Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The Zodiac Constellation

Posted by Fredsvenn on July 3, 2015

The zodiac

Children and adults around the world love gazing at the stars, seeking out groupings they have been told about or recreating their own. But these same collections that can provide amusement and joy likely originated as instruments to help people mark the time of year. Today, these star constellations continue to stand as tools for astronomers and stargazers.

The problem with linking the astronomical constellations with astrology to give the latter a more “scientific” foundation is a simple one: the constellations themselves aren’t real. They are groups of stars that appear to be close to each other, arbitrarily named after different objects, animals, or figures from mythology by human observers at some point in history.

Zodiac constellations are constellations that lie along the plane of the ecliptic, which is defined by the circular path of the Sun across the sky, as seen from Earth. In other words, the Sun appears to “pass“ through these constellations over the course of a year.

The passage of the Sun through the zodiac is a cycle that was used by ancient cultures to determine the time of year.  Most of the planets in the solar system have orbits that take them near the ecliptic plane, within about 8 degrees above or below.

The 12 constellations in the zodiac family can all be seen along the ecliptic. They are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius and Pisces. The Sun also passes through Ophiuchus and Cetus, but these constellations are not part of the zodiac, but belong to the Hercules and Perseus families respectively.

The northern zodiac constellations – Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo – are located in the eastern celestial hemisphere, while the southern – Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricornus and Aquarius – are found in the west.

The word zodiac comes from the Greek zōidiakos, meaning the “circle of animals.” The Latin term zōdiacus was derived from the Greek, and the Greek term comes from the word zōdion, which is the diminutive of zōon, or animal. Seven of the constellations found along the ecliptic represent animals, as they did in Greek and Roman times: Aries (the Ram), Taurus (the Bull), Cancer (the Crab), Leo (the Lion), Scorpius (the Scorpion), Capricornus (the Goat), and Pisces (the Fish).

Today, the term zodiac is mostly associated with astrology, with the 12 signs of the western zodiac corresponding to the 12 constellations seen along the ecliptic. The so-called cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) mark the beginning of the four seasons, i.e. the Sun is said to enter these signs on the first days of spring, summer, autumn and winter respectively.

Constellations make a two-dimensional map of the sky used for orientation, to make it easier for astronomers to find objects and explain their location and for navigators to use stars to determine their position. The universe itself, on the other hand, isn’t flat and doesn’t revolve around our planet, which is what makes these groupings of stars arbitrary. While even Carl Gustav Jung said that astrology holds some value as a theory of the personality, and it can use the scientific approach, it is in itself not based on any kind of science.

Mesopotamian Religion

In Mesopotamian Religion (Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Babylonian), Tiamat is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation, depicted as a woman, representing both the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one. She is a primordial goddess of the ocean, mating with Abzû (the god of fresh water) to produce younger gods.

The subterranean Abzu (literally, ab=’ocean’ zu=’deep’, Sumerian: engur; Akkadian: engurru), was the name for the primeval sea below the void space of the underworld (Kur) and the earth (Ma) above. Abzu may also refer to fresh water from underground aquifers that were given a religious fertilizing quality. Lakes, springs, rivers, wells, and other sources of fresh water were thought to draw their water from the abzu.

It is suggested that there are two parts to the Tiamat mythos, the first in which Tiamat is a creator goddess, through a “Sacred marriage” between salt and fresh water, peacefully creating the cosmos through successive generations. In the second “Chaoskampf” Tiamat is considered the monstrous embodiment of primordial chaos. Some sources identify her with images of a sea serpent or dragon.

In the Enûma Elish, the Babylonian epic of creation, she gives birth to the first generation of deities; her husband, Apsu, later makes war upon them and is killed. When she, too, wars upon her husband’s murderers, she is then slain by Enki’s son, the storm-god Marduk. The heavens and the earth are formed from her divided body.

The exact meaning of the name Enki is uncertain: the common translation is “Lord of the Earth”: the Sumerian en is translated as a title equivalent to “lord”; it was originally a title given to the High Priest; ki means “earth”; but there are theories that ki in this name has another origin, possibly kig of unknown meaning, or kur meaning “mound”.

The main temple to Enki is called E-abzu, meaning “abzu temple” (also E-en-gur-a, meaning “house of the subterranean waters”), a ziggurat temple surrounded by Euphratean marshlands near the ancient Persian Gulf coastline at Eridu.

He was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. His image is a double-helix snake, or the Caduceus, sometimes confused with the Rod of Asclepius used to symbolize medicine. He is often shown with the horned crown of divinity dressed in the skin of a carp.

Considered the master shaper of the world, god of wisdom and of all magic, Enki was characterized as the lord of the Abzu (Apsu in Akkadian), the freshwater sea or groundwater located within the earth. In the later Babylonian epic Enûma Eliš, Abzu, the “begetter of the gods”, is inert and sleepy but finds his peace disturbed by the younger gods, so sets out to destroy them.

His grandson Enki, chosen to represent the younger gods, puts a spell on Abzu “casting him into a deep sleep”, thereby confining him deep underground. Enki subsequently sets up his home “in the depths of the Abzu.” Enki thus takes on all of the functions of the Abzu, including his fertilising powers as lord of the waters and lord of semen.

Early royal inscriptions from the third millennium BCE mention “the reeds of Enki”. Reeds were an important local building material, used for baskets and containers, and collected outside the city walls, where the dead or sick were often carried. This links Enki to the Kur or underworld of Sumerian mythology.

In another even older tradition, Nammu, the goddess of the primeval creative matter and the mother-goddess portrayed as having “given birth to the great gods,” was the mother of Enki, and as the watery creative force, was said to preexist Ea-Enki.

Benito states “With Enki it is an interesting change of gender symbolism, the fertilising agent is also water, Sumerian “a” or “Ab” which also means “semen”. In one evocative passage in a Sumerian hymn, Enki stands at the empty riverbeds and fills them with his ‘water'”. This may be a reference to Enki’s hieros gamos or sacred marriage with Ki/Ninhursag (the Earth).

Enlil and Ninlil, along with Anu/An and Inanna, and Enki and Ninhursag were gods of the Sumerians. Anu (also An; from Sumerian An, “sky, heaven”) was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. He existed in Sumerian cosmogony as a dome that covered the flat earth; Outside of this dome was the primordial body of water known as Tiamat.

It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the royal tiara. His attendant and minister of state was the god Ilabrat, in Babylonian and Akkadian mythology is the attendant and minister of state of the chief sky god Anu.

In Sumerian, the designation “An” was used interchangeably with “the heavens” so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god An or the heavens is being denoted. The Akkadians inherited An as the god of heavens from the Sumerian as Anu-, and in Akkadian cuneiform, the DINGIR character may refer either to Anum or to the Akkadian word for god, ilu-, and consequently had two phonetic values an and il. Hittite cuneiform as adapted from the Old Assyrian kept the an value but abandoned il.

His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus. He was accompanied by an attendant Isimud. He was also associated with the planet Mercury in the Sumerian astrological system.

In Sumerian mythology, Nammu (also Namma, spelled ideographically NAMMA = ENGUR) was a primeval goddess, corresponding to Tiamat in Babylonian mythology. She was the Goddess sea (Engur) that gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.

Nammu is not well attested in Sumerian mythology. She may have been of greater importance prehistorically, before Enki took over most of her functions. An indication of her continued relevance may be found in the theophoric name of Ur-Nammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur.

According to the Neo-Sumerian mythological text Enki and Ninmah, Enki is the son of An and Nammu. Nammu is the goddess who “has given birth to the great gods”. It is she who has the idea of creating mankind, and she goes to wake up Enki, who is asleep in the Apsu, so that he may set the process going.

The Atrahasis-Epos has it that Enlil (EN = Lord + LÍL = Wind, “Lord (of the) Storm”, the God of breath, wind, loft and breadth, height and distance) requested from Nammu the creation of humans. And Nammu told him that with the help of Enki (her son) she can create humans in the image of gods. Reay Tannahill in Sex in History (1980) singled out Nammu as the “only female prime mover” in the cosmogonic myths of antiquity.

Enlil, equayed with gods like El, Kumarbi, and Cronus, was known as the inventor of the mattock (a key agricultural pick, hoe, ax or digging tool of the Sumerians) and helped plants to grow. The name is perhaps pronounced and sometimes rendered in translations as “Ellil” in later Akkadian, Hittite, and Canaanite literature. In later Akkadian, Enlil is the son of Anshar and Kishar.

The myth of Enlil and Ninlil (“lady of the open field” or “Lady of the Wind”) discusses when Enlil was a young god, he was banished from Ekur in Nippur, home of the gods, to Kur, the underworld for seducing a goddess named Ninlil.

The parentage of Ninlil is variously described. Most commonly she is called the daughter of Haia (god of stores) and Nunbarsegunu (or Ninshebargunnu [a goddess of barley] or Nisaba). Another Akkadian source says she is the daughter of Anu (aka An) and Antu (Sumerian Ki). Other sources call her a daughter of Anu and Nammu.

She lived in Dilmun with her family. Raped and ravaged by her husband Enlil, who impregnated her with water, she conceived a boy, Nanna/Suen, the future moon god. As punishment Enlil was dispatched to the underworld kingdom of Ereshkigal, where Ninlil joined him.

Enli impregnated her disguised as the gatekeeper, where upon she gave birth to their son Nergal, god of death. In a similar manner she conceived the underworld god Ninazu when Enlil impregnated her disguised as the man of the river of the nether world, a man-devouring river.

Later Enlil disguised himself as the man of the boat, impregnating her with a fourth deity Enbilulu, god of rivers and canals. All of these act as substitutes for Nanna/Suen to ascend. After fathering three more underworld-deities (substitutes for Sin), Enlil was allowed to return to the Ekur.

In some texts they also are the parents of Pabilsag, who is sometimes equated with Ninurta (also called Ningirsu), the heroic god who slew Asag the demon with his mace, Sharur. Enlil is the father of Nisaba the goddess of grain, and sometimes of Enbilulu. By Ereshkigal Enlil was father of Namtar.

After her death, she became the goddess of the wind, like Enlil. She may be the Goddess of the South Wind referred to in the story of Adapa, as her husband Enlil was associated with northerly winter storms. As “Lady Wind” she may be associated with the figure of the Akkadian demon “Lil-itu”, thought to have been the origin of the Hebrew Lilith legend.

The doctrine once established remained an inherent part of the Babylonian-Assyrian religion and led to the more or less complete disassociation of the three gods constituting the triad from their original local limitations. An intermediate step between Anu viewed as the local deity of Uruk, Enlil as the god of Nippur, and Ea as the god of Eridu is represented by the prominence which each one of the centres associated with the three deities in question must have acquired, and which led to each one absorbing the qualities of other gods so as to give them a controlling position in an organized pantheon.

The summing-up of divine powers manifested in the universe in a threefold division represents an outcome of speculation in the schools attached to the temples of Babylonia, but the selection of Anu, Enlil (and later Marduk), and Ea for the three representatives of the three spheres recognized, is due to the importance which, for one reason or the other, the centres in which Anu, Enlil, and Ea were worshipped had acquired in the popular mind.

Each of the three must have been regarded in his centre as the most important member in a larger or smaller group, so that their union in a triad marks also the combination of the three distinctive pantheons into a harmonious whole. For Nippur we have the direct evidence that its chief deity, En-lil, was once regarded as the head of the Sumerian pantheon. The sanctity and, therefore, the importance of Eridu remained a fixed tradition in the minds of the people to the latest days, and analogy therefore justifies the conclusion that Anu was likewise worshipped in a centre which had acquired great prominence.

In the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria, Anu, Enlil, and Ea became the three zones of the ecliptic, the northern, middle and southern zone respectively. The purely theoretical character of Anu is thus still further emphasized, and in the annals and votive inscriptions as well as in the incantations and hymns, he is rarely introduced as an active force to whom a personal appeal can be made. His name becomes little more than a synonym for the heavens in general and even his title as king or father of the gods has little of the personal element in it.

The Sumerian word NIN (from the Akkadian pronunciation of the sign EREŠ) was used to denote a queen or a priestess, and is often translated as “lady”. Other translations include “queen”, “mistress”, “proprietress”, and “lord”. Many goddesses are called NIN, such as NIN.GAL (“great lady”), É.NIN.GAL (“lady of the great temple”), EREŠ.KI.GAL, and NIN.TI. The compound form NIN.DINGIR (“divine lady” or “lady of [a] god”), from the Akkadian entu, denotes a priestess.

A consort Antum (or as some scholars prefer to read, Anatum) is assigned to him, on the theory that every deity must have a female associate. An in Sumerian mythology is a goddess, possibly a female principle of the creator god An. Early iconography suggests a celestial sky goddess in the form of a cow whose udders produce rain and who becomes Antu in the Akkadian pantheon.

But Anu spent so much time on the ground protecting the Sumerians he left her in Heaven and then met Innin, whom he renamed Innan, or, “Queen of Heaven”. She was later known as Ishtar. Anu resided in her temple the most, and rarely went back up to Heaven. He is also included in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and is a major character in the clay tablets.

Inanna’s name derives from Lady of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-an-ak). The cuneiform sign of Inanna; however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin; Cuneiform: SAL.TUG2) and sky (Sumerian: an; Cuneiform: AN).

These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, at first she had no sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists.

Aratta (also known as Urartu/Ararat and Armenia) is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list. Aratta is described in Sumerian literature as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them, but remote and difficult to reach. It is home to the goddess Inanna, but is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk.

Uraš or Urash, in Sumerian mythology is a goddess of earth, and one of the consorts of the sky god An. She is the mother of the goddess Ninsun and a grandmother of the hero Gilgamesh. However, Uras may only have been another name for Antu, An’s wife. The name Uras even became applied to Anu himself, and acquired the meaning “heaven”. Ninurta also was apparently called Uras in later times.

Cuneiform KI is the sign for “earth”. It is also read as GI5, GUNNI (=KI.NE) “hearth”, KARAŠ (=KI.KAL.BAD) “encampment, army”, KISLAḪ (=KI.UD) “threshing floor” or steath, and SUR7 (=KI.GAG). In Akkadian orthography, it functions as a determiner for toponyms and has the syllabic values gi, ge, qi, and qe.

As an earth goddess in Sumerian mythology, Ki was the chief consort of An, the sky god. In some legends Ki and An were brother and sister, being the offspring of Anshar (“Sky Pivot”) and Kishar (“Earth Pivot”), earlier personifications of heaven and earth.

By her consort Anu, Ki gave birth to the Anunnaki, the most prominent of these deities being Enlil, god of the air. According to legends, heaven and earth were once inseparable until Enlil was born; Enlil cleaved heaven and earth in two. An carried away heaven. Ki, in company with Enlil, took the earth.

Some authorities question whether Ki was regarded as a deity since there is no evidence of a cult and the name appears only in a limited number of Sumerian creation texts. Samuel Noah Kramer identifies Ki with the Sumerian mother goddess Ninhursag and claims that they were originally the same figure. She later developed into the Babylonian and Akkadian goddess Antu.

Babylonian star catalogues

In Babylon as well as in Assyria as a direct offshoot of Babylonian culture, astrology takes its place as one of the two chief means at the disposal of the priests (who were called bare or “inspectors”) for ascertaining the will and intention of the gods, the other being through the inspection of the livers of sacrificial animals (omen).

The Sumerian constellations were inherited by Babylonian astronomy. Greek astronomy was built on Mesopotamian foundations. They defined the Zodiac and at least another 18 constellations taken over or adapted by the Greeks. In more recent times, Ptolemy’s list has been added to in order to fill gaps between Ptolemy’s patterns. Most of the northern sky was filled in by Petrus Plancius and Johannes Hevelius.

Babylonian astrology was the first organized system of astrology, arising in the second millennium BC. There is speculation that astrology of some form appeared in the Sumerian period in the 3rd millennium BC, but the isolated references to ancient celestial omens dated to this period are not considered sufficient evidence to demonstrate an integrated theory of astrology. The history of scholarly celestial divination is therefore generally reported to begin with late Old Babylonian texts (c. 1800 BC), continuing through the Middle Babylonian and Middle Assyrian periods (1200 BC).

By the 16th century B.C. the extensive employment of omen-based astrology can be evidenced in the compilation of a comprehensive reference work known as Enuma Anu Enlil. Its contents consisted of 70 cuneiform tablets comprising 7,000 celestial omens. Texts from this time also refer to an oral tradition – the origin and content of which can only be speculated upon. There are various Babylonian star catalogues or lists of stars, notably the MUL.APIN, a text dating to the Late Bronze Age, ca. 14th to 12th century BC.

At this time Babylonian astrology was solely mundane, and prior to the 7th century BC the practitioners’ understanding of astronomy was fairly rudimentary. Because of their inability to accurately predict future celestial phenomena and planetary movement very far in advance, interpretations were done as the phenomena occurred or slightly before. By the 4th century, however, their mathematical methods had progressed enough to calculate future planetary positions with reasonable accuracy, at which point extensive ephemerides began to appear.

Babylonian astronomy collated earlier observations and divinations into sets of Babylonian star catalogues, during and after the Kassite rule over Babylonia. These star catalogues, written in cuneiform script, contained lists of constellations, individual stars, and planets. The constellations were probably collected from various other sources, the earliest catalogue, Three Stars Each mentions stars of Akkad, of Amurru, of Elam and others.

Various sources have theorized a Sumerian origin for these Babylonian constellations, but an Elamite origin has also been proposed. A connection to the star symbology of Kassite kudurru border stones has also been claimed, but whether such kudurrus really represented constellations and astronomical information aside for the use of the symbols remains unclear.

Star catalogues after Three Stars Each include the MUL.APIN list named after the first Babylonian constellation MULAPIN, “the Plough”, which is the current Triangulum constellation plus Gamma Andromedae. Enlil was known as the inventor of the mattock (a key agricultural pick, hoe, ax or digging tool of the Sumerians) and helped plants to grow. It lists, among others, 17 or 18 constellations in the zodiac. Later catalogues reduces the zodiacal set of constellations to 12, which were borrowed by the Egyptians and the Greeks, still surviving among the modern constellations.

The first formal compendia of star lists are the Three Stars Each texts appearing from about the 12th century BC. They represent a tripartite division of the heavens: the northern hemisphere belonged to Enlil, the equator belonged to Anu, and the southern hemisphere belonged to Enki. The boundaries were at 17 degrees North and South, so that the Sun spent exactly three consecutive months in each third.

The enumeration of stars in the Three Stars Each catalogues includes 36 stars, three for each month. The determiner glyph for “constellation” or “star” in these lists is MUL (in origin a pictograph of three stars, as it were a triplet of AN signs (the Pleiades are referred to as a “star cluster” or “star of stars” in the lists, written as MUL.MUL, or MULMUL).

The second formal compendium of stars in Babylonian astronomy is the MUL.APIN, a pair of tablets named for their incipit, corresponding to the first constellation of the year, MULAPIN “The Plough”, identified with Triangulum plus Gamma Andromedae. The list is a direct descendent of the Three Stars Each list, reworked around 1000 BC on the basis of more accurate observations. They include more constellations, including most circumpolar ones, and more of the zodiacal ones.

The Babylonian star catalogues entered Greek astronomy in the 4th century BC, via Eudoxus of Cnidus and others. A few of the constellation names in use in modern astronomy can be traced to Babylonian sources via Greek astronomy. Among the most ancient constellations are those that marked the four cardinal points of the year in the Middle Bronze Age, i.e.

The four cardinal points of the year was Taurus (“The Bull”), from GU.AN.NA “The Steer of Heaven”, marking vernal equinox, Leo (“The Lion”), from UR.GU.LA “The Lion”, marking summer solstice, Scorpius (“The Scorpion”), from GIR.TAB “The Scorpion”, marking autumn equinox, and Capricornus “Goat-Horned”, from SUḪUR.MAŠ “The Goat-Fish”, marking winter solstice. It is a mythological hybrid depicted on boundary stones from before 2000 BC as a symbol of Ea-Enki.

There are other constellation names which can be traced to Bronze Age origins, including Gemini (“The Twins”), from MAŠ.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL (“The Great Twins”), Cancer (“The Crab”), from AL.LUL (“The Crayfish”), among others.

The path of the Moon as given in MUL.APIN consists of 17 or 18 stations, recognizable as the direct predecessor of the twelve-sign zodiac. Note that the beginning of the list with MUL.MUL “Pleiades” corresponds to the situation in the Early to Middle Bronze Age when the Sun at vernal equinox was close to the Pleiades in Taurus (closest in the 23rd century BC), and not yet in Aries.

The “Tail” and the “Swallow” (15 and 16 above) have also been read as a single constellation the “Tail of the Swallow” (Pisces), whence the uncertainty whether the “zodiac” consists of 17 or 18 constellations. All constellations of the Iron Age twelve-sign zodiac are present among them, most of them with names that clearly identify them, while some (“Furrow” for Virgo, Pabilsag for Sagittarius, “Great One” for Aquarius, “Swallow Tail” for Pisces and “Agrarian Worker” for Aries) reached Greek astronomy with altered names.

For Virgo, and for her main star Spica, Babylonian precedents are present. The MUL.APIN associates Absin (“The Furrow”) with the Sumer goddess Shala, and Shala is conventionally depicted as holding a length of grain on boundary stones of the Kassite era.

Regarding Sagittarius, Pabilsag is a comparatively obscure Sumerian god, later identified with Ninurta. Another name for the constellation was Nebu (“The Soldier”).

Aquarius (“The Water-Pourer”) represents Ea-Enki himself, dubbed (“The Great One”) in the MUL.APIN. It contained the winter solstice in the Early Bronze Age. In the Greek tradition, he became represented as simply a single vase from which a stream poured down to Piscis Austrinus. The name in the Hindu zodiac is likewise kumbha “water-pitcher”, showing that the zodiac reached India via Greek intermediaries.

The current definition of Pisces is the youngest of the zodiacal constellations. The (“Swallow”) of Babylonian astronomy included the western fish, but was larger as it included as well parts of Pegasus. The square of Pegasus was the constellation of the (“field”) (shown in the Dendera zodiac between the two fishes). The northern fish and part of Andromeda was the goddess Anunitum. Late Babylonian sources mention also DU.NU.NU “The Fish-Cord”.

It is unclear how the (“Agrarian Worker”) of the MUL.APIN became Aries (“The Ram”) of Greek tradition, possibly via association with Dumuzi the Shepherd.

Somewhere around the fifth century B.C., Babylonian astronomical texts began to describe the positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets in terms of 12 equal signs, each one associated with a zodiacal constellation and divided into 30 degrees (uš). This normalized zodiac is fixed to the stars and totals 360°.

Zodiacal constellations

  1. MUL.MUL zappu “The Star Cluster (Star of Stars)/”The Bristle” (Pleiades)
  2. MULGU4.AN.NA alû/is lê “The Bull of Heaven” (Taurus/Hyades)
  3. MULSIPA.ZI.AN.NA šitaddaru/šidallu “The Loyal Shepherd of Heaven” (Orion)
  4. MULŠU.GI šību “The Old One” (Perseus)
  5. MULZUBI/MULGÀM gamlu “The Scimitar”/”The Crook” (Auriga)
  6. MULMAŠ.TAB.BA(.GAL.GAL) māšu/tū’āmū rabûtu “The (Great) Twins” (Gemini)
  7. MULAL.LUL alluttu “The Crayfish” (Cancer)
  8. MULUR.GU.LA/MULUR.MAḪ urgulû/nēšu “The Lion” (Leo)
  9. MULAB.SÍN absinnu/šer’u “The Seed-Furrow” (Virgo)
  10. MULZI.BA.AN.NA/MULGIŠ.ÉRIN zibānītu “The Scales” (Libra)
  11. MULGÍR.TAB zuqaqīpu “The Scorpion” (Scorpius)
  12. MULPA.BÍL.SAG pabilsag “The God Pabilsag/The Overseer” (Sagittarius)
  13. MULSUḪUR.MÁŠ(.KU6) suḫurmāšu “The Goat-Fish” (Capricorn)
  14. MULGU.LA ṣinundu/ku-ur-ku/rammanu “The Great One” (Aquarius)
  15. MULKUN.MEŠ/MULZIB.ME zibbātu/zibbāt sinūnūtu “The Tails” (Pisces)
  16. MULŠÍM.MAḪ šinūnūtu “The Great Swallow” (SW Pisces and Epsilon Pegasi)
  17. MULA.NU.NI.TUM/MULLU.LIM anunītu/lulīmu “The Goddess Anunitu/The Stag” (NE Pisces and Andromeda)
  18. MUL(LÚ.)ḪUŊ(.GÁ) agru “The Agrarian Worker” (Aries)

The MUL.APIN gives:

  • a catalogue of 71 stars and constellations of the “Three Ways” of the Three Stars Each tradition. The star names (prefixed with MUL) are listed with the associated deity (prefix Dingir) and often some other brief epithet.
  • dates of heliacal risings
  • pairs of constellations which rise and set simultaneously
  • time-intervals between dates of heliacal risings
  • pairs of constellations which are simultaneously at the zenith and at the horizon
  • the path of the moon and planets.
  • a solar calendar
  • the planets and the durations of their solar conjunctions
  • stellar risings and planetary positions for predicting weather and for adjusting the calendar
  • telling time by length of the gnomon shadow
  • length of night watches during the year
  • omens connected with the appearance of stars planets, MUL.U.RI.RI (comets?) and winds.

History of the constellations

Babylonian calendar

Babylonian astrology


Enuma anu enlil

Triple deity

Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa

Zodiac Constellations

Constellations: The Zodiac Constellation Names

Astrology: Are Zodiac Signs Reversed In Earth’s Southern Hemisphere?

Your zodiac sign is not what you think it is

The Greek Myth of the Six Northern Zodiac Signs

Southern Hemisphere Constellations

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