Astronomy astrology ancient egypt

First, the ostraca predate all known Greek tables for Mercury that were computed with these methods, and are in fact the only instructional texts with Babylonian astronomy that have been found in Egypt thus far. Second, they use a Babylonian loanword for 'degree', while the astrologers writing in Greek used a Greek word for this. A surprising aspect of the instructions is that they employ a mathematical formulation that is unknown from Babylonia. The distance travelled by Mercury was then obtained by counting off a fixed number of these steps, with identical results to those obtained by their Babylonian counterparts.

The Zodiac

In , the mathematician Bartel van der Waerden first suggested the existence of this alternative formulation. While it has not yet been identified in any Babylonian text, we now see it in these two Demotic texts written by native Egyptian scholars. The latest news and views in the arts, humanities and culture at Oxford University.

Skip to main content. Instructions for computing the motion of Mercury in accordance with a Babylonian algorithm. Image credit: Ashmolean Museum.

Ancient Astronomy, Astrology & Sun Worship

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Astrology and Astronomy in the Ancient World

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More recently, spider toxins have been employed to develop highly specific pest control agents that have been introduced to the market. There are other theories concerning the pyramids, namely that they were located to reflect the constellation Orion, with the three pyramids at Giza representing the belt of Orion. As with the Neolithic astronomy, this is largely conjectural and all that we can safely say is that the Egyptians built their monuments to reflect the cardinal directions and important times of year.

This trend continued in the Valley of the Kings, where Rameses II built his huge Temple of Abu Simbel to ensure that sunlight only penetrated the inner sanctum on the 20th of October and the 20th of February, with one of these days believed to be the anniversary of his coronation. Of course, when looking at history, ancient techniques do not begin and end at certain points and there is always a degree of overlap.

Astronomy Versus Astrology

Whilst Egyptian civilization declined, it became absorbed by the Greek and Roman cultures and the city of Alexandria became one of the most important centers of astronomy, the birthplace of the great Ptolemy. As with many ancient cultures, the Egyptian astronomy began with recording the time of year for agricultural periods, and may well have served a navigational purpose, a common practice in the desert.

These observations became imbued with religious significance and became incorporated into their architecture. The Egyptians built their monuments pointing in the cardinal directions and used them to reflect important celestial occurrences revealing the time of year.

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Egyptian Astrology and Egyptian Zodiac Signs

They also developed a sophisticated calendar, albeit with a lot of complexity and the need to run three separate calendars. This may seem strange to us, but the idea of multiple calendars is a solution that the Mayans arrived at independently. In fact, we use multiple calendars, with the Islamic world maintaining a lunar calendar rather than the solar calendar of the Western world, and Orthodox Christian Churches use the Julian calendar to decide ceremonial dates. Of course, the astronomy and architecture of the Egyptians has attracted many wild theories about how the Egyptians incorporated the weight and the circumference of the Earth into the Great Pyramid, or that they are the descendents of fugitives from Atlantis.

Astrology and Astronomy in the Ancient World

These are conjectural and cannot be taken seriously without a little proof. Despite this, we can say that Egyptian astronomy was extremely sophisticated and many of their ideas became the foundation of our own stargazing and cosmology. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:. Martyn Shuttleworth Feb 5, Egyptian Astronomy. Retrieved Oct 03, from Explorable. The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4.

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