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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 164

In fixing the length of a mythical period his first great calculation of 120 came naturally to the Babylonian, and when he undertook to measure the Zodiac he equated time and space by fixing on 120 degrees. His first zodiac was the Sumerian lunar zodiac, which contained thirty moon chambers associated with the "Thirty Stars" of the tablets, and referred to by Diodorus as "Divinities of the Council". The chiefs of the Thirty numbered twelve. In this system the year began in the winter solstice. Mr. Hewitt has shown that the chief annual festival of the Indian Dravidians begins with the first full moon after the winter festival, and Mr. Brown emphasizes the fact that the list of Tamil (Dravidian) lunar and solar months are named like the Babylonian constellations.[330] "Lunar chronology", wrote Professor Max Mailer, "seems everywhere to have preceded solar chronology."[331] The later Semitic Babylonian system had twelve solar chambers and the thirty-six constellations.

Each degree was divided into sixty minutes, and each minute into sixty seconds. The hours of the day and night each numbered twelve.

Multiplying 6 by 10 (pur), the Babylonian arrived at 60 (soss); 60x10 gave him 600 (ner), and 600x6, 3600 (sar), while 3600x10 gave him 36,000, and 36,000x12, 432,000 years, or 120 saroi, which is equal to the "sar" multiplied by the "soss"x2. "Pur" signifies "heap"--the ten fingers closed after being counted; and "ner" signifies "foot". Mr. George Bertin suggests that when 6x10 fingers gave 60 this number was multiplied by the ten toes, with the result that 600 was afterwards associated with the feet (ner). The Babylonian sign for 10 resembles the impression of two feet with heels closed and toes apart. This suggests a primitive record of the first round of finger counting.

In India this Babylonian system of calculation was developed during the Brahmanical period. The four Yugas or Ages, representing the four fingers used by the primitive mathematicians, totalled 12,000 divine years, a period which was called a Maha-yuga; it equalled the Babylonian 120 saroi, multiplied by 100. Ten times a hundred of these periods gave a "Day of Brahma".

Each day of the gods, it was explained by the Brahmans, was a year to mortals. Multiplied by 360 days, 12,000 divine years equalled 4,320,000 human years. This Maha-yuga, multiplied by 1000, gave the "Day of Brahma" as 4,320,000,000 human years.

The shortest Indian Yuga is the Babylonian 120 saroi multiplied by 10=1200 divine years for the Kali Yuga; twice that number gives the Dvapara Yuga of 2400 divine years; then the Treta Yuga is 2400 + 1200 = 3600 divine years, and Krita Yuga 3600 + 1200 = 4800 divine years.

The influence of Babylonia is apparent in these calculations. During the Vedic period "Yuga" usually signified a "generation", and there are no certain references to the four Ages as such. The names "Kali", "Dvapara", "Treta", and "Krita" "occur as the designations of throws of dice".[332] It was after the arrival of the "late comers", the post-Vedic Aryans, that the Yuga system was developed in India.[333]

In Indian Myth and Legend[334] it is shown that the Indian and Irish Ages have the same colour sequence: (1) White or Silvern, (2) Red or Bronze, (3) Yellow or Golden, and (4) Black or Iron. The Greek order is: (1) Golden, (2) Silvern, (3) Bronze, and (4) Iron.

The Babylonians coloured the seven planets as follows: the moon, silvern; the sun, golden; Mars, red; Saturn, black; Jupiter, orange; Venus, yellow; and Mercury, blue.


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