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date: 20 March 2023



  • G. J. Toomer
  •  and Alexander Jones


The use of the heliacal rising and setting of prominent stars or star-groups to mark points in the year is found in the earliest literature of the Greeks (*Homer and *Hesiod, e.g. Op. 619 ff.), and no doubt goes back to prehistoric times. This ‘traditional’ Greek astronomy continued (with some refinements borrowed from ‘scientific’ astronomy) to the end of antiquity. It was embodied in the ‘astronomical calendars’ (or παραπήγματα, so called from the practice of sticking a peg to mark the current day in holes along the sides) which began with *Meton and *Euctemon in the 5th cent. bce and of which several examples are preserved in manuscript and on stone. These mark important points of the year (including solstices and equinoxes), and use the risings and settings of stars as a basis for weather predictions (the latter already in Hesiod).2. Scientific astronomy in Greece hardly predates the 5th cent. bce.


  • Science, Technology, and Medicine

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