Astronomy astrology ancient egypt

The earliest Egyptian writings mentioning the twelve-sign zodiac were written in demotic, using uniquely Babylonian mathematical conventions, and were of Greek origin. The earliest example of a graphical depiction of the twelve-sign zodiac appears at the Temple of Khnum c. The zodiacal reliefs at Dendera are the most widely known examples of the twelve-sign zodiac in ancient Egypt.

History of Astrology

There are three of them at the Temple of Hathor, a late Ptolemaic temple built during the lifetime of Cleopatra c. The two rectangular ones appear on the ceiling in the portico of the Temple, and have recently been beautifully restored to their original colors. In its place at Dendera is a reproduction even painted to match the soot-covered ceiling, accumulated from centuries of people inhabiting the temple.

These exaltations originated as the Babylonian concept of qaqqar nisirti places of secret revelation , and were estimated to have been in use in Babylonia around BC,22 where they were further assigned to specific stars within each constellation. As you can see, there was a distinct demarcation in Egypt between the periods previous to and following the introduction of the Babylonian twelve-sign zodiac by the Hellenistic Greeks.

Both periods, however, employed a sidereal system defined relative to the stars and represented the planets and stars as neteru , or personifications of the universal principals of nature. The arrival, disappearance, and interaction between the neteru and their celestial counterparts were all observed by the priest-astronomers as oracles concerning the destiny of their kingdom.


We seek an explanation of our place—of where we fit into the grand scheme of things—examining both the infinitely small and the infinitely great. We may never be able to know or accurately articulate that answer. But the ancient Egyptians were at least onto something, for we cannot look into the heavens, seeing the perfectly harmonious movements of the celestial bodies, without gaining at least some insight into the true nature of our own being. McK Malville, R. Schild, F. Wendorf, R. Paul: Llewellyn, , See also: Fagan, Like to know were did you get your info from….

Astroneurophysiology would like to talk with you… thank you.

Categories Esoterica. March 25, Author Bryce Churchill. Footnotes: 2 J. Prev Post. Early astronomers used many kinds of instruments to study the heavens. All were basically tools for measuring or calculating the positions of objects in the sky. With them astronomers mapped the stars and made tables to predict the future positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets. This knowledge was important, for the sky served as a clock, a calendar, and a navigational aid to help seafarers find their way.

It was used by priests to set the time for religious observances and by astrologers to cast horoscopes. If the planets were gods, did they not influence, or even predict, human affairs? This idea gave rise to astrology. In the futile hope of turning their fantasies into a reliable science, priests and would-be prophets tracked motions in the heavens with the greatest possible precision.

Babylonian Beginnings

Hopes for a sort of technology to control the future thus became a main inspiration for the first observatories and the first star maps more on astrology here. Astronomers using an astrolabe center-right , a quadrant below , and and other instruments at the Istanbul Observatory. Built in , it was soon torn down under suspicion of impious astrological investigations.

The ancient Greeks learned to make precise instruments, crowned by the ingenious astrolabe. This hand-held device had a moveable arm to measure the angle of a bright star above the horizon — the star's "altitude. Astrolabes reached their standard configuration by the fourth century, having been first developed in the first or second century near the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The example shown here is Islamic and dates from the 11 th century.

Astrolabes were especially important to Muslims who used them to determine the proper hours for prayer and the direction of Mecca. This astrolabe has several interchangeable plates, each engraved with the celestial coordinates for a different latitude.

Egyptian Astronomy, Astrology, and Calendrical Reckoning

The pointers on the top plate indicate the positions of twenty-two bright stars. The top plate can rotate to show where those stars will appear at different times or dates, much like a modern paper or plastic star finder.

The instrument could also be used to predict when the Sun or certain bright stars would rise or set on any date. I slamic astronomers made careful observations to improve Ptolemy's planetary and stellar positions. Notable observatories include those at Maragha, in north-west Persia Iran , constructed in and staffed with renowned astronomers who came from as far as China and Spain, and at Samarkand in central Asia, built around The bigger such a structure was, the more accurately an observer could measure the positions of planets and stars.

Princes supported such works partly because patronage of arts and sciences reflected glory upon themselves, and partly for more accurate astrology, which was not then clearly separated from genuine science. MORE naked eye instruments from the Smithsonian.

Where Do Zodiac Signs Come From? Here's the True History Behind Your Horoscope

This medieval German quadrant could be used for navigation or as a sundial. T he earliest devices for "sighting the stars" were crude sticks. Seamen improved these, arriving at a quarter-circle "quadrant" marked off in degrees, with a sighting arm to measure a star's altitude.

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Eventually the quadrant was replaced by the sextant named after one-sixth of a circle, it is actually one-twelfth, doubled with the aid of a mirror. A sextant was the inseparable companion of every navigator until the invention of electronic positioning systems in the late 20th century.

Early Egyptian Astronomy

Astronomers also used quadrants to map the positions of stars and planets. The instrument in the picture is a rare example of especially ingenious medieval European instrument-making ca. The sighting arm rotates across a pattern made by folding the circular face of an astrolabe into quarters. The user can not only take star sights as with a quadrant, but make calculations as with a simple astrolabe.