Abstract: Anu-Belshunu, Astronomer and Scribe of Uruk

Lecturer: John Steele

Anu-Belshunu was born on 29th December 249 BC. He spent his life in the city of Uruk in southern Babylonia, living well into his sixties. As one of the few scribes of astronomical cuneiform tablets that we know anything about, Anu-Belshunu provides an interesting case study of how, why and by whom astronomy and astrology was practiced in Babylonia during the last few centuries BC. Anu-Belshunu astronomical archive includes texts representing the highest level of astronomical theory alongside texts of astrology and astral-medicine, and provides a unique insight into the relationships between these disciplines in ancient Babylonia.

 

Suggested Bibliography/Websites:

John Steele, A Brief Introduction to Astronomy in the Middle East (Saqi, 2008).

Francesca Rochberg, The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Eleanor Robson, Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History (Princeton University Press, 2008), chapter 8.

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Steven Ellis is with the Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, and holds his Ph.D. from the University of Sydney.  His areas of specialization include Roman urbanism and social... Read More

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