Errors, Hunger & Pingree
Errors, Hunger &
Compendium in Cuneiform
Tablet Nr. 86378
Hunger & Pingree,
"MUL.APIN: An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform",
Orientforschung, Beiheft 24,
Verlag Ferdinand Berger & Soehne; Horn, Austria-3580.
Below are comments to that article
by Andis Kaulins, the author of LexiLine
Other writers besides Papke who have written
about the MUL.APIN cuneiform tablets
van der Waarden and Hunger
& Pingree (H & P).
and Pingree did not know
about Werner Papke's The Stars of Babylon
which was 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.
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),
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).
writings by B.L. van der Waarden are :
1) "Babylonian Astronomy II. The Thirty-Six Stars",
JNES 8 (1949) 6-26
Journal of Near Eastern Studies (Chicago).
Astronomy III. Astronomical Computations",
JNES 10 (1954), 20-34
3) "Die Anfaenge der Astronomie", Groningen (1966)
4) "Greek Astronomical Calendars I. The Parapegma ofEuctemon,"
AHES 29 (1984) 101-114.
= Archives for the History of the Exact Sciences)
arguments of Hunger and Pingree are understandable, "their" date of ca.
1000 BC for MUL.APIN astronomy is in our opinion 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 is
Even Hunger and
Pingree themselves admit
that "two" sets of data seem to be combined
in the known MUL.APIN tablets.
one of their arguments
- that cuneiform texts in 2300 BC like this are not known -
is not persuasive.
It begs the question, i.e.
presuming the very thing to be proven.
More important is
that Kallisthenes (ca. 370-327 B.C.)
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
there is an error in those dates)
but even the mainstream date plus 1903 years of age
close to 2300 BC. as the round number reference date
and in fact
Papke argues that
the cuneiform tablets
go back ca. 2340 BC. We agree.
as Hunger and Pingree correctly note:
"the composition of some of the
can be dated to earlier periods...the sources for
certain sections of MUL.APIN can be considered earlier
exemplars of MUL.APIN".
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
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
are separated by 20 days in rising -
so that KAK.SI.SA can not originally have been Sirius.
As I have shown
in previous pages on MUL.APIN [see MUL.APIN Corrected],
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
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
- especially the addition of later lines by the scribes
to KAK.SI.SA -
indicating that the tablets were copied ca. 720
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