Article ID: CBB929738041

An early system A-type scheme for Saturn from Babylon (2023)


In this paper we publish three fragments of a cuneiform tablet that, when complete, contained the dates and zodiacal positions of Saturn’s synodic phenomena for roughly 60 years. The text is unique in containing comparisons of computed data with observations. Through an analysis of the preserved data we propose that the dates and positions were computed by an otherwise unknown two-zone System A-type scheme and show that the computed data in the tablet can be dated to the fourth century BC. This early date and the comparisons with observations suggest that the text was produced during the period of active development of the planetary systems.

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Authors & Contributors
Steele, John M.
Carman, Christián Carlos
Yasuyuki Mitsuma
Stevens, Kathryn
Powell, Robert
Swerdlow, Noel M.
Sciamvs: Sources and Commentaries in Exact Sciences
Journal for the History of Astronomy
MHNH (Revista Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas)
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Indian Journal of History of Science
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Science
Princeton University Press
MIT Press
Tablets; papyri
Pingree, David
Theon of Alexandria
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus
Hipparchos of Rhodes
Time Periods
16th century
Babylon (extinct city)
Middle and Near East

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