In the following discussion, these two articles are cited as Alster and Selz, respectively. A xix 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. In Gudea Cyl. 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.
Old Akkadian astrology? 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. Mv,acordingtHube'slao,"nfwer than three! He is also mentioned in ACh Ishtar , likewise in broken context. Ibbi-Sin is mentioned in ACh 2. It is an omen of Ibbi-Sin, king of Ur, who went to Elam in captivity, weeping. Schaumberger, e. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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Charpin, ibid. 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.
Reiner p. 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. 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.
Virgo mul. The ear of corn represented on the kudurrus might therefore be taken to represent Virgo. The same holds true for Hydra mul. Taurus 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. No registration number: "tablet was catalogued after being copied, and then lost sight of" p. 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. Geller p. Apin p. Pingree suggests that the two lists of ziypu stars Mul. Why Nineveh? See also M. Geller 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 number of astrological texts almost equals the total number of texts from the other divinatory genres combined. 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. Sachs p. 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. Berman in Fs. 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. Dominique Beyer, Paris, Margueron ed. 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.
AS for an. 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.
Xella et al. An Akkadian fragment RS 7. See Xella, ibid. 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: from being mostly concerned with the welfare of the state, it was increasingly applied to predict the fate of the individual. 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: the Hebrew land, Amor, Egypt and Syria. 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: the scholars often try to explain their craft to an interested and important layman, their king and paymaster.
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: letters and reports. 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 astrological compendium known as The Great Star List. 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.
XV-XVI, c f. XV ff. 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 ff see Lambert p. 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. XIV ff. 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: "The lord of kings may say: 'what do you mean? May the lord of kings summon me on a day that suits him, so that I can explain to the king, my lord.
Reade p. 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. 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. 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 [. 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: "Why does the king look for evil , why does he look for it in the home of a peasant qatinnu? 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.
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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: "Surely any one of the scholars can tell the king, my lord, about Amurru; "Amurru" means Syria Oppenheim p.
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. Babylonian, ductus. 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 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. 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. See Parpola 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: "Mars was seen, why didn't you write? 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 ff. 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 : "Concerning the watch about which the king, my lord, wrote to me, we shall keep and we shall write.
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:1 is obvious, much less so the significance of that similarity: "Moses received the Torah on Mt. 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".
Hallo p. 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. I-III and p. Lieberman 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. 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. 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.
I and p. 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. 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: Babylon- Borsippa, Uruk, Assur, Kalhu and Nineveh. N, 28 , a memorandum of scribes working on copies of various series for the palace libraries; also LAS and LAS Vl 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. George a p. They may have used: II. It is tempting to see it as a sort of index. Rikis girri was serialized as appears from ACh Sin , dub. Mukallimtu, lit. 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 "If Venus is steady in the morning: the people of all countries will eat plenty, hostile kings will be reconciled". The commentary says lines , var. ACh Suppl. 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: the first containing the protasis, the second the apodosis sometimes left out , the third the explanation of the protasis. 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 It contains identifications: an impossible observation, "If the Goat-star Lyra reaches the Wolf-star a Trianguli : in that year fall of cattle" is explained, "Venus reaches Mars".
As an example of the form and 1 p. Its interpretation is: it is good for the king, my lord, the sun is the star of the king. 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. 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. 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: unfavourable. ACh Sin "E ] mul. 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: ACh Ishtar "39 ex- traneous omens found in another tablet [- - - -]". This line is followed by the colophon stating that this is tablet 57 of Enuma Anu Enlil. 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: "A cut-off head laughs", and so on. 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.
Star lists. 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. Can I simply say what a aid to find someone who actually is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet.
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