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ISLAMIC Astrology And Astronomy

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Author Topic: ISLAMIC Astrology And Astronomy  (Read 7807 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #45 on: May 18, 2009, 09:30:45 am »









A few months later, unfortunately, on a cold November night - the first night of the holy month of Ramadan - a comet with an enormous tail unexpectedly edged into sight and set off a controversy that would put an end to his dream - and the observatory. Twisting and twirling, the comet grew brighter and steadier by the day for 40 days, and soon became a fireball soaring in the heavens like the sun and terrifying observers on earth.


One such observer was the Sultan, Murad III, whose own father, Sultan Selim, had died shortly after another comet had appeared. About to open a campaign in the Caucasus aginst Persia and its allies, Murad demanded a prognostication on the comet and Taqi al-Din, working day and night without food and rest, did so. He noted first that both the tail and head of the comet seemed to point east towards Persia - as if, he thought, to discharge their ominous fire there. He also noted that the comet appeared first in the house of Sagittarius, symbolizing, he decided, the Ottoman archer, and that it would disappear in Aquarius, a sign of peace and plenty awaiting the archer. Thus persuaded that such phenomena were undeniable signs of good fortune for the Ottomans, and confident in the accuracy of his observations in regard to the path of the comet, Taqi al-Din requested an audience with the Sultan and announced that:


There are joyful tidings for you concerning the conquest of Persia, for the foe is lying, with failing breath, upon the ground.

The appearance of such a sublime flame

Is for this realm an indication of well-being and splendor,

But for Persia it is a bolt of misfortune.


Unfortunately for Taqi al-Din, his predictions didn't quite turn out right. Though two Persian armies were defeated in the war, the Ottomans experienced certain reverses, a devastating plague broke out in some parts of the empire and several important persons died, and within a short period of time the Ottoman court began to quarrel about the observatory. One faction, headed by the Grand Vizier Sokullu, favored continued support of the institution, and the other, led by Sokullu's political rival, said that prying into the secrets of the future was not only beyond man's power but was also a waste of funds.


For a short period Sokullu prevailed and Taqi al-Din plunged into astronomy at a feverish pace for two years. But then Sokullu was killed and in 1580 a wrecking squad from the Marine Ordnance Division appeared on the premises, and its commander, citing the misfortunes that had befallen the Ottomans since the apparition of the comet, gave orders to level the buildings.
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