A depiction of the underworld, or alternatively, a portrayal of an exorcism. Wiggermann identifies Pazuzu appearing at the top, leering over a top register which contains the eight-pointed star of Ishtar, the inverted half-moon crescent of the Moon God Sin, and the lamp of Nusku. Earlier analysts identified the leering monster as Nergal. Virtually all subsequent scholars now follow Wiggermann. In the second register, seven exemplars of the Mesopotamian pandemonium appear to support the heavens.
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Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. It is a pleasure to observe that an author who has given so much of her life to the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary has still been able to collect the material for this scholarly monograph and to complete it.
It is devoted to various kinds of ancient Mesopotamian magic, most of which are related to the heavenly bodies, sun, and moon as well as the stars. As a brief summary one cannot improve on the opening paragraph of the first chapter: "Stars function in a dual role in relation to man: they exert a direct influence and serve as mediators between man and god.
Directly, through astral irradiation, they transform ordinary substances into potent ones that will be effective in magic, medicine, or ritual, as materia medica, amulets, or cultic appurtenances. Stars also provide reliable answers to the query of the diviner. The aim of the work is to draw together material illustrating the various kinds of magic, and to present it with attention to related material known from classical antiquity and later European civilization.
The relationship of cuneiform mythology and historical materials to the myths and history of other peoples is a well-explored matter, but hitherto there has been little attention given to magic in the context of different civilizations. A little of the Mesopotamian material has been gathered in articles, but this is the first attempt at a serious monograph. The cuneiform material has been collected at first hand from the prime publications.
For the classical and other sources, advice of colleagues was obtained. The results are presented in the hope that scholars in other fields will acquaint themselves with the Mesopotamian materials. Thus, all cuneiform texts are cited in translation in the body of the book.
Transliterations of the original script appear regularly in the footnotes. This is haute vulgarisation. One can but admire the comprehensive trawl of the cuneiform sources and of the significant secondary literature. The classical and other material is no doubt less complete and, ideally, rabbinic, Mandaic, and ancient Indian sources should also have been culled for parallels, but a serious comparative work is a long way off.
The author has shrewdly avoided the difficult questions of priority and borrowing. The cuneiform lists of magic stones and plants may be the earliest known, but no one is in a position to say when and where this magic first began to be used.
A few points for discussion are raised. Ishtar as male and female is discussed on p. While Babylonian texts assert that Venus is of one sex in the morning, but of the opposite in the evening, these contrasts are of astronomical content.
The vast quantity of hymns and prayers to Ishtar know her only as a goddess. Even the text which speaks of her as bearded uses a feminine participle zaqnat to say so. And the "beard" on the cylinder-seal depiction of Ishtar p. Thus one is dealing here with a tradition of astronomic content, that otherwise had almost no influence on Babylonians and Assyrians.
The reviewer knows no evidence for a "chthonic" Gula. She was wife of Ninurta and very much upper-worldly. Also her dog was her symbol, not her "companion. The reviewer finds no difficulty in the statement that Shamash "inscribes the omens in the entrails of the lamb.
The tablet referred to as probably from Uruk, K , is now joined to BM , AH , AH , , , - of which joins, the first, BM , was already given in R.
Borger, Handbuch der Keilschriftliteratur, vol. The rest is given in E. Reade in the introduction to volume 6 of this work comments on the sources of the collection on p. Walker comments on the sources of the AH and collections in the introduction to volume 8, pp. From these comments it appears very doubtful whether K can have come from Uruk. A defect in the mechanical production of this volume has resulted in the Babylonian and Assyrian transliterated in the notes variously appearing in roman and italic, with no rationale.
Transactions: Astral Magic in Babylonia Vol. 85, Pt. 4 by Erica Reiner (1995, Paperback)
Astral Magic in Babylonia