Monday, January 11, 2021

Edition Topoi Collections: Babylonian Diaries

[First posted in AWOL 4 June 2018, updated 11 January 20201] 

Babylonian Diaries


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.


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.


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Ancient Astronomy, Babylon, diaries, cuneiform texts, meteorology




Babylonian Diaries, 2016, Gerd Graßhoff, Gordon Fischer, Edition Topoi, DOI: 10.17171/1-3

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