Ancient Aliens: Sitchin’s Cuneiform Translation Errors
Ancient Alien Astronauts: The Sitchin Translation Errors
Zechariah Sitchin’s ‘12th Planet’, the first Book in the ‘Earth Chronicles’ series is probably the most popular work read and used in support the Ancient Astronaut Theory on shows like the History Channel’s ‘Ancient Aliens’ series.
However, criticism of Sitchin’s work by Academic Historians like Dr Michael Heiser isn’t as popular and for this reason does not appear to be well known or understood.
There is a tendency to dismiss it as ‘mainstream’ as if that in itself would render the criticism of Sitchin’s work invalid.
In Ancient Aliens debunked, we considered the criticisms levelled at the Ancient Astronaut Theory based on the series ‘Ancient Aliens’.
In this entry, we consider the criticisms that can be levelled at the Cuneiform Translations in Sitchin’s work by Ancient Semetic language Scholars like Dr Heiser in order to determine whether their criticism of Sitchin is legitimate or not.
There are 3 main points for consideration:
- The Anunnaki in Sumerian Literature,
- Sumerian Astronomy, the Anunnaki & The Nibiru connection;
- The Sumerian Naru mythological literary style, the Anunnaki and History.
The Anunnaki In Sumerian Literature
According to the Electronic Corpus Of Sumerian Literature maintained by Oxford University, the Anunnaki appear in at least 182 lines of Sumerian Literature.
Whilst they are referred to as Gods in Sumerian literature, there is no reference or connection between the Anunnaki and the Planet Nibiru.
In particular, the Sumerians themselves did not believe that the Anunnaki descended from the Planet Nibiru which orbits every 3 600 years.
The references to the Anunnaki and Nibiru by Sitchin appear to be a distortion of Sumerian Astronomy and literature which becomes clearer once Nibiru is understood in accordance with actual Sumerian Astronomy.
Sumerian Astronomy, the Anunnaki & Nibiru Connection
The Mula.Pin Tablet contains the Astronomical knowledge of the Sumerians.
In this Tablet, Nibiru is recognised specifically as one of the 7 Planets which the Sumerians knew of, which were Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun and the Earth.
As such, Nibiru was not the name of a 12th Planet of the Sumerians but one of the 7 Planets they already recognised and observed.
The term Nibiru meant a place of the crossing and could be associated with any Planet during the Equinox.
It was not considered an additional Planet beyond Pluto as the last observable Planet to the Sumerians was Saturn.
Cylinder VA243 is cited by Sitchin as proof that the Sumerians had knowledge of 12 Planets.
However, on closer inspection, the seal’s inscription does not at all refer to Gods of the 12th Planet, but actually depicts a Star Constellation according to standard Sumerian iconography.
Sun, Moon & Star
Sumerians depicted Stars and the Sun using separate symbols, and the symbol used on Cylinder VA243 is that of a Star Constellation shown by a single Star surrounded by the other Stars that would have made up the Constellation.
It is not a symbol of the Sun surrounded by the other Planets of our Solar system to make up 12 Planets as Sitchin contends.
Cylinder VA243 therefore does not support the existence of Nibiru as a 12th Planet, let alone the idea that the Anunnaki came to Earth from this particular Planet.
The question therefore remains on which sources Sitchin rely for his elaborate Theory if he is so mistaken regarding the Sumerian Texts on aspects that form the cornerstone of his Theory?
The Sumerian Naru Mythological literary style, the Anunnaki and History.
In my view, Sitchin may have been able to read his Theory into the Sumerian Texts by taking random separate references to the Anunnaki in the Sumerian Texts out of the context of their original narratives.
This may be important to understand once we appreciate the existence of a genre of Sumerian Literature called Naru in which anonymous authors used fictitious stories to retell significant Historical events in order to further a particular Ruler’s agenda as a form of official Sumerian Propaganda.
A good example would probably be the Enuma Elish created after the establishment of Babylon in which the Sumerian Legends were retold to place the God Marduk at the Head when it had initially been Enlil from the onset of the Sumerian Civilization.
Although the stories are told as literal accounts of History, they are in-fact fictitious.
It would seem that Sitchin may have randomly chosen particular Naru texts and presented them as Historical accounts out of context.
This would be particularly easy to do even as a genuine mistake since the Sumerian Naru Texts he is taking from present themselves as literal History when they are not.
The only way to verify Sitchin’s interpretation of these Texts is if a Citation and references were made available as part of the Earth Chronicles series.
There are no such citations and references, and for this reason, it is problematic to assume that the Texts from which Sitchin quotes depict actual History because the Naru Texts were fictitious but written as History in the literary style of the time.
The Ancients for whom these Texts were written would understand that they were fictions meant to re-inforce a particular theme such as the Epic Of Gilgamesh on Human Mortality.
A clear example used by Sitchin in The End Of Days and The Wars Of Gods Of Men to explain History and Biblical events such as the pact between Abraham and Yahweh in the context Anunnaki Wars between the Gods, the rise of Babylon, the departure of the Anunnaki and their return, is the apocalytpic Marduk Prophecy which was explicitly recognised as a work of Naru fiction in Ancient times, but Sitchin quotes from it throughout his books as literal History even though the writers and the Ancients themselves knew it was fiction.
Sitchin either does not realise that it is a work of Ancient fiction or chooses not to acknowledge it because it would not fit in with the arguments made in his books.
The Ancients themselves probably understood and accepted these Naru works more for the underlying themes they presented rather than the fictitious scenarios they used in order to send the required propaganda message.
In the Earth Chronicles, we are thus presented with a number of Anunnaki references from a variety of Ancient Sumerian Texts but outside their original context, and without a means of referencing back to the Sumerian source.
In this way, Sitchin is free to pick and choose whichever Anunnaki references help in the construction of his composite narrative as long as they contain some kind of reference to an act of the Anunnaki Gods that fits in with his hypothesis.
However, in the context of the original Texts, these ‘acts of the Gods’ could have been attributed entirely to something else in a totally different scenario, and even recognised as illustrative fiction by the Sumerians themselves.
For this reason, its difficult to accept Sitchin’s work as an accurate reflection of the Sumerian Texts without the ability to reference to the original sources Sitchin used.
In the final analysis, Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles reflects a powerful idea on the Extraterrestrial Origins of Man and Civilization.
Nevertheless, whilst this idea may be appealing, the various elements Sitchin uses to construct it are probably not supported by the Sumerian Texts themselves in their understanding of the Anunnaki, their Astronomy and Mythology.
Sitchin’s Ancient Astronaut Theory can only be saved by providing the reference sources for the original Texts he used so we can understand if Sitchin interpreted them in their actual Ancient context.
In the absence of this, we are presented with a narrative that is appealing but may really be a selective construction of separate quotes and Ancient strands of ideas woven together into what appears to be a cohesive idea that is actually a product of Sitchin’s own imagination.
At the end of the day, we can all read the original Texts for ourselves and make up our own minds via the Electronic Corpus Of Sumerian Texts.
There is no need to view the criticism of Sitchin’s theory as an ‘attack’ when one can view the original Sumerian materials themselves and come to their own conclusions.
In doing so, its also important to remember the genre of Ancient literature we are dealing with because its important to understand that Naru literature presents fictitious accounts of History as literal facts.
Something which the Ancients knew and could discern but that has been lost to us in time.
Its therefore easy for us to accept the Texts and Sitchin’s interpretation of them as literal History when in-fact they are not even though the Ancients themselves for whom they were written knew it at the time.
Check out the video on the Anunnaki in the Sumerian Texts, and the websites sitchiniswrong as well as fringepop321 for an alternative but well presented perspective on the Sitchin Ancient Alien Astronaut hypothesis as part of this exciting quest on our origins.
Also check out our Alternative Ancient History Archive for more on the Ancient Astronaut Theory as told by Zechariah Sitchin, and make up your own mind on the correctness of his interpretations.