Path of Enlil, Mul Apin: Part One



Definition: Definition: [Mul.Apin Tablets] The Mul.Apin [i.e. Mul and Apin] tablets contain the most comprehensive surviving Babylonian star and constellation catalogue from before 600 BC.

In the Babylonian pantheon Enlil was 'Lord Wind', divine ruler of the Earth and its human inhabitants. Aided by Anu, the father of the Gods and Ea, the God of the ocean below and the Mother Goddess he governed the universe.

The 33 Stars on the Path of Enlil from the text from Mul.Apin: Column I, Lines 1-39.


Textual line



The Plow (GISH.APIN), d.Enlil, the lead star of the stars of d.Enlil.



The Wolf (UR.BAR.RA) , seed-funnel of the plow

 [Perseus] {The seed are the Pleiades}


The Man, Old One (SHU.GI), d.Enmesharra



The Crook Staff (GAM), god of the crook staff (d.Gamlum)

 {Staff in the hand of Orion, Camelopardalis}


The Large Twins (MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL), d.Lugalgirra and d.Meslamtaea.

 {"End" rather than large}; Bottom stars of Gemini}


The Small Twins (MASH.TAB.BA.TUR.TUR), d.LAL and d.NIN.EZENxGU4.

 {Pollux, In Gemini}


The River Crayfish (AL.LUL), domicile (shu-bat d.Anim) of d.Anu.



The Lion (UR.GU.LA), d.Latarak.

 {Regulus, in Leo}


The Breast-Star of Leo, the "king-star" (MUL).LUGAL

 {the large upper bone of the leg, rather than breast} {Duhr also called Zosma}


The weaker stars of Leo's tail: the date-palm panicle (sissinnu) of d.Erua, d.Zarpanitum

 [Coma Berenices] {Denebola, in Leo}


- reads together with line 10 -



SHU.PA, d.Enlil which determines the "aptitude" of the mountain KUR

 [Corona Borealis] {Arcturus in Bootes}


The star before him: Chegalaju, the messenger of d.Ninlil

 [Argo Navis, Vela] {Star before Arcturus}


The star after him: BAL.TESH.A, messenger of d.Tishpak

 [eta in Carina, Chinese Tseen She, Heaven's Altars, to the right of Crux] {Alphekka in Corona Borealis}


The (great) Wagon (MAR.GID.DA), d.Ninlil

 [The Great Bear] {Libra}


The star at the shaft of the (great) Wagon: the Fox (KA5.A) d.Erra, the strong one among the gods

 {The star Graffias (Beta-Scorpius) and Lupus as the Fox}


- reads together with line 16 -


The star to the front of the (great) Wagon: the Mother Sheep (U8), d.Aja.

 {Antares, in Scorpius}


The Yoked Yoke (MU.BU.KESH.DA) d.Anu, the great one of the heavens

 {The star theta in Ophiuchus, Kash-Shud in Babylonian}


The (small) Wagon of Heaven (MAR.GID.DA.AN.NA), d.Damkianna

 {The middle stars of Scorpius, Persian KhezDUM = Damkianna}


The star on its Cable: Inheritor of the Great Temple (IBILA.E.MACH), the first, highest son of d.Anu

 {"Lord of the Seed", Antares?}


- reads together with line 21 -



The Standing Gods DINGIR.GUB.BA.(MESH) of E.KUR The Sitting Gods DINGIR.TUSH.A.(MESH) of E.KUR

 [Scorpio] [front stars of Sagittarius] {GUBBA - the manzil Jabhah or Jabbah are the stars at the end (stinger of) Scorpio; TUSH are the stars of Sagittarius. All rise at about the same time.}


The Goat (UZ) , d.GU.LA

 [Hercules] {UZ GU.LA and GULA are two different constellations. GULA is CAPRICORN the boat, not the goat UZ GU.LA which is Hercules}


The star before the goat: the Sitting Dog (UR.KU)

 {Serpens Caput}


The bright star of the Goat d.LAMMA, the messeger of d.Baba

 {Rasalhague, in Ophiuchus}


Two stars, behind her: d.NIN.SAR and d.ER.RA.GAL

 {Sheliak, in Lyra}


The Leopard (UD.KA.DUCH.A), d.U.GUR

 UD.KA.DUCHA.A has its "head of the Milky Way" at Cygnus and the tail at Cepheus


The star to his right: the swine (SHACH), d.Damu

 {This is Sagitta, Sham or Schaham in Arabic (see Hinckley, Star Names)}


The star to his left: the horse (ANSHE.KUR.RA)

 {Lacerta. This is later confused with Equuleus.}


The star behind him: the stag (LU.LIM), messenger of the Pleiades (MUL.MUL)

 {This star "behind" Cygnus as LU.LIM is Cassiopeia, Latin SO.LIUM which precedes the setting of the Pleiades on the horizon. Cassiopeia is seen here as the stag's antlers}


The weak stars at the breast of the stag: d.Charriru, god of the rainbow (d.TIR.AN.NA)

 {This is Andromeda. The Sumerian-Akkadian d.TIR.AN.NA is Alpheratz as SIRRAH = TIR}


- reads together with line 32 -



The bright red star at the kidney of the stag, the Destroyer (KA.MUSH.I.KU.E)

 {Algol in Perseus = I.KU.E (earlier red-coloured)}


- reads together with line 34 -


When the stars of Enlil are finished, a large star of matted light divides the heavens there: the star of d.AMAR.UD (d.Marduk), of the pass-over

 [Lines 36/37 were added to later MUL.APIN copies, and are not found on the original tablet ] {Hamal = AMAR, in Aries}


- reads together with line 36 -


Jupiter (SAG.ME.GAR) changes its position continuously, crossing the heavens


Those are the 33 stars of Enlil


where d. is used as the abbreviation for the Sumerian determinative DINGIR "god".

Comments in parenthesis by [ ] Werner Papke, and { } Andis Kaulins;

() indicates the cuneiform syllables. ©

Further Information: Looking at a modern North Celestial Pole star map it is notable that these constellations form a complete path: Perseus, Auriga, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Coma Berenices, Bootes, Libra, and then turning back via Scorpius, Sagittarius, Sagita, Lacerta, Cassiopeia, to return to Perseus. This path is on the ecliptic for about a third of its length and follows the Milky Way for about half its length [from about galactic latitude 0 degrees to galactic latitude 180 degrees.]

What is it the path of? The answer lies in the fact that the path is a fairly symmetrical circle around the north celestial pole. In other words this is a star chart of stars all lying a similar number of degrees above the celestial equator. From star positions, in modern notation, the path describes a band in the northern sky at a declination above the celestial equator between about +12 and +33, and up to +40 if the later interpolation of Algol is included.

Star declinations of the identified stars are approximately: Regulus, in Leo, Dec +12; Pollux, in Gemini +28; Denebola, in Leo +14; Alphekka, in Corona Borealis, +27; Rasalhague, in Ophiuchus+12, Sheliak in Lyra, +33,. Sham, in Sagitta, +18; Algol, in Perseus +40.

The exception appears to be the stars of Scorpius: Graffias -19, Jabbah -19 and Antares -26. Either those star attributions are incorrect or there is a large deviation at Scorpius from the +12 to +33 declination band for a reason which is not known.

Translations of the Cuneiform Inscription: The translations linked below are separated out into the subject areas of the tablets.

One:   The 33 Stars on the Path of Enlil  [Mul.Apin: Column I, Lines 1 - 39] 
Two:   The 23 Stars on the Path of Anu  [Mul.Apin: Column I, Lines 39 - 44; Column II, Lines 1 - 18] 
Three:   The 15 Stars on the Path of Ea [Mul.Apin: Column II Lines 19 - 35 ]
Four:   The Heliacal Risings of 34 Stars by Month  [Mul.Apin: Column II, Lines 36 - 47, Column III, Lines 1 - 12] 
Five:   Heliacal Node Stars Rising and Setting  [Mul.Apin: Column III, Lines 13 - 33] 
Six:   Day Differences in the Rising of 15 Stars  [Mul.Apin: Column III, Lines 34 - 50] 
Seven:   The Ziqpu Stars  [Mul.Apin: Column IV, Lines 1 - 30] 
Eight:   Stars on the Path of the Moon  [Mul.Apin: Column IV, Lines 31 - 39] 

© Dr Shepherd Simpson, Galactic Astrologer


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