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MUL.APIN  9 LexiLine? Logo Chronological Errors, Hunger & Pingree Compendium
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MUL.APIN 9
Chronological Errors, Hunger & Pingree: An
Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform
MUL.APIN
Tablet Nr. 86378
British Museum


MUL.APIN
Hunger & Pingree,
"MUL.APIN: An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform",
Archiv fuer Orientforschung, Beiheft 24, 1989,
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
have been
van der Waarden and Hunger & Pingree (H & P).

Hunger 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.


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 ofEuctemon,"
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 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 much 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, i.e.
presuming the very thing to be proven.

More important is Papke's account
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

(LexiLine thinks there is an error in those dates)
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. We agree.

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 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 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.


Go to MUL.APIN H and P 2
See also Path of the Moon - Names of Months - Worldwide





 

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