Maria Teresa Renzi-Sepe
The Perception of the Pleiades in Mesopotamian Culture
Leipziger Altorientalische Studien, Band 15
"This is a monograph on the Pleiades, one of the oldest examples of a divine asterism. The Mesopotamian scholars understood it to be seven stars that received great attention in the cuneiform culture. This volume is designed as a case study on the topic of the conceptualisation of celestial bodies in Mesopotamia, and it aims to show how the Pleiades were perceived and thus described in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. To this end, this monograph analyzes the intertextual relationships within a wide range of cuneiform sources – myths, prayers, and astral science texts – tracing one or more possible traditions in the perception of the Pleiades transmitted over almost two millennia.
Great importance is given to divination and celestial omens, long lists of inferences featuring the Pleiades and the predictions associated with them. At the centre is the reconstruction and critical edition of three omen tablets devoted to the Pleiades, two from the celestial omen series Enūma Anu Enlil, and one from its serialised commentary Šumma Sin ina tāmartišu. As an appendix, the volume also includes new insights into the structure and conception of omen texts in light of these new editions and new approaches to the history of scientific thought. Thus, The Perception of the Pleiades in Mesopotamian Culture combines cultural-historical research, philology and the necessary astronomical background in an innovative, interdisciplinary, and comprehensive way, which will be of interest not only to Assyriologists but also to specialists in the history of religion, astronomy, and other related fields."