Decoding in progress by Japanese researcher, The Astronomical Diaries of 600 Years from Babylonia

Cuneiform Tablet


Decoding of “The Astronomical Diaries from Babylonia (ADB)” is in progress by Dr.Yasuyuki Mitsuma, assistant professor, the researcher of Ancient Western Asian History at the University of Tsukuba. ADB was excavated in the ruins of Babylon in the ancient Mesopotamia (present Iraq) mainly in the late 19th century says by Dr.Mitsuma. He describes that the ADB is an excellent source of information of natural phenomena, including astronomical ones, in the pre-Christ era because it contains the record of highly continuous and systematic observations, spanning from BCE 652 to BCE 61. He stayed in London for about two years from 2011 and took approximately 80,000 photographs of undecoded tablets at the British Museum.

Each astronomical diaries is divided and recorded monthly, and covers half-yearly information with one tablet about 20 cm square. There are detailed records in five different divisions: 1) astronomical events and weather, 2) prices of agricultural and livestock products, 3) the position of the planets, 4) water levels of the Euphrates River and 5) social incidents. ADB was created by hereditary scholar group “The scribes of Enuma Anu Enlil” who served for the temple Esagila of Marduk, the chief Babylonian god. “Enuma Anu Enlil” is the name of a corpus of prediction astrology consisting of about 70 tablets, and there are thousands of divinations that predict the fate of the state and rulers based on the astronomical events.

Dr.Mitsuma describes that the concept of the zodiac signs was introduced in the 5th century BC, and the positions of the planets of each month were displayed by the zodiac signs. As for the moon, position indication by distance from a specific star (Normal Stars, reference star) has continued to the next generation. He says “I assume that the temple at the time had corporate character and carried out economic activities, so they kept detailed records.” Also, he remarks “This is a big data, so to speak, in addition to unknown events, climate change at the time may be discovered from the water level of the river, the price of agricultural products. I want to work on deciphering as a life work. ”

I look forward to future research presentations.

Mitsuma Yasuyuki [Twitter] [Facebook]
Earliest Datable Records of Aurora-like Phenomena in the Astronomical Diaries from Babylonia

The sources of information [Japanese]
Sankei NEWS Web Decoding of The Astronomical Diaries from Babylonia is in progress
Abstract: The Astronomical Diaries from Babylonia



天文日誌は月ごとに区切られて記録され、大きさが約20センチ四方の粘土板1枚で半年分の情報を網羅。 1.「天文と天候」 2.「農畜産物の価格」 3.「惑星の位置」 4.「ユーフラテス川の水位」 5.「地上で起きた諸事件」の5項目に分けられ記録される。 「天文日誌」を作成したのはバビロンの主神であるマルドゥクの神殿エサギルに奉職する世襲の学者集団「エヌマ・アヌ・エンリル(Enuma Anu Enlil)の書記」と呼ばれる人々。「エヌマ・アヌ・エンリル」は粘土板 70 枚程度から成る予兆占星術の全集(コーパス)の名称で、天文事象を基に国家や支配者の運命を予測する占いが数千集成されています。

前5世紀には黄道十二宮の概念が導入され、各月の惑星の位置は十二宮によって表示されるようになるが、月に関しては特定の星 (Normal Stars, 基準星) からの距離による位置表示法が後代まで継続したという。「当時の神殿は企業的な性格も有し、経済活動を行っていた。そのためこうした詳細な記録を残したと推測しています。」「これはいわば“ビッグデータ”。未知の出来事に加え、河川の水位や農作物の価格などから当時の気候変動が分かるかもしれない。ライフワークとして解読に取り組みたい」とも。


三津間 康幸 [Twitter] [Facebook]
Earliest Datable Records of Aurora-like Phenomena in the Astronomical Diaries from Babylonia

産経NEWS【びっくりサイエンス】解読進む古代都市バビロンの天文日誌 最古のオーロラ記録も
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