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Author Topic: BABYLONIAN Astrology  (Read 1563 times)
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« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2008, 09:23:17 am »

Planets and gods

Of the planets five were recognized -




Mercury and

Mars -

to name them in the order in which they appear in the older cuneiform literature; in later texts Mercury and Saturn change places.

These five planets were identified with the gods of the Babylonian pantheon as follows:

Jupiter with Marduk;

Venus with the goddess Ishtar,
Saturn with Ninurta (Ninib),

Mercury with Nabu (Nebo),

and Mars with Nergal.

The movements of the sun, moon and five planets were regarded as representing the activity of the five gods in question, together with the moon-god Sin and the sun-god Shamash, in preparing the occurrences on earth. If, therefore, one could correctly read and interpret the activity of these powers, one knew what the gods were aiming to bring about.

Babylonian observational records enabled Babylonian scholars to construct planetary theories by which to predict planetary phenomena. Modern scholars have reconstructed Theory A - it successfully calculates the heliacal phases of the Moon and the planets (New Crescent, Last Crescent, Acronychal Rise, Cosmic Setting, Morning First, Morning Last).

The Babylonians were the first to name the Days of the week after the sun, moon and planets.[citation needed] Their naming scheme is still widely followed today in many languages, including English, and goes as follows:

Sunday - day of the sun

Monday - day of the moon

Tuesday - day of Mars (Norse Tiw, the Anglo-Saxon Mars)

Wednesday - day of Mercury (Norse Wodin, the Anglo-Saxon Mercury)

Thursday - day of Jupiter (Norse Thor, the Anglo-Saxon Jupiter)

Friday - day of Venus (Norse Frig, the Anglo-Saxon Venus)

Saturday - day of Saturn
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« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2008, 09:25:21 am »

Celestial houses

The Babylonians were also the first to set out the twelve houses of the horoscope.

The houses were numbered from the east downward under the horizon, and represented areas
of life on the following pattern:

1. Life ;

2. Poverty/Riches ;

3. Brothers ;

4. Parents ;

5. Children ;

6. Illness/health ;

7. Wife/husband ;

8. Death ;

9. Religion ;

10. Dignities ;

11. Friendship ;

12. Enmity .

These represent the basic outline of the houses as they are still understood today.
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« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2008, 09:28:06 am »

System of Interpretation

The Babylonian priests accordingly applied themselves to the task of perfecting a system of interpretation of the phenomena to be observed in the heavens, and it was natural that the
system was extended from the moon, sun and five planets to the more prominent and
recognizable fixed stars.

The interpretations themselves were based (as in the case of divination through the liver) chiefly
on two factors:

On the recollection or on written records of what in the past had taken place when the phenomenon
or phenomena in question had been observed, and

Association of ideas - involving sometimes merely a play upon words - in connection with the phenomenon or phenomena observed.

Thus, if on a certain occasion, the rise of the new moon in a cloudy sky was followed by victory over an enemy or by abundant rain, the sign in question was thus proved to be a favourable one and its recurrence would thenceforth be regarded as a good omen, though the prognostication would not necessarily be limited to the one or the other of those occurrences, but might be extended to apply
to other circumstances.

On the other hand, the appearance of the new moon earlier than was expected was regarded as unfavourable - prognosticating in one case defeat, in another death among cattle, in a third bad
crops - not necessarily because these events actually took place after such a phenomenon, but
by an application of the general principle resting upon association of ideas whereby anything
premature would suggest an unfavourable occurrence.

In this way a mass of traditional interpretation of all kinds of observed phenomena was gathered,
and once gathered became a guide to the priests for all times. However, not all of these ideas
are still used in astrology as it is usually practiced today.
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« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2008, 09:31:35 am »

                                                   Limits of early knowledge

Astrology in its earliest stage was marked by three characteristic limitations:

General nature

The first limitation was that the movements and position of the heavenly bodies point to such occurrences as are of public import and affect the general welfare.

The individual's interests are not in any way involved, and we must descend many centuries and
pass beyond the confines of Babylonia and Assyria before we reach that phase which in medieval
and modern astrology is almost exclusively dwelt upon - the individual horoscope.

In Babylonia and Assyria the cult centred largely and indeed almost exclusively in the public welfare
and the person of the king, because upon his well-being and favour with the gods the fortunes of
the country were dependent, in accordance with the ancient conception of kingship.

Astronomical expertise

The second limitation was that the astronomical knowledge presupposed and accompanying early Babylonian astrology was, though essentially of an empirical character, limited and flawed.

The theory of the ecliptic as representing the course of the sun through the year, divided among twelve constellations with a measurement of 30 to each division, is of Babylonian origin, as has
now been definitely proved; but it does not appear to have been perfected until after the fall of
the Babylonian empire in 539 B.C.

Similarly, the other accomplishments of Babylonian astronomers, such as their system or rather
systems of moon calculations and the drawing up of planetary tablets, belong to this late period,
so that the golden age of Babylonian astronomy belongs not to the remote past, as was until re-
cently supposed, but to the Seleucid period, i.e. after the advent of the Greeks in the Euphrates

From certain expressions used in astrological texts that are earlier than the 7th century B.C. it would appear, indeed, that the beginnings at least of the calculation of sun and moon eclipses belong to the earlier period, but here, too, the chief work accomplished was after 400 B.C., and the defectiveness
of early Babylonian astronomy may be gathered from the fact that as late as the 6th century B.C. an error of almost an entire month was made by the Babylonian astronomers in the attempt to determine through calculation the beginning of a certain year.

In a general way, the reign of law and order in the movements of the heavenly bodies was recognized, and indeed must have exercised an influence at an early period in leading to the rise of a methodical divination that was certainly of a much higher order than the examination of an animal's liver.

However, the importance that was laid upon the endless variations in the form of the phenomena and the equally numerous apparent deviations from what were regarded as normal conditions, prevented for a long time the rise of any serious study of astronomy beyond what was needed for the purely practical purposes that the priests as "inspectors" of the heavens (as they were also the "inspectors" of the sacrificial livers) had in mind.
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« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2008, 09:34:18 am »


The third limitation was that there is little evidence that the signs of the zodiac that we now
recognise, were used in Babylonian astronomy prior to 700 B.C..

However, probably from as early as the days of Hammurabi, i.e. c. 2000 B.C., Babylonian astro-
logers did develop the idea of constellations by depicting prominent groups of stars with outlines
of images derived from their mythology and religion.

The earliest irrefutable evidence for the use of constellations can be found in a variety of lexical
star-lists dating to the Old Babylonian Period.
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« Reply #35 on: October 14, 2008, 09:40:57 am »



Ashurbanipal was a king of Assyria who ruled in the seventh century BC from 668BC to 625BC.

He was famous for assembling a great library of cuneiform tablets in Nineveh on the subjects of astrology, history, mythology and science.

Some of Assurbanipal's astrologers, such as Rammanu-sumausar and Nabu-musisi, became so adept
at deducing omens from daily movements of the planets that a system of making periodical reports
to the king came into being.

Thus, Assurbanipal received swift messengers detailing 'all occurrences in heaven and earth' through-
out his kingdom and the results of his astrologer's examinations of them. He then used this information as a political weapon, and for the practical day-to-day running of his kingdom.

After his death Nineveh fell to the Medians and the Chaldean Babylonians, and Assurbanipal's library was destroyed or dispersed.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 09:48:49 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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