1) A good parallel development is the Temple of Jupiter in Damascus also built over a previous shrine dedicated to a storm god.
2) The Epic of Gilgamesh, invented or not correctly translated or not, sounds like a walk down the ecliptic. G and E theme = Gemini. Humwawa theme = Taurus, Ut-Napishtim theme = Aquarius. Lion theme - Leo. The number seven specifically (as in seven spendors, seven mountains, etc, is the Pleiades theme. You're gonna laugh, but even Snowwhite and the Seven Dwarves (behind the seven mountain ranges) has an astronomic theme, intended or not: The change of the seasons from winter to spring and the harvest when the Pleiades rise and harvest time comes. Looking at the topographic map, there are at least five elevation ranges from the planes of Mesopotamia towards the Anti-Lebanon Range. I saw one version of the saga which mentions seven mountains, can't remember if that was from the Sumerian version of not.
My Impression is that myths do not easily stand on their own feet in terms of analysis, but they can help support a leg from another discipline. I would not summarily dismiss all legends as fiction and so I have no problem that you are recruiting this story given other evidence with which it is consistent.
Whatever Shulgi and his circle had in mind, I am tempted to think that astronomy mattered to the main story thread in both the translations and the originals even if vocabulary changed, but this is just a hunch and I defer to those who have looked at the texts.
3) Giulo Magli ("ARCHAEOASTRONOMY AND THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE TEMPLE OF JUPITER AT BAALBEK
") used Archeoastronomy to date Baalbek. The long axis points to May First's sunrise which at the latitude of Baalbek is the time of the helical rising of the Pleiades, the "ear of Taurus" so to speak. This was the time of harvest. If this is correct, the temple was a fancy star clock to mark a date of agricultural importance and to appease the storm god who might wreak havoc with the crops.
4) What I found curious is that Baalbek, supposedly a complex dedicated to the sun, is not pointing due east. It points to 75°30' while the temple in Damascus points to ~85° ( I got 84.70°).... The Zeus temple in Kanawat point close to north. None of these really make sense in terms of Roman mythology or the Julian calendar. I can sort of see how Baalbek might be pointing to the sunrise on Easter, but I don't think that even the earliest Christians would have had input into the original foundation's lay-out and in any case, the foundation as per your citations are much much older.
So the orientations of all these temples, if they originally were inspired by the sky, suggest an older, non-Roman origin.
5) At Kharga's Temple of Hibis, Five Hymns to Amun have a few telling lines which may apply here (ie Humwawa, Pleiades, alignment). Let me just quote a relevant segment from "Adoration of the Ram" by David Klotz":
Mysterious Ba, ram-headed with four faces on one neck, with 777 ears, with millions upon millions of eyes, with myriads of horns."
If this is a description of a constellation, then Taurus is one candidate with the Pleiades fittingly representing an ear made up of seven stars [of which they imagined 777?]
6) As to 3500 B.C. Assuming there is something to the alignment to the Pleiades:
Magli is dating the alignment to Herod but I am not so sure. I tried +100/-1500/-2500/-3500 (which is 100 AD/1501/2501/3501 B.C) which moves the Julian date of a 75°30' sunrise from April 22 to May 17, while the Pleiades becomes clearly visible only for the last two dates, but this is a simulation of course. I think the best thing to do is to actually observe from Baalbek when the Pleiades would have appeared over the Anti-Lebanon Mountain range around the April to May time frame and then determine the date on which the sun rises such that its rays hit the temple axis in parallel. Then go back to the computer and use those altitude data to reconstruct a possible era of when the long axis of this complex was established, which of course says nothing about when people settled there first to live.
7) The Eruk Temple in Nippur. Once repaired by Isme-Dagan and made to smell like "Cedar". This temple also Enlil's house like the far away place of the Cedar Mountain in the story. I took a rough heading of the temple's long axis (of course this is not the original temple) and got 55° azimuth. Can't explain that yet, but it's not pointing due east either.
8) Enlil, my understanding means Lord Storm. As to the origin of the name Baalbek I found this:
Richard C. Steiner
Especially Toponym I sounds like a possible connection. El (mbk nrhm), Haddad, and Enlil all taurine deities? Is that the link?
I'm just tossing things out which came to mind Thanos. There may only be few useful items in this list. My initial impression is that your are right: Baalbek's foundational lay-out is older than Augustus.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 13-Apr-18 19:10 by Manu.