CCP 3.1.u94.b - Astrological

Catalogue information
VAT 9434
AfO 14 pl. xv
DivinationAstrological. Enūma Anu Enlil


Base text: 
Tablet information
7th cent (Assurbanipal libraries and other Assyrian cities)

Leibovici, 1959M. Leibovici, Review of Pinches & Strassmaier LBAT, Revue d'Assyriologie, vol. 53, pp. 159-162, 1959.
[BM. 34031, publié sous le n° 1526, 1 sq., est aussi dupl. de K. 6116 (inédit), rev. 1 sq. Ajoutons à l’intention de M. Weidner que la tablette VAT 9434, publiée en autographie dans AfO 14, pl. XV, l. 7 sqq. , est dupl. de K. 6116, obv. l. 6 sq.]
: 161

Neugebauer & Sachs, 1967O. Neugebauer and Sachs, A. , Some Atypical Astronomical Cuneiform Texts. I, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 21, pp. 183-218, 1967.
[On line 13]
: 213

Weidner, 1941bE. F. Weidner, Der Tag des Stadtgottes, Archiv für Orientforschung, vol. 14, pp. 340-342, 1941.
[On line 5-6: City god, Aššur]
: 340-341

Weidner, 1966bE. F. Weidner, «Sirius am Tage», Archiv für Orientforschung, vol. 21, p. 55, 1966.
[On line 2]

Rutz, 02/2016 (Communication)
Rutz, 02/2016 (Transliteration)
Rutz, 02/2016 (Translation)
Jiménez, 02/2016 (Revision, corrections)
Rutz & Jiménez, 02/2016 (Introduction)
Jiménez, 08/2016 (Commentary markup)
By Matthew T. Rutz | Make a correction or suggestion
How to cite
Rutz, M.T., 2016, “Commentary on Astrological (CCP 3.1.u94.b),” Cuneiform Commentaries Project (E. Frahm, E. Jiménez, M. Frazer, and K. Wagensonner), 2013–2024; accessed April 17, 2024, at DOI: 10079/51c5bbt
© Cuneiform Commentaries Project (Citation Guidelines)

The fragment VAT 9434 has received scant attention since it was published in copy in the early 1940s. The obverse consists of the upper portion of the tablet with seventeen lines of text in Assyrian script separated with horizontal rulings into nine entries. The reverse is evidently not preserved. The text has a duplicate from Assurbanipal’s library (K.6116+ = CCP 3.1.u94.a) and consists mainly of commentary on celestial omens from the divinatory series Enūma Anu Enlil and Šumma ālu as well as the astronomical compendium MUL.APIN. The first line of VAT 9434 appears to correspond with the catch-line of another fragment from Assurbanipal’s library, BM 134783 (CCP 3.2.11), which is labeled as the 11th tablet in a serialized mukallimtu-commentary on Enūma Anu Enlil. Thus, while impossible to confirm at present, VAT 9434 // K.6116+ may constitute the unknown 12th tablet in the commentary series. However, the different interpretations found in VAT 9434 and Tablet 1 of Šumma Sîn ina tāmartīšu pose a problem for the facile identification of VAT 9434 with a possible Tablet 12 of that commentary series. Some logic is discernable in the ordering of the second and third entries, namely, the mention of the 6th of Nisannu (obv. 4) connects with a comment on the “day of the city god” (obv. 5–6) in the next entry, but too little of what follows is preserved for a detailed examination of the thematic structure of topics and comments.

Some of the commentarial explanations relate the astronomical observations to cultic events that are said to happen on the same dates. Thus, in ll. 7-8 the visibility of Scorpion is related to an event involving the “Lady of Ḫursagkalama” (the association between Scorpion and Ḫursagkalama is attested elsewhere). In ll. 2-4, the “red” appearance of the constellation Arrow is said to relate to the 6th of Nisannu, the day “after which Nabû departs from the quay”: it is known that, during the Akītu festival, the statue of Nabû arrived at the Red Gate quay (kāru bābu sāmu) from Borsippa on the evening of the 5th of Nisannu, and on the 6th of Nisannu, it formed part of a procession to the Esangil1 The gist of the explanation lies probably in the “red” color of both the Quay and the constellation.


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AfO 14, pl. 15 VAT 09434 [commenatary itti alishu]

o 1o 1

* 30 gišGIGIR U₅ KI GÌR-MIN šá mulŠU.GI GUBaz-ma1

(o 1) If the moon mounts a chariot: (means) it stands with the feet of the Old Man.

o 22

* mul₄GAG.SI. SA₅ KUR ḫa-ru--e GU₇ u₄-um mul₄GAG.SI. IGIru2

(o 2) If the Arrow is red: the land will eat carobs(?); (means) on the day the Arrow is seen the north wind blows for three days; ‘carobs’ (means) ‘sesame’; alternatively, in Nisannu on the 6th day after Nabû (departs?) from the quay the west wind blows.

o 33

    3 U₄-ME im2 DU-ma ḫa-ru--e ŠE.GIŠ.Ì3

o 44

    KIMIN ina itiBÁRA U₄ 6.KAM TA dAG ina ka-ri im4 DU-ma4

o 55

* U₄ DINGIR URUki ŠÈG ŠURnun DINGIR URUki KI URUki-šú ze-ni5

(o 5) If it rains on the day of the city god: the city god is angry with his city; (means) on the 6th day of Nisannu, the 22nd day of Šabāṭu, (or) the 3rd day of Addaru.

o 66

    U₄ 6.KAM ša itiBÁRA U₄ 22.KAM ša itiZÍZ U₄ 3.KAM šá itiŠE

o 77

* u₄-um mulGÍR.TAB IGIru im1 DU MU BI SIG₅[at]6

(o 7) If on the day the Scorpion is seen the south wind blows: that year is g[ood.] (means) In Arahsamna (VIII) on the 5th day the Scorpion is seen and the south wind blows; alternatively, in Šabāṭu on the [30th] d[ay.] From/After/When(?) the Lady of Hursagkalama ... [...].

o 88

    ina itiAPIN U₄ 5.KAM mul₄GÍR.TAB IGI-ma im1 DU-ma KI.MIN ina itiZÍZ U₄ [30.KAM]7

o 99

    ul-tu dGAŠAN ḪUR.SAG.KALAM.MA IGI? [x x x]8

o 1010

* dSAG.ME.GAR a-dir GIŠ.ḪUR NÍGIN-ma : ddil-bat a-dir gišḪAŠḪUR giš[GI? NÍGIN-ma (x x)]9

(o 10) If Jupiter is dim (means?) it is surrounded by a ‘drawing’ : (if) Venus is dim (means?) [it is surrounded by(?) a ‘marsh] apple’ [(...)].

o 1111

* ina GIŠ.NIM MUL ana ŠÀ 30 KU₄ LUGAL ELAM.[MAki UG₇?]10

(o 11) If a star enters into the moon in the east: the king of El[am will die.] If a star enters into the moon in the west: the king of [Akkad will die.] (means?) either in the east or in the west a st[ar(?) ...].

o 1212

* ina GIŠ.ŠÚ MUL ana ŠÀ 30 KU₄ LUGAL [URIki UG₇]11

o 1313

    lu-ú ina dUTU.È lu-ú ina dUTU.ŠÚ.A MUL? [x x x x x x x]12

o 1414

[*] muldil-bat ṣer-ḫa TUKUši [ŠE.ER.ZI TUKU?]13

(o 14) [If] Venus has a ṣerhu: [(means) has(?) brilliance.]

o 1515

[*] 30? TÙR NÍGIN-ma dUTU ina ŠÀ-šu GUB?[iz kit- ina KUR GÁLši A? ...]14

(o 15) [If the moo]n is surrounded by a halo, and the sun s[tands] in it: [there will be justice in the land ... (means?) (If) the moon(?)] is surrounded by a [h]alo, and the [True] Shep[herd of An stands in it(?) (...)]

o 1616

[(*) 30?] TÙR NÍGIN-ma mulSIPA.[ZI.AN.NA ina ŠÀ-šu GUB? (...)]

o 1717

[*? x x x] x x x [...]

(o 17) [If(?) ...] ... [...]

1Compare the reports by Akkullanu (SAA 8 112: r. 1–6) and Nabû-iqīša of Borsippa (SAA 8 298: 1–6), where the protasis is linked to the configuration of a lunar halo, not necessarily the Chariot constellation (Auriga) (Rochberg 2004: 169–170); on constellations’ feet, see CAD Š/2 301b sub šēpu.

2Quotation of ACh Ištar 28: 20 (K 2894+), which is cited and interpreted in the report SAA 8 76: 1–4; cf. K 2346+ r. 16′ (Reiner 1998: 246).

3The equation harūbu = šamaššammū can also be found in the astrological commentary CCP 3.1.47 o 21′ [EJ].

4The laconic context in which the west wind blows should be associated with Nabû’s role in the akītu festival in Babylon, but the events on the 6th of Nisannu are poorly known. In the Offering Bread hemerology I/6 is associated with offerings to Nabû and Tašmētu (Livingstone 2013: 109) [MTR]. Nabû arrived to the Red Gate quay (kār bābi sāmi) from Borsippa in the evening of the 5th, and on the 6th of Nisan he went to Esangil (see George BiOr 53 (1996) pp. 380-381). The gist may be the “red” color of the quay. If so, “after Nabû (docks) at the quay, the west wind blows” [EJ].

5Quotation of TCL 6 9: 20 and dupls. (Šumma ālu) prompted by the previous entry’s reference to I/6; see note on line 14 below.

6Quotation from MUL.APIN 2 iii 52 (Hunger and Pingree 1989: 116). Restored following K 6116+ obv. 6′; VAT 9423 omits the entry in K 6116+ obv. 4′–5′.

7Compare MUL.APIN 2 i 32–33 (Hunger and Pingree 1989: 79) and MUL.APIN 1 iii 3 (Hunger and Pingree 1989: 44). Restored following K 6116+ obv. 7′.

8The astrological compendium LKU 44: 12 associates the constellation Scorpion with Ḫursagkalama (Weidner 1920: 119–120).

9In one text the ḫašḫūr api, “marsh apple(?),” surrounds Venus ([giš]ḪAŠḪUR gišGI NÍGIN-ma, Rm 2, 402 r. 6′, see Reiner 1998: 152; cf. K 12733 obv. 5′, see Reiner 1998: 97), and in another it may be associated with Venus being surrounded by a “green ‘drawing’” (GIŠ.ḪUR SIG₇ NIGIN-ma ia-ad-dar-ma, VAT 10218 iii 13′–14′, see Reiner 1998: 48).

10Restored following K 6116+ obv. 9′.

11Compare MUL.APIN 2 iii 44 (Hunger and Pingree 1989: 115). Restored following K 6116+ obv. 10′.

12Possible reference to MUL.APIN 2 i 61 (Hunger and Pingree 1989: 85).

13Restored following K 6116+ obv. 11′. The related Šumma ālu traditions are garbled (TCL 6 9: r. 21 // CT 40 40+: r. 14–15, see the note on line 5 above): according to TCL 6 9 a ṣirḫu-phenomenon of Venus is a good sign, while for CT 40 40+ it is not; the latter view is aligned with the EAE tradition found in VAT 10218 iii 67′–68′ (Reiner 1998: 52) as well as in the commentary ACh Ištar 5: 1–4 (K 35, see Reiner 1998: 100; CCP 3.1.58.A.b).

14Restored following K 6116+ obv. 12′–13′. A report from the Babylonian astrologer Zakir quotes both entries but reverses their order (SAA 8 301: r. 4–7). The interpretation found in VAT 9434 may draw on EAE 8 (ACh 2 Suppl. 1a, K 2267+ iv 21 // Sm 1262+ obv. 4′). In contrast the sun is interpreted as Saturn following the final entry in the first tablet of the commentary series Šumma Sîn ina tāmartīšu (ACh Sin 3: 140–141, K 2171+ r. 15′–16′ and dupls., CCP 3.2.1.A.e; this interpretation is cited in the letter SAA 10 113: 3–5 as well as in various astrological reports, e.g., SAA 8 40: 2′–8′).

Photos by Enrique Jiménez

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