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American Philosophical Society
The Cuneiform Uranology Texts: Drawing the Constellations: Transactions, APS (Vol. 107, Part 2)
Paul-Alain Beaulieu, Eckart Frahm, Wayne Horowitz, John Steele
This book presents a newly recovered group of cuneiform texts from
first millennium Babylonia and Assyria that provide prose descriptions
of the drawing (eseru) of Mesopotamian constellations. The group
these constellations in terms of their parts: body parts for
constellations in human or animal form, parts of a wagon for “The Wagon”
and “The Wagon of Heaven” (the Big and Little Dipper), and so forth.
The descriptions also typically speak of the clothing
that constellations in human form wear, their beards if they are male,
and paraphernalia that they hold or carry. In the case of “The Crab” and
“The Wagon,” there is also reference to the Babylonian geometric shape
apsamakku, a four-sided figure. Illustrations.
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