Babylonian Diaries | Edition Topoi

Babylonian Diaries

Institutions

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Keywords

Ancient Astronomy, Babylon, diaries, cuneiform texts, meteorology

Citation

Babylonian Diaries, 2016, Gerd Graßhoff, Gordon Fischer, Edition Topoi

Abstract

The astronomical diaries are a genre of Babylonian cuneiform texts, published by Herman Hunger based on earlier work of Abraham Sachs. Their first three volumes have been digitized and converted to a canonical data format. This publication extends the edited texts by astronomical data and structured analysis.

Description

The Babylonian astronomical diaries comprise a group of cuneiform texts which record natural events in time spans from months to a whole year.

The most important among these texts are astronomically relevant observations as well as meteorological observations which mainly relate to changes of wind or rain. In addition, monthly summaries state market prices of key commodities and particularly serious state events such as wars and famines.

The diaries systematically record these events in canonical form and thus enable us to theoretically evaluate the observations. The period we observed ranges from the 6th century BCE to 60 BCE. This group of texts is the only ancient text corpus comprising systematical daily observations over a long period of time. The texts may rightly be considered to mark the empirical peak of ancient astronomy.

Further information

Hunger, Hermann and Abraham Sachs (eds.). Astronomical diaries and related texts from Babylonia. Volume I: Diaries from 652 B.C. to 262 B.C. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1988.

Hunger, Hermann and Abraham Sachs (eds.). Astronomical diaries and related texts from Babylonia. Volume II: Diaries from 261 B.C. to 165 B.C. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1989.

Hunger, Hermann and Abraham Sachs (eds.). Astronomical diaries and related texts from Babylonia. Volume III: Diaries from 164 B.C. to 61 B.C. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996.

Research Group

Gerd Graßhoff, Gordon Fischer