MUL.APIN according to Hunger & Pingree, An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform
(see LexiLine.com here and here) is commented here by Andis Kaulins
MUL.APIN, Tablet Nr. 86378, British Museum
Hunger & Pingree, "MUL.APIN: An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform",
Archiv fuer Orientforschung, Beiheft 24, 1989, Verlag Ferdinand Berger & Soehne; Horn, Austria-3580.
Below: Comments to that article by Andis Kaulins
Other writers besides Papke on the MUL.APIN cuneiform tablets have been van der Waarden and Hunger & Pingree (H & P).
Hunger and Pingree did not know of Werner Papke's The Stars of Babylon published in that same year (1989), but do refer to his 1978 work, Werner Papke, Die Keilschriftserie MUL.APIN, Dokument wissenschaftlicher Astronomie im 3. Jahrtausend, Tuebingen, 1978.
HOW OLD IS THE ASTRONOMICAL SYSTEM USE IN MUL.APIN ?
Hunger and Pingree themselves note that it was van der Waarden who first proposed the theory that the MUL.APIN applied to a time period circa 1000 BC (which Hunger and Pingree accept, contrary to Papke), but then, based on Papke's observations and some new one's of his own, van der Waarden CHANGED his mind to a date of 2340 BC and accepted Papke's conclusions later (1984).
The writings by B.L. van der Waarden are :
1) Babylonian Astronomy II. The Thirty-Six Stars, JNES 8 (1949) 6-26 (JNES = Journal of Near Eastern Studies (Chicago).
2) Babylonian Astronomy III. Astronomical Computations, JNES 10 (1954), 20-34
3) Die Anfaenge der Astronomie, Groningen (1966)
4) Greek Astronomical Calendars I. The Parapegma of Euctemon, AHES 29 (1984) 101-114. (AHES = Archives for the History of the Exact Sciences)
Although the arguments of Hunger and Pingree are understandable, "their" date of ca. 1000 BC for MUL.APIN astronomy can be regarded as clearly erroneous and ca. one Sothic Year of 1460 years removed from the correct date. Indeed, the evidence shows that later changes were made by scribes for later Babylonian tablet copies. The copied tablets are younger, their astronomy far older.
Even Hunger and Pingree themselves admit that "two" sets of data seem to be combined in the known MUL.APIN tablets.
Moreover, one of their arguments - that cuneiform texts in 2300 BC like this are not known - is not persuasive. It begs the question - presuming the very thing to be proven.
More important is Papke's account that Kallisthenes, an officer of Alexander the Great, had sent astronomical data of the Babylonians back to his uncle Aristotle, stating they were exactly 1903 years old.
Such an exact historical date is already quite remarkable, probably pointing to some round number of calculation. Alexander the Great's life is today dated to 356-323 BC
(we here at LexiLine think there is an error here in chronology) but even the mainstream date plus 1903 years of age gives something close to 2300 BC. as the round number reference date and in fact Papke argues that the cuneiform tablets go back ca. 2340 BC.
Indeed, as Hunger and Pingree correctly note: "the composition of some of the relevant texts can be dated to earlier periods...the sources for certain sections of MUL.APIN can be considered earlier than extant exemplars of MUL.APIN".
Papke handles these matters in his book, Die Sterne von Babylon, in pages 237-276, pointing out that the crucial error was initially made by Epping, Kugler, and Fotheringham in their identification of KAK.SI.SA with Sirius (an identification which van der Waarden first followed, before changing his mind) - whereas the Seleucid texts state explicitly that KAK.SI.SA and BAN are separated by 20 days in rising - so that KAK.SI.SA can not originally have been Sirius.
As I have shown in previous postings, KAK.SI.SA the lance runs from Alphard in Hydra (where it sticks into Hydra) to the shaft Monoceros, so that ALL other writers have been wrong thus far on this score. Only Alphard and Monoceros are reconcilable with all of the mentions of KAK.SI.SA on MUL.APIN and this for a date of ca. 2300 BC. Moreover, I show other proofs in previous pages - especially the addition of later lines by the scribes relating to KAK.SI.SA - indicating that the tablets were copied ca. 720 BC.
These are notes concerning Sumerian and Akkadian astronomy and lexical terms which derive out of my examination of Hunger and Pingree's article, which is a masterpiece of immaculate scholarship for its reproduction of the texts (photos of the cuneiform tablets), for noting variant tablets and for giving the Akkadian comparables to the Sumerian words. The citation is:
Hunger & Pingree, MUL.APIN: An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform, Archiv fuer Orientforschung, Beiheft 24, 1989, Verlag Ferdinand Berger & Soehne; Horn, Austria-3580.
However, their conclusions and identifications are not all correct. Here are supplementary analytical comments by LexiLine.
1. The Sumerian term NU AT.TIL at the end of a tablet
The Sumerian NU AT.TIL "not finished" is identical to
Latvian NAU "not" plus ATTELots "described, portrayed, reproduced"
2. The Sumerian term at the beginning of a "continuation" tablet MUL.SAG.ME.GAR d.Shul-pa-e
The Sumerian MUL= Latvian MIRDZ "star, twinkle"
Sumerian SAG.ME.GAR = Latvian SEKAM GAR viz. SEKAMAJAIS "follows along".
Akkadian Shul-pa-e "continue" = Latvian SHURPU "here, hither"
Translated: MIRDZI SEKAM GARI SHURPU = "stars continue along here".
3. Sumerian MUL4 = Latvian MIRDZ "shine, sparkle"
(whereas the current Latvian term for "star" is ZVAIGZNE as rooted in Latvian ZIB- "shine, sparkle, be fiery, also light(ning)").
Hunger and Pingree note that a famous Babylonian scribe, Nabu-zuqup-kenu wrote many tablets of astronomical context.
In view of the similar ziqpu "uzkāpu" stars, Nabu-zuqup-kenu is correctly Deb-ess (=Neb-, "Heaven") Uzkāpu-Zinu i.e. Debess Uzkāpu Zinu
meaning "knower viz. knowledge of the ascents of stars (or) meridians" of heaven, viz. "astronomer".
4. The first "notch" symbol in each line of the MUL.APIN tablets is transcribed erroneously as DISH,
which is correctly Latvian DUOBS "notch" and homophonic to Latvian DEBESS or DEBESHA/DEBESHU "of the heavens".
This seems to precede the d to n shift as in Slavic NEBES or German NEBEL (English NEBULOUS) in Indo-European.
= Akkadian SHUMMA "of the heavens"
= Latvian JUMA/JUMTA "of the ceiling"
= Pharaonic Egyptian LjUMT (palatal L) which is the raised cobra hieroglyph
5. Sumerian DINGIR "deity"
is identical to Lithuanian DANGUS "heaven", Latvian DENDER or DANDAR "turning thing", whence Pharaonic Egyptian DENDERA
6. Line 1 Tablet 1 of MUL.APIN "The Plow Star"
[But perhaps more archaic the Hop Star] reads in Sumerian and Akkadian
DISH MUL GISH.APIN DINGIR.EN.LIL a-lik pa-ni (var. IGI) MUL.MESH shu-ut DINGIR.EN.LIL
and in Latvian
DEBESHU MIRDZA KOUKS APINU DANDZIS JANIS LIELS IELEC VIENI (IKI) MIRDZU MEZHA SHEIT DANDZU JANIS LIELS
Translation: Heaven's Shining (wooden) PLOW (-BIND, TIE) revolving, the region of JANIS in elevation, rises when (it is) in the FOREST of SHINERS (STARS) HERE at the REGION of JANU in ELEVATION.
7. Sumerian DISH MUL.UR.BAR.RA GISH.NINDA SHA MUL.APIN
DEBESHU MIRDZA URKU BARA KUOKS META sha MIRDZA APINI
Translation: Heaven's Star plow's - scatterer - wooden post - its binding(s)
8. Sumerian DISH MUL.SHU.GI DINGIR.En-Me-shar-ra
is Latvian DEBESHU MIRDZA SUGAS DAUDZIS JANU MEZHSARGS
Translation: Heaven's Star enclosure cluster (many), Anu's forester. Latvian MEZHSARGS or MEZHUSARGS means "forester, guarder of the forest of heaven", literally John's Forester, Forester of Anu.
It is clear that the particle En- in Sumerian means "Anu, of Anu" so that (en-) me-shar-ra in Akkadian does not mean "old one" but rather "forester".
SHUG- in view of Nr. 9 below is Latvian ZHUOGs "enclosure" synonymous also to Latvian GULKUOKU SETA "horizontal wooden fence".
This is the 4-star enclosure Auriga rising at CAPELLA, later assigned to the lower star KA(m)PLAM- - see below. Since the next line entry MUL.GAM (at 9. below) does not have a notch in front of it - this means that the lines are to be read together and hence this is "the crook" in the hand of the "forester".
9. Sumerian MUL GAM DINGIR GAM-LUM
is Latvian MIRDZU KAMPIS DAUDZIS KAMPLAM
Translation Heaven's Star Staff Cluster of the Staff
Latvian KAMpis KAMPLIS viz. KAPLIS means "crook, staff, rake".
10. At rising, the stars of Gemini lie nearly horizontal to the horizon
so that the legs of both and larger star at the upper leg of Castor (Cain)
rises before Pollux (Abel) and their "heads" rise last.
This star at the thigh or knee of Castor is LUGAL GIR.RA where LUGAL is again Latvian LEIKAULs "upper leg" so that, and here I elaborate my previous translation of GAL as meaning "end" by stating that GAL.GAL.LA is the same as Latvian CEL.GAL.LA "of the knee", i.e. the knee of Castor.
Hence GIR.RA here must also be similar in meaning to GAL.LA viz. Latvian CEL.LA "raise", the root term of "knee, joint" in Latvian.
Mes-lam-ta-e-a in Latvian is '*LIEL-AJAM TA EJA meaning "the large one, his foot (goer)" - an interpretation which is supported by the fact that MASH.TAB.BA.TUR.TUR is given as Alamus = LAL "large" and Nin-EZEN-GUD is Latvian MA-ZIN-AIS "small".
11. Hunger and Pingree write that the Akkadian phrase Alluttu shubat Anim means "The Crab, seat of Anu"
but in Latvian shubat would be SHUPAT "to rock the cradle (of heaven), swing" - i.e. "lap" [rather than "seat"] and here perhaps applied to Ursa Major in this position.
12. As previously noted, the Sumerian UR.GU.LA means URKU GULA where GU.LA means "lying down, reclining".
This is supported by the additional Sumerian term LA.TA.RA.AK which is Latvian LAIDARIS or LAIDERIS "enclosure for animals, a place to sleep, especially for animals".
Hence this applies to the initial stars of Leo's head and the Akkadian Urgula Latarak is Latvian Ur-gulu laidaris "the (reclining) lion's lair".
13. Sumerian LUGAL = Latvian LIEKKAULs "upper leg" of the lion,
as Akkadian izzazzu is Latvian ir aiz, "is after, behind") the SHARRU "breast, heart" of the lion.
The full Sumerian reads as follows:
Sumerian DISH MUL SHA INA GABA MUL.UR.GU.LA GUB-zu MUL.LUGAL
Latvian DEBESHU MIRDZA SHA VINA KEPA MIRDZA URKU GULA KEPISHU MIRDZU LIEKAULs
Translation: Heaven's star, this the paw star of the reclining clawer's star upper thigh
14. Sumerian DISH MUL.MESH um-mu-lu-tum sha ina KUN MUL.UR.GU.LA GUB-zu sis-sin-nu DINGIR E4-RU6 DINGIR ZAR-PA-NI-TUM
is Latvian DEBESHU MIRDZU MEZHS iemirdzuotam sha vina KUNaste MIRDZA URKU GULA KEPAS SASIENU DAUDZIS CERU DAUDZIS ZARI VAINAGAM
Translation: Heavenly Star Forest, shining this its she-dog tail of the Reclining Clawer Grasping a Tied Bunch of Lilac a Bunch of Branches of the Flower Crown
(there is no DISH in front of GUB-zu, so that this means that the lines are to be read together)
MIRDZA MEZHS means "forest of stars, many stars, i.e a star cluster"
The Sumerian KUN seems to find its comparable in KUN-aste "she-dog tail" rooted in a variety of terms like KUNKULIS or KUNCIS "knot, clump"
Akkadian Zar-pa-ni-tum "bunch of the date palm" at the "tail" of the lion are together with the "tied" bunch of lilacs, correctly CERU viz. CERINI in Latvian in the GUB-zu "grasp" of CERES (ERUA).
Hunger/Pingree point out that in the Constellation Eru she is said to hold a date palm in her right hand.
15. Sumerian DISH MUL.SHU.PA DINGIR EN.LIL SHA shi-mat KUR i-shim-mu
is Latvian DEBESHU MIRDZA SHU.PA DAUDZIS JANU LIELAIS sha ZH/ZEMITes KURMU IESHUMU (IESHANU)
Translation: Heaven's star swing/axis cluster, the area where Anu in Elevation the land's/lowest point (reaches) and (starts the) climb (going) up the hill.
This is the star of Denebola, the lowest star shi-mat (Latvian zemit- means not only "land" but also "low, below") of the "land, hill" (i.e. what Leo is lying on). Denebola, as also in the Pharaonic pantheon, is a "swing" or "nub" of heaven to the Great Square and with respect to Draco, in which the Pole Star was located.
The transliteration of Hunger/Pingree "SHU.PA EN.LIL who decrees the fate of the land" is of course similar.
Further evidence that my dating of the original MUL.APIN to ca. 2340 BC is correct and that the Hunger & Pingree dating to one Sothic period of 1460 years later is false is found at
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