Concept

Sudines

Summary
Sudines (or Soudines) (Greek: Σουδίνες) (fl. c. 240 BC): Babylonian sage. He is mentioned as one of the famous Chaldean mathematicians and astronomer-astrologers by later Roman writers like Strabo (Geographia 16:1–6). Like his predecessor Berossos, Sudines moved from Babylonia and established himself among the Greeks; he was an advisor to King Attalus I (Attalos Soter) of Pergamon. He is said (e.g., by Roman astronomer/astrologer Vettius Valens) to have published tables to compute the motion of the Moon; said to have been used by the Greeks, until superseded by the work of Hipparchus and later by Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaios). Sudines may have been important in transmitting the astronomical knowledge of the Babylonians to the Greeks, but little is known about his work and nothing about his life. He is also said to have been one of the first to assign astrological meaning to gemstones. While other Chaldean astronomers have been tentatively identified in the cuneiform record, no Akkadian texts have yet been unearthed that reference Sudines. Stevens suggest that his name, however, looks Akkadian, with attestations of similar names like Šum(a)-iddin "He gave the name" or Šum(a)-iddina "He gave me a name" in the cuneiform record from the Neo-Assyrian and Hellenistic periods. The 2nd century CE Greek author Polyaenus mentions an extispicer named Sudines, a job that this Sudines supposedly performed for King Attalus I of Pergamon, lending credence to the association between the astronomer Sudines and the attested diviner. However, while practitioners of astronomical science in Babylonia frequently also worked with astrological methods of celestial divination, the combination of astronomer and liver omen reader is rare, suggesting that Polyaenus' and King Attalus' Sudines is potentially different from the astronomer Sudines. Given the wide array of knowledge assigned to and associated with people named Sudines, it is unclear whether they all refer to the same person. The lack of biographical information about Sudines only adds to this difficulty.
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