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Ninsianna – Venus comet or a comet comet?

23 February 2014

In 1912 Franz Xaver Kugler discovered a reference to year 8 of Ammisaduga (see Peter James, Centuries of Darkness, 1991, appendix 3) in some fragmentary Babylonian clay tablets. It recorded the appearances and disappearances of a celestial body going by the handle of Ninsianna. This goddess is usually identified as the same figure as the better known goddess Ishtar, and both have tended to be identified with the planet Venus. Bernard Newgrosh did this in an important article on Ninsianna in an SIS journal some years ago. Also, Velikovsky assumed Ninsianna was Venus – but why?

Well, it seems to go back not just to Kugler, but his assumption (and therefore the identification is even older otherwise he would not have been to assume in the first instance). By assuming Venus was the subject of the observations it allowed every astronomer and commentator since then to fall into the same frame of mind – ignoring the possibility Ninsianna was another cosmic body.

Kugler was interested in using the Venus tablets to date Ammisaduga of Dynasty One Babylon astronomically – and this was done by retrocalculating the orbit of Venus. Even when it was found his numbers were too high, after the discovery of the Assyrian King List, successors to Kugler still thought only in terms of Venus. Peter Huber, who became a leading authority on the Venus tablets, said the tablets themselves were in a very poor condition, and were not too useful to a statistician (he was a mathematician). In spite of that he carried on in his endeavours, even admitting there were discrepancies between texts and various other inconsistencies between the dates of appearances and disappearances of Venus, and 20 to 40 per cent of the data is way off the orbit of Venus nowadays. Huber went on to ignore the inconsistencies and the discrepancies and produced a scheme from the remainder that did appear to have correspondences with the orbit of Venus. Out of this the Velikovsky journals such as SIS and Kronos took some sort of satisfaction as the Venus tablets appeared to show that the planet had a different orbit in the past – and this is what was expected if it had originated as a late addition to the solar system, taking time to achieve a resonant orbit with the other planets. In a way this obscured the other alternative – that Ninsianna was not V enus. Peter James actually said as much in his Appendix 3, but I imagine a lot of us may have missed the significance of that missive, as that was not his conclusion – or did not appear to be. Now, while the Venus tablets may be quite useless as a dating tool for pinning down the kings of Dynasty One, and a wasted exercise in the grand scheme of things, we may look at it afresh and think in terms of Ninsianna as a comet or near earth object, a cosmic body orbiting in the Taurid Complex.

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