# The Babylonian Theory of the Planets

N. M. Swerdlow
Pages: 264
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvhwk

1. Front Matter
(pp. i-vi)
(pp. vii-x)
3. Preface
(pp. xi-xviii)
N.S.
4. Introduction. Planetary Omens, Observations, and Calculations
(pp. 1-33)

In the years preceding the fall of Babylon in 539 BC to the Lord’s ‘anointed’ (māšīaḥ), King Cyrus the Achæmenid, Second Isaiah condemned the ‘virgin daughter of Babylon,’ the ‘daughter of the Chaldæans,’ to sit silently in darkness while he reviled her with any number of comminations and prophecies, one of which is particularly interesting.

Persist in your incantations and your multitude of spells, in which you have toiled from your youth, if by chance such is of use to you or makes you more bold; you have wearied yourself in your multitude of consultations. Let the prognosticators of the...

5. Part 1 Periodicity and Variability of Synodic Phenomena
(pp. 34-72)

The Babylonian zodiac (lu-maš-meš) is divided into twelve zodiacal signs (sing. lu-maš). Each sign is in turn divided into 30 uš, a term with the general meaning ‘length’ interpreted, according to modern usage, as degree (°), each of which may then be divided sexagesimally to as many places as desired. The zodiac, its twelve equal signs, and the divisions of signs into uš and its fractions are purely conventional, an abstraction intended to facilitate computation, as in the ephemerides, while retaining the names of constellations of stars of irregular lengths unsuitable for computation. It is by no means obvious, and...

6. Part 2 Derivation of the Parameters for Synodic Arc and Time from the Dates of Phenomena
(pp. 73-134)

For deriving the parameters of the ephemerides, we assume the following relation of synodic time and synodic arc: From the observational records are taken, in principle, the datesT1andT2of successive phenomena of the same kind, which may then be used to find the synodic timeΔT=T2T1, withΔTtaken as lunar years of 12m= 6,0τand tithis. Then, fromΔTwe take the excessΔt=ΔTi6,0τ, from which the synodic arcΔλ=Δtc. Thus, by synodic time we shall generally mean the excessΔtand...

7. Part 3 Alignment to the Zodiac, Initial Position, Elongation, Subdivision of the Synodic Arc and Time
(pp. 135-172)

The remaining parameters to be found are the alignment to the zodiac of the zones of System A and of the points at which the greatest and least synodic arcs and times occur in System B—these are both equivalent to finding the direction of the apsidal line in a geometrical model—the subdivision of the synodic arc and time, that is, the arc and time between the successive phenomena within one synodic period, and a single longitude of the planet at one phenomenon to take as an initial position. The subdivision of the synodic arc and the initial position...

8. Summary and Conclusion
(pp. 173-182)

The Astronomical Diaries and related collections contain systematic observations of the phenomena of the planets dated to the day of the lunar calendar month and located by zodiacal sign, or beginning and end of zodiacal sign, and, in the case of most stations and occasional first appearances, by distances from normal stars. There are also a great number of measurements of distances of planets from normal stars, as there are also many measurements of distances of the moon from planets and of planets from each other, but these do not appear to have any function in the mathematical astronomy, nor...

9. Appendix. Alternative Methods of Deriving Parameters
(pp. 183-190)
10. Tables
(pp. 191-220)
11. Figures
(pp. 221-234)
12. Notation and Abbreviations
(pp. 235-238)
13. References
(pp. 239-242)
14. Index of Names
(pp. 243-244)
15. Index of Subjects
(pp. 244-246)