MUL-APIN

SOLARIA UPDATE: NEW RELEASE (Oct 2013)

‘THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN A New Interpretation of the Goddess in Ancient Near Eastern Art’ by Gavin White

________________________________________________________

Mul-Apin is a composite text that can be thought of as a general compendium dealing with many diverse aspects of celestial divination.The first sections of tablet 1 list all the mainstream Babylonian constellations along with the deities associated with them. Various other sections give the rising dates for the stars and provide further useful information that helps to locate the constellations in relation to each other and as such it is the single most important resource for reconstructing the overall plan of the Babylonian starmap.
Even though the earliest copy so far discovered was only written shortly after 700 BCE, the text was probably composed sometime between 1200 and 1000 BCE.
The following lists are derived from ‘Mul.Apin, An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform’ by Hermann Hunger and David Pingree, 1989. The locations of the Babylonian stars in terms of the Greek stars are my own attributions.

Mul-Apin divides the stars into northern, equatorial and southern paths:

33 Northern stars on the path of Enlil
The Plough, Enlil, the lead star of the stars of Enlil  (Most of Draco)
The
Wolf at the seed funnel of the Plough  (Head & middle of Draco)
The
Old Man, Enmesharra  (Perseus)
The
Crook, the Crouching god  (Auriga)
The
Great Twins, Lugalirra and Meslamtaea  (Gemini)
The
Little Twins, Alammush and Ninezengud  (Canis Minor)
The
Crab, the seat of Anu  (Cancer)
The
Lion, Latarak  (Leo)
The stars that stands in the breast of the Lion, the
King Star (The star Regulus in Leo)
The dusky stars that stand in the tail of the Lion, the
Frond of Erua, Zarpanitu  (Coma Berenices & the western part of Virgo)
Shupa, Enlil, who decrees the fate of the land  (Bootes)
The star before him, the
Star of Abundance, the messenger of Ninlil  (A star in the western part part of Bootes)
The star behind him, the
Star of Dignity, the messenger of Tishpak (A star in the eastern part of Bootes)
The
Wagon, Ninlil  (The 7 principle stars of Ursa Major)
The star at the shaft of the Wagon, the
Fox, Erra, the strong one among the gods  (The star Zeta in Ursa Major)
The star at the front of the Wagon, the
Ewe, Aya  (Probably the star Epsilon in Ursa Major)
The H
itched Yoke, Anu, the great one of the heavens  (the star Eta in Ursa Major)
The
Wagon of Heaven, Damkianna  (Ursa Minor)
The star on its rope, the
Heir of the Sublime Temple, the first ranking son of Anu  (The star Polaris in Ursa Minor)
The
Standing Gods of the E-kur, the Sitting Gods of the E-kur  (The western part of Ophiuchus; Corona Borealis)
The
She-Goat, Gula  (Lyra)
The star before the She-Goat, the
Sitting Dog (Most of Hercules)
The bright star of the She-Goat,
Lamma, the messenger of Baba  (The star Vega in Lyra)
Two stars behind her,
Ninsar and Erragal (The stars Beta & Gamma in Lyra)
The
Panther, Nergal  (Most of Cygnus & probably part of Cepheus)
The star to his right, the
Swine, Damu  (Probably Delphinus)
The star to his left, the
Horse (front legs of Pegasus & Lacerta)
The star behind him, the
Stag, messenger of the Star Cluster  (Cassiopeia & part of Andromeda)
The dusky stars at the breast of the Stag, Harriru, god of the
Rainbow (The spiral galaxy M31 in Andromeda)
The bright red star at the kidney of the Stag, the
Destroyer (The star Gamma in Cassiopeia)

23 Equatorial stars on the Path of Anu
The
Field, the seat of Ea, which leads the stars of Anu  (The 4 stars of the Square of Pegasus)
The star at the Field, the
Swallow (The head & neck of Pegasus, & the western fish of Pisces)
The star behind the Field,
Anunitum (The northern fish of Pisces)
The star behind it, the
Hired Man, Dumuzi  (Aries)
The
Star Cluster, the Seven Gods, the great gods  (The Pleiades)
The
Bull of Heaven, the Bull’s Jaw, the Crown of Anu  (Taurus, or at least its head)
The
True Shepherd of Anu, Papsukal, the messenger of Anu and Ishtar  (Orion)
The Twins who are opposite the True Shepherd of Anu,
Lulal and Latarak (Cetus & part of Eridanus)
The star behind him, the
Rooster (Lepus)
The
Arrow, the arrow of the great god Ninurta  (The star Sirius & probably other stars in Canis Major)
The
Bow, the Elamite Ishtar, the daughter of Anu  (Puppis)
The
Serpent, Ningishzida, lord of the Underworld  (Hydra)
The
Raven, the star of Adad  (Corvus)
The
Furrow, Shala with her ear of barley  (The eastern part of Virgo)
The
Scales, the Horn of the Scorpion  (Libra)
Zababa (The eastern part of Ophiuchus), the Eagle (Aquila) and the Dead Man (Sagitta)

15 Southern stars on the Path of Ea
The
Fish, Ea, the lead star of the stars of Ea  (Pisces Austrinus)
The
Great One, Ea (Aquarius). The Star of Eridu, Ea  (Vela)
The star to his right,
Ninmah (Vela)
The
Wild Boar, Ningirsu  (Most of Centaurus)
The star to its side, the
Harrow, the weapon of Mar-biti, within which one sees the Abyss (The western part of Centaurus)
The two stars that are behind him,
Shullat and Hanish, Shamas and Adad  (Two stars in Centaurus)
The star behind them, rises like Ea and sets like Ea,
Numushda, Adad  (Unknown, possibly part of the Milky Way)
The star to the left of the Scorpion, the
Mad Dog, Kusu  (Lupus)
The
Scorpion, Ishhara, the governess of the lands  (Scorpio)
The Breast of the Scorpion,
Lisi and Nabu (The star Antares in Scorpio)
The two stars on the Stinger of the Scorpion,
Sharur and Shargaz (The stars Lambda and Nu in Scorpio)
The star behind them,
Pabilsag (Sagittarius)
The
Cargo-Boat (Corona Australis)and the Goatfish (Capricorn

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11 Responses to MUL-APIN

  1. Vanalander says:

    Reblogged this on Vanaland and commented:
    Nice but tell me, when is the exact start day in Mul.Apin?

    • gavin664 says:

      The start date of the Babylonian calendar was set to the lunar months – so the first day of the year is defined as the first new moon after the spring equinox. That would generally give a western date of between 22nd March and 22nd April, but of course every year would be different. Gavin

  2. Vanalander says:

    Ah, thanks Gavin, that is a very interesting. And what for a year is the mul.apin started by spring equinox? The begin of Mul.Apin was a important point. The stars was a mirror of earth.

    And can you help me, I search the exact interpretation of Pleyades Stars in Mul.Apin.
    Thanks and greets from Vanaland…

    • gavin664 says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by the first question. The start of the Babylonian calendar is a bit like the date of Easter, which is defined as the first sunday, after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
      The Pleiades or Babylonian ‘Star Cluster’ or ‘Stars’ are ruled over by the 7 Gods, they are characterised as warriors who bring war & strife. When they are seen with the moon they often relate to the kingship. They were once the ‘lead stars of heaven’ but that title has since been passed on to Aries, and then Pisces and before too long Aquarius will assume the role of ‘lead star’ – ie rising on the eastern horizon just before sunrise at the time of the spring equinox.

  3. Vanalander says:

    Thanks for your answer. But i search the Year 1 of Mul.Apin.
    At some point, someone has begun to count the heraclidic sunrises, this date I’m looking for.
    I have no idea what is a heraclidic sunrise, but i know that date is so extrem important.
    You think that astronomy came first, but that worldview is incorrect.
    The astronomy is a mirror of events on earth, what is written in heaven.
    I understand that it is astronomical tables, but each count has a beginning.
    Look, Gilgamesh is more as a starsign or religion, it is a real person.
    Please, help me to find out and I can check it with my timetable.
    Then i can write my story.

    • gavin664 says:

      I don’t think anyone can actually answer your question. Mul-Apin is a composite text made up of many sections. Some parts are probably much older than others. Some ideas, such as the way that the watches of the night are reckoned probably go back to the Old Babylonian period (first half of the 2nd Millennium BCE). The text, pretty much as we know it was probably composed in the later half of the 2nd millennium, but as no copies date to this time it is impossible to tell. Some scholars reckon 1000 BCE others 1200 BCE, but there are many other opinions. And the versions we have, the earliest dating to 686 BCE could have been updated in the mean time. You may be able to get an approximate answer to your question by going back to the stars. The start of the year could be gauged by the rising of the Hired Man (our Aries) which has its traditional rising date on the 1st of Nisan, the first month of the Babylonian calendar. Similarly the summer solstice was reckoned as falling on the 15th day of month 4 when Sirius had its traditional rising date – but these will only give very rough estimates and there are still inherent uncertainties about observation methods. They were using naked eye observation and there are many uncertainties about the parameters – this means an accurate date for its composition cannot be deduced from the text. Two degrees of arc of uncertainty equates to around an uncertainty of 144 years. However I believe something else is going on. The table of rising stars doesn’t fit together – you cannot get a single solution to all the listings. Hunger & Pingree reckoned that the lists were put together in different places but it is equally possible that it was put together in different times, or as I believe an older Old Babylonian version was partly updated in the Kassite period. From a historical perspective, the time around 1200 BCE is a likely period as this was a time of intense scholarly activity when all the major literary works were re-edited or re-organised.

      If you are looking for a precise date – like 1254 or 2380 BCE – for instance, I don’t think you will find it, and if someone comes up with one I would be extremely cautious over it. I have never heard of a ‘Herclidic sunrise’ perhaps you mean ‘helical rising’, which refers to the stars rising just before dawn (again a rather hazy and inaccurate proposition dependent on the weather and the observer’s location). Gavin

      • Vanalander says:

        Thanks for your answer, yes of course, helical rising.
        I think the Mul.Apin was going in many hands: Kassites, Assyrer, Babylon, Elam and all the city dynasties in Mesopotamia.

        The problem is, I can say in this text is a secret date, that is elementar important for ancient astronoms. Not for maths for stars, but for her astrological interpretation.
        But I cant say what it is.
        I had listen from Omen in Mul.Apin? Had you a list of this part?
        I think that can say more what I search.
        Greetings from Vanaland

      • gavin664 says:

        Hi, I have attached a complete copy of both Mul-Apin tablets. These docs were derived from Hunger & Pingree’s edition. Tablet 2 has all the omens. The bit that interests me most is tablet 1, II.36 to III.12 where you have the list of stars rising on dates in the ideal calendar. The increments of 5 days suggests to me that this list was designed to be changable. Every 360 or 720 years you would subtract 5 or 10 days from the count to revise your star calendar to keep in line with the effects of precession. This phasing may help you work out a ‘start date’ or as I think a set of periodic ‘revision dates’. One date of around 1100 alongside one in the 8th century BCE might be a good place to start. Gavin

  4. Sinisha says:

    I just ordered your book and looking forward to get it. My special interest is beta Andromeda star (Mirach). I found that in MUL.APIN this star was known as mulKA.MUS.I.KU.E. Can you please comment on that and also give your opinion to which Babylonian constellation this star belonged, if any?

    Thank you very much!

    • gavin664 says:

      Hi Sinisha, in MUL.APIN, the star KA.MUSH.I.KU.E is described as being located at the kidney of the Stag. No one is entirely sure where the Stag was located on the celestial sphere. Most likely in the Andromeda-Cassiopeia area. Its also very difficult to tell the orientation of the star figure, so guessing where its kidney may be is even more difficult! The most recent editors of the text – Hunger & Pingree – reckon that the Stag is in the eastern half of Andromeda and its kidney = the star Beta. I prefer to reconstruct the Stag in Cassiopeia (largely on the grounds of the Arabic Camel constellation – see fig 81 & 132 in the book) and suggest the violent star Beta as a possible location for KA.MUSH.I.KU.E.
      The name itself can be translated as the Destroyer or Deleter, it is sometimes used as an attribute of demons. In astrology there is little known about this star except that it can be used as a name for Saturn.
      As for Mirach in Andromeda, take a look at fig 4. This is an alternative Arabic version of Andromeda with otherwise unknown fish placed over her middle – Mirach would be a part of this. I suggested that behind all this material on Andromeda there may be some recollection of a mermaid figure but this is pretty speculative.

      Hope this helps, Gavin

      • Sinisha says:

        Dear Gavin,

        thank you very much for your quick and precise answer. I will wait for your book and ask probably some additional questions after reading it.

        All the best,
        Sinisha

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