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The scheme of lengths of moonlight (1)

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02 Religious and ideological symbols and iconographic motifs

1st century CE
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Roman Empire
Neo-Assyrian texts
Roman philosophers and scholars

Enūma Anu Enlil 14th tablet gives the scheme of lengths of moonlight on the thirty nights of a synodic month, which occurs in a modified form in Pliny.

Pliny the Elder, Naturalia Historia 2.11 (14):
It is unquestionable that the moon’s horns are always turned away from the sun, and that when waxing she faces east and when waning west; and that the moon shines 47½ minutes longer daily from the day after new moon to full and 47½ minutes less daily to her wane, while within 14 degrees of the sun she is always invisible. This fact proves that the planets are of greater magnitude than the moon, since these occasionally become visible even on reaching 7 degrees distance; but their altitude makes them appear smaller, just as the sun’s radiance makes the fixed stars invisible in daytime, although they are shining as much as in the night, which becomes manifest at a solar eclipse and also when the star is reflected in a very deep well.

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Enūma Anu Enlil 14
Pliny the Elder, Naturalia Historia 2.11 (14)


Jones and Rackham 1938-1963, I 206-207Jones, W. H. S. and H. Rackham. Pliny, Natural History. 10 Vols. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, London: Heinemann 1938-1963.
Pingree 1998, 134Pingree, David. “Legacies in Astronomy and Celestial Omens.” In: S. Dalley (ed.). The Legacy of Mesopotamia. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1998, 125-137.

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Cf. The scheme of lengths of moonlight (2)

Amar Annus

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