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By Steele J.M.

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Additional info for A 3405: An Unusual Astronomical Text from Uruk

Sample text

Unfortunately, no direct comparison can be made since that part of A 3405 corresponding to the date of his birth is destroyed. It must be noted, however, that Anu-b¯el-ˇsunu’s horoscope does not give degrees of planetary longitudes, only degrees of longitude for the sun and moon. I think it is reasonable to speculate, therefore, that A 3405 was prepared to assist in making horoscopes for clients who were born between SE 60 and 70. If this was the case, which I repeat we have no direct evidence for, then it would mean that Anu-b¯el-ˇsunu and his son Anu-aba-ut¯er prepared horoscopes.

Among the general ACT corpus, the texts are usually contemporary with their contents, or else contain calculations for the near future. Why, therefore, does this tablet contain calculations for this earlier period? Furthermore, why does it contain material for all of the planets and for lunar eclipses arranged chronologically? Collections such as this are not attested in any other ACT texts. I think we can discount the possibility that this computed material was gathered together so that it might be compared with the observational record to test the reliability of the astronomical models.

Only these individuals would have had access to, not to say understanding of, the necessary astronomical data on which a horoscope was based. Despite the remarks above about the utility of Almanacs for casting horoscopes, it seems to me more likely that the astronomical data in the Uruk examples was taken from the ACT texts. Too few non-mathematical astronomical texts have been recovered from Uruk to suggest any large-scale programme of astronomical observation comparable to that undertaken in Babylon.

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A 3405: An Unusual Astronomical Text from Uruk by Steele J.M.


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