Rear - Line 18

Rear Line 17 | Rear Line 18 | Rear Line 19

Hand drawing below by Ernst F. Weidner (1952)


6LAGABEGU4UDU3U2PAIBBADLAL2IGIDIBAN23U2PAIBAB2KURŠA2HIBILAL2ANA


Transliteration:

6 SI e GU4.UD u 3 SI šap dil-bat LAL2 u3 AN 23 KUŠ3 šap MULx KUR ša2 ḫe-pi2 LAL2 a-na [...]

Translation - by P.V. Neugebauer and E. F. Weidner (1915) edited by Hermann Hunger (1988)

was balanced 6 fingers above Mercury and 3 fingers below Venus, and Mars was balanced 23 cubits below the bright star of <...> towards [...]

Note

[.... Saturn] was balanced 6 fingers above Mercury and 3 fingers below Venus

In 568 BC, Saturn is never above Mercury whilst being below Venus. In the morning of Day 15 seems to be the closest to what the translators are describing.



6six
SITranslated as: fingers
Eabove
GU4.UDMercury
UTranslated as: and
3three
U2Translated as: fingers?
On every other occasion on this tablet it is translated as cubit.

There are several problems, Mercury has a magnitude of +0.6, Saturn's magnitude is +0.3 this means that they were less bright than some stars in the sky. From the moment they rose above the horizon the twilight sky would have been get brighter every minute. Mercury was already not very bright, as it rose higher it would have faded into the brighter twilight sky. The observer wouldn't be able to see Mercury and definitely not Saturn after about 5:35am. Each day earlier, Mercury and Saturn would have been closer to the Sun and therefore even more difficult to see.

Each day that passes Mercury's magnitude become brighter making an earlier sighting more difficult

The tablet also indicates that Saturn should be 3 cubits below Venus not 3 fingers as the translation says. This would have had to been observed several days earlier when the conditions would have been harder to see Mercury and Saturn

Note A

Missing symbol

The image below shows that the symbol for SI or U2 is missing. due to damage. It is difficult to determine what symbol was there, however it doesn't appear to read either symbol for SI or symbol for U2 as indicated in the transliteration and hand drawing.

picture of missing symbol due to damage

Photo credit: Olaf M. Teßmer, Vorderasiatisches Museum

If the missing symbol isn't a unit of measurement then the symbols symbol for Usymbol for 3 just before it, could mean 13 for day 13. This would follow on from the last day mentioned, day 12.

Note C

SymbolSyllablesMeanings
6 6
LAGAB
RI3
GUR4
niĝin2
ellag
KUR4
block; excess

thick
encircle, total
bibbu: Mercury
KUR4 = ba'lu which means either ba'ālu: to be abnormally large, to become bright or shine brightly;
or ba'ūlu: great, important; - The Assyrian Dictionary, Volume 2, B (1965) pg 1, 184
E above
GU4.UD Mercury
U
bur3
šu4
ge14
Earth, finger, ten, totality
Unit
Cover
Blow
and
3 3
U2
kuš3
load, horn
unit
PA.IB
šap
šapal: under, beneath, underneath
qablu: hips, middle.
šapālu: to be low, deep ; to reach the lowest point; to stay constantly low; - The Assyrian Dictionary, Š Volume 17, Part I (1989) pg 422-423
DILI.BAD
DILI.BAT
nebû: shining, bright, flaring; denoting the brightest star of a constellation - The Assyrian Dictionary, Volume 11, N Part II (1980) pg 148
venus
LAL2 šaqālu: to be equal, in balance; planets said to be in opposition or in conjunction
hang
small
IGI.DIB
U3
labīru: old, previous, former - The Assyrian Dictionary, Volume 9, L (1973) pg 26-33
AN
DINGIR
ILU
Sky, Heaven, Mars
Deity, Determinative for a deity
God
ŠANABI šinipu: two-thirds
U2
kuš3
load, horn
unit
PA.IB
šap
šapal: under, beneath, underneath
qablu: hips, middle.
šapālu: to be low, deep ; to reach the lowest point; to stay constantly low; - The Assyrian Dictionary, Š Volume 17, Part I (1989) pg 422-423
AB2 arḫu: cow
cattle
kakkabu: a star
KUR KUR
ĝar
niĝ2
ša2
Place
Thing
of
HI.BI ḫapiu: fragmentary, fragmented, incomplete, broken;
Broken - probably referring to the original tablet being broken
LAL2 šaqālu: to be equal, in balance; planets said to be in opposition or in conjunction
hang
small
A A
NA do, sky, be, heaven, man, not, lie,

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