards colleagues". Ahigar is identified in the Seleucid king-list mentioned above see p. In the Ahigar story he is said to have worked for Sennacherib; and Esarhaddon, incited by Ahigar's treacherous stepson who says that a wise scribe is dangerous, orders his death.

Later the king regrets, and Ahigar is reinstated. The letters and reports certainly abound with flatteries - such as comparing the king to the sage Adapa 4 or even to Marduk, 5 and the scholars often express their devotion and dependency in exclamations like "Who is my god, who is my lord? To whom should I be devoted but to the king, my lord! Old and trusted servants — this is how the scholars refer to themselves, and indeed the best description of their relationship with the king? Of course, this appeal, like all the letters, is couched in the most polite terms. He obviously deems the event irrelevant to the king and says so rather outspokenly: There is no evil in the palace, and when did the king ever visit Harihumba?

Only if there is something wrong in the palace should the ritual "Evil of Lightning" be performed. Did I not see earthquakes when I was young? The god wanted to open the ears of the king. He should pray, perform the namburbu and be on the alert". The king might check obse rvations and interpretations sent to him by one scholar with another.

The very knowledge that the king might thus check their statements — even if it was only to get a "second opinion" — must have prevented the ' Leaving out an apodosis or two, see LAS II sub LAS The common idea of Machiavel Tian "priests" stage-managing politics' is hardly true. The relationship of the scholars with one another was also not quite so bleak as has been supposed.

Practically all the examples cited by Oppen- heim2 of scholars discrediting their colleagues could very well be interpret- ed to have just the opposite meaning. The passage merely says: In SAA 8 , Akullanu writes: Now I have reported to the king everything that appears to me to be auspicious and that the safety of the land' with regard to the king my lord is good". His Babylonian compatriot Zakir again is perhaps a little overzealous, conscientiously sending a report SAA 8 with an omen of Scorpio and the moon explaining that "the omen is irrelevant ittum ul talappat ; but I reported it due to the watch of the king".

But all the Sargonid kings presumably demanded to be given exact information in these matters, and it was considered subversive not to report. The two astrologers watch the sky day and night but do not report anything about the king and the crown prince and have joined cause with the rebels! The king might write to ask the scholars to explain themselves better 3 orevnqustihbraon,stechlwrae.

The Babylonian exorcist Bel-le'i names a gatekeeper as witness to his observation of an unnamed planet in Taurus, apparently a very ill-portending omen SAA 8 The sky exists - - - - - - - - forever! When the alu-disease came the king smelt a rat and blamed the scholars for not warning him. Since then they reported everything and "was not the king, your father, fully alive and did he not exercise kingship? In my opinion, the king did not feel a "latent scepticism towards divination". If the king felt any scepticism it was towards his experts. In a literary text called "The Sin of Sargon", 3 Sennacherib relates how he gathered his diviners to investigate the reason why his father had been slain in battle and why the body was never found.

He explains how he let them inspect the same liver in groups of three and four, so that they could not discuss the matter with each other. The diviners all came up with the same answer, which surprisingly confirmed Sennacherib's suspicions — that Sargon had sinned by placing the Assyrian gods above the Babylonian. He advises later kings to follow the same procedure. That diviners might indeed manipulate the divinatory process is illustrated in the letter SAA 10 They coerced him into performing lecanomancy to predict that the chief eunuch would become king. The king had luxury editions of Enuma Anu Enlil.

One king at least4 hadbotneiByladonAsrichte,wno ivory writing-boards, joined together to form a polyptych, available in the E. In the letters, Assurbanipal is often encouraged to take a look for himself in the series. Urad-Gula attempts to flatter Assurbanipal's vanity by referring obliquely to the king's knowledge of EAE Parpola p. The omen quoted in this report is the very common one of full moon occurring on the 14th. Beside the scholars of the inner circle were the scholars less favoured and the ones situated around the realm in Assyria and Babylonia, even if we can not simply assume that all the reports written in Babylonian ductus actually came from Babylonia.

I see no reason why the Assyrian king should not have imported Babylonian scholars,' just as he imported their tablets. The king certainly got reports from Babylonia. He might check the validity of these observations with his "inner circle", e. N, 28 , a memorandum on scribes working on texts for the library at Nineveh. Some of these scribes are certainly Babylonian, for example a certain Ninurta-gimilli, of whom we hear that he has completed the series on which he was working and has been put in fetters!

The fragment SM 3 The lord of kings should write to Assur and all other cities, to Babylon, Nippur, Uruk and Borsippa, perhaps it was observed in those cities. Some Babylonian scholars describe themselves as "mar GN", i. Oppenheim 3 takeshiomn wrteisalocuydnthaiwe writing to the king, and this seems quite probable — at least I have found no instance where it could be shown to be otherwise. Three such astrologers are known from Borsippa: The dateable reports of these scholars 4 suggest that they might have succeeded one another.

No one identifies himself as mar babili, but from the contents of their letters and reports, some can be located to Babylon. Tab-silli-Marduk calls 1 Akkad may be an alias for Babylon, as argued by Landsberger, but it is also possible that Mar -Istar actually was at the site of Akkad to supervise the reconstruction of Eulmag; Akkad was certainly not an observatory and Mar -lstar would only mention it because he had seen the eclipse there himself. No reports have been found from either of these astrologers at Niniveh.

Bel-upahhir refers to orders from the king which he received in Kar-Mulissu SM 8 This seems like a family of scholars from Babylon, as pointed out by Oppenheim,' all faithful to the Assyrian king. Tab-silli-Marduk may be identified with a certain Tabija, the writer of eight reports and co-author with Zakir of the report SAA 8 ; this Zakir must have been in Babylon because he writes not only on astro- logical matters but on political developments in Babylon as well.

He also complains to the king about the persecution he endured from the rebellious Sillaja ABL , written in B. But in B. He writes in the letter ABL which deals with the lunar eclipse of Dec. There does not seem to be any political reasons — perhaps the astrologers there reported to Babylon? I do not think that the astrologers in Babylonia reporting to the king were part of an organized network of observers — as seems to have been the case in Assyria see below. The Babylonian astrologers write on all topics of astrology and quote EAE to their hearts' content, just as the members of the "inner circle".

But when the king wanted to make sure ' Oppenheim p. And perhaps others as well: ABL no name was written in answer to a question from the king: The scholars and astrology in Babylonia existed independently of what king or dynasty might reign, their relationship with the king was opportunistic. We have more petitions from Babylonian than from Assyrian scholars — which might be taken to indicate a less stabilized relationship with the king than that of their Assyrian colleagues.

The Assyrian scholars tend to be those most worried — most prone to looking at the sinister side. Both deal with the occultation of Jupiter by the moon 2, but while Akkullanu's report mostly predicts evil, Tabija's is all optimism, he omits one of the clearly relevant omens cited by Akullanu and edits away the word Subartu in another. We did not [see] the moon here, just because of the clouds. Tabija, SAA 8 In various Assyrian cities, teams of scribes seem to have been ordered to keep the watch of the king and report to him.

He re- ports on the appearance of the moon and the sun, conjunctions, oppositions and eclipses, often with date, never with an attempt at interpretation or citations from the scriptures. There are two letters from the scribes of Kalizi writing collectively LAS 85 and 86 merely reporting their observation of the full moon with a short version of the relevant apodosis.

They also complain about not being able to keep the watch of the king and teaching their students because of corvee-work ilku and tupfikku. One letter is particularly interesting because it mentions the mandate of the team LAS In LAS 81 we hear that he has been ordered to watch out for an eclipse. Could that slight difference really have mattered, if it were at all noticed? Apart from that, the character of the reports from Nabu-musesi is different from that of the reports and letters from the teams.

The position of these scribes was very different from that of the scholars of the "inner circle" and those in Babylonian cities, who certainly did not have to do corvee-work. Their function was to corroborate obse rv ations which perhaps were mainly important to the regulation of the calendar but which of course also held astrological significance. Enmeduranki in his turn handed down his knowledge to the men of Nippur, Sippar and Babylon.

Ea, is said to have written on an ancient tablet tuppu mahru that the month of Dumuzu was suited for the gathering of armies and the pitching of camps. EAE had a human redactor, according to one tradition this was the mythic sage Adapa. The similarity between this statement and Pirge Avot I: Sinai and handed it down to Joshua, and Joshua to the Elders, the Elders to the prophets, and the prophets handed it down to the men of the Great Assembly".

The same process of sifting various local traditions may be re- ferred to in the subscript to one of the Babylonian traditions summarized in a hemerology from Assur, KAR iv 25 ff: The question of the exact status of the "received tradition" in the first millennium has provoked much discussion.

It would seem that, by the end of the second millennium, there was what Oppenheim called "the stream of tradition" — a fairly well-defined corpus of texts that from that time onwards was transmitted only by being copied by scribes. The colophons, from the 11th century onwards, show that the scribes took great care in copying their manuscripts exactly from the originals. As far as can be judged from our present incomplete knowledge, the scribes only made minor changes, subtractions, or additioris 3 to the corpus, and they evidently strove for textual stability.

There was consider- able leeway in the spelling of individual words, and to some extent also in the division of longer texts into tablets; but on the whole the "stream of tradition" remained fixed throughout the first millennium, in Assyria as well as in Babylonia. It has become received tradition in Assyriology to refer to texts belonging to the "stream of tradition" as "canonical", which seems reasonable enough. The scribes appear to have considered them authoritative, insofar as any part of human knowledge could lay claim to that. They did not consider their texts divinely inspired; nor is there any evidence that they regarded any one edition of a text superior to others.

See Weidner Plt. The discussion is to some extent futile, partly because the texts are so broken, partly because most of them are so poorly edited. Copies of the series were prepared for the Ninevite libraries, but this was no attempt to create "official", normative, texts. Within the "stream of tradition", the scribes distinguished three categories: The criteria for this distinction remain unknown; but all three categories seem to have been considered equally authoritative. There is much more cuneiform material than is needed for the reconstruction of EAEs about 70 tablets alone.

A huge amount of various kinds of scholia developed parallel to and around the canonical divinatory series, such as commentaries, excerpts and compilations from the series. Unfortunately we do not really know very much about the nature of some of the text genres listed below, to which much of the "extra" material must belong. To some extent the classification is artificial, the different kinds of commentaries are clearly interrelated, but so much work remains to be done. Properly speaking this is not the ancient name of the series at all; it is consistently quoted by the Variant traditions are normally indicated by sang, "otherwise".

A remarkable case is KAR , cited above. When Anu, Enlil and Ea, the great gods, by their decision laid down the design of heaven and earth, and assigned to the great gods their functions, to create the day, to renew the month for mankind to behold, they saw Shamash in his gate, they made him appear regularly in heaven and earth. The compilation of the series can be seen to begin already in Old Babylonian times, and it may well be that the process was more or less completed by the 11th century.

Interestingly, the so-called astrolabe and the astronomical compilation Mul. On the other hand, Mul. But it is only from the the Neo- Assyrian royal libraries that we have solid evidence for the contents and division of the series. CT 33 9, a Neo- Assyrian list of the stars of Enlil, Anu and Ea, also opens with a bilingual introduction, which seems, however, to give instructions for the use of the list.

See also the edition of tablet 14 by F. The sources go on differently after the mythological paragraph, but in all cases it is followed by the Shamash section see Rochberg-Halton p. There are many difficulties in reconstructing the series. One is that in many cases only parts of EAE were acquisited to the royal library, and some tablets were more popular than others, as was also the case with literary texts such as the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Not even the format of tablets was standardized throughout the series. Complete editions were of course prepared at Nineveh specially for the library. Hey thought that it was possible to establish a more or less rigorous systematization and suggested that the many divergences between older and younger copies of the same tablet, between contemporary copies, and the inconsistent numbering can be traced back to different Schulen, namely: N, 28 , a memorandum of scribes working on copies of various series for the palace libraries; also LAS and LAS Hipparenum and Uruk, and one from Strabo n which mentions only Uruk and Borsippa.

In his reconstruction Weidner used two catalogues, one from Assur and one from Uruk, and catchlines and incipits. The two catalogues are fragmentary and do not overlap. Only the incipits of tablet are preserved on the Uruk catalogue, the catalogue is used as guideline for tablet numbers, even though the texts and their colophons are not always in accordance with the catalogue. Weidner sums up the differences between the Assur catalogue and what he reconstructs from Nineveh as follows: Assur Niniveh Assur Niniveh Tablet 39 44 50 56 40 45 51 57 46 52 55 62? According to Weidner, 4 table"3ish wtemodifrngubs.

According to another text from Nineveh it is tablet 35, and according to one text from Uruk it is tablet The numbering of individual tablets is not the only problem, but also their division of the text, e. Recension B is known in manuscripts from Assur, See Oelsner p. To judge by the index of subjects of the lunar eclipse tablets Rochberg-Halton p. Tablets 20, 21 and 22, all on lunar eclipses, are arranged in reverse order from what might be expected, tablet 20 containing the more elaborate protases — unlike, e. These tablets then follow each other directly.

The exact wording of the protasis is of supreme importance. Two tablets dealing with the same phenomenon but described in different terms would follow each other. They may have used: It is tempting to see it as a sort of index. Rikis girri was serialized as appears from ACh Sin In the commentaries the protasis commented upon is quoted together with its apodosis, sometimes in an abbreviated form. The mukallimtu comments on the tablets of EAE in proper sequence. Comments to more than one tablet of EAE may of course be written on one commentary tablet, e.

A commentary may deal with the interpretation of single words, as in ACh Ishtar 2: The commentary says lines , var. Venus is steady in the morning: Further examples may be found in Cavigneaux, "Aux sources du Midrash: EAE is the only divinatory series to have a named and serialized commentary.

Weidner' calls it "Die kommentierende Anschluss-Serie", which is an apt description since it does not just comment on individual omina, but also give general principles, e. Sin 19 contains a list of the parameters to be considered in the interpretation of a lunar eclipse see p. Its special status can also be seen from the fact that it was quoted frequently in letters and reports and by almost all of the scholars' with no special reference, just as was the EAE itself.

Further- more, it is not classified as a pi ummani commentary — whatever that means. Tablet 2 is organized in three columns: Due to the state of publication it is impossible to know if this arrangement was peculiar to tablet 2; probably it was not. Like the mukallimtus on individual tablets, it is a factual commentary and contains the same types of explanations of protases which are often imprecise or outright impossible. Loose language like "not at its appointed time", "not at the right time", "not in its season" is defined as exact dates in ACh Sin 3: As an example of the form and 1 p.

Saturn stands with the moon on the 14th day. But the omens did not only refer to conjunction of the moon with Saturn, but could equally well be applied to the opposition of the moon and the sun side by side with all the rest. For instance, ACh 3: Jeyes' suggests that one of the objectives of the extispicy mukallimtu was to actually determine which description of a phenomenon was to be preferred. During its long history, the terminology of extispicy certainly had become no less confused than that of astrology. Extispicy mukallimtus apparently often quote an omen protases followed by other protases, differently formulated, which warrant the same interpretation.

It may originate in the school room as the teacher's answers to pupils' questions which were written down and thus passed into the written tradition. This is a late Babylonian commentary to EAE with the postscript sa-a-tu u. It contains both "philological" and factual explanations of both protasis and apodosis, but does not try to explain the link between them, such as is known from commentaries to other texts. Undoubtedly, the word lists were consulted by the scholars, though not often mentioned explicitly.

In LAS from three diviners , the king is asked to authorize a change in the curriculum of apprentice scribes: Excerpts of EAE and its commentaries, liginnu or liqtu, written on one-column tablets. They often concentrate on a single topic, quoting See Livingstone p. Even though none of these are astrological, such texts surely existed.

We know that tablets with omens relevant to particular celestial phenomena were written for the king see p. A different kind of excerpted texts are the "compilations", multicolumn tablets that contain sections of omens of unrelated subject matter. Ahu, "strange, what is outside". As has been argued by Rochberg- Halton, 5 this should be understood as "extraneous", not "uncanonical", in the sense that ahu texts represented a parallel, perhaps less well-known, but not an inferior or less standardized tradition.

We have references to an ahu tradition in catchlines, subscripts, catalogues and also from the letters and reports though these references are few. K r18 Bezold, Cat. Tablet - - - - of Assurbanipal, etc. If it flashes from left to right: Chunks of extraneous omens were incorporated, or appended, to the canonical series.

But this section consists of omens from section I and III, rearranged in the order of the months instead of following the Venus cycle, but with the same wording except that uhhuru is in the present tense in sections I and III, in the preterite in section IV.

Three manuscripts do not contain section IV, and at least two manuscripts contain only section IV. Either tablet 63 was divided into two tablets in one recension BPO I p. EAE tablet 57 also included ahu omens: This line is followed by the colophon stating that this is tablet 57 of Enuma Anu Enlil. From the comparison of protases made by Rochberg- Halton, 3 it emerges that they differ in the following respects: In addition to the examples quoted below, see also SAA 8 Nabu-musesi , unfortunately in broken context. The extraneous material is thus in- corporated in both the series and its commentary.

Others may be omina that merely had been left out by chance; or E. Copied according to its original and collated, tablet of Nabu-zuqup-kenu" seems to be a special case. This text is not astrological, but contains "omens from the reign of the king kar-le-em-me-tum-bi" that are indeed very strange: It is generally assumed 3 that the menology is secondary. The astrologers also used the hemerologies to determine which days were good for a specific undertaking, such as good days for taking oath LAS 1 r. The astrologers may send excerpts from hemerologies, for instance lists of auspicious days, see SAA 8 nos.

Among the several lists of stars, the most astrological is the so-called Great Star List for a transliteration and translation, see App. This text is a motley of mythological and astrological data on planets and See e. Also SAA 8 , where Nabu-musesi quotes first three omens concerning Jupiter in the lunar halo, with the names sag. Then he quotes one with the third name of Jupiter, sul. The standard omen is probably found in ACh 2.

Much of it seems to have been assembled from blocks excerpted from other texts. For instance the section "Groups of Seven" lines ff recurs in KAR i ; and the word lists that conclude the text includes much irrelevant information, such as all the values of the sign Sl CT 26 43 viii 2' f0, though only the first entry SI: Its composite character indicates that the text is not very old. Probably it was meant to serve as a vademecum for the astrologers.

Normally the scholars do not give any references for their statements, and they certainly never indicate from which tablet of the series they quote. The scholars might say so if they quote extraneous omens or oral? Generally they only give their sources if they are a little out of the ordinary. Akkullanu, for instance, shows the attitude of a true archive-mole and quotes with evident pride a report written in B. As to the rains which have been so scanty this year that no harvests were reaped, it is a good omen for the life and vigour of the king, LAS r Perhaps the king, my lord, will say: This formula is not altogether standardized.

It states that knowledge of the contents of the tablet is reserved for the initiated, lit. The formula sometimes contains an injunction to the initiated to show it to other initiates. In a sense, all astrology, including the series Enuma Anu Enlil, was certainly considered a part of the secrets of the great gods. A certain scholar is reprimanded for teaching the temple slaves, and warned that if he persists he will do so on pain of the king's punishment.

SAA 8 , Asaridu jr.: Reading the commentary is the secret lore of the scholars. Written according to an old original and collated. But the text itself is apparently not very esoteric. On the obverse, some 20 lines with omens of the planet Mars remain. Some of the classified astrological texts are indeed scholia e. Borger2 wonders why some texts were considered secret or why certain texts, which were part of a series otherwise accessible to any literate person, were kept secret.

One may also wonder why others, which seem very esoteric to us, were not only one manuscript of i. But at the beginning of his studies, even a young student presumably had sworn by tablet and stylus to guard the secrets of the great gods. V plate 3, the first five lines in copy, see sub Ki , Lambert, JCS 21 , p. But it is obvious that practical experience was subordinate to theory or schematization: This testifies once again to schematic systematization. Generally, it is good if a mostly well-portending planet, or a constellation representing such a planet, is bright, and bad if an evil-portending planet or constellation is bright, and vice versa if they are faint.

A similar rule obtains in extispicy, even if is it not altogether consistent in its applica- tion: The ambiguity is one of emphasis in interpretation, whether the right side was primarily the favourable side, or primarily "our" side pars familiaris. To the Assyrians, omens pertaining to both Akkad and Subartu referred to "us", at least in times when the Assyrian king was the overlord of Akkad, i. Elam and Amurru referred to "the enemy". Which quarter an omen pertained to was decided according to which month, day, or watch of the night it occurred, and which wind was blowing.

Also the planets and stars were allocated a region, but variant traditions existed side by side. An astrological omen was believed to be valid only for a specified period adannu , depending on the nature of the omen. A lunar eclipse would apply for up to days see further below , while omens from the stars were only valid for 30 days.

This might give some idea of which omina were considered more important, but the astrologers relatively seldom recommend the performance of apotropaic rituals, perhaps the instances we do have are atypical. Very probably rituals were carried out more often than we can ascertain. The description is of course far from exhaustive and also rather a frustrating task since the astrological tradition is so full of contradictions and certainly does not swear by general rules.

Balasi's remark LAS 35 that no two omens have the same interpretation, though said about month omina, might be applied to astrology as a whole. But, as mentioned, to some extent generalizations did exist. In my presentation, I follow the order of the EAE. The Moon The moon plays a prominent part in Babylonian religion and astrology. The first twenty-odd tablets of the about 70 tablets of EAE concern the moon, the 8 last of these deal with eclipses, and about half of the astrological reports deal primarily with lunar phenomena.

The paragraph which concludes the section of the ME dealing with the moon — it is followed by the catchline of the first tablet about the sun — ' Cf. Boissier, Documents Assyriens, p. The king will be well. He assigned to him the jewel of the night, to deter- mine the days: In the first of the month, as you light up over the land, you shine with horns to mark six days, on the seventh let the tiara be half.

On the fifteenth day, you shall be in opposition to the sun every middle of the month. Then, when the sun is looking at you from the horizon, wane, grow backward as is proper. On the day of disappearance, approach the path of the sun so that [on the thirtieth day? The first sighting of the new moon heralded the beginning of the next The restoration offered by Vanstiphout, JCS 33 ff: Certainly the moon was conceived of as shining with its own light, but I do not think it can be concluded from the above passage that the Babylonians explained the phases of the moon the way Berossos did, as suggested by Burstein.

I know of no Babylonian astronomical explanation of the phases of the moon, and the naturalist theory may safely be ascribed to pseudo-Berossos drawing on Stoic philosophy, see Kuhrt p. B f0 and Livingstone, p. The beginning of the month was good seemingly regardless of the length of the preceding month , as in LAS A 'new day' is like the beginning of the month, it is favourable.

This is described in the letters and reports in two ways, either: Thus the day after the 29th could either be an abortive one hour 30th day which the moon by its appearance "rejected" and turned into the first day of the new month, or it could be a "complete" day if the new moon became visible for the first time the next evening.

The ominous content of the two possible durations of the month are briefly stated in ACh Sin 3: If the moon is seen on the first day: His arguments are also corroborated by SAA 8 The 30th is also dangerous iii 52 but Sin and Shamash will bless you if you pray to them and not to your own god. The opposition of the moon and the sun could be described in many terms, the pragmatic: Full moon generally occurred on the 14th since it occurs on the average days after conjunction.

Many of the listed ty pes of tiara are obscure and may refer to different appearances. A planet or constellation seen within the halo of the moon acquires an ominous significance. The omen was modified if the halo was not closed, but how much seems to have been a matter of opinion see p. Otherwise the dire consequences will be: Eclipses of the Moon Eclipses are of course very conspicuous, and they played a part in tradition and divination other than and independent from astrology — as can be seen also in the examples from Mari and Ugarit, mentioned above Chapter 2.

Eclipses seem to be bad in themselves, and are listed along with other evils that might befall mankind. They were also already in the OB texts' predicted by astrological omens, by halos, 5 by the new moon appearing too early, 6 by the moon being very big, 7 or even by fog! This is the only example of an ominous event known to me that could itself be predicted by divination! As is well known, both lunar and solar eclipses were primarily omens of disaster for the king or his enemies, according to which form the eclipse took.

See CAD All p. The writer quotes EAE! The period adannu affected by an eclipse in the evening watch is three months and ten days, the period of an eclipse of the middle watch is six months and twenty days, the period of an eclipse of the morning watch is ten months. An eclipse of the evening watch is for Akkad, an eclipse of the middle watch is for Elam, an eclipse of the morning watch is for Subartu. These are the months of lunar eclipses. These are the days of lunar eclipses. When Sin makes an eclipse, you must also consider the month, the day, the watch, the wind, the path and the positions of the stars as they stood during the eclipse, and then you can give [.

This is explained by Munnabitu SAA 8 The evil of the 14th day: We do not know the quadrant where it began. The moon shed the extent? That its disc started to clear from the East and the North, means good luck to Subartu and Akkad. That it was covered completely means that the portent pertains to all countries". There are two rules for the interpretation of the movement of the eclipse shadow incorporated into the EAE.

According to tablet 15, the part of the moon where eclipse starts indicates the country that will be afflicted; according to the introduction of tablet 20 the opposite is true: But his inter- pretation of the month is agreed on by most sources. B f0, ACh 2. B 1 ,' Munnabitu lists the significance of the quarters: The right part of the moon is Akkad, the left part of the moon is Elam, the upper part of the moon is Amurru, the lower part of the moon is Subartu.

There exist at least three different schematic interpretations of the points of the compass, 2 but only the two following are applied to eclipses. This may be so in the series but in practice it seems to have been which quadrant was eclipsed. The other possible interpretations of the eclipse according to day, month, direction, etc. The only celestial phenomenon that could mitigate the evil was the presence of Jupit e eclipse. The EAE contains a lot of omens pertaining to lunar and solar eclipses with detailed apodoses, arranged according to month and day, with more 1 p. The Babylonians seem never to have given an astronomical explanation of eclipses.

Tablet 16 of utukku lemnutu 2 contains a mythological explana- tion: The purpose of the ritual seems to be to prevent the demons from also eclipsing the king, who is likened to the moon. The explanation presupposed in the astrological literature seems to be that Sin eclipses on his own initiative — or omits it at his own discretion, e. In the Neo-Assyrian period, scholars were not yet able to predict the occurrence of eclipses mathematically, but they certainly had some rules- of-thumb.

They knew of course that lunar eclipses are only possible at full moon, and solar eclipses at new moon, that the moon may be eclipsed every 6th synodic month, 3 and that a solar eclipse may precede or follow a lunar. They also knew the month eclipse period. The scholars were of course interested in being able to predict eclipses and other events exactly, and observations were probably collected. Only three letters restrict themselves to merely reporting an eclipse LAS , 80 and Rather it means, "nothing unusual was observed".

There is every reason to suppose that keeping records of observations was an established practice at the time, even if we have no direct evidence from the letters. The two letters which actually resemble diaries LAS 80, B. Rituals Connected with Lunar Eclipses A tamitu text, i. Whether such a tamitu was performed every time the possibility of an eclipse was reported to the king is of course impossible to know, but its mere existence illustrates the close link between the two divinatory practices.

In connection with the lunar eclipses described in the inscriptions of Sargon and Nabonidus we also have evidence that eclipse omens could be corroborated by extispicy. Its main feature was that some 1 Sachs and Hunger p. Pinches", AfO 11 p. He sat on the throne for up to days, often shorter, even though the period affected by a lunar eclipse theoretically was determined by the watch in which it occurred and measured , and days respectively see above. At the end of his "reign", the substitute king and queen were put to death.