MUL.APIN 1 The 33 Stars on the Path of Enlil Within the ellipse of the
Milky Way (Latvian Jāņu Lielais, EN.LIL = Jāņu LIELais)
from the MUL.APIN Tablet Nr. 86378 British Museum
The MUL.APIN (mul + apin) series of astronomical cuneiform tablets has
been deciphered by Werner Papke in Die Sterne von Babylon (The Stars of
Babylon), Gustav Luebbe Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, 1989.
Papke uses the tablets to interpret the epic of Gilgamesh. But they are
far more useful than that - thanks to Papke. English translations of
relevant texts are by LexiLine. LexiLine comments are prefaced with the
initials AK. We make substantial changes to Papke's decipherment, which
remains superb for the most part. The MUL.APIN tablet lists
constellations, stars and planets.
We use Baltic to help understand Sumerian and Akkadian (see links):
Small letter "d." is used as the abbreviation for the Sumerian
determinative DINGIR "god", which is identical to Lithuanian DANGUS
"heaven", as also Polynesian Ta-TANGA ("arch of heaven"), Latvian
DENDERis and Pharaonic DENDERA. Dangus became the (d)ANKH of heaven and
is the origin of the ANKH hieroglyph, which marked the immovable
northern pole and thus symbolized eternal life.
Other Sumerian determinatives relevant to MUL.APIN are:
Sumerian MUL "constellation, star" = Latvian MIRDZ "sparkle"
and MURG- "fantasy picture, spirit, northern lights" i.e. R//L shift
Sumerian GISH "wood" = Latvian KUOKS
Sumerian LU "man" = Latvian LAU.DIS "folk, people", German LAIE, LEUte
Sumerian ID "river" = Latvian UDens "water", ID-/IG- "marrow, water"
Sumerian ITI "month" = Latvian IETI "passage (of time)", marked by
symbol of a sheep "AITA"
Old Indic TITH, Pharaonic THOTH Latvian TAUTA "folk, people"
Sumerian KI "earth, place" = Latvian KUr "where" EKA "hall, place"
Sumerian MUSHEN "bird" = Latvian MUSHINA "fly"
The Sumerian term for a star "rising" is KUR-ma = Latvian KURMS "hill"
and KURMA "on(to) the hill".
The Sumerian term for a star going down, setting is SHU-bi = Latvian
SHUPI "swinging (down), German SCHUB.
MUL.APIN -The 33 Stars on the Path of Enlil [AK: En.Lil refers to the
stars WITHIN the ellipse of the Milky Way.].
(Column I, Lines 1 through 39, AK: = Comments by Andis Kaulins)
Lines are given in sequence according to Cuneiform Tablet Nr. 86378,
1. The Plow (GISH.APIN), d.Enlil, the lead star of the stars of d.Enlil
AK: Perseus. Latvian APIJA/APPIN-ITS is "the part of the ancient plow
around which the cords were tied/wound, - the source, as everywhere here
on the MUL.APIN pages, is Muehlenbachs-Endzelins, Latvian-German
Historical Dictionary. This is what the Arabs later called Risha, the
Cord of the Fish, Mesopotamian APIN "channel".
2. The Wolf (UR.BAR.RA) [Perseus], seed-funnel of the plow
AK: The seed are the Pleiades.
3. The Man, Old One (SHU.GI), d.Enmesharra
AK: Auriga, Arabic SAIK al Thurayya.
4. The Crook Staff (GAM), god of the crook staff (d.Gamlum)
AK: Latvian KEMburs, KEMME - palatalized K - "crooked branch", as the
KIMAH of Aben Ezra for Taurus. This is the staff in the hand of Orion,
5. The Large [correct is "End"] Twins (MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL),
d.Lugalgirra and d.Meslamtaea
AK: These are the BOTTOM stars of Gemini.The TAB.BA is Latvian DIVI
"two, DUBUlt, English DOUBle". MASH is incorrectly seen to mean "twin"
in Sumerian - but MASH also applies to Ninurta (a single being). MASH
actually = Latvian MAS- "relative, sister, (brother)", so here "the
brothers (sisters) two". GAL = Latvian GAL- "end, bottom" of this
constellation. Sumerian symbols doubled mean "dual" or "plural".
6. The Small Twins (MASH.TAB.BA.TUR.TUR),
d.LAL and d.NIN.EZENxGU4
AK: This is Pollux, Arabic al Dhira. Dhira = TUR.
7. The River Crayfish (AL.LUL), domicile (shu-bat d.Anim) of d.Anu
AK: This is Cancer.
8. The Lion (UR.GU.LA), d.Latarak
AK: Ur.Gu.La = Regulus in Leo.
9. The Breast-Star of Leo, the "king-star" (MUL).LUGAL
AK: The translation "breast-star" is incorrect. LUGAL is similar to
Latvian LIEKKAULs "the large upper bone of the leg", and if UR.GU.LA is
the star Regulus, then this can only be the upper star of the back leg,
DUHR also called ZOSMA.
10/11.The weaker stars of Leo's tail: the date-palm panicle (sissinnu)
of d.Erua, d.Zarpanitum [Coma Berenices?]
AK: This is Denebola with Coma Berenices above it. The precise text
description is "kakkabani ummulutu sha ina zibbat (MUL).UR.GU.LA izzazu
sissinnu d.Erua" which equals = Latvian"schvaka-vieni mirdzuoti sha
(MUL).UR.GU.LA ir aiz sasienu Cerinaini". SISSINNU is Latvian SASIENU
"tied together, i.e. the tied "date bouquet" in the hands of Erua (=
VIRgo, related to cERes, goddess of the harvest, where Latvian CERES =
hope, and CERI = "bush, shrub, tuft". Sumerian-Akkadian IRNINI = Latvian
CERINI "lilac" - and indeed, the Gilgamesh epos here speaks of the
"fragrance" of this bush, up to now incorrectly identified with cedar.
12. SHU.PA, d.Enlil which determines the "aptitude" of the mountain KUR
[Corona Borealis ?]
AK: SHU.PA is Arcturus.
13. The star before him: Chegalaju, the messenger of d.Ninlil [Argo
AK: Cheguius in the Almagest for Arcturus, but applies to the star
14. The star after him: BAL.TESH.A, messenger of d.Tishpak [eta in
Carina, Chinese Tseen She, Heaven's Altars, to the right of Crux]
AK: BALT.TESH.A is the star ALPH.ECCA in Corona Borealis, a brilliant
white star, Latvian Baltiesha means "whitish, true white". Hinckley
notes that Brown associated the name Bilat "the lady" (Phoenician
Ba-a-La-T") or Beltis with Libra.
15. The (great) Wagon (MAR.GID.DA), d.Ninlil
AK: Although this appears at first glance to be The Great Bear (Big
Dipper), this is Libra.
16/17. The star at the shaft of the (great) Wagon: the Fox (KA5.A)
d.Erra, the strong one among the gods
AK: The star Graffias at the head of Scorpio and Lupus as the Fox,
Latvian LAPSA "fox".
18. The star to the front of the (great) Wagon: the Mother Sheep (U8),
AK: The star Antares = d.Aja
19. The Yoked Yoke (MU.BU.KESH.DA) d.Anu, the great one of the heavens
AK: The star theta in Ophiuchus, Kash-Shud in Babylonian according to
20. The (small) Wagon of Heaven (MAR.GID.DA.AN.NA), d.Damkianna
AK: The middle stars of Scorpio, Persian KhezDUM = Damkianna.
21/22. The star on its Cable: Inheritor of the Great Temple
(IBILA.E.MACH), the first, highest son of d.Anu
AK: We have the similar Euphratean BILU-SHA-ZIRI "Lord of the Seed", but
applied to Antares.
23. The Standing Gods DINGIR.GUB.BA.(MESH) of E.KUR [Scorpio]
The Sitting Gods DINGIR.TUSH.A.(MESH) of E.KUR [front stars of
AK: GUBBA - the manzil Jabhah or Jabbah are the stars at the end
(stinger of) Scorpio
TUSH are the stars of Sagittarius, Indic TAUKSHIKA. All rise at ca. the
24. The Goat (UZ) [Hercules], d.GU.LA
AK: UZ GU.LA and GULA are two different constellations. GULA is
CAPRICORN the boat, not the goat UZ GU.LA which is Hercules.
25. The star before the goat: the Sitting Dog (UR.KU)
AK: This is Serpens Caput.
26. The bright star of the Goat
d.LAMMA, the messeger of d.Baba
AK: Rasalhague, this sky area called Ramus, Rameau = Lamma.
27. Two stars, behind her: d.NIN.SAR and d.ER.RA.GAL
Lyra = ER.RA is known as SHELiak or SHILiak or SULafat by the Arabs =
28. The Leopard (UD.KA.DUCH.A), d.U.GUR
AK: UD.KA.DUCHA.A has its "head of the Milky Way" at Cygnus and the tail
at Cepheus. d.U.Gur is similar to the 23rd sieu Goei or Gui. It forms a
line down to Aquarius, with which it is confused. The Persian lunar
station here was called Khatsar = Ka.duch.a
29. The star to his right: the swine (SHACH), d.Damu
AK: This is SAGITTA, Sham or Schaham in Arabic (see Hinckley, Star
30. The star to his left: the horse (ANSHE.KUR.RA)
AK: LA CERTA. This is later confused with EQUULEUS. Ricioli wrote AL
CHERAS for Equuleus = KUR.RA = but correct is LA CERTA.
31. The star behind him: the stag (LU.LIM), messenger of the Pleiades
AK: This star "behind" Cygnus as LU.LIM is Cassiopeia, Latin SO.LIUM
which precedes the setting of the Pleiades on the horizon. Cassiopeia is
seen here as the stag's antlers. The Sumerian LU.LIM = Latvian ALNis
32/33. The weak stars at the breast of the stag: d.Charriru, god of the
AK: This is Andromeda. The Sumerian-Akkadian d.TIR.AN.NA is Alpheratz as
SIRRAH = TIR
= Latvian S.TIRNA "doe".
34/35. The bright red star at the kidney of the stag, the Destroyer
AK: This is Algol in Perseus = I.KU.E (earlier red-colored)
36/37. "When the stars of Enlil are finished, a large star of matted
light divides the heavens there: the star of d.AMAR.UD (d.Marduk), of
the pass-over. Lines 36/37 were added to later MUL.APIN copies, and are
not found on the original tablet . - so Werner Papke -
AK: This is the red star Hamal = AMAR in Aries.
38. Jupiter (SAG.ME.GAR) changes its position continuously, crossing the
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