The oldest of these records is Astrolabe B, found in Assur and dating to around 1100 BC. Astrolabe B gives the months and the corresponding stars in parallel columns, along with the positions of these stars and their relevance to agriculture and myth. Other Astrolabes are arranged in a circular fashion, and there is evidence that the circular format is actually older than that used in Astrolabe B. (van der Waerden, 65).
The EAE deals mostly with the constellations, or "fixed" stars, and, to a lesser degree, with the planets. The exception to this is tablet 63, known as the "Venus Tablets of Ammizaduga". It was composed under king Ammizaduga who ruled Babylon from 1646 to 1626 BC. Several copies of tablet 63 have been recovered in varying degrees of preservation, but a composite of these reveal the tablet to be a record of rising and setting dates for the planet Venus over a period of 21 years. As with EAE as a whole, the "Venus Tablets" also contain omens.
The structure of each partuclar omen in EAE is the same as that used for omen texts in general. Each omen can be divided into two parts:
(1) the protasis, a description of the celestial phenomenon and
(2) the apodosis, the reprocussions the phenomenon given in the protasis will have on the terrestrial world.
Occassionally there is also a commentary on the protasis giving an alternate star or planet, or an explanation of the phenomenon described.(Reiner, 1; 24-5).
Here is an example, from BPO2, of an omen in Enuma Anu Enlil
Text XIII, number 5:
"If in month I the Demon with the Gaping Mouth (Cygnus) rises heliacally: for 5 years in Akkad at the command of Irra there will be plague, but it will not affect cattle"
Hermann Hunger explains ziqpu-stars as being "so chosen that one crosses the meridian before dawn, in the middle of each month, as another constellation is rising heliacally" (Hunger 142). These stars would be useful if, for whatever reason, the horizon were obscured and the astronomers were unable to observe the heliacal rising directly.
Beyond celestial observations, the text presents intercalation schemes, shadwo table and water clock readings. MUL.APIN does not give as much attention to omens as does Enuma Anu Enlil, mostly becasue the latter was still used as a reference on the matter.
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A Guide to Ancient Near Eastern Astronomy
Comments Are Very Welcome
February 12, 1996