1-7 of 7 Results

  • Keywords: astronomy x
Clear all

Article

John Steele

The term “Babylonian astronomy” is used to refer to a diverse range of practices undertaken by people in ancient Babylonia and Assyria including what in modern English would be referred to as astronomy, astrology and celestial divination, and cosmology. The earliest astronomical or astrological texts preserved from Babylonia and Assyria date to the early 2nd millennium bce, although some basic astronomical knowledge such as the identification of a regular cycle of the moon, the identification of the planets as a distinct type of celestial object from the stars, and the grouping of stars into constellations dates back much earlier, perhaps even before the development of writing in the 4th millennium bce. Astronomical and astrological texts were still being written around 2,000 years later during the 1st century ce. These texts are some of the latest known texts written in cuneiform. Babylonian astronomy encompassed a range of practices, including the cataloguing of stars and constellations, the regular observation of celestial phenomena, the development and use of methods of predicting those same phenomena, and the interpretation of observed and computed astronomical data through various forms of astrology.

Article

Alexander Jones

During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, tables were extensively employed in Graeco-Roman astronomy to present structured, quantitative astronomical data for reference, calculation, and display of patterns of data. Media for tables included papyrus, in roll or codex format, wooden boards, and occasionally inscriptions. Aside from their didactic function in writings on theoretical astronomy such as Ptolemy’s Almagest, the chief practical applications of astronomical tables were in astrology. Tables for calculating celestial positions and phenomena of the heavenly bodies represented two distinct traditions: an originally Babylonian tradition based on arithmetical operations and a Greek tradition, best known from Ptolemy’s works, based on trigonometry relating to geometrical theories for the motions of the Sun, Moon, and planets. Both traditions made use of sexagesimal place-value notation. Additionally, almanacs and calendrically structured ephemerides presented celestial positions calculated over long spans of dates as a convenient tool for horoscopy and the astrological evaluation of days.

Article

Daryn Lehoux

Greek and Roman astrology was a culturally significant system of understanding the cosmos and people’s place in it. Astrology believed (and indeed, argued) that human destinies could be predicted, explained, or understood by looking at the positions of the planets and the orientation of the zodiac relative to the moment of an individual’s birth. Astrology was widely practiced and consumed at all levels of Greco-Roman society from approximately the first century bce onward. Details of how the system worked could vary from author to author, sometimes reaching impressive levels of computational or interpretative complexity. Astrology is one of the more prominent cultural exports of classical antiquity, still widely consumed, often in the form of (much simplified) daily horoscopes in newspapers or online.Astrology is the practice of converting astronomical data (including the positions and relationships of celestial bodies) into predictions or explanations of terrestrial events. Classical astrology developed in the Hellenistic age, as a modification of earlier Babylonian practices. .

Article

Hypatia  

Henriette Harich-Schwarzbauer

The philosopher Hypatia (350/370–415 ce) is one of the outstanding figures in the intellectual life of Late Antiquity. She is considered a symbol of the transformation of science and philosophy under the Christian bishops in Alexandria at the end of the 4th century ce. Her life and her works are well documented in different literary genres and by famous authors, namely by Synesius of Cyrene in his letters. The extant testimonies on her work prove that she was the guiding light of astronomy in Alexandria, where she was held in high esteem. Unsurprisingly, she became the target of aggression, and she was murdered ferociously in 415. Hypatia has been commemorated in the Byzantine and the Western traditions. She has experienced an impressive revival since the Enlightenment; even in the 21st century she is depicted as a heroine in fiction and film.Hypatia appears to have spent her entire life in her hometown of .

Article

Alexander Jones

The Antikythera Mechanism (National Archaeological Museum, Athens, inv. X 15087) was a Hellenistic gearwork device for displaying astronomical and chronological functions. Substantial but highly corroded remains of the instrument were recovered from an ancient shipwreck (see Figure 1).

The most complex scientific instrument to have survived from antiquity, it resembled the sphaerae or planetaria described by Cicero (1) and other Greco-Roman authors. The date of its construction is in dispute but must have been earlier than the middle of the 1st centurybce and can scarcely have been before the end of the 3rd centurybce. It is an invaluable witness for ancient mechanical technology at its most advanced level (see mechanics) as well as for Hellenistic astronomy.

Article

Aratus is said to have studied philosophy in Athens, probably coming into contact with Zeno, founder of the Stoic school; subsequently, in 276 bce, he arrived at the court of Antigonus (2) ‘Gonatas’ of Macedon. Little can be independently proven, since the extant lives probably all derive from a single Hellenistic commentator.1Aratus ranks among the finest Hellenistic poets, beside Callimachus (3) and Apollonius (1) Rhodius. He wrote many other works, most of which are lost.2 His sole surviving poem, the Phaenomena, which comprises more than a thousand lines in epic hexameters, describes the positions and motions of the constellations and teaches the reader how to recognize signs of impending weather on earth. The Phaenomena is written in an idealized version of the Archaic language of Homer and Hesiod, and contains mythological material in the form of aitia for some constellations.3 It falls into two parts, the ‘.

Article

Hypsicles of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician and astronomer who flourished around 190 bce. Two of his works are known to us: the first sets out a linear arithmetical scheme for computing the rising times of zodiacal signs (ascensions) and the second is a continuation of Euclid’s Elements which became known as Book XIV. The latter work contains a detailed study, in eight propositions and various lemmas, of the comparison between a dodecahedron and an icosahedron inscribed in the same sphere. This work was close to Euclid’s work in style and format and, because of this, became a part of the textual tradition of the Elements.Hypsicles, of Alexandria (1), mathematician and astronomer (fl. c.190bce), wrote:(1)Book XIV added to Euclid’s Elements. This contains interesting propositions and historical information about relationships between the regular dodecahedron and icosahedron inscribed in the same sphere.(2)On Rising Times.