Cover image for The Babylonian Astrolabe: The Calendar of Creation By Rumen Kolev

The Babylonian Astrolabe

The Calendar of Creation

Rumen Kolev

BUY

$79.50 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-952-10-1345-4

320 pages
7" × 10"
2013
Distributed by Penn State University Press for Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project

State Archives of Assyria

The Babylonian Astrolabe

The Calendar of Creation

Rumen Kolev

The Babylonian Astrolabe, or “Three Stars Each (Month),” as it was called in antiquity, is an enigmatic document that has been the subject of much controversy and debate ever since its discovery in the 1870s. It comes in two versions, a circular star map divided in three concentric “paths” and 12 month sectors, and a multicolumn text specifying the times of the heliacal risings of the stars and associating them with the main divinities of the Mesopotamian pantheon and the main events of the Mesopotamian cultic year. Both texts were of fundamental importance to Mesopotamian astral sciences, religion, and royal ideology, all of which were ultimately based on the 360-day “perfect year” of the astrolabes.

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
The Babylonian Astrolabe, or “Three Stars Each (Month),” as it was called in antiquity, is an enigmatic document that has been the subject of much controversy and debate ever since its discovery in the 1870s. It comes in two versions, a circular star map divided in three concentric “paths” and 12 month sectors, and a multicolumn text specifying the times of the heliacal risings of the stars and associating them with the main divinities of the Mesopotamian pantheon and the main events of the Mesopotamian cultic year. Both texts were of fundamental importance to Mesopotamian astral sciences, religion, and royal ideology, all of which were ultimately based on the 360-day “perfect year” of the astrolabes.

This is the first full critical edition of all currently known astrolabe texts and a ground-breaking study of their astronomical content, showing that the text as it has come down to us consists of three redactional layers dating from different time periods, the earliest of which is to be dated to prehistoric times (ca. 5000 BCE). The appendixes to the book include 255 first-hand observations of heliacal phases of stars and planets and an appendix explaining in detail the heliacal phases.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ABBREVIATIONS

INTRODUCTION

The Babylonian Astrolabe – Description and Meaning

The Discovery of the Astrolabe

The Astrolabe and the Babel-Bibel Debate

The Nature of the Astronomical Information in the Astrolabe

Previous Datings of the Astrolabe

The Goals and Method of the Present Study

PART I: STUDIES ON ASTROLABE B AND RELATED TEXTS

1. ASTRONOMICAL ANALYSIS AND DATING OF THE ASTROLABE

The Paths of Anu, Enlil and Ea

The Effects of Precession

The Random Model and the Probability Distribution

Migrant and Settled Stars in Mul Apin and the Astrolabe

The Numbers on the Circular Astrolabe

The Place of the Equinox in Astrolabe B

Dating the Month-Star Data

The Problem of the Circumpolar Stars

The Four Layers of Astronomical Information in the Astrolabe

2. DATING THE HELIACAL CALENDAR IN MUL APIN

3. ANALYSIS AND DATING OF LBAT 1499 (ASTROLABE S)

4. EPILOGUE. THE ORIGINAL SYSTEM

PART II: THE TEXTS

1. THE CIRCULAR ASTROLABE

2. ASTROLABE B (KAV 218)

3. LBAT 1499 (ASTROLABE S)

4. K 3119

5. THE QUASI-ASTROLABE (CT 33 PL)

PART III: APPENDICES A-H

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDICES

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