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12432BM 41536 (LBAT 1421)

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  • Rolf Furuli
    May 1, 2010
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      Dear colleagues,

      In the transliteration and translation of astronomical cuneiform
      tablets we often find guesses and circular reasonings. But the
      scholar who scrutinizes a tablet in order to make a transliteration,
      usually faithfully tries to transliterate all the signs that he or
      she sees.

      BM 41536 is believed to list lunar eclipses and is applied to year 42
      of Nebuchadnezzar II. I was very surprised when I compared the
      transliteration and translation in H. Hunger et al. 2001.
      "Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts from Babylonia" V, I pp. 30,
      31 with the drawing of the tablet in A. J, Sachs. 1955. "Late
      Babylonian Astronomical and Related Texts Copied by T. G. Pinches and
      J. N. Strassmaier," p. 223. I have not collated the tablet, but I
      assume that the beautiful hand of Pinches or Strassmaier faithfully
      reproduces all the signs they saw on the tablet.

      I found that of the 31 clear signs (I count each number as one sign),
      8 (26%) were not transliterated. If these 8 signs are taken into
      account, the interpretation of the tablet could be very different
      from the one given by Hunger et al. So it seems to me that the
      authors are misleading their readers. Because the authors are highly
      qualified scholars who are experts on astronomical tablets, this
      situation is strange indeed. So I would like to hear the opinion of
      other list members regarding this situation.

      Best regards,

      Rolf Furuli Ph.D
      University of Oslo
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