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Babylonian cuneiform tablets from 350 to 50 BCE translated

Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 12:17 pm
by Semiramis
Hey all,

Long time no see. The Babylonian tablets served as a source of information for the Achamenids and Xerxes. Some more tablets have been translated and I couldn't help but notice the dates. Do you think it's possible that these (translated or not) might contain information about Darius, Alexander and the successive rulers? Link below. :)


Re: Babylonian cuneiform tablets from 350 to 50 BCE translated

Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:04 pm
by agesilaos
The short answer would be no, unfortunately. These texts are concerned only with the astronomical predictions and explanations of how to calculate the apparent movements of the planets (Jupiter here). Some chronological data can be found in this sort of text, where observations are recorded at set intervals, but these are not like the so-called, Astronomical Diaries where day today observations are supplemented with historical matter and other data, such as prices for a set of commodities and the state of the Tigris or Euphrates. AFAIK

Re: Babylonian cuneiform tablets from 350 to 50 BCE translated

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:25 am
by Paralus
Nice to have you back. I feel the need of a red and a feed Thai duck curry at the Macquarie hotel coming on....

Re: Babylonian cuneiform tablets from 350 to 50 BCE translated

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:00 am
by Semiramis
Ach darn, I was hoping they would contain at least the price of grain or astronomical 'omens' regarding the rise and fall of rulers. They've had this tablet sitting in the British Museum since 1881!

So about Marduk being Jupiter - was the Roman Jupiter an amalgamation of Zeus and Marduk?

As an aside it's curious to deconstruct the popular reporting of this story. They hint at some underlying assumptions. ... 1755458324 ... sts/15810/

I think the study of Alexander and history in general would benefit hugely if we start treating the Mediterranean-Middle East region as having been more interconnected in the past than acknowledged. There are too many ancient cultures are in a concentrated space for those to have developed largely independently.

Further, the empires facilitated interaction - especially in the cosmopolitan cities. The more I study them, the more it suggests that a large amount of knowledge from previous empires was passed onto the latter ones. This did continue all the way down to the Ottomans. Political demise need not be equated with wholesale cultural demise. Some empires put in extensive investment in scholarship - e.g. Ibn Sina's University. Borrowed from cultures like China (calligraphy/art).

Additionally, the Arab empire had a significant naval force. Maybe based on same Phoenician navigation techniques the Romans borrowed. There were scholars who traveled by sea (Ibn Rashid). There are clear borrowings from India - numbers and possibly geometry. The narrative of the 'Fall' of the Baghdad/Babylon region with the Mongol invasion - admittedly very destructive - doesn't stack up.

The Pope's loss of control as a political force in Europe allowed increase access to the knowledge from near neighbours. I don't think it's surprising that the Renaissance began in Florence/Pisa given these cities' Mediterranean location and proximity to ports.

The borrowings, merging and and continuations of knowledge between cultures doesn't get enough consideration. We're still stuck in the Romantic Nationalist notion of "pure culture" and Modernist methods treating culture as a discrete variable.

The colonial narrative of civilizational exceptionism doesn't stack up. The Greek Miracle - happening in isolation and as a result of an exceptional civilization - is hardly the case. Similarly, the 'inexplicable' burst of knowledge during the Renaissance can't be put down solely to 're-discovery of Greek knowledge.' Some 'sudden' inventions in the Renaissance may have relied heavily on suddenly-accessible sources. If not mostly replicating previous inventions.

Good to hear from you Paralus. Thai - absolutely. :)