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date: 19 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter explores Mesopotamian astrology and astronomy, which were not distinct as pseudo-science is from science, and were together a major part of cuneiform intellectual culture. The writings consist of scholarly compendia, observational records, and predictive ephemerides, mostly produced after ca700 bce, at the court in Assyria, and later, in the major temples of Babylonian cities. Heavenly phenomena (astral, planetary, and lunar) were objects of study both as signs of future events and as phenomena in their own right. The systematic study and recording of astral phenomena as signs began in the Old Babylonian period (2000–1600 bce), and continued well after the conquest by Alexander. Babylonian astronomy used mathematical models (based on numerical sequences) to calculate periodic phenomena. The astral sciences, including celestial and natal divination, that is, omens and horoscopes, were parts of a scholarly discipline sustained over two millennia by cuneiform scribes in both Assyria and Babylonia.

Keywords: astrology, astronomy, horoscope, models, moon, observations, predictions, planets, stars

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