ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

G. Çağırgan

Keywords: Astrolabe B, British Museum, Sumer, Akkadian Empire, Mesopotamia

While the present author had been studying under the supervision of Prof. W.G. Lambert, in Birmingham, in order to get his Ph. D., he was kindly informed by him that there were three more duplicates of so-called Astrolabe B in the collections of the British Museum.

The present edition of the text is based of four different sources. The published text consists of bilingual comments, in Sumerian and Akkadian, on twelve months, their relations with stars, myths, agricultural life and social activities of the Ancient Mesopotamians.

The relevant tablets disagree in line divisions, so the present arrangement is a new one to make the content more understandable. One Sumerian line, 29-30, is also rearranged according to its Akkadian translation.

The first tablet (KAV 218, also known as Ast. B), A here, was written in three columns and excavated in Assur. Both obverse and reverse of the tablet are preserved almost complete. The text consists of two parts. The first part, upper two - third of the obverse, is devoted to the menology, while the second part, beginning in the lower of the obverse and continuing on the reverse explains the positions of the thirty-six stars in various periods of the year.

The text of the menology is thus divided into three columns: the first column, which explains the first four months of the year, contains in 50 lines. The second column deals with the months fifth to eigth and consists of 46 lines. The third column covers the last four months of the year in 46 lines.

There is a colophon which ends the reverse:

qat (su) '"“'marduk (amar. utu)-balat ( eres (kam)

tupsari (dub. sar) sehri (tur)

mar-ninurta-uballit " (ti-la)-su tupsar (dub. sar)

sarri (lugal)

igi. kar m,,bel (en)-aha (ses)-iddina (sum)na

nis (mu) da-sur suma (mu) sat-ra la-a ta-pa-sit

[inx ud. o. kam 1] i-mu mik-ka-ru

The hand of Marduk - balat -su -eres, the junior scribe, the son of Ninurta - uballit - su, the scribe of the King. Collated by Bel - aha - iddina.

By Assur, do not erase the written name.

[The month th day, the e] ponym tkkaru

The date of the tablet can be determined by finds at Assur. During the excavation of the Assur Temple in 1911, a room which contained about 650 tablets and fragments was discovered. Together with these tablets some jars were also found. Three of the jars had inscriptions on them bearing the name of Tiglat - pileser I, and it was supposed that these jars used to contain these tablets. In two of these tablets the eponym Ikkaru is named (see, ARD XVI, p. 203; and he is proved to be one of the eponyms during the reign ofTiglat- pileser I (ibid. p. 215, 25).

The tablet was first published in transliteration and translation by E. Weidner in Handbuch der babylonischen Astronomic p. 64 If. O. Schroeder gave it, in cuneiform, in KAV 218 and it was collated for this edition by W.G. Lambert.

The second tablet (Sm 755 + 1352 + 1715 + 1988), B here, is the upper part of a three - column tablet presumably coming from Ninive. Only some parts of the upper portions of the three columns on the obverse remain. The first column deals with the first two months in 13 lines, but the continuation is broken off. The second column, which is better preserved, covers the fifth to ninth months in 32 lines, but only the Akkadian for the fifth month survives: the Sumerian was written at the bottom of the previous column. After the ninth month a ruling indicates that the menology continues at the top of column three. The beginnig of the third column is broken off and the preserved text begins with the tenth month and ends with the twelfth month. When complete it consisted of 32 lines. Considering the number of the lines in the last two columns one might assume that the first column also contained 32 lines.

Only in column two is writing preserved below the menology. The few preserved remains are the signs from a damaged original of which was broken away. The content is not so clear:

[... ]den - ki x x

[... ] x ku

[... ] x ku

[... ] X tar

[... ] x min dis

[- ] x x [(..)]

col. ii, 11.33-38

Thus A and B agree in putting the menology in the upper portions of the columns of the obverse, though in detail the division into columns takes place at differing points.

There is no surviving colophon by which to date this tablet. Paleographic criteria prove that the tablet was written some time in the New Assyrian Period.

The third tablet (K 2920 + 8876 + 9527 + 12242), c here, is written in Babylonian script and in regard to autography the tablet can be dated to the New Babylonian Period. Though the tablet belongs to the “K” collection, it does not necessarily come from Ashurbanipal’s Library. This is shown by the fact that a tablet in a similar script, K 9928 (CT XI, pl. 28), cannot be from the Kuyunjuk Library as it is dated to the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar IL

Only the bottom portion of the tablet remains containing parts of 38 lines in sequence. The remains of the first two preserved lines end a section of unknown content, but the following 27 lines present a variant from the menology, c differs from A and B in that the sections for each month are shorter, and in addition, there are differences of wording. After the twelve month have been dealt with there is a colophon, copied from the original, and so proving that what follows is from a different source. The text reads:

[‘"bara (...)] "“'as.gan bara. il.l [a i] ti [‘'nanjna

[SES. K.I] dumu. sag den. []

[...] x KI.MIN sar [...] x ‘'en.lil. k[e4]

[...] x ni-bit sarri (lugal) arah dsin (30) [...] x sa da-nim u E'en - lil]

U,gu4. s i. sa mul.mul ki. dur5 gal [...] x x [...

[...] ku [...]

[...] ki arab dnin- gir-su [...

ir-ra-ha-su 9>sepinnu

[...] x x x x x[....

Rev. 11.15-22

Sum (the month Nisan -) the constellation Pegasus, the king is lifted up, the month of Nanna, first born of Enlil.)

ditto, the star of Anu.. [...]of Enlil.

Akk. [....]. the naming of the King, the month of Sin [...]. of Anu and Enlil.)

Sum. [The month A] yar - the constellation Pleiades, water logged ground is opened [...] [...

[..] [-.

Akk. [...]. the month of Ningirsu [...

the plows are splashed.) [...

[...] ... [...

One of the joining pieces of this tablet, K 2920, was edited and published by K.D. Macmillan in BA V, pp. 704-705 and E. Weidner edited it in HBA p. 85 ff.

The fourth source, 81 -2-4, 424, D here, is a small piece of a tablet written in the New Assyrian script. What survives might be the right hand side of the obverse consisting of 11 lines partly damaged. The fragment offers an illegible section beside the menology, which corresponds to the first four months. The menology is composed similarly to c in that each month is treated in two lines bilingually.

1 The month Nisan-the constellation Pegasus, the seat of Anu.
2 The king is lifted up, the king is established.
3 The pleasant beginning
4 of Anu and Enlil.
5 The month of Sin, the first son of Enlil.

6 The month Ayar-the constellation Pleiades, the Seven Gods,
7 the great gods.
8 Opening of the soil, the oxen are directed,
9 waterlogged ground is opened,
10 the plows are splashed. The month of Ningirsu,
11 the hero, the great farmer of Enlil.
12 The month Simanu-the constellation Hyades, the tiara of Anu.
13 Girra rivals this constellation.
14 The month of the brick mould of the king.
15 The king moulds bricks.
16 The lands build their houses.
17 The month of Kulla of the land.
18 l’he month Tammuz. - the constellation Orion,
19 Papsukkal, the sublime vizier
20 of Anu and Istar. The month of heaping up the seed,
21 bringing forth the early sowings.
22 The wailing of Ninrurugu,
23 The month of the Shepherd Dumuzi (who) was bound.
24 The month Ab-the stars Sirius, Ninurta.
25 The braziers are lit,
26 a torch is lifted for the Anunnaki.
27 Girra comes down from the heaven and
28 rivals with Samas.
29 The month of Gilgames, for nine days
30 the young men contest in wrestling and athletics in their city quarters.
31 The month Ululu - the Bow star (Akk. the mission of)Istar of Elam.
32 the Daughters of Anu.
33 The goddesses are purified in the river.
34 They ara cleansed annually.
35 The month Tasritu - the Yoke, Enlil.
36 Shrines are purified,
37 people and prince are cleansed.
38 Offerings of the holy year of the lands
39 are offered to the Anunnaki,
40 the Gate of Apsu is opened.
41 Kispu - offering for Lugaldukuga, Enki and Ninki.
42 The month of the grandfather of Enlil.
43 The month Arah samnu - the loosening of the plough. Hoe and plough
44 are brought forth into the field.
45 The Akitu-festival of the cultivation is celebrated.
46 The month of Adad, the canal inspector of Heaven and Earth.
47 The month Kislimu-fertility and abundance are heaped up.
48 The mighty hero Nergal
49 ascends from the Underworld.
50 The mighty one of the twin gods.
51 The month of the perfect hero Nergal.
52 The month Tebetu-the lofty festival of Anu.
53 The month of the splendour of Istar.
54 The elders of the city go out to the assembly-
55 Isum. [. . .] their gates.
56 Samas sets up freedom and rest of the Underworld
57 This month till [its] end. . .
58 The month sabatu - the constellation Aquiala, Za[baba].
59 The grasses together [. . .] in the open country.
60 The month of rejoicing of Enlil’s heart.
61 The month of fear [. . .
62 . . . [. . .
63 The month Addaru - the constellation Pisces, [. . .
64 [. . .] is harvested.
65 The granaries of the open country are filled
66 from the large fields
67 of Ningirsu
68 the sickle is not superflous.
69 The month of rejoicing of Enlil's heart.
70 The month of Ea.

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