Babylonian Arithmetical Astronomy
In late May 1857 a committee, appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, met in London to compare four independent translations of an Assyrian text inscribed in cuneiform characters in duplicate on two well-preserved clay cylinders. Hormuzd Rassam had found them as foundation deposits in the ruins of ancient Ashur in 1853 when he was digging in Mesopotamia on behalf of the British Museum. W. H. Fox Talbot, the gentleman scientist, inventor of photography, and linguist, had been given a copy of the text by H. C. Rawlinson, the remarkable soldier, diplomat, and linguist, and sent his sealed translation of it to the Society with the suggestion that other scholars be invited to translate the same text so the results could be compared to test the validity of the decipherment of Assyrian for, as he writes, “Many people have hitherto refused to believe in the truth of the system by which Dr. Hincks and Sir H. Rawlinson have interpreted Assyrian writings, because it contains many things entirely contrary to their preconceived opinions.”
KeywordsClay Corn Mercury Hunt Cane
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.