It is believed that the ultimate origin of the constellation figures and names is to be found in the corresponding systems in vogue among the primitive civilizations of the Euphrates valley - the Sumerians, Accadians and Babylonians; that these were carried westward into ancient Greece by the Phoenicians, and to the lands of Asia Minor by the Hittites, and that Hellenic culture in its turn introduced them into Arabia, Persia and India.
The Sumerians and Accadians, the non-Semitic inhabitants of the Euphrates valley prior to the Babylonians, described the stars collectively as a " heavenly flock "; the sun was the " old sheep "; the seven planets were the " old-sheep stars "; the whole of the stars had certain " shepherds, " and Sibzianna (which, according to Sayce and Bosanquet, is the modern Arcturus, the brightest star in the northern sky) was the " star of the shepherds of the heavenly herds."
The Accadians bequeathed their system to the Babylonians, and cuneiform tablets and cylinders, boundary stones, and Euphratean art generally, point to the existence of a well-defined system of star names in their early history.
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