Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 162

The Virgin and the Scales;
The Scorpion, Archer, and Sea goat,
The man that holds the water pot,
And Fish with glitt'ring[326] tails.

The table on p. 308 shows that our signs are derived from ancient Babylonia.

The celestial regions were also divided into three or more parts. Three "fields" were allotted to the ancient triad formed by Ea, Anu, and Bel. The zodiacal "path" ran through these "fields". Ea's field was in the west, and was associated with Amurru, the land of the Amorites; Anu's field was in the south, and was associated with Elam; and Bel's central "field" was associated with the land of Akkad. When the rulers of Akkad called themselves "kings of the four quarters", the reference was to the countries associated with the three divine fields and to Gutium[327](east = our north-east). Was Gutium associated with demons, as in Scandinavia the north-east was associated with the giants against whom Thor waged war?

Table XIII.1.

Constellations. Date of Sun's Entry (Babylonian Month in brackets). Babylonian Equivalent.
Aries (the Ram). 20th March (Nisan = March-April) The Labourer or Messenger.
Taurus (the Bull). 20th April (Iyyar = April-May) A divine figure and the "bull of heaven".
Gemini (the Twins). 21st May (Sivan = May-June). The Faithful Shepherd and Twins side by side, or head to head and feet to teet.
Cancer (the Crab). 21st June (Tammuz = June-July). Crab or Scorpion.
Leo (the Lion). 22nd July (Ab = July-August). The big dog (Lion).
Virgo (the Virgin). 23rd August (Elul = August-Sept.). Ishtar, the Virgin's ear of corn.
Libra (the Balance). 23rd September (Tisri = Sept.-Oct.). The Balance.
Scorpio (the Scorpion). 23rd October (Marcheswan = Oct.-Nov.). Scorpion of darkness.
Sagittarius (the Archer). 22nd November (Chisleu = Nov.-Dec.). Man or man-horse with bow, or an arrow symbol.
Capricornus (the Goat). 21st December (Tebet = Dec.-Jan.). Ea's goat-fish.
Aquarius (the Water Carrier). 19th January (Sebat = Jan.-Feb.). God with water urn.
Pisces (the Fishes). 18th February (Adar = Feb.-March). Fish tails in canal.

The Babylonian Creation myth states that Merodach, having fixed the stars of the Zodiac, made three stars for each month (p. 147). Mr. Robert Brown, jun., who has dealt as exhaustively with the astronomical problems of Babylonia as the available data permitted him, is of opinion that the leading stars of three constellations are referred to, viz.: (1) the central or zodiacal constellations, (2) the northern constellations, and (3) the southern constellations. We have thus a scheme of thirty-six constellations. The "twelve zodiacal stars were flanked on either side by twelve non-zodiacal stars". Mr. Brown quotes Diodorus, who gave a résumé of Babylonian astronomico-astrology, in this connection. He said that "the five planets were called 'Interpreters'; and in subjection to these were marshalled 'Thirty Stars', which were styled 'Divinities of the Council'.... The chiefs of the Divinities are twelve in number, to each of whom they assign a month and one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac." Through these twelve signs sun, moon, and planets run their courses. "And with the zodiacal circle they mark out twenty-four stars, half of which they say are arranged in the north and half in the south."[328] Mr. Brown shows that the thirty stars referred to "constituted the original Euphratean Lunar Zodiac, the parent of the seven ancient lunar zodiacs which have come down to us, namely, the Persian, Sogdian, Khorasmian, Chinese, Indian, Arab, and Coptic schemes".