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Created on or before 5926± 12 06 2022 [2006-02-05]

The prior version was extensively revised and edited[1] on 5930± 03 03 2026 [2010-05-18]

The prior revised version received further evaluation re the length of the cubit etc. before this extensively revised edition[2] of 5930± 04 15 2026 [2010-06-28]

Significant additional revisions on 5930± 04 23 2026 [2010-07-06] - With considerable added values over and above the prior revision.

Last edit 5941[(?)] 12 23 2027 [2011-03-28]

 

 

 

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VAT 4956

- a Transcription of

its Translation[3] and of

the Comments of its Transliteration

plus Added Links to

Reconstructions of the Events

that are Recorded on VAT 4956

and Footnotes with exact Julian Dates and Comments

 

by Gunnar Anders Smĺrs Jr© 

 

-

A Study in Progress:

(Therefore, please forgive me for any errors,

whether words remaining from past thinking and not yet corrected

or thoughts of mine that are still suffering from being in error until somehow I am given additional rays of light!)

 

 

 

Abstract:

This is a confirmation of the exact astronomical dates for Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year of reign using Starry Night Backyard software. Said year began at sunset April 22, ‑567, i.e. 568 BCE. Twenty-one or more very precise observations of celestial events were recorded on tablet VAT 4956 during said 37th year.  When an ancient record with that many precise observations, all of which agree with the best available astronomical calculations, is available there is little or no room for doubt as to the exact timing of Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year of reign. Because this is the oldest such record that I am so far aware of, which can be exactly correlated with biblical chronology, it is of great importance in my attempts to establish an absolute chronology from the beginning of creation.

 

 

 

Obv[erse side of clay table. / ToL ©]

1.        Year 37 of Nebukadnezar, king of Babylon. Month I. (the 1st [4] of which was identical with) the 30th (of the preceding month)[5], the moon became visible behind the Bull of Heaven[6]; [sunset to moonset:] ….[….][7]

2.        Saturn was in front of the Swallow.[8], [9] The 2nd,[10] in the morning, a rainbow stretched in the west. Night of the 3rd,[11] the moon was 2 cubits in front of [….][12]

3.        it rained’. Night of the 9th [13] (error for: 8th)[14], beginning of the night, the moon stood 1 cubit in front of β[15] Virginia. The 9th.[16] the sun in the west (was surrounded) by a halo […. The 11th][17]

4.        or[18] 12th[19]. Jupiter’s acronychal rising.[20] On the 14th[21]. one god was seen with the other: sunrise to moonset: 4°.[22] The 15th[23]. overcast. The 16th, [24] Venus [….][25]

5.        The 20th,[26] in the morning, the sun was surrounded by a halo. Around noon…… rain PISAN. A rainbow stretched in the east. [….][27]

6.        From the 8th of month XII,[28] to the 28th, [29] the river level rose 3 cubits and 8 fingers. 2/3 cubits [were missing] to the high flood [….]

7.        were killed on order of the king. That month, a fox entered the city. Coughing and a little risutu-disease [….]

8.        Month II, the 1st (of which followed the 30th of the preceding month),[30] the moon became visible while the sun stood there,[31] 4 cubits below β Geminorum[32]; it was thick[33]: there was earthshine[34] [….]

9.        Saturn was in front of the Swallow:[35] Mercury, which had set, was not visible. Night of the 1st,[36] gusty storm from east and south. The 1st, all day [….]

10.     stood […. In front] of Venus to the west. The 2nd.[37] The north wind blew. The 3rd,[38] Mars entered Praesepe[39], [40], [41]. The 5th,[42] it went out (of it). The 10th,[43] Mercury [rose[44]] in the west behind the [little] Twins [….]

11.     The 15th.[45] ZIIR. The 18th.[46] Venus was balanced[47] 1 cubit 4 fingers above α Leonis.[48] The 26th,[49] {moonrise to sunrise} 23°:[50] I did not observe the moon.[51] The 27th,[52] 20 + x [….][53]

12.     Month III, {the 1st [54] of which was identical with} the 30th (of the preceding month), the moon became visible behind Cancer: it was thick[55]; sunset to moonset: 20° [56]; the north wind blew. At that time. Mars and Mercury were 4 cubits in front of α [Leonis ….][57]

13.     Mercury passed below Mars to the East; Jupiter was above α Scorpii;[58] Venus was in the west opposite {} Leonis[59] [….][60]

14.     1’ cubit. Night of the 5th,[61] beginning of the night. The moon passed towards the east 1 cubit (above:below) the bright star of the end of the Lion’s foot.[62] Night of the 6th.[63] beginning of the night, [….][64]

15.     it was low. Night of the 8th.[65] first part of the night. The moon stood 2 ˝ cubits below β Librae.[66] Night of the 9th,[67] first part of the night. The moon [stood] 1 cubit in front of [….][68]

16.     passed towards the east. The 9th.[69] solstice.[70] Night of the 10th.[71] first part of the night. The moon was balanced 3 ˝ cubits above α Scorpii.[72] The 12th,[73] Mars was 2/3 cubits above [α Leonis….][74]

17.     [….] The 15th,[75] one god was seen with the other; sunrise to moonset: 7° 30’. [76] A lunar eclipse which was omitted[77] [….]

18.     […. The moon[78] was be]low the bright star at the end of the [Lion’s| foot |….][79]

19.     [….]….[….]

 

Rev[erse side of clay table. / ToL ©]

1'.      [….]…. First part [of the night ….. the moon was]

2'.      1 cubit [above/below] the middle star of the elbow of Sagittarius….[….]

3'.      When 5° of daytime had passed, the sun was surrounded by a halo. The 19th. [80] Venus was 2 ˝ cubits below β Capricorni.[81] Night of the [….]

4'.      That month, the equivalent (of 1 shekel of silver was): barley, 1 kur 2 sut: dates. 1 kur 1 pan ˝ sut: mustard. 1 kur …. [….]

5'.      Month XI, (the 1st [82] of which was identical with) the 30th (of the preceding month), the moon became visible in the Swallow; sunset to moonset: 14° 30’;[83] the north wind blew. At that time, Jupiter was 1 cubit behind the elbow[84] of Sagittarius [….]

6'.      The 4th, the river level rose. The 4th,[85] Venus was balanced ˝ cubit below (sic)[86] Capricorn. Night of the 6th.[87] first part of the night. The moon was surrounded by a halo: Pleiades, the Bull of Heaven, and the Chariot [stood in it….][88]

7'.      the moon was surrounded by a halo: Leo and Cancer were inside the halo; α Leonis was balanced 1 cubit below the moon.[89] Last part of the night, 3° of night remaining, [….]

8'.      sunrise to moonset: 17°:[90] I did not watch. The sun was surrounded by a halo. From the 4th [91] to the 15th.[92] the river level rose 1 ˝ cubits. On the 16th. [93] it receded. Night of the 18th (and) the 18th. [94] rain PISAN DIB [….]

9'.      when the {….] of Bel was cut off from its place two hosts…. Went away’. The 22nd, [95] overcast. Night of the 23rd. [96] [….Mars’]

10'.   was balanced above(sic) the small star which stands 3 ˝ cubits behind Capricorn.[97] Night of the 20th. [98] red glow flared up in the west: 2 double-[hours….]

11'.   barley. 1 kur’; dates. 1 kur 1 pan 4 sut: mustard. 1 kur 1 pan: sesame. 4 sut: cress [….]

12'.   Month XII. The 1st {of which followed the 30th of the preceding month}.[99] The moon became visible behind Aries while the sun stood there: sunset to moonset: 25° measured: earthshine: the north wind blew. At that time. Jupiter |…. Mercury and Saturn. Which had set.]

13'.   were not visible. The 1st.[100] the river level rose. Night of the 2nd,[101] the moon was balanced 4 cubits below η Tauri.[102] Night of the 3rd,[103] beginning of the night. 2 ˝ cubits [….][104]

14'.   From the 1st [105] to the 5th.[106] the river level rose 8 fingers: on the 6th [107] it receded. Night of the 7th.[108] the moon was surrounded by a halo: Praesepe and α Leonis [stood] in [it….]

15'.   the halo surrounded Cancer and Leo, it was split towards the south. Inside the halo. The moon stood 1 cubit in of (α Leonis[109]). The moon being 1 cubit high. Night of the 10th.[110] first [part of the night. ….]

16'.   Night of the 11th.[111] overcast. The 11th. rain DCL. Night of the 12th.[112] a little rain. …. The 12th.[113] one god was seen with the other: sunrise to moonset: 1° 30’[114]: ….[…. Mercury]

17'.   was in front of the “band” of the Swallow. ˝ cubit below Venus, Mercury having passed 8 fingers to the east: when it became visible it was bright and (already) high. 1° ‘ [….Saturn[115]]

18'.   was[116] balanced 6 fingers above Mercury and 3 fingers below Venus, [117] and Mars was balanced 2/3 cubits below the bright star of[118] (….) towards [….]

19'.   …, …. The 21st.[119] overcast: the river level rose. Around the 20th.[120] Venus and Mercury entered the “band” of the Swallow[121]. From […. Jupiter.]

20'.   which had passed to the east. Became stationary. At the end of the month. It went back to the west. Around the 26th.[122] Mercury and Venus [came out] from the “band” of Anunitu [….]

21'.   the river level receded 8 fingers. That month. On the 26th.[123] a wolf entered Borsippa and killed two dogs: it did not go out. It was killed [….]

 

Lower edge

1.        Year 38 of Nebukadnezar, month 1, the 1st (of which followed the 30th of the preceding month):[124] dense clouds so that [I did not see the moon ….]

2.        Year 37 [….]

 

Left edge

1.        [Year 37 of Nebukad]nezar

 

Comments [125]

1: The last sign visible can be any number from 14 to 18.

5: UGU-ME occurs also in rev. 16’ and 19’. It cannot designate a part of the day (as suggested by P.V.Neubebauer and E.Weidner) because in rev. 16 it appears during the night as well as during daytime. It is rather another weather phenomenon. Mentioned side by side with rain

10: ALLA is used here not for the whole zodiacal constellation Cancer but only for Praesepe since Mars can pass through it within two days. As was remarked by P.V.Neugebauer and E.Weidner.

11: A translation “was balanced” for LAL was proposed by A.Sachs. This expression seems to occur mostly (but not only) in those cases where both celestial bodies compared have the same longitude. It is restricted to the oldest diaries preserved so far. It probably went out of use because it was redundant: if no difference in longitude was mentioned one could conclude that there was none. – siv may be a mistake[126] for the missing sign KUR “moonrise to sunrise”.

13: One is inclined to regard ĺer+tam DIB as an equivalent of and NIM DIB. But this is rendered uncertain by the occurrence of the latter expression in line 14 and elsewhere: in addition, ana berti is expected.

5’: The “elbow of Sagittarius” was identified as the cluster of stars around π Sagittarii by P.V.Neugebauer. op.cit. 50f.

13’: in the broken part at the end of the line. A reference to the moon being close to the Normal Star α Tauri is expected.

15’: The broken star name must have been α Leonis.

17’: According to computation. Saturn has to be restored at the end of the line.

 

Calendar

Nebukadnezar II year 36  XII2 0                                                -567     Mar 23/24

                                  year 37 I         0=XII2 29                                          Apr 21/22 [127]

                                              II         0=I 30 31                                          May 21/22 22/23 [128]

                                             III         0=II 29 28                                         Jun 19/20 [129]

                                              X         0=IX 30                                 -566     Jan 13/14

                                            XI          0=X 29                                              Feb 11/12

                                           XII          0=XI 30                                             Mar 13/14 [130]

                                  year 38 I         0=XII 29 30                                      Apr 11/12 12/13 [131]

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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[1] These revisions were prompted by an email that I received from a certain “Ann OMaly”onWednesday, May 12, 2010 12:11 AM.

Praise the Lord of Hosts, Yahweh Elohim, the Creator of the Universe, who orchestrates events like these!

 [2] These additional revisions were prompted by a 2nd email that was sent to me by my new friend Ann O’Maly on “Wednesday, May 19, 2010 8:36 PM.

Praise the Lord of Hosts, Yahweh Elohim, the Creator of the Universe, who orchestrates events like these!

[3] [All quotes are from the original translation, by, as best I can tell, Neugebauer P V and Weidner E F, of the cuneiform tablet unless otherwise indicated:]

"Remarks on Translation

“The terminology used in the diaries is rigid and very condensed. The order of items recorded is also to a large extent fixed. Because of the repetitive character of these texts, the scribes apparently, tried to reduce as much as possible the number of words they had to write.

“In translating I have tried to imitate this style by using a similarly rigid terminology. Unfortunately, the almost exclusively logographic writing of the diaries frequently makes it impossible to determine whether the Akkadian text consisted of sentences or asyndetic sequences of nouns. Where this can be decided with the help of one of the rare sylabie writings. I have of course translated accordingly. But more often I had to choose some fixed translation which may not be syntactically equivalent to the Akkadian hidden by the logograms. In addition, several statements which are very short in cuneiform had to be translated by longer expressions to convey the meaning without creating a new artificial terminology. The way in which the diaries indicate the length of a month can serve as an example. This length can be 29 or 30 days. [We shall notice that this is a false assumption so far as this tablet is concerned, that is, as even the very first month is proven to have been reckoned as 31 days! / ToL ©] The diaries are arranged in sections each of which deals with a single month. Each section begins with the name of the month; after the name, a "1" indicates that the preceding month had 30 days; [Apparently this must be corrected to “30 days or more” / ToL ©] a "30", that it had only 29 days, [Apparently this must be corrected to “29 days or less” / ToL ©] in which case the next month begins with a "1st" day: if a month has only 29 days [or less / ToL ©], its successor begins, so to speak, already on the "30th" day [etc. / ToL ©] which would have been theoretically possible for the preceding month. In order to make this visible in the translation, I have formulated sentences which contain the words "the 1st" or "the 30th" (which are all that is written in the text), and at the same time clearly state the situation: Month X, the 1st (of which followed the 30th of the preceding month), or: Month X, (the 1st of which was identical with) the 30th (of the preceding month)." (Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts From Babylonia, p. 38)

[4] The day beginning in the evening of April 22, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date are events of the 14th day.)

[5] Cf. the italic blue font text in footnote #3 and my bracketed comments thereto.

[6] Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year began at sunset April 22, 568 BCE (-567:)

Per ADT I (Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts From Babylonia,) p. 17-19 (= p. 7-9 of the pdf copy,) the references for words like “behind,” “in front of,” etc. are a set of “Normal Stars.” The translation for the Babylonian name provided in the list, “is le10,” is “the Jaw of the Bull,” and the modern name listed is “α Tauri,” that is, Aldebaran. However, I do not see “is le10” upon the transcript of VAT 4956. Thus, I find no definite proof for the translator’s assumption that that is indeed the same reference as the Akkadian words used in VAT 4956, which word(s) are translated “behind the Bull of Heaven.”

With the possible exception of the word “behind,” all of the words and Comments pertaining to line 1, obverse, now make sense to me in terms of April 22, 568 BCE. Yet, this requires that this 1st month is reckoned as having 31 lunar days… (!) To me this is not too strange when considering also the likelihood of a relatively recent interplanetary catastrophe around the first part of the 7th century BCE, as suggested by Immanuel Velikovsky’s works. Indeed, if such series of catastrophes did occur as Velikovsky suggests, then how would the people then living best go about learning the ropes of the newly established paths of the heavens, if not by a strict following of actually observed new moons etc. while avoiding as much as possible any assumptions of their own, such as for instance a default New Moon on the 30th of any lunar month upon inclement weather etc.? I believe that these considerations also find support in the words of line 8, obverse: “the moon became visible…it was thick…,”that is, while recognizing also the translator’s Remarks on Translation as quoted above and his added words within parenthesis in line 8. I suppose the chief objection to a 31 day long Month I in that year is the translation “Month III… the 30th” on line 12 obverse. However, if the corresponding Akkadian word is understood as carrying the meaning “something not yet perfected,” as in the 30th day being the day prior to a complete and perfect 30 day long month, then it wouldn’t matter if the new moon crescent was first seen at the beginning of the 29th day or at the beginning of the 30th day and that objection would then be resolved! Consider also the perfection commonly associated with the triangle and the associated numbers 3, 30, etc..!

Re the words “the moon became visible behind the Bull of Heaven…:” At first it seemed to me that that would indicate that the moon was behind the prominent horn of the Bull of Heaven and that, from studying the details of “VAT 4956” in comparison with Starry Night Backyard software, the first observations of the first New Moon crescent seemed to have occurred one day later than I would have anticipated from the NASA Phases of the Moon tables, and from my prior studies of current comparable observations from the horizon of the Holy Land. (Cf. e.g. footnotes ##31 and 32.)

However, upon my discovery of a firm basis (cf. footnote #20) for establishing the beginning of month #1 on the evening of April 22, I came to realize that the use of that Akkadian word, translated ‘behind,’ as used in line 12, obverse, (cf. footnote #56,) makes most sense when applying it, whatever Akkadian word it may be, relative to the “normal star” as suggested in ADT I.

[Had the evening of April 23, 568 BCE been the beginning of month #1 - as I used to believe prior to having a viable understanding of the event recorded for the 14th day of this 1st month - then one might consider why the proximity between the New Moon and Venus is not being recorded also on this clay tablet, thus, the absence of such a record re Venus also becomes evidence against April 23 as constituting the beginning of month #1. However, even that argument may be countered by the fact of missing words due to the tablet being broken at that point…]

That the dates used in the tablet began at sunset is confirmed by the order of the relative statements in line 3 of the cuneiform tablet: “Night of the 9th…, beginning of the night, the moon stood 1 cubit in front of β Virginia. The 9th. the sun in the west (was surrounded) by a halo,” that is, the darkness of the evening and night preceding the subsequent day are all part of the same 9th day.

[7] See the translator’s Comments re Obverse, line 1: ”1: The last sign visible can be any number from 14 to 18.” - This Comment becomes meaningful upon realizing that the distance between the Moon and the Sun at the time between “[sunset and moonset]” on April 22, 568 BCE was 14°+!  That is, yet another piece of evidence against April 23 being day one of the month, obviously so, because on April 23 the corresponding distance was 26°+!

[8] Cf. “the great Swallow” as referenced in Wikipedia under Pisces: “According to J. H. Rogers the fish symbol originates from some composition of the Babylonian constellations Zibatti-meš (maybe Šinunutu4 "the great swallow" in current eastern Pisces) and KU6 ("the fish, Ea", Piscis Austrinus).

I do not find anything in the ADT I list of Normal Stars corresponding to “the Swallow” or to any of the Akkadian words I see in the transcription of VAT 4956. However, the sequence of events described in lines 19’ and 20’ on the reverse of the tablet seems quite instructive in defining a certain portion of “the band,” or the wing?, of the Swallow!

[9] How often is Saturn in the Swallow?

Stepping monthly forwards in time from Mars -596; and next April 23, -567, I find that once having left this celestial area Saturn does not return until January, -537 and after that not until March, -508, then May -479, i.e. every 30 years or so. Cf. footnotes #41 and #58 and notice the absence of concurrent events competing with the record in Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year of reign! And that’s looking at only three of these twenty-one celestial events!

     “A complete cycle of Saturn phenomena in relation to the stars takes 59 years. But when that cycle has to be fitted to the lunar calendar of 29 or 30 days then identical cycles recur at intervals of rather more than 17 centuries. Thus there is no difficulty in determining the date of the present text… [p. 63]

 

     “The Babylonian calendar was luni-solar with an additional “intercalary” month being added on average 7 times in 19 years to bring the lunar and solar cycles into line. In the seventh century B.C. the later “Metonic” pattern of regular intercalations was not yet in place and it is a matter of interest to establish in which years the intercalary months were inserted.

     “The synodic period of Saturn is 378.09 days. Hence phenomena recur about 24 days later in the Babylonian calendar than in the previous year (Schoch [1928], 109).” (Swerdlow, N. M., Editor, Ancient Astronomy and Celestial Divination, Chapter 3 by C. B. F. Walker, Babylonian Observations of Saturn during the Reign of Kandalanu, p. 63, 69.)

 

 

What exactly is “the Swallow”?

“The Swallow was actually composed of a portion of Pisces together with epsilon Pegasi” (http://www.maverickscience.com/History/Retrocalculations/retrocalculations.html.)

“SIM.MAH = shinunutu: "The Swallow"; Western fish of Pisces” (http://www.astronomy.pomona.edu/archeo/outside/starlog.html.)

“MUL.SIM.MAH [sim.mah] (The "Great Swallow (SW Pisces [+ epsilon Pegasi);" later to be one of the 12 ecliptic constellations.) (Greek zodiac: Pisces (the Fish).)” (http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gtosiris/page9a.html)

 

[10] The day beginning in the evening of April 23, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[11] The day beginning in the evening of April 24, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[12] Measured along direction of stars moving across the night sky (cf. line #11 of the obv[erse side of the claytable where a distance of “1 cubit” is being most precisely defined,] and also line #3 obv. re direction of measurement) the Moon was about 2 cubits, i.e. about 3° in front of δ Gemini. Looking at the “normal stars” listed in ADT I, I find it curious that the star closest to the ecliptic, one of the brighter and more prominent of the Gemini constellation, δ Gemini or Wasat, is not listed among the “normal stars.” Nevertheless, on that particular evening of the 3rd, April 24th, 568 BCE, the one star most likely to be referenced as being located 2 cubits behind the Moon, measured along the direction of the sky’s movement, at the time of oncoming darkness, is none other than δ Gemini, i.e. Wasat! (More at this link…)

[13] The day beginning in the evening of April 30, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[14] The day beginning in the evening of April 29, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

It seems that this comment, “(error for: 8th,)” (I presume it’s the translator’s comment) is in error. That is, based upon what I’ve learnt thus far re the use of words in reference to the constellations on the heavens in terms of “Normal Stars,” cf. ADT I. Accordingly, I am now able to identify the Akkadian behind the (mis-)translation “β Virginia” as referencing γ Virgo, one of the stars of Virgo closest to the ecliptic and one of the brightest stars of Virgo as being located 1 cubit behind the Moon on the 9th day, April 30, -567. What more needs be said besides that the ruler and direction is relative to the movement of the sky?!...

[15] Per the ADT I list of Normal Stars:

“In order to give the position of the moon and the planets a number of stars close to the ecliptic are used for reference. These have been called "Normalsterne" by Epping14, and the term has remained in use ever since.”

The Babylonian term for “β Virginis” is “GĚR ár šá A”; translated “the rear foot of the Lion.” Corresponding to that, on the VAT 4956 transcript, I see a similar, yet different, term “GĚR ár šá UR-A GUB.Looking at the artist’s conception of the constellation Virgo, as available on my Starry Night Backyard software, it would make sense for me to perceive those Akkadian words as referencing γ Virgo, i.e. Porrima, and the end of the Lion’s tail (when in a normal stretched out position) and not the Lion’s rear foot, β Virgo, i.e. Denebola. Furthermore, β Virgo, Denebola, is much further from the ecliptic than is γ Virgo, Porrima. Thus the former star (β Virgo, Denebola) seems a less likely choice than does the latter (γ Virgo, Porrima) for being a Normal Star used in this setting. This assumption is being confirmed by the VAT 4956 record on line 14, as noted also in footnote #62!

So far as I can see, on my Starry Night Backyard software, on April 30, 568 BCE, day 9, the Moon is trailing behind β Virginis, the angular separation between them being 11° 26’ at 7:23 PM at about the time when β Virginis first became visible in the sky. On April 29, day 8, the two of them were traveling side by side (angular separation 3° 43’,) the center of the Moon being about 1° 00’ ahead of β Virginis and the diameter of the moon being about 2° 00’.  Thus, if the translator’s assumption were to be correct, then, if the correct distance is measured center to center, then 1 cubit = 1°.

Per ADT I the matter of direction of measurement is controversial, which to me means that it is not clearly understood as yet and thus open to other solutions:

These formulations give the impression that the distances between the moon and the Normal Stars were measured in the direction of the cardinal points. It has also been argued, however, that they were equivalent to our longitude and latitude. O. Neugebauer 28 considers the latter assumption impossible according to his investigations of conjunctions between Normal Stars and planets. It remains to be seen whether this question can be solved in some way; for reasons already stated above (p. 7), I did not think it appropriate to embark on such an investigation.

Ann O’Maly seems to have found 1 cubit to correspond to 2°, which would fit the above if the distance measured is the front of the moon relative to the front of β Virginis in the direction of travel.

If 1 cubit = 2° then I find that, in the direction of the moving sky, on April 30, 568 BCE, day 9, the center of the Moon was 1 cubit in front of Porrima, i.e. γ Virginis.

My preferred conclusion would then be that VAT 4956 is correct, but that the translator is mistaking the reference star. However, given that, per ADT I, γ Virginis is another reference star with the Babylonian name “DELE šá IGI ABSIN” this conclusion may seem questionable, since that name is much different from that seen on the tablet.

Thus, in the end it seems that the translator’s comment re an error may not be entirely impossible?

I notice also that the very next sentence seems to indicate the beginning of a new day’s entry, “The 9th…,” however the associated observation pertains to the latter light portion of the day when the sun is seen in the west. Thus, it seems only natural for the scribe of the tablet to add “The 9th” following the last prior date given as “Night of the 9th.”

Cf. also footnote #14 above!

[16] The day beginning in the evening of April 30, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[17] The day beginning in the evening of May 2, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[18] Because an acronychal rising occurs at sunset, and because oncoming darkness of the night is the time when the date of the month changes from one to the next, it is only natural that the observer records this acronychal rising of Jupiter on May 3, -567 as occurring either on the 11th, May 2, or on the 12th, May 3. The fact that the 11th is being referenced along with the 12th in this instance only further emphasizes the conclusions arrived at re the most excellent viewing locality that must have been used by the observer of the events on the sky recorded on VAT 4956! Cf. foot note #20 below!

[19] The day beginning in the evening of May 3, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[20] Based upon my confirmed understanding re the events recorded for the 14th on this line 4, obverse, that is, the 14th certainly beginning with the evening of May 5, I am now prepared to draw some valuable conclusions re the statement “12th. Jupiter’s acronychal rising:”

It follows that the 12th is certainly beginning with May 3, 568 BCE. I notice that while having my Starry Night Backyard set for a viewing locality at Baghdad and 3 meters elevation and a flat horizon, the sunset on May 3, 568 BCE is at 6:38 PM, while the rising of Jupiter is 10 minutes later (sic!) at 6:48 PM. This obviously means that for this observation to be truly an exact “acronychal rising” the viewing location of the observer relative the above said viewing location must have been quite excellent, perhaps elevated on a high mountain peak and with no obstructions at either the east or the west horizons! This fact is important to be aware of when interpreting this clay tablet!

[21] The day beginning in the evening of May 5, 568 BCE; accordingly, this observation was made at sunrise May 6, 568 BCE.

Having finally discovered for myself that the meaning of the phrase “one god was seen with the other: sunrise to moonset: x°” (cf. line 17 of the obverse, and line 16 of the reverse side of the tablet) is a precise description for the first appearance of the rising sun while the full moon is still visible above the horizon, and the angular distance that the moon has yet to travel towards the horizon before setting, I now have a very powerful tool for confirming the precise date for the beginning of the prior New Moon.

Given that said phrase is being used for the 14 day of Month 1, it follows that day 1 of Month 1 began on April 22, 568 BCE.

[Here is a brief review of my meanderings – that is, something that fooled me for a while - while on the path to learning this item re “one god was seen with the other: sunrise to moonset: x°: ”At sunset May 5 Jupiter was positioned below the moon while the two of them were rising above the eastern horizon, getting ever closer one to the other through the night, until setting together below the western horizon at the point of closest encounter (being situated 4.0 degrees from one another between “sunrise and moonset”) near sunrise the following morning, May 6. (Cf. line 16 of the reverse side: “one god was seen with the other…”) On the evening of May 6 the two of them could again be seen rising above the horizon while distancing one from the other… For a while I fooled myself into thinking that this must be considered confirmed evidence that the phrase “one god was seen with the other: sunrise to moonset: x°” was a reference to any combination of the sun, the moon, or planets… But, in the end, and not finding any such thing fitting line 17 obverse, I had to keep on searching for another solution...]

[22] Re the phrase “sunrise to moonset: x°…”Cf. also the somewhat similar phrases used in lines 11 & 12 and the corresponding footnotes #53 & 56; and also the very similar phrases in line 17 obverse and line 16’ reverse! Notice the 30’ precision in said lines 17 and 16’! Perhaps this precision relative to the horizon may help us in determining the point of observation, that is, by considering a higher vantage point of the observer? Let’s consider the nearest tall mountains some 150 miles (200 km) east of Baghdad! The tallest among the closest group of mountains is Kuh-e Manasht, aka. Manisht Mt., which is 2,620 meters (8,596  ft. at latitude 33° 41.4605’ N and longitude 46° 27.3728’ E per Google Earth) above sea level (cf. this link!,) or possibly the even taller Milagawan Mt. located another 47 km to the SW (2,773 meter, or 9094 ft, at latitude 33° 23.577' N and longitude 46° 46.870' E per Google Earth.) Unfortunately, I discovered what seems to be a bug in my older version of SNB, which hinders my pursuing this avenue presently… Cf. this link!

[23] The day beginning in the evening of May 6, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[24] The day beginning in the evening of May 7, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[25] On the 16th, May 7, 568 BCE, the first star being seen near Venus at sunset is Pollux, β Gemini, which is traveling side by side with Venus at this time. A little later κ Gemini, Al Kirkab, became visible between the two and much closer to Venus. Also Mars is seen close by. Any of those may have been referenced upon the missing portion of the tablet at this point…

[26] The day beginning in the evening of May 11, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[27] See the translator’s Comments re Obverse, line 5: “5: UGU-ME occurs also in rev. 16’ and 19’. It cannot designate a part of the day (as suggested by P.V.Neubebauer and E.Weidner) because in rev. 16 it appears during the night as well as during daytime. It is rather another weather phenomenon. Mentioned side by side with rain.”

[28] The day beginning in the evening of March 31, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day of Month I events.)

[29] The day beginning in the evening of May 19, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor point for this date is the 14th day events.)

[30] The day beginning in the evening of May 23, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

Notice: Given the very precise observations provided in line #4, re the 14th day and the “4°,” and in line #10, re Mars and Praesepe, I find that the 1st month was being reckoned as having 31 days! That is, the 2nd month began with the evening of May 23, 568 BCE, thus the translator’s interpretations re these particulars must be in error, as follows:

1.        “Month II, the 1st (of which followed the 30th 31st of the preceding month…)” (line 8, obverse;)

2.        “II        0=I 30 31                                          May 21/22 22/23” (cf. Calendar entry)

3.        “Month III, {the 1st of which was identical with} the 30th 29th (of the preceding month)” (line 12, obverse;)

4.        “III       0=II 29 28                                         Jun 19/20”  (cf. Calendar entry)

I see no other reason for this fact other than inclement weather at the end of the 1st month and there being no convention introduced at this time such as would have, by default, established the beginning of the new month at the end of the 30th day regardless.

Nonetheless, it may certainly be evidence also of a degree of uncertainty at the time, possibly in consequence of relatively recent interplanetary catastrophes near the beginning of the 7th century BCE as also suggested in the books “Worlds in Collision,” “Earth in Upheaval,” and “Ages in Chaos” by Immanuel Velikovsky. (More at this link…)

[31] What does “while the sun stood there” mean (cf. lines 6’ & 12’ reverse?) Does it mean that the New Moon crescent became visible while the sun was still visible above the horizon at sunset? This would seem likely, especially considering the added comment “there was earthshine,” which I interpret to mean that the dark part of the moon was visible (after sunset) due to the reflected light from the earth. This would indicate also that the atmospheric conditions for visualizing the moon were very good. The statement “it was thick,” presumably referencing a large Moon (re “thick,” cf. also lines 12 obverse and footnotes #6 above, and #33 below!,) but may, particularly in this instance, be also a reference to a wide crescent, that is, considering that this is the 31st day of the 1st month! The preceding lines of the cuneiform tablet, lines 4 through 6, seems to indicate that the weather was not the best, thus it is very possible that no observation was possible on the preceding night, that is, even at the end of the 30th day of the month. Thus, this month seems to have begun one day later than it could have, had the weather allowed… or had there been a 30th day default, as is now commonly being practiced – yet, what basis do we have for an assumption of a like practice at that time???!

[32] On May 23, 568 BCE, the day when the New Moon crescent was first actually observed (cf. the statement “The 3rd, Mars entered Praesepe. The 5th, it went out (of it).,”) I notice that the New Moon crescent is located almost exactly 4 cubits below Venus!:

If 1 cubit = 2° or less (1.3°-1.5° per my best estimation,) then the Akkadian behind the translation “β Geminorum” should be identified with Venus, which was certainly the only thing visible on the sky in the direction of the sun and the moon at that time before sunset! The moon was then positioned straight below Venus. (The angular separation, center to center, between the two of them was at that time 3° 53’ 17”. The corresponding measurement along the line of travel would be very slightly less than the angular separation. Based upon this measurement it would follow that 1 cubit = 0.97°.) However, if the measurement is from Venus to the distant edge of the Moon, that is, to the visible New Moon crescent, then the angular separation is 4° 10’ 42” and 1 cubit = 1.04° (or, for 3.4 cubits [rounded up to 4,] 1 cubit = 1.23°) (which agrees very nicely with my most precise estimates elsewhere, especially line 11 obv. & footnote #48 (where I found 1 cubit = 1.22°.))

Ann O’Maly is suggesting that, on May 23, 568 BCE, based upon a 2.0° cubit, that “4 cubits below β Berninorum Geminorum” [cf. this link!  :,) ] would fit “Pollux (beta Gem[ini])” but that requires a different definition of the word ‘below’ than I’m seeing elsewhere in VAT 4956, and also I find it very doubtful that Pollux “became visible while the sun stood there,” that is, along with the moon, both of them becoming visible before sunset – as seems to be the most natural way of understanding the translated words “the moon became visible while the sun stood there, 4 cubits below β Berninorum Geminorum.”

[Historical note – The following text used to begin this footnote due to a flawed transcription of mine: Besides the β Berninorum of the constellation Coma Berenices, found at zenith of the sky at this time, angular separation from the moon = 62 degrees plus, I have not been able to identify anything named “Berninorum,” nor have I been able to identify anything located “4 cubits above,” relative to either the sun or the moon on May 22, -567. However, on the following day, May 23, 568 BCE, the day when the New Moon crescent was …]

[33] Perhaps ”thick” means ’large’ as in relatively close to Earth? Cf. footnote #55 below!

[34] Cf. footnote #31 above!

[35] How often is Saturn in the Swallow?

Stepping monthly forwards in time from Mars -596; and next April 23, -567, I find that once having left this celestial area Saturn does not return until January, -537 and after that not until March, -508, then May -479, i.e. every 30 years or so. Cf. footnotes #41 and #58 and notice the absence of concurrent events competing with the record in Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year of reign! And that’s looking at only three of these twenty-one celestial events!

     “A complete cycle of Saturn phenomena in relation to the stars takes 59 years. But when that cycle has to be fitted to the lunar calendar of 29 or 30 days then identical cycles recur at intervals of rather more than 17 centuries. Thus there is no difficulty in determining the date of the present text… [p. 63]

 

     “The Babylonian calendar was luni-solar with an additional “intercalary” month being added on average 7 times in 19 years to bring the lunar and solar cycles into line. In the seventh century B.C. the later “Metonic” pattern of regular intercalations was not yet in place and it is a matter of interest to establish in which years the intercalary months were inserted.

     “The synodic period of Saturn is 378.09 days. Hence phenomena recur about 24 days later in the Babylonian calendar than in the previous year (Schoch [1928], 109).” (Swerdlow, N. M., Editor, Ancient Astronomy and Celestial Divination, Chapter 3 by C. B. F. Walker, Babylonian Observations of Saturn during the Reign of Kandalanu, p. 63, 69.)

 

 

What exactly is “the Swallow”?

“The Swallow was actually composed of a portion of Pisces together with epsilon Pegasi” (http://www.maverickscience.com/History/Retrocalculations/retrocalculations.html.)

“SIM.MAH = shinunutu: "The Swallow"; Western fish of Pisces” (http://www.astronomy.pomona.edu/archeo/outside/starlog.html.)

“MUL.SIM.MAH [sim.mah] (The "Great Swallow (SW Pisces [+ epsilon Pegasi);" later to be one of the 12 ecliptic constellations.) (Greek zodiac: Pisces (the Fish).)” (http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gtosiris/page9a.html)

 

[36] The day beginning in the evening of May 23, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

[37] The day beginning in the evening of May 24, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

[38] The day beginning in the evening of May 25, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

It follows that the 1st day of the 2nd month began with the evening of May 23, 568 BCE. Notice: This means that there were necessarily 31 days being reckoned for the 1st month, and also that the 30th was not being used as an automatic default in case of inclement weather! Cf. also the Calendar at the bottom of the page!

I find this being evidence for a degree of uncertainty at the time, possibly in consequence of relatively recent interplanetary catastrophes near the beginning of the 7th century BCE as also suggested the data shared in the books “Worlds in Collision,” “Earth in Upheaval,” and “Ages in Chaos” by Immanuel Velikovsky.

[39] See the translator’s Comments re Obverse, line 10: “10: ALLA is used here not for the whole zodiacal constellation Cancer but only for Praesepe since Mars can pass through it within two days. As was remarked by P.V.Neugebauer and E.Weidner.”

These observations re Mars vs. Praesepe serve as a most definite and exact anchor point re Month #2, in line #10 of the cuneiform tablet: “The 3rd, Mars entered Praesepe. The 5th, it went out (of it).” These recorded observations were made in the evenings after the sunsets defining the beginning of the corresponding days, i.e. “The 3rd“ and “The 5th” of the 2nd month.

[40] Praesepe, aka. the Beehive Cluster (cf. Wikipedia.)

[41] How often does Mars pass across Praesepe?

Trailing Mars forwards in time I find the following sequence: May 9-11, -597; April 14-16, -595…; May 25, -567; May 4-7, -565; April 8, -563; September 12-14, -562; August 18-20, -560…; June 29-30, -539; June 10-12, -537…; May 22, 535…; July 15, -509; June 25-26, -507…; August 19-20, -481; July 29-31, -479… Cf. footnotes #9 above and #58 below and notice the absence of concurrent events competing with the record in Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year of reign! And that’s looking at only three of these twenty-one celestial events!

(For further reference re the identification of Praesepe, please cf. e.g.: http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m044.html

 and http://www.nexstarsite.com/NexStar50/NexStar50EncyclopediaSignori.pdf.)

 

[42] The day beginning in the evening of May 27, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

It follows that the 1st day of the 2nd month began with the evening of May 23, 568 BCE. Notice: This means that there were necessarily 31 days being reckoned for the 1st month, and also that the 30th was not being used as an automatic default in case of inclement weather! Cf. also the Calendar at the bottom of the page!

I find this being evidence for a degree of uncertainty at the time, possibly in consequence of relatively recent interplanetary catastrophes near the beginning of the 7th century BCE as also suggested in the books “Worlds in Collision,” “Earth in Upheaval,” and “Ages in Chaos” by Immanuel Velikovsky.

[43] The day beginning in the evening of June 1, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

[44] Please notice the sequence of links from 1 to 7 showing Mercury rising (sic!) in pursuit of Venus, which is likewise rising - from day to day – towards their highest point above the horizon!

More at this link

[Historical note in the nature of three finger pointing back to me!!!: Obvious translation error: Nothing ‘rises’ in the west! Mercury was only visible in the west and was setting. On the 10th day, i.e. the evening of June 1, 568 BCE, Mercury is seen as setting behind the Normal Star of Gemini, i.e. δ Gemini or Wasat, which is the star of the constellation Gemini closest to the ecliptic.]

[45] The day beginning in the evening of June 6, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

[46] The day beginning in the evening of June 9, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

[47] See the translator’s Comments re Obverse, line 11: “11: A translation “was balanced” for LAL was proposed by A. Sachs. This expression seems to occur mostly (but not only) in those cases where both celestial bodies compared have the same longitude. It is restricted to the oldest diaries preserved so far. It probably went out of use because it was redundant: if no difference in longitude was mentioned one could conclude that there was none. – siv may be a mistake for the missing sign KUR “moonrise to sunrise.”

[48] Venus located 1 cubit 4 fingers = 1° 25’ 26” above α Leonis, Regulus. Given that, per ADT I, 1 finger = 1/24 cubit, this exact measurement provides a good definition for the relationship between angular distance and cubits/fingers: 1 cubit = 1.22 degrees; 1 finger = 0.051 degrees or 3.05 minutes; 1 degree = 0.82 cubits; 1 minute = 0.0137 cubits or 0.328 fingers. (More at this link…)

[49] The day beginning in the evening of June 17, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

[50] Notice that this calculated value of “23°” fits a potential observation on the 25th day (the day beginning in the evening of June 16, 568 BCE), not the 26th (the day beginning in the evening of June 17, 568 BCE)! On the 26th day the record states: “I did not observe the moon.” Apparently, the observer made an error in his calculations and missed the expected observation by one day, such that when he looked for it on day 26 (June 18, 568 BCE,) the moon was too close to the sun for him to see it! Very possibly, this error was due to the delayed beginning of the month, which made month I 31 days long.

[51] Cf. footnote #50  above! Apparently the observer remained unaware of the delayed reckoning of the month, i.e. the reckoning that gave month I 31 days. In consequence he missed this anticipated observation of day 26 by one day and was unable to see the moon, which at that time was too close to the sun to be seen. Possibly this fact is being reflected also in the notations for the first day observations of months #2 (“Month II, the 1st”) and month #3 (“Month III, the 30th”,) regardless of all else?!!!

Perhaps the immediate reason for the error of the observer is to be found in his note of line 7 obverse: “Coughing and a little risutu-disease [….,]” that is, the observer was sick enough to miss one day in his reckoning… What he himself attributed his error to is anybody’s guess! So is any potential attempt of his to cover up, or explain to himself and/or others, the reason for his error. Quite possibly he never recognized that the error was his own… If so, typically human behavior! Perhaps too, the explanation was part of the lost last portion of line 7 obverse?

[Historical note – My prior reasoning: The 23deg – 11deg = 12 deg difference between actual and calculated, as here evidenced could well be an indication of relatively recent prior interplanetary catastrophes! For isn’t it true that, if that was indeed the case, then such calculations would most likely be based upon past, but no longer current, behavior of the moon? And, if so, then the observer’s calculations, based as they were upon now obsoleted thinking, would consistently be off target when compared to actual observations, wouldn’t they? Indeed, what better incentive could there have been for a careful restudy of the heavens… and of producing a record such as VAT 4956?!!!]

[52] The day beginning in the evening of June 18, 568 BCE. (Primary anchor points for this date are the 3rd and 5th day events of this month.)

[53] Re the translator’s note re line 11 obverse: Could it be that the Akkadian KUR (cf. line 8 obv. under the link!) is a word pertaining to an actual observation, while the word found on the tablet, siv, is a different Akkadian word pertaining to theoretical calculation based upon prior experiences??? Cf. VAT 4956 transcript: Line #8 re KUR and line #11 re siv.

[54] The day beginning in the evening of June 20, 568 BCE. (The 15th day of this 3rd month constitutes the primary anchor point for this 3rd month.)

[55] I don’t know what “thick” may mean in this setting??? Possibly that the Moon was very large, that is relatively close to Earth? Cf. line #8 and footnote #33! Given that there was a total solar eclipse on June 20, 568 BCE, I find that on the NASA solar eclipse page the ‘Eclipse Magnitude,’ which corresponds to the lunar diameter/solar diameter ratio, was quite large, 1.0659, I find support for the Akkadian word translated “thick” quite possibly referencing the apparent size of the moon.

[56] It is obvious from the context that the phrase “sunset to moonset: 20°” indicates that at the time of sunset the Moon was trailing the Sun with an angular distance of “20°.” Cf. the link and also the related phrases found in lines ## 4, 11, 12, 17 obverse, and 5, 8, 12, & 16 on the reverse side of the tablet!

[57] Line 13 obverse is confirmation that line 12 is indeed June 20, 568 BCE and not June 21. The angular distance between Romulus and Mars is 7° 24’ 42” and between Romulus and Mercury is 7° 38’ 48”. Measured along the line of travel the distance is 6° 47’ 30”, which, divided by 4 cubits gives us 1 cubit = 1.70 degrees, or if 4 is considered a number rounded down to the nearest whole, that is, anything less than 5, then 1 cubit >= 1.36 degrees, which should be compared to our results for line 11 and footnote #48 where we arrived at 1 cubit = 1.22 degrees, which latter value should probably be considered the more accurate number considering the more precise measurement, that is, “1 cubit 4 fingers.

[58] How often is Jupiter in Scorpius?

I found the following occasions when tracing Jupiter in Starry Night Backyard software: June -579; June -567; November -556;  November -544; October -532; October -520; September -508; May -496; July -484; November -473; i.e. every 12 years or so. Cf. footnotes #9 and #41 above and notice the absence of concurrent events competing with the record in Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year of reign! And that’s looking at only three of these twenty-one plus celestial events!

 

[59] Notice that at the time when Regulus, a Normal Star for the Lion, first became visible, Venus was located an equal distance from Regulus, but on the exact opposite side of the Moon, thus the words of the tablet: “Venus was in the west opposite {} Leois.”

[60] See the translator’s Comments re Obverse, line 13: “13: One is inclined to regard ĺer+tam DIB as an equivalent of and NIM DIB. But this is rendered uncertain by the occurrence of the latter expression in line 14 and elsewhere: in addition, ana berti is expected.”

[61] The day beginning in the evening of June 24, 568 BCE. (The 15th day constitutes the primary anchor point for this 3rd month.)

[62] Comparing 1) line 3 obverse and footnote #15 above and the Akkadian words translated “β Virginia” with 2) this line 14 and the words translated “the bright star of the end of the Lion’s foot,” I find that the record on VAT 4956 indicates that the very same star is being referenced in both of those lines, that is, Porrima (γ Virginia.) Apparently the ancients considered the star Porrima the end of the tail of the Lion. As seen by the artwork of the Lion and the Lion’s coiled tail relative to Porrima upon this sky map, this situation is quite well described by the words of the tablet, if the original Akkadian words are understood in terms of ‘the bright star of the end of the Lion’s tail!

[63] The day beginning in the evening of June 25, 568 BCE. (The 15th day constitutes the primary anchor point for this 3rd month.)

[64] Cf. footnote #60.

[65] The day beginning in the evening of June 27, 568 BCE. (The 15th day constitutes the primary anchor point for this 3rd month.)

[66] The angular distance, center to center, between β Librae and the Moon on June 27, 568 BCE was, per Starry Night Backyard, 4° 18’ 28”, which gives us 1 cubit = 2.03°.  However, if we measure the distance from edge to edge, then the distance is 4° 03’ 40”, which gives us 1 cubit = 1.62° (1.35° [3.0 cubits] - 1.48° [2.75 cubits] - 1.62° [2.5 cubits] - 1.80° [2.25 cubits] - 2.03° [2.0 cubits,]) which agrees with my findings elsewhere in VAT 4956. Similarly if the distance is measured as the distance below the celestial North Pole, 3° 59’ 00”, then 1 cubit = 1.59° (1.33° [3.0 cubits] - 1.45° [2.75 cubits] - 1.59° [2.5 cubits] - 1.77° [2.25 cubits] - 1.99° [2.0 cubits;] and to the edge of the Moon, 3° 46’ 00”, then 1 cubit = 1.51° (1.26° [3.0 cubits] - 1.37° [2.75 cubits] - 1.51° [2.5 cubits] - 1.67° [2.25 cubits] - 1.88° [2.0 cubits.])

This particular record, along with others, seems to indicate a practice of rounding down from the next higher value of precision (re cubits) being used in the given value… (But this requires additional confirmation and study…)

[67] The day beginning in the evening of June 28, 568 BCE. (The 15th day constitutes the primary anchor point for this 3rd month.)

[68] “1 cubit in front of…” Well, it seems to me as though the choice of reference star is typically the first adjacent visible star at nightfall, which is also a Normal Star, that is, a star close to the ecliptic. That being considered, it seems most likely that the missing reference star at this point is Graffias, β1 Scorpii.

Measuring from the front of the moon, in the direction of travel upon the sky, towards the position of Graffias the distance is approximately 1 cubit or 1.7°.

[69] The day beginning in the evening of June 28, 568 BCE. (The 15th day constitutes the primary anchor point for this 3rd month.)

[70] Notice: The summer solstice in 568 BCE occurred on June 29, 568 BCE, at 2PM. Due to our movement around our galaxy it gradually changes such that it is currently happening around June 21 each year!

[71] The day beginning in the evening of June 29, 568 BCE. (The 15th day constitutes the primary anchor point for this 3rd month.)

[72] Indeed, the moon was “balanced” almost straight above α Scorpii, aka. Antares, at 1:10 AM, when Antares was setting below the western horizon. But that is by no means the “first part of the night,” and so far as I can tell the distance then was about 6 cubits, that is, about 7.8° angular distance… More likely, to me, is 24 Ochiuchi, which was indeed located 3.5 cubits, i.e. 5.0°, straight below the moon and which became visible around 8:28 PM on June 29, 568 BCE! 24 Ochiuchi is the star in that area that is closest to the ecliptic and the one lightening up first at nightfall of the two, but its very close contender is 26 Ochiuchi, which in some respects may be a more likely candidate?

If, on the other hand I consider “balanced” meaning something quite different than straight above or below a given reference, perhaps, in this case, in terms of “balanced across Jupiter,” that is, given the 7:36 PM scenario when only the three of them were visible in that area of the sky? In that case I find the Moon being located about 5° 45’ closer to the celestial North Pole and about 4° 45’ higher above the horizon than Antares, α Scorpii. Perhaps these measurements may help me better understand the term ‘above?’

Well, 5° 45’ would correspond to 1 cubit = 1.64° (1.92° [3.0 cubits] - 1.77° [3.25 cubits] - 1.64° [3.5 cubits] - 1.53° [3.75 cubits] - 1.44° [4.0 cubits,]) while 4° 45’ would correspond to 1 cubit = 1.36° (1.58° [3.0 cubits] - 1.46° [3.25 cubits] - 1.36° [3.5 cubits] - 1.27° [3.75 cubits] - 1.19° [4.0 cubits.]) Accordingly, and based upon my prior, more exact finding (cf. footnote #48) re the length of the cubit, I find that the word ‘above’ in this setting is much more likely a reference to the horizon of the Earth, than a reference to the celestial North and South Poles. For an apparently different application of the word ‘above’ please cf. footnote #74 below.

[73] The day beginning in the evening of July 1, 568 BCE. (The 15th day constitutes the primary anchor point for this 3rd month.)

[74] The angular separation between Mars and α Leonis on July 1, 568 BCE was 0° 57’ 28”. This gives us 1 cubit = 1.44° (2.87° [1/3 cubits] - 1.92° [3/6 cubits] - 1.44° [2/3 cubits] - 1.15° [5/6 cubits] - 0.96° [3/3 cubits.]) If ‘above’ is understood as a reference to the celestial North and South Poles, then the corresponding measurement is 0° 53’, which gives us 1 cubit = 1.33° (2.65° [1/3 cubits] - 1.77° [3/6 cubits] - 1.33° [2/3 cubits] - 1.06° [5/6 cubits] - 0.88° [3/3 cubits.])  It appears from this sentence that ‘above’ is not a reference to the horizon, but is a reference to the south pole of the sky, or else, Mars is being referenced as being ever so slightly “above,” that is, higher over the horizon, than was α Leonis, that is, while the ‘above’ is not associated with the “2/3 cubit” measurement. The latter would indicate as a more correct translation something on the order of “Mars was 2/3 cubits away from and slightly above [α Leonis….]” For an apparently different application of the word ‘above’ please cf. footnote #72 above!

In this instance then, I find that the word ‘above’ is most likely a reference to the celestial North and South Poles.

[75] The day beginning in the evening of July 4, 568 BCE. (This 15th day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 3rd month.) It follows that the beginning of the 1st day of the 3rd month is ascertained to the evening of June 20, 568 BCE.

[76] As may be seen from the linked sky map the moon is indeed very close to 7° 30’ above the western horizon at sunrise!

[77] This partial lunar eclipse had its maximum at 1:52 PM, Babylonian local time, and was therefore not visible from the Babylonian horizon. Cf. these NASA links: 1) Data table, 2) diagram, 3) Key to terms used, e.g. TD, Dynamical Time for the event maximum, which UT time must be corrected by the number of seconds listed under ΔT, that is TD- ΔT=UT. Then add 3:00 hrs to UT for local time in Babylon. An easier way of finding the timing for eclipses is by looking in the NASA Phases of the Moon table, where the UT time is given for each event.

[78] “The moon…” may be an error for “Venus…” (cf. footnote #79 below!) If correct, then this part of the record pertains to an observation on day 16 of month III [July 5, 568 BCE.] More at this link

[79] I’ve found three good contenders for this incompletely recorded event:

1)       “[…. The moon was be…]” is quite possibly the translator’s error for what could be “[…. Venus was be…]”

Obv. 18 [ … sha]p MULxKUR sha TIL GĚ[R UR.A ...] is in the translation, according to the astronomical finding, to be amended ..[... Venus was be]low ...', not ..[... the moon was be]low the bright star at the end of the [Lion's] foot [....]', whereby the contradiction is also resolved that the moon was said to have been observed twice near the same fixed star, here beta Virginis, within the same Babylonian month, see Obv. 14 (III 5 = 23. June -567) with Obv. 18 (III [16] = 5. July -567).” – J. Koch, JCS 49, 1997, page 84, footnote 7 [translated from the German]. More at this link

[Historical note - (An error of mine based upon my astro-software being set such that the moon was being enlarged on the screen view. There was no eclipse visible from that horizon!:) Notice this one!!!: This is a rather perfect description of a quite brief, very unique, event at sunset, where the Moon, while almost eclipsing the Sun, is no doubt contributing to an unusually quick darkness such that both the moon and the brightest star, Regulus, aka. Alpha Lionis, are becoming visible while very close to the sun!!! A very notable event indeed!!! This event happened at about 7:15 PM on July 18, 568 BCE, that is, on the 29th day of the 3rd month!]

2)       This may be part of the description of the New Moon crescent observation of Month IV, in which case this may be a reference to July 19, 568 BCE and the star Denebola.

3)       Learning from the star, Porrima, which is almost certainly being referenced at least twice above (cf. footnotes #15 and #62 above!) on VAT 4956, this is a very similar description, “the bright star at the end of the [Lion’s| foot.” If Porrima is indeed the star here being referenced, then this is an event that happened on July 21, 568 BCE, that is, on, most likely, the 3rd day of the 4th month.

[80] Most likely the day beginning in the evening of February 1, 567 BCE. (The 1st day of Month XI constitutes a primary anchor point for this 10th month.)

[81] On the mornings of February 1, 2, and 3, Venus and β Capricorni were separated by 4° 04’ 06”, 4° 19’ 19”, and 4° 51’ 58” respectively, corresponding to a cubit length of 1.36, 1.44, and 1.62 respectively, reckoning a distance between them of 3 cubits, or else corresponding to a cubit length of 1.63, 1.73, and 1.95 respectively, reckoning a distance between them of 2 ˝ cubits. Relative to the horizon, the word “below,” as translated, is best describing the situation on February 3. Relative to the lower pole of the sky , the word “below,” as translated, is best describing the situation on February 1. Given that the cubit measurements provided elsewhere on VAT 4956 vary from about 1.2 to 1.4 or more, the measurement “2 ˝ cubits” cannot be used for certain distinguishing between these three days. If the New Moon crescent was seen when first potentially visible, then February 1 is the correct date for “Day 19.” If February 3, which is the best fit of the word ‘below’ relative to the horizon, is the correct day 19, then it follows that the dating of this month is at least one day delayed beyond that which is expected using our standard defaults. Conclusion: No definite date established for day 19 by this datum...

If the “Month XI, the 30th…” (line 5’) is a correct translation then it follows that the 19th falls on the day beginning at sunset February 1, 567 BCE. As may be seen, this date is also the one that fits best with my prior discoveries re the length of the cubit and the above measurements…

[82] The day beginning in the evening of February 12, 567 BCE. (This 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[83] On February 12, 567 BCE at sunset, the angular separation between the sun and the moon was 15° 50’ 16”, measured along the ecliptic, however, the distance between the sun and the moon, as measured above the horizon, was 14° 30’.  Is this an important reference for how to measure this distance?

[84] See the translator’s Comments re Reverse of clay tablet, line 5’: “5’: The “elbow of Sagittarius” was identified as the cluster of stars around π Sagittarii by P.V.Neugebauer. op.cit. 50f.”

Per Wikipedia “π Sagittarii” is the same as Albaldah. In the morning of the 1st Jupiter and Albaldah were separated as follows: 1) Measured along the ecliptic: 1° 42’ 50”, 2) measured along the line of travel: 1° 27’ 08”, and 3) angular separation: 2° 20’ 09”. (As may be noted the measurement along the line of travel is most consistent with my prior calculations of the length of the cubit.)

[85] The day beginning in the evening of February 15, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[86] I see nothing suggesting itself that corresponds to the words “Venus was balanced ˝ cubit below (sic) Capricorn.” Whomever entered the “(sic)” apparently felt likewise…

[87] The day beginning in the evening of February 17, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[88]The Chariot” = Auriga.

[89] Obviously day 11 of the month; the day beginning in the evening of February 22, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[90] Although the Moon should have been visible before sunrise on February 25, the “17°,” indicates a date most consistent with February 26, 567 BCE, i.e. the day beginning in the evening of February 25, 567 BCE; i.e. day 14 of the month. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[91] The day beginning in the evening of February 15, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[92] The day beginning in the evening of February 26, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[93] The day beginning in the evening of February 27, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[94] The day beginning in the evening of March 1, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[95] The day beginning in the evening of March 5, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[96] The day beginning in the evening of March 6, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[97] Too many unknowns!: I don’t know how to fit this rather strange sounding translation upon the sky?

[98] The day beginning in the evening of March 3, 567 BCE. (The 1st day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 11th month.)

[99] The day beginning in the evening of March 14, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[100] The day beginning in the evening of March 14, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[101] The day beginning in the evening of March 15, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[102] It seems to me that the measurement “below” is a bit unusual though it seems to fit here. Another candidate, though unlikely, is the star designated “HIP20255”.

[103] The day beginning in the evening of March 16, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[104] See the translator’s Comments re Reverse of clay tablet, line 13’: “13’: in the broken part at the end of the line. A reference to the moon being close to the Normal Star α Tauri is expected.”

[105] The day beginning in the evening of March 14, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[106] The day beginning in the evening of March 18, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[107] The day beginning in the evening of March 19, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[108] The day beginning in the evening of March 20, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[109] See the translator’s Comments re Reverse of clay tablet, line 15’: “15’: The broken star name must have been α Leonis.”

[110] The day beginning in the evening of March 23, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[111] The day beginning in the evening of March 24, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[112] The day beginning in the evening of March 25, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month…)

[113] The day beginning in the evening of March 25, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 12th month.) It follows that the beginning of the 1st day of the 12th month is ascertained to the evening of March 14, 567 BCE, which is also the first anticipated date of visibility per the NASA Phases of the Moon tables.

[114] [A bit of history re my road to discovery: Re “one god was seen with the other: sunrise to moonset: 1° 30’:” Initially I was being fooled by these facts of coincidence: (Cf. Obv[erse,] line 4, including also footnote #22!) Here we have Saturn, Venus, and Mercury in close encounter one with the others; shortly after rising above the horizon at 5:15 AM on March 27, 567 BCE Saturn was located 1° 36’ from Mercury and 1° 39’ from Venus. That would have tied the 12th day of the 12th Moon to the day beginning at sunset March 26 and thus also the 1st day of the 12th Moon to the evening of March 15, 567 BCE. Per the NASA Phases of the Moon tables the New Moon crescent would have been visible on March 14, the weather allowing. Considering the frequency of inclement weather in the winter, it certainly would not have been beyond reason to accept then March 15, 567 BCE as a confirmation for such a flawed assumption of mine, would it?!!! Thus, it pays to be persistent and to humbly pursue any further obstacle… Which I did…]

[115] See the translator’s Comments re Reverse of clay tablet, line 17’: “17’: According to computation. Saturn has to be restored at the end of the line.”

[116] If I am reading this correctly, the day beginning in the evening of March 28, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day constitutes a primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[117] It seems to me as though the distances to Venus and Mercury have been mixed up??? If this conclusion is correct??, then it follows that 1 finger is 6-7.5 minutes or .10 - .13 degrees. Also that 1 cubit = 2.4-3.0 degrees. That does not fit my prior findings… Probably a misunderstood of mine…

[118] This gives me 1 cubit = 1.1 to 1.59 degrees.

[119] The day beginning in the evening of April 3, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[120] The day beginning in the evening of April 2, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[121] Re “the Swallow:” Cf. Obv[erse,] line 2.

[122] The day beginning in the evening of April 8, 567 BCE. (The 1st and the 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[123] The day beginning in the evening of April 8, 567 BCE. (The 12th day events constitute the primary anchor point for this 12th month.)

[124] The day beginning in the evening of April 13 (or possibly 14,) 567 BCE [cf. the 31 days of the 1st month of year 37; line 8 obverse side.] (The events of the 12th day of the preceding 12th month constitute the primary anchor point for this 1st day of the 1st month.)

[125] Transcribed out of vat4956translit.htm.

[126] Please cf. my comment re KUR and siv under footnote #53!

[127] Day #1 began with the evening April 22.

[128] My corrections: Day #1 began with the evening May 23.

[129] My corrections: Day #1 began with the evening June 20.

[130] Day #1 began with the evening March 14.

[131] My corrections: This entry of the translator is inconsistent with his own introductory Remarks on Translation and his corresponding specific phraseology as used for line 1, lower edge. Thus, Day #1 began with the evening April 13, 567 BCE.