Map 2. Full Reconstruction of the Babylonian Star-Map

Map 2 draws on a wide range of sources including the Greek Star-map, the Dendera Zodiacs and medieval Arabian traditions, to produce a complete reconstruction of the Babylonian heavens. This is, I believe, the first concerted attempt to reconstruct the Babylonian Star-map in the modern era.
The basic meanings of the constellations are summarised in A Brief Guide to the Babylonian Constellations.
For more information the reader is referred to ‘Babylonian Star-lore, An Illustrated Guide to the Star-lore and Constellations of Ancient Babylonia’ by Gavin White.

Copyright Gavin White 2007


About gavin664

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15 Responses to Map 2. Full Reconstruction of the Babylonian Star-Map

  1. Dear Gavin. Thank you very much for this fascinating information and work. I am writing a book on the African concept of uBuntu (most well-known definition: I am because we are) that originates in ancient Egypt. I am including some writing on the ancient zodiac… the oldest that I came across before finding this, your information about the Babylonian Star Map was the Map of Dendera. There is much to read here but I picked up on your statement: “The conclusion generated by this argument is that Babylonian influence on the Greek and Egyptian star-maps is negligible beyond the transmission of the zodiac constellations and a handful of stars closely associated with them. Another inference naturally follows from this conclusion – that the majority of Greek and Egyptian constellation figures were either created within their own independent native traditions or have been inherited from non-Babylonian sources.”…

    You also say that: “I would argue that the Circular Zodiac is really a rather inaccurate and ‘Egyptianised’ version of the Babylonian star-map with a handful of Egyptian star figures added in or substituted for their Babylonian counterparts. Beyond the cases already examined I would further propose that another nine or ten Babylonian figures are present but have been misunderstood, misplaced or distorted to such an extent that they are actually quite difficult to recognise.” All of this basically means that the Babylonian map is older (more accurate) that the Dendera Map?

    I notice and respect that the images have copy right. I would love to include the one in this article in my book if you will allow me to please? Do you require specific form of reference?

    Thank you so much in advance
    Anna-Mari Pieterse (South Africa)

  2. Dear Gavin:
    I would like to include this image in a book I am writing on “Surveys in Astronomy”
    Please contact me and I’ll give you more details


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  4. rochelimit55555 says:

    HI Gavin,

    This is an amazing creation. I haven’t checked each star signs, but from what I see in a glance: the Hired Laborers, Pabilsag, and so on, I think you have done a quiet amazing job worthy of being made a reference to any research. Let me check the inside and I’ll get back to you with possible questions of “how do you assume”, etc, if exist.


    • gavin664 says:

      Many thanks, glad you found the star-map useful. I will endevour to answer any questions you might have. All the best, Gavin

      • rochelimit55555 says:

        Here is my first question/comment Gavin

        1. Rectangle with wavy lines. This symbol can be found in both Pisces and The Babylonian Harrow constellation (mul gis GAN.UR). In the Harrow, you said that this symbolizes the watery abyss, actually linking the symbol with the quality of the God Mar-biti who sees “the subterranean water”. In my opinion, the square with wavy lines has nothing to do with the subterranean water, I think it symbolizes agricultural field, and the god Mar-biti may just represents something related with fertility of the land, as simple as that. Perhaps when this constellation rise, the rainy season comes to Mesopotamia, or it’s just simply an image of fertility rampant in the area in dire need of a good rainy season.

      • rochelimit55555 says:

        Another comment. The similarity between wolf (mul UR.BAR.RA) and plough (mul gis APIN) constellation (alpha and beta Trianguli) with the Denderah figure of a wolf standing over a plough is a pretty amazing proof that the Denderah is related with the Mesopotamian Mul.apin stars. 😀

      • rochelimit55555 says:

        2nd question.

        The lion headed constellation of Lulal and Latarak is usually described as possibly associated with the stars π3 and π4 Orionis? Why do you reinterpret this constellation as being in Cetus instead of in Orion?

  5. gavin664 says:

    Hi Rochelleimit55555, in regard to your questions… Question 1: I agree that the square or rectangle with wavy lines does indeed represent an irrigated field. But I would still advocate a link to the Abyss. The text of Mul.Apin supports this idea as the Harrow is described as the ‘weapon of Mar-biti within which ones sees the Abyss (ZU:AB)’ – this phrase effectively identifies the square + wavy lines with the Abyss. However it is a difficult question because I have never come across this symbol in Mesopotamian art-work. The closest you get to this are certain depictions of Ea/Enki . seated within a square enclosure made up of water flows.
    I also think that the depiction of the Harrow from the Square Zodiac at Dendera is related to this issue. On this star-map, the Harrow is depicted alongside another rectangle but it contains an interwoven snake. This is another symbol not found in Mesopotamia – as far as I am aware – but could well be related to the mysterious ‘snakes of the Abyss’ that are associated with Ea/Enki.
    Question 2 … Hunger and Pingree suggest that Lulal & Latarak were located in Orion as you say – however, they do add a question mark to this attribution. The reason for this is that there is next to no information on the location of this asterism – no rising, culmination or setting dates – save that is in the southern part of the skies and appears to be close to the True Shepherd (Orion).
    I have based my reconstruction on the position of the lion-headed figures found on the Dendera zodiacs – this suggests Cetus to me. But with these lesser known asterisms we are left to guesswork.
    Hope this helps, all the best, Gavin

    • Rebecca Small says:

      Gavin, Could I use your picture in an online course I’m creating about the stars and credit you?

      • gavin664 says:

        Hi Rebecca – yes you are welcome to use the star-map in your online course – please credit the book. If you’d like a clearer image just send me your email address. ATB, Gavin

      • Rebecca Small says:

        Thank you so much, Gavin. I will let you know if I need a clearer image. I really appreciate your response. Rebecca

        On Tue, Jul 27, 2021 at 12:26 AM solariapublications wrote:

        > gavin664 commented: “Hi Rebecca – yes you are welcome to use the star-map > in your online course – please credit the book. If you’d like a clearer > image just send me your email address. ATB, Gavin” >

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