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30 terms

babylonian constellations and astrology

The Star Cluster" or "Star of Stars" (Pleiades) ["the mane" in whitfield]
The Steer of Heaven" (Taurus) marking vernal equinox
The Loyal Shepherd of Heaven" (Orion)
The Old One" (Perseus)
The Crooked Staff" (Auriga)
The Great Twins" (Gemini)
The Crayfish" (Cancer)
The Lion" (Leo) marking summer solstice
The Seed-Furrow" (Virgo)
The Scales" (Libra)
The Scorpion" (Scorpius) marking autumn equinox
(Sagittarius) "the archer"
The Goat-Fish" (Capricorn) marking winter solstice. It is a mythological hybrid depicted on boundary stones from before 2000 BC as a symbol of Ea.
"The Great One" or "giant" (Aquarius)
The tail [?of] the Swallow" (Pisces -- the 'youngest' constellation). Sometimes recorded as 2 constellations, the tale and the swallow. The swallow included parts of pegasus. The tail included parts of andromeda.
Anunitum (the goddess)
"the hired man" "The Agrarian Worker" (Aries)
predecessor of the modern zodiac
The path of the Moon as given in MUL.APIN consists of 17 or 18 stations, recognizable as the direct predecessor of the twelve-sign zodiac.
sumerian astronomy
There is no direct attestation of Sumerian astronomy. There are pictorial representation assumed to represent constellation even predating the Early Dynastic Period of Sumer, found on cylinder seals and boundary stones, but the actual constellation names are only attested from Babylonian sources, beginning around 1200 BC. Since many of the Babylonian constellation names are in Sumerian, continuity with Middle and Early Bronze Age Sumer is nevertheless likely.
Three Stars Each
texts appearing from about the 12th century BC. They represent a tripartite division of the heavens: the northern hemisphere belonged to Enlil, the equator belonged to Anu, and the southern hemisphere belonged to Ea. The boundaries were at 17 degrees North and South, so that the Sun spent exactly three consecutive months in each third. The enumeration of stars in the Three Stars Each catalogues includes 36 stars, three for each month.
a pair of tablets named for their incipit, corresponding to the first constellation of the year, MULAPIN "The Plough", identified with Triangulum plus Gamma Andromedae. The list is a direct descendent of the Three Stars Each list, reworked around 1000 BC on the basis of more accurate observations. They include more constellations, including most circumpolar ones, and more of the zodiacal ones. It gives omens connected with the appearance of stars planets, MUL.U.RI.RI (comets?) and winds.
greek astronomy
The Babylonian star catalogues entered Greek astronomy in the 4th century BC, via Eudoxus of Cnidus and others.
Hellenistic astronomy
'birth astronomy', based on the ascendant, usually used to peer into matters that had recently happened, or that were currently happening. The general plan an individual's life was marked by the zodiacal sign of one's birth date. This could fortell one's temperment, amount and gender of children, etc.
among the oldest constellations
those that marked the four cardinal points of the year in Sumerian times (the Middle Bronze Age), namely Taurus "The Bull", from GU4.AN.NA "The Steer of Heaven", marking vernal equinox, Leo "The Lion", from UR.GU.LA "The Lion", marking summer solstice, Scorpius "The Scorpion", from GIR.TAB "The Scorpion", marking autumn equinox, and Capricornus "Goat-Horned", from SUHUR.MAŠ "The Goat-Fish", marking winter solstice, as well as The twins, the crab, and others.
conjunctions, eclipses, comets and other unusual events
thought by Babylonians to be special signs from the gods. Some relate to weather and harvest, but above all fortold the future well being of the king, 'astrology, a history', peter whitfield.
atmospheric phenomena such as clouds, holos or lightning
thought by Babylonians to take place on the surface of heaven and to be special signs from the gods. Some relate to weather and harvest, but above all fortold the future well being of the king, 'astrology, a history', peter whitfield.
babalonian astrology
Relates to weather and harvest, but above all fortold the future well being of the king. "the stars did not issue implacable decrees of fate, but omens, which, correctly understood, would enable the king to avert evil. The movements of the heavenly bodies were in fact a form of language, through which the planetary gods spoke to mankind, and from the study of this language sprang the earliest phase in the history of astrology.
the "underworld"
the night-time abode of the sun in Egyptian and Babylonian mythology, with Shamash commonly depicted sawing his way out of the underworld.
Appearing earliest in cuneiform texts around 400 BCE. "Lucky and unlucky days. these tablets indicate whether or not certain days will be propitious for undertakings such as a journey, marriage, business transaction, a festival, and so on. suck lists are somewhat mysterious, for no explanation is ever given why a certain day should bye lucky [...] in this context, it would seem to be a natural development that the birth-date of a child would be seen as indicating something of its future. IF the schemes of lucky and unlucky days were added to an observation of celestial omens on the same day, then a movement is started which is moving unmistakably in the direction of personal astrology." -- 'astrology, a history', peter whitfield.