Studies of Occidental Constellations and Star Names to the Classical Period: An Annotated Bibliography

Compiled by Gary D. Thompson

Copyright © 2001-2014 by Gary D. Thompson


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The possibility of Sumerian constellations and star names.
The astronomical origins of the alphabet.
The controversial issue of precessional re-alignment of Babylonian temples.
The controversial issue of precessional re-alignment of Greek temples.
The controversial "void zone" theory of constellation origins.
Gurshtein's gradualist concept of constellation origins and zodiacal development.
The ideas of Panbabylonism regarding constellations and star names.
The controversial use of Phainomena authored by Aratus of Soli.
Astronomical-astrological interpretations of Mithraism.
The "Did Cleostratus introduce the Babylonian zodiac to Greece?" debate.
The identification of kakkab mesri.
Some articles by Joseph Lockyer in the journal Nature.
The colour of Sirius in antiquity.
The existence of constellations in the Paleolithic Period?
Claims for an early knowledge of precession independent of Hipparchus.
Some articles by Robert Brown Junior.
Astrological geography.
The sphaera barbarica.
Astronomical depictions on ancient coins.
Origin and development of zodiacal and planetary symbols.
Articles by Bradley Schaefer on the origin of the Western constellations.
Diffusion and migration of star names and constellations.
Discussions of Classical astronomical texts.
Modern editions of the omen series Enūma Anu Enlil.

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The possibility of Sumerian constellations and star names.

Thureau-Dangin, François. (1919). "Un Acte de Donation de Marduk-Zâkir-Sumi." (Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Orientale, Volume XVI, Number 3, Pages 117-156). [Note: See especially page 147. The author (1872-1944) was a leading Assyriologist and Chief Conservateur of Oriental Antiquities at the Louvre Museum in Paris. See the (German-language) obituary by Ernst Weidner in Archiv für Orientforschung, Fünfzehnter Band, 1945-1951, Pages 174-175.]

Perel, Yu. (1963). "Plenum of the Commission on the History of Astronomy: Problems in the History of Astronomy in the East." (Soviet Astronomy - AJ, Volume 6, Number 5, March-April, Pages 735-736). [Note: Translated into English-language from Astronomichesskii Zhurnal, Volume 39, Number 5, Pages 951-952, September-October, 1962. Contains paragraph mention of report on "Calendar inscriptions in Sumerian pictographic texts of the early third millennium B.C." by A. Vaiman (The Hermitage, Leningrad). The paragraph summary reads in part: "The most ancient astronomical inscriptions are contained in memorial records. The pictographic texts discovered on monuments of the Sumerian city-states Uruk and Jemdet Nasr refer to the 29th century B.C., and consist of calendar inscriptions, testifying to the well developed level of astronomical knowledge that had already been acquired through observations (there are records of the rising and setting of Venus, and delineations of several constellations)." A. Vaiman is a Russian Sumerologist/cuneiform philologist and expert on Babylonian mathematics. The still existing problem with the earliest Mesopotamian scripts is properly understanding their meaning.]

van Dijk, J[?]. (1964-1965). "Le Motif Cosmique dans la Pensée Sumérienne." (Acta Orientalia Ediderunt Societates Orientales Danica Norvegica Svecica, Volume XXVIII, Pages 1-59). [Note: Interesting for its examination of Sumerian cosmological beliefs in religion and myth. The author was a Sumerologist. I do not think that Part 2 of the article appeared.]

Hartner, Willy. and Ettinghausen, Richard. (1964). "The Conquering Lion: The Life Cycle of a Symbol." (Oriens, Volume 17, (Number 11?), Pages 161-171 (plus 8 plates). [Note: Willy Hartner's discussion in this article is a prelude to his 1965 paper "The Earliest History of the Constellations in the Near East and the Motif of the Lion-Bull Combat."]

Hartner, Willy. (1965). "The Earliest History of the Constellations in the Near East and the Motif of the Lion-Bull Combat." (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume XXIV, 1965, Numbers 1 and 2, Pages 1-16, and Plates 1-XVI). [The article is unreliable. Willy Hartner was a distinguished historian of astronomy and science. Life dates: 1905-1981. See the (English-language) obituary by Michael Hoskin in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 25, 1984, Page 373.]

Alster, Bendt. (1974). "On the Interpretation of the Sumerian Myth "Inanna and Enki."" (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, Volume 64, I Halband, March, Pages 20-34). [Note: The Danish author, a leading Assyriologist (died 2012), gives an astronomical interpretation of the subject matter. He seems to have been influenced by "Hamlet's Mill," by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend (1969). The author later doubted some of his ideas and did not proceed with his proposed book "The Eternal Cycle" giving an astronomical interpretation of Sumerian mythology. (He literally tore up the manuscript.) His manuscript argued that the cyclical return of the planets, (and the sun and moon) played an important role in Mesopotamian religion. One source mistakenly gives: Alster, Bendt. (1975). "On the Interpretation of the Myth 'Inanna and Enki." (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, Band 4, Pages 20-34).]

Alster, Bendt. (1974). "The Paradigmatic Character of Mesopotamian Heroes." (Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Orientale, Volume LXVIII, Number 1, Pages 49-60). [Note: The author favours an astronomical interpretation of the subject matter.]

Alster, Bendt. (1976). "Early Patterns in Mesopotamian Literature." In: Eichler, Barry. (Editor). Kramer Anniversary Volume, Pages 13-24). [Note: The Danish author, a leading Assyriologist, gives an astronomical interpretation of the subject matter. Bendt Alster believed (at least at time of publication) astronomical observations could be discerned in Sumerian compositions that date as early as the middle of the 3rd-millennium BCE which refer to the movement of the heavenly bodies and the constellations.]

Wilcke, Claus. (1976). "Inanna/Ištar." In: Reallexikon der Assyriologie, Band 5, Pages 74-87). [Note: Wilcke notes: "Inanna (in Inanna's Descent) descends in late winter when stores are lowest." See also, for a nature Winter-Spring, interpretation, Thorkild Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness (1976, Pages 62-63).]

Hostetter, Homer. (1979). "A Planetary Visit to Hades." (Archaeoastronomy: The Bulletin of The Center for Archaeoastronomy, Volume II, Number 4, Fall, Pages 7-10). [Note: An astronomical interpretation of the Sumerian story of Inanna's descent into the underworld. (The author was unaware of Alster Bendt's 1974 article.) The Sumerian myth, Inanna's Descent to the Nether World, is an allegorical account of celestial events that probably occurred beginning in April, 2502 B.C. and concluded approximately 584 days later at the end of one Venus synodic period. Alternative years would be at eight-year intervals for perhaps 24 years before or after that date. The author does not identify that the Descent of Inanna was first written down circa 2000 BCE. [H.] Clyde Hostetter taught journalism at California Polytechnic State University from 1958 to 1983. He was awarded the status of Professor Emeritus of Journalism for his academic services. He was recently - for a number of years until circa 2008 - cruise lecturer for Royal Caribbean and Holland America. He has a photo-journalism degree from the University of Missouri. Hostetter became interested in archaeoastronomy in 1976 whilst working in Saudi Arabia for the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Commission on Joint Economic Cooperation. He is a proponent of the origins of complex astronomy in Sumeria circa 3000 BCE, and a diffusionist. The myth of Inanna's Descent to the Netherworld has been understood to describe the movement of the goddess in her astral form, the planet Venus, as it sets below the horizon in the west. Examples are: (1) Wilcke, Claus. (1976). "Inanna/Ištar." In: Reallexikon der Assyriologie, Band 5, Pages 74-87; and (2) Cooley, Jeffrey. (2008). "Early Mesopotamian Astral Science and Divination in the Myth of Inana And Šukaletuda." (Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, Volume 8, Number 1, Pages 75-98). In his entry "Inanna/Ištar," Wilcke notes: "Inanna (in Inanna's Descent) descends in late winter when stores are lowest." In the later version as soon as IInanna/Ištar has disappeared from the earth, the life process on the surface for the world of humans and animals stops. The Sumerians combined multiple (independent?) aspects of Inanna’s character in epics concerning her. It has been noted that some mythological narratives dwell on the astral aspect of Inanna/Ištar, albeit indirectly. A contributor to, Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (General Editor, Sarah Johnston, Volume 1: Mediterranean Region-Religion, 2004, Pages 581-582) states that the epic of Inanna's descent into the underworld is not primarily an astral allegory relating to the goddess Inanna as Venus.  In the myth Inanna and Šu-kale-tuda, the gardener Šu-kale-tuda violates the goddess whilst she is asleep under a tree. Furious with what has happened, Inanna/Ištar searches for Šu-kale-tuda. The course Inanna takes in searching for her violator has been suggested by a number of commentators to mimic that of the astral course of the planet Venus. Likewise, the movements of Inanna in the myth of Inanna and Enki, in which the goddess travels first to Enki's city Eridu from Uruk and travels back again, recalls the cycle of Venus. Commentators (including Bendt Alster) hold that probably the same journey was enacted terrestrially in festivals.]

Perera, Sylvia. (1981). Descent to the Goddess. [Note: The author, a Jungian analyst, holds that the journey of Inanna through the seven gates of the Underworld represents various planetary positions of Venus.]

Thompson, William. (1981). The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origin of Culture. [Note: Written from the perspective of Jungian psychology. The author gives an astral interpretation of the myth of Inanna based on the movements of Venus (= Inanna) and Mercury (= Enki). William Thompson, a poet and cultural historian, has taught in various fields of the humanities and social sciences at Cornell, MIT, York, Syracuse, and the Universities of Toronto and Hawaii. He was nominated for the National Book Award in the US in 1972 and received the Oslo Poetry Festival Award in 1986. Since 1973 his major effort has been in the founding and directing of the Lindisfarne Association as an educational alternative for the humanities in a technological society. Over the years, Lindisfarne has been a moveable feast, with activities in Manhattan, New York; Southampton, Long Island; San Francisco, California; and Crestone, Colorado.]

Hostetter, Homer. (1982). "Inanna Visits the Land of the Dead: An Astronomical Interpretation." (Griffith Observer, February, Pages 9-15). [Note: The author's astronomical interpretation holds that the myth describes a 584-day synodic period of Venus that began with inferior conjunction shortly before the spring equinox. One of 3 articles in the Griffith Observer using material that would later form his book "Star Trek to Hawa-i'i" (1991). The other 2 articles were "The Bowl of Ishtar" (July, 1979); and "The Eclipse That Failed" (March, 1983). For a contrary view see: "The Descent of Inanna as a Ritual Journey to Kutha?" by Giorgio Buccellati (Syro-Mesopotamian Studies, Volume 4, Issue 3, December, 1982, Pages 3-7). See also a brief critique of Hostetter's article in: "A Catalog of Near Eastern Venus Deities." by Wolfgang Heimpel (Syro-Mesopotamian Studies, Volume 4, Issue 3, December, 1982, Pages 9-22).]

Heimpel, Wolfgang. (1982). "A Catalog of Near Eastern Venus Deities." (Syro-Mesopotamian Studies, Volume 4, Issue 3, December, 1982, Pages 9-22). [Note: Holds that the Sumerians identified Inanna with the planet Venus.]

van der Waerden, Bartel. (1984). "Greek Astronomical Calendars I. The Parapega of Euctemon." (Archive for the History of the Exact Sciences, Volume 29, Pages 101-114). [Note: Contains a section redating the Mul.Apin series to circa 2300 BCE. This change was influenced by Werner Papke's 1978 doctoral thesis. Bartel van der Waerden believed that astronomy of the Babylonians and Greeks attained a high level at an early date and so was drawn towards speculative arguments for such.]

Bruschweiler, Françoise. (1987). Inanna: la déesse triomphante et vaincue dans la cosmologie sumérienne: recherche lexicographique.

Szarzynska, Krystyna. (1987). "The Sumerian Goddess INANA-KUR." (Orientalia Varsoviensia, Volume 1).

Papke, Werner. (1989; reprinted 1994). Die Sterne von Babylon. [Note: Reprinted 1994 as Die geheime Botschaft des Gilgamesch. Unreliable. See pages 237-276 for his argument dating the Mul.Apin series to Babylon circa 2300 BCE. See the devastating (English-language) book review/critique by the assyriologist Alasdair Livingstone in Bibliotheca Orientalis, Volume XLIX, Number 1/2, januari-maart, 1992, Columns 165/166?-168. Life dates: 1944-.]

Horowitz, Wayne. (1991). "Further Notes on Birmingham Cuneiform Tablets volume I." (Acta Sumerologica, Volume 13, Pages 406-417). [Note: The article includes a brief discussion of possible evidence pointing to an Ur III origin of at least some constellation and star names.]

Szarzynska, Krystyna. (1993). "Offerings for the Goddess Inana in Archaic Uruk." (Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Orientale, Volume 87, Number 1, Pages 7-28). [Note: Argues that Uruk cuneiform tablets circa 3000 BCE show the Sumerians identified the goddess Inanna as morning Venus-star and evening Venus-star. See also: Archaische Text aus Uruk by A[?]. Falkenstein (1936).]

Cohen, Mark. (1993). The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East. [Note: See pages 178-180.]

Horowitz, Wayne. (1998). Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography. [Note: On pages 166-168 the author discusses evidence indicating the possibility of Sumerian star charts.]

Mandar, Pietro. (1999). "Jānua hominum et deorum in the Sumerian Mythological Texts." (AION, Volume 59, Numbers 1-4, Pages 1-16?). [Note: Somewhat speculative paper on Mesopotamian cosmic gates. AION = Annali dell' Istituto Orientale di Napoli.]

Kurtik, G[?]. (1999). "The identification of Inanna with the planet Venus: A criterion for the time determination of the recognition of constellations in ancient Mesopotamia." (Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions, Volume 17, Issue 6, Pages 501-513).  [Note: Abstract: "The author of the paper believes that the identification of Inanna with Venus as the morning or evening star chronologically preceded the time when the first constellations began to be recognized in Ancient Mesopotamia. If this is correct, the date of identification can be used as a reference point for the determination of the earliest probable limit for the epoch when in Mesopotamia the process of constellation recognition have been started. The earliest known images with the symbol of Inanna date from the period of archaic Uruk. They can be divided into two groups: (1) the images on seals and ceramics where there are no astral attributes; (2) the pictographic texts where the picture of a star and the signs of a sunrise or a sunset are placed alongside the symbol of Inanna. The pictographic texts, however, admit also a non-astral interpretation, if the picture of a star is a determinative of a deity. The astral nature of Inanna for the Uruk period therefore cannot be considered as finally proved. The identification of Inanna with Venus is reliably certified on seals of the Early Dynastic Period where there are at once three astral symbols - the crescent, the solar disk and the star of Inanna."]

Soltysiak, Arkadiusz. (1999). "The Tree of Life and the Serpent of Truth: Celestial location and astronomical significance of the Paradise." (In: Lebeuf, Arnold. and Ziolkowski, M[?]. (Editors). Actes de la Vème Conférence Annuelle de la SEAC. Gdańsk 1997. Pages 41-67).

Casaburi, Maria (1999). "Sumerian Astral Nomenclature and Alternations in Writing: The Case of Astrolabe B." (Annali dell'Instituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli, Volume 59, Number 1-4, Pages 405-408). [Note: A note discussing a specimen of Sumerian astral nomenclature found in Astrolabe B. The journal is published by: Dipartimento di studi del mondo classico e mediterraneo antico.]

Soltysiak, Arkadiusz. (2000). "Adapa, Etana and Gilgameš: Three Sumerian Rulers among the Constellations." In: Esteban, César. and Belmonte, Juan. (Editors). Oxford VI and SEAC 99. Astronomy and Cultural Diversity. (Pages 289-293 (294)). [Note: This publication is the proceedings of the 6th "Oxford" international symposium on archaeoastronomy, jointly with the SEAC99 (European archaeoastronomy) meeting, held in La Laguna, Tenerife, in 1999. Copies of the book are exceedingly rare due to water damage to stock during a devastating Madrid flood. A PDF file has now (February, 2010) been kindly made available by Michael Rappenglück and is freely downloadable from the publications page of the SEAC web site.]

Szarzynska, Kristina. (2000). "The Cult of the Goddess Inanna in Archaic Uruk." (Nin – Journal of Gender Studies in Antiquity, Volume 1, Pages 63-74). [Note: Thematic Issue on the Goddess Inanna/Ishtar, published by Styx Publications, The Netherlands, for the Women's Association of Ancient Near Eastern Studies (WANES).]

Brown, David. (2000). Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology. [Note: See especially pages 67, and 245-248.]

Soltysiak, Arkadiusz. (2001). "The Bull of Heaven in Mesopotamian sources." (Culture and Cosmos, Volume 5, Number 2, Autumn/Winter, Pages 3-21). [Note: A very interesting article.]

Katz, Dina. (2003). The Image of the Nether World in the Sumerian Sources. [Note: The book is a revision of her 1993 doctoral dissertation. Identifies traces of Inanna as the movements of Venus within the story. Page 95: "The phrase kur-e11-dè in Inanna's list of me indicates that hers was a periodic descent and therefore, must be related to her astral aspect as the planet Venus." Pages 96: "It is more likely that the myth explains the course of Venus as it is best seen from Earth. When Inanna identifies herself to the gatekeeper in line 81 saying that she goes to the east, it coincides with the appearance of Venus as the morning-star in the east, after a short invisibility following her setting in the west, andcan be explained with that astronomical background. Until she rises in the east, Inanna must move eastward unseen ...." Page 96: "Shining as the evening-star in the sky, Venus appears to move horizontally (gen), westward ...." Page 274: "We can attribute to Inanna a descent to the netherworld in her astral image as the planet Venus. Venus disappears twice during a cycle of 19 months and thus, it can explain the first part of ID ...."]

Soltysiak, Arkadiusz. (2003). "Betrayed lovers of Ishtar: A possible trace of the 8-Year Venus cycle in Gilgames VI: i-iii." (In: Calendars, Symbols and Orientations: Legacies of Astronomy in Culture, Proceedings of the 9th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture (SEAC), 2001, Uppsala Astronomical Observatory Report Number 59, Pages 101-106). [Note: The author is in the Department of Historical Anthropology, Institute of Archaeology, Warsaw, Poland. The paper was written within the project "Constellations in the mythologies of ancient Mesopotamia," financed by the Polish Committee for Scientific Research. The author discusses the possibility that the list of lovers of the goddess Ištar are related to the constellations of the heliacal settings of Venus in the 8-year cycle. See the (English-language) book review by I[?]. Pustylnik in Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions, Volume 21, Numbers 1-3, 2002, Pages 155-158.]

Horowitz, Wayne. (2005). "Some Thoughts on Sumerian Star-Names and Sumerian Astronomy." In: Sefati, Yitzhak. et. al. (Editors). An Experienced Scribe Who Neglects Nothing: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Jacob Klein. (Pages 163-178). [Note: Kindly brought to my attention by John Halloran. Wayne Horowitz discusses a tablet (The Nippur Forerunner to Tablet 22 of Urra = hubullu) listing 2 star names in Sumerian (line 396 having: mul gisz apin; and line 410 having: mul lu2.hun.ga2) which he believes were in use in Sumer and Akkad in the 3rd millennium BCE.]

Cooley, Jeffrey. (2008). "Early Mesopotamian Astral Science and Divination in the Myth of Inana And Šukaletuda." (Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, Volume 8, Number 1, Pages 75-98). [Note: The author holds the myth is related to the synodic activity of the planet Venus. Unfortunately the author seems unaware of the early articles of Bendt Alster and also (importantly) the 1982 article by Homer Hostetter which deals with Inanna as the planet Venus. Abstract: "The Sumerian tale of Inana and Shukaletuda recounts how the goddess Inana is raped by a homely gardener upon whom she seeks and ultimately finds revenge. Though this general plot has long been understood, certain elements of the story have remained largely unexplored. Previous scholarship has often suggested that within Inana and Shukaletuda, the goddess Inana is often described in her astral manifestation (e.g. S. Kramer 1961, 117; K. Volk 1995, 177-179 and 182-183; B. Alster 1999, 687; J. Cooper 2001, 142-144). Nevertheless, to date there has been no systematic treatment of this assumption and this study seeks to fill this gap. It is my thesis that certain events of the story (i.e. Inana's movements) can be related to a series of observable celestial phenomena, specifically the synodic activity of the planet Venus. This also explains the heretofore enigmatic climax of the story, in which Inana crosses the entire sky in order to finally locate her attacker, as a celestial miracle required by the planet Venus' peculiar celestial limitations. Furthermore, since in ancient Iraq the observation of astronomical phenomena was often done for the purpose of celestial divination, I suggest that certain events within the story may be illuminated if situated within that undertaking."]

Cooley, Jeffrey. (2008). "Inana And Šukaletuda: A Sumerian Astral Myth." (KASKAL Rivista di storio, ambienti e culture del Vicino Oriente Antico [A Journal of History, Environments, and Cultures of the Ancient Near East], Volume 5, Pages 161-172). [Note: The author readily admits his thesis is fraught with speculations and assumptions, and the specifics to be tenuous.]

Jakubiak, Krzysztof. and Sołtysiak, Arkadiusz. (2009). "Mesopotamian influences on Persian sky-watching and calendars. Part II. Ishtar and Anahita." (Archaeologia Baltica, Volume 10, Number 1, Pages 45-51). [Note: Conference papers. The publication is based on the presentations of the international SEAC 2007 and OXFORD VIII conference "Astronomy and cosmology in folk traditions and cultural heritage." The SEAC (La Société Européenne pour l'Astronomie dans la Culture) and ISAAC (The International Society for Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture) conference was held on 22-31 July, 2007 and organized in Klaipėda by Klaipėda University in collaboration with the Molėtai District Museum. Abstract: "There are a small number of similarities between Ishtar and Anahit, the Persian and Babylonian Venus-goddesses. These similarities may result from cultural diffusion between Persia and Mesopotamia, which was mainly eastwards. We present a comparison of the attributes belonging to both Ishtar and Anahita. This is mainly based on the Mesopotamian sources, since the Persian ones are very meagre. The relationships and influences between the two goddesses are visible in the symbolism of the planet Venus and the constellation Leo, and are associated with autumnal equinox festivals." Page 45: "Inanna/Ishtar was the most important female deity in ancient Mesopotamia. Her name is documented first in the archaic tablets found in Uruk/Warka, which date back to ca. 3200 BCE. At that time she was already connected with the planet Venus and therefore called dINANA-UD/húd (Inanna of the evening) and dINANA-sig (Inanna of the morning). The name dINANA-KUR (Inanna of the Netherworld) is also attested, though less frequently (Szarzyńska 1997, p.116, 177). The three names seem to reflect the three phases of Venus visibility." Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Department of Bioarcheology, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, Poland; Krzysztof Jakubiak, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, Poland.]

 


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The astronomical origins of the alphabet.

Seyffarth, Gustav[us]. (1855). Berichtigungen der roemischen, griechischen, persischen, aegyptischen, hebraeischen Geschichte und Zeitrechnung, Mythologie und alten Religionsgeschichte: auf Grund neuer historischer und astronomischer Huelfsmittel. [Note: Gustav[us] Seyffarth was a Lutheran Clergyman and acclaimed Achaeologist and Egyptologist. He was born in Ubigau, Saxony (Germany) and died in New York City (USA). He studied at the Gymnasium in Leipsic, then at the University of Leipsic, and in 1820 in Paris under the direction of Champollion, the celebrated French Egyptologist. He became well-known as Archaeologist, and as a decipherer of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Seyffarth was a rival of Champollion on the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics. He claimed to have been the first person to decipher the hieroglyphics on the Rosetta Stone. From 1825 to 1855 he was Professor of Oriental Archeology at the University of Leipsic. In 1855 he emigrated to the United States, and was elected Professor of Archeology and Exegesis in Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, where he remained until his retirement in 1871. From 1871 until his death he resided in New York. In 1878 he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his doctorate, and received from the University of Leipsic an annual pension, in recognition of original investigations in archaeology. During his retirement he translated numerous Egyptian manuscripts in the collection of the New York Historical Society. He held the belief in the zodiacal origins of the alphabet. Seyffarth believed that the alphabet was a reproduction of the zodiac with the constellation of the planets at a point in time of 3446 BCE. See also: The Literary life of Gustavus Seyffarth: An Autobiographical Sketch, edited by K[arl?]. Knortz (1886). Gustav[us] Seyffarth also knew the Lutheran minister Joseph Seiss who supported the "gospel in the stars" theory. Life dates: 1796-1885.]

Broome, John. (1881). The Astral Origins of the Emblems, the Zodiacal Signs, and the Astral Hebrew Alphabet. [Note: A very small book (20-page essay) based on an earlier 8-page essay by the author. Speculative and unreliable. See the critical (English-language) book review by Archibald Sayce in Nature, Volume XXV, Thursday April 6, 1882, Pages 525-526. See also the (English-language) book review by ? in Historic Magazine and Notes and Queries, Volume 24, 1906, Page 28. At the time of publication Reverend John Broome was the Vicar of Houghton, Norfolk, England. (The author was an amateur antiquarian.) The essay was originally published as "The Astral Hebrew Alphabet," in 1870[1871?] as Appendix of Volume 8[9?] of the Astronomical Register. It was also published as a separate (8-page) pamphlet in 1870[?] and 1871. The full title of the publication the essay originally appeared in was Astronomical Register: A Medium of Communication for Amateur Observers and All Others Interested in the Science of Astronomy.]

Winckler, Hugo. (1902). Die Babylonische Kultur in ihren Beziehungen zur Unsrigen. [Note: The author of this pamphlet was a key Panbabylonist. See the (French-language) book review by M[?]. I[?]. in Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, Vingt-Troisième Année, Tome Quarante-Sixième, 1902, Pages 403-404. Hugo Winckler (1863-1913) was a German Cuneiform Philologist.]

Hommel, Fritz. (1904). "Die Planeten- und Tierkreisgötter der Elamiter und die Planetenzeichen im west-semitischen Alphabet." (Pages 262-266). (Verhandlungen des XIII. Internationalen Orientalisten - Kongresses, 1902.) [Note: Paper presented at the (Thirteenth) International Congress of Orientalists, 1902, Leiden. Published 1904. The Jewish Quarterly Review, Volume 20, 1908, discusses that both Hugo Winckler and Fritz Hommel had independently argued that the alphabet has an astral origin. The eminent Polish/German epigraphist Mark Lidzbarski (1868-1928) capably criticised their arguments. In 1929 the Chinese scholar and writer Guo Moruo (1892-1978), wrote a lengthy article (nearly 200 pages in Chinese) in the 1930s following the views of Panbabylonism (specifically those of Alfred Jeremias?) on the astral origins of the alphabet. This paper has never been translated into English and is now almost forgotten.]

Hirschfeld, Hartwig. (1911). "Recent Theories on the Origin of the Alphabet." (The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, October, Pages 963-977). [Note: Includes a short critique of Fritz Hommel's astral theory.]

Stucken, Eduard. (1913). Der Ursprung des Alphabets und die Mondstationen. [Note: The author was an amateur philologist and principal Panbabylonist who was criticized for knowing no restraint. See the extensive (German-language) review by Wolfgang Schultz in Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, Volume XVII (17. Jahrgang), Mai, 1914, Number 5, Columns 210-215. Eduard Stucken (1865-1936) was a German Writer/Amateur Philologist.]

Bates, William. (1916). The Origin of the Greek Alphabet. [Note: Discusses the idea of the astral origin of the alphabet.]

Hommel, Fritz. (1920). Zur astralen Anordnung des phönikisch-griechischen Alphabets. [Note: Fritz Hommel (1854-1936) was a distinguished German Semiticist/Assyriologist.]

Dornseiff, Franz. (1925). Das Alphabet in Mystik und Magie. [Note: Based on his 1916 PhD thesis at Heidelberg, Buchstabenmystik. See the (English-language) book review by Ernst Riess in The American Journal of Philology, Volume 44, Number 2, 1923, Pages 184-187. Life dates: 1888-1960.]

Hommel, Fritz. (1926). Ethnologie und Geographie des Alten Orients. (Pages 96-104).

Bauer, Hans. (1937). Der Ursprung des Alphabets. [Note: The author was an Orientalist. The British Egyptologist Alan Gardiner published a pamphlet (Palestine Exploration Fund) "Review of H. Bauer, Der Ursprung des Alphabets" the same year.]

Wadler, Arnold. (1948; Reprinted 2006). One Language - Source of All Tongues. [Note: The authors only book in English. Full of silly ideas. Based on the occult foundations of linguistics expoused by Rudolph Steiner. Stated to fall within the (supposed) class of spiritual scientific literature. Wadler held that pre-Columbian America held the key to understanding the origin of human language and culture. Chapters include: The Tower of Babel; The Origin of Writing in Picture Consciousness; The Spirit of Words; The Lost Continent of Atlantis; American Tongues and Universal Human Speech; Language in the Past and Future. Wadler searched for the common mother language which he believed to have been in use before the Babylonian language and confusion (described in the Bible). From Publisher 2006 reprint: "From ancient times, we are told in the story of the Tower of Babel, human beings have been separated by different languages and, consequently, different cultures. Over the centuries, this division has increased and the distance between nations and peoples has prevented true communication and understanding. Gradually, mutations of meaning within single languages have further isolated individuals from one another. Toward the end of the twentieth century, however, a newly intensified consciousness arose-one that sought the basis of a new unity. This has resulted in, among other things, the budding globalization of world societies, economically, politically, and culturally. Linguists and language historians have long searched for the source of our original unity-the one language from which we were separated. Inspired by a pamphlet on the origin of language by Hermann Beckh, and encouraged by his study of Rudolf Steiner's works, Dr. Arnold D. Wadler began 30 years of research into the tongues of various human families. In One Language, he lifts the veil from pre-Columbian America and reveals its place in the developing life of earthly human beings. Based on language and custom, ancient America can be seen as the key to the question of the common primeval tongue of the origin of humanity and modern civilization. His comprehensive grasp of the subject and his broad understanding of history, religion, art, and the science of language places this book among the classics of spiritual scientific literature." Dr. Arnold Wadler (1882-circa1960?) began his lifelong study of ancient and modern languages at an early age. His purpose was to discover the common origin of all languages. His goal was to learn a language representing every linguistic family, including Germanic, Romance, Slavic, Semitic, Chinese, African, and pre-Columbian American vernaculars. Wadler was influenced early on by Herman Beckh of Berlin University, a student of Rudolf Steiner. With the beginning of World War II, he left Germany and moved to Switzerland, where he published The Tower of Babel; Germanic Prehistory; and The Aryan Riddle. Both these books and his work in general was controversial (eccentric), and largely ignored by mainstream scholars of the time. However, his books sold well in Germany to the reading public. Wadler moved to France and then to Spain and Portugal before leaving Europe for New York in 1940. In 1942, Wadler was invited by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs to visit "Indian Country." This took him to New Mexico and Arizona where he studied Native American culture, speech, and religion. Wadler continued to write and lecture throughout his life.]

Rosch-Pinnah, Eliyahu. (1952). Astrologie im hebraeischen Alphabet. [Note: A 39-page study of astrology in the Hebrew alphabet, with emphasis on a particular Hebrew word and its astrological meaning. Eliyahu Rosch-Pinnah is Ernst Ettisch.]

Moran, Hugh. and Kelley, David. (1953; Second revised edition 1969). The Alphabet and Ancient Calendar Signs. [Note: The book is comprised of separate essays by both authors - the longer one by Hugh Moran is unreliable. Our alphabet uses a visual mark (letter) to represent a sound of spoken language, rather than a complete idea (i.e., pictograph or ideogram). Hugh Moran claimed to have established a definite link between the shapes of the Semitic letters of our phonetic alphabet and those of the Chinese lunar zodiac. According to Moran the letters of the Hebrew, Greek and Arabic alphabets are based on/derived from the signs of the Chinese lunar zodiac. According to Moran the underlying unifying force was religion. It is sometimes claimed that Moran was a Sinologist. He was not. His academic studies focused on religion/theology. See the (German-language) book review by Johannes Schubert in Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, Volume 69, 1974, Number 7/8, Columns 338-340; and the critical (English-language) article book review "The Evolution and Diffusion of writing. Review of The Alphabet and the Ancient Calendar Signs." by Marshall Durbin in American Anthropologist, Volume 73, Number 2, April, 1971, Pages 299-304 (accessible online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/aa.1971.73.2.02a00010/pdf). See also the 65 page monograph "Correspondences Between the Chinese Calendar Signs and the Phoenician Alphabet" by Julie Wei (1999). The monograph was issued as part of Sino-Platonic Papers edited by Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania. Sino-Platonic Papers is Mair’s own private (non-peer-reviewed) publication that has a very small circulation. Victor Mair, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania, has also investigated the possible connection between the lunar calendar and the origin of the alphabet. (On the astronomical origins of the alphabet see the corrective article "Origine de L'Alphabet" by Émile Puech [est directeur de Recherche au CNRS, directeur de la Revue de Qumrân] (Revue Biblique, Tome XCIII, 1986, Pages 161-213).) Hugh Moran (1881-1977) was a Presbyterian Minister/Clergyman and missionary, Rhodes Scholar and author. His books were all religious in nature. (His publications included: The Story of Santa Claus (1952, 32 Pages).) He graduated from Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, in 1905 (A.B.). He attended Wadham College, Oxford, 1905-1908 and received a B.A. in Theology. He was ordained in 1909. In 1911 he married Irene Hornby. At University of Oxford (Wadham College?), Oxford, England, in 1920, he received a master's degree and honours in theology (he specialized in ancient languages and the history of religion). During the Oriental phase of his career he worked in the YMCA (Secretary of the International Committee) in China from 1909 to 1913 (in 1912 he founded the YMCA at Hangkow, China). From 1913 to 1915 he was in New York City (Boy and Student Department, YMCA, 1914-1915). From 1916-1917 he was appointed Director to oversee POW relief (War Prisoners Aid) in Siberia. In 1917 he was also Special Aide, Root Diplomatic Mission to Russia. In 1918 he was with the YMCA in Russia. On his permanent return to the USA, he became a member of the board of chaplains at Cornell University and remained there for over 20 years. (He was Presbyterian Student Pastor of Cornell University from 1919 to 1942, and Director of Religion at Cornell University.) While at Cornell University he received a Kent Fellowship and combined doctoral degree from Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary, and Columbia University. (Kent Fellowship from from Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary; and PhD from Columbia University.) He retired in 1942 to Los Altos (Palo Alto?), California. (For biographical/academic information see: Register of Rhodes Scholars, 1903-1945 (2007).) Dr. David Kelley (1924-?) born in Albany, New York, is a Canadian archaeologist and epigrapher, noted for his work on the phonetic analysis - and major contributions toward the decipherment - of the writing system used by the Maya civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, the Maya script. He has a PhD in archaeology from Harvard University. He has taught at the University of Nebraska but much of his academic career has been with the University of Calgary (Professor of Archaeology). Points in his essay in the book that Kelley considered to be wrong were corrected in his 1970 paper "Indo-Greek cosmology and science in ancient Meso-America." presented at the New World Writing conference, New York: American Museum of Natural History.]

Kelly, David. (1960). “Calendar Animals and Deities.” (Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, Volume 16, Number 3, Pages 317-337). [Note: Gordon Ekholm (archaeologist, PhD Harvard, 1909-1987) writing 1960 states: "A study of exceptional interest. The lists of calendar names and deities (day names, lunar houses or constellations, and the deities connected with them) in India, China, Southeast Asia Greece and Polynesia are compared with the Aztec and Maya lists. It is shown that they have degrees of similarity that can only be explained by historical contact. It is also shown that the letters of the Hebrew-Greek alphabet may be derived from the sequences of lunar mansions, and that they also show some similarity with the list of Maya day names. The author postulates trans-Pacific contact in the period between the seventh and fourth centuries B.C. to account for the transfer of these ideas to the New World."]

Gordon, Cyrus. (1970). "The Accidental Invention of the Phonemic Alphabet." (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 29, Number 3, Pages 193-197). [Note: Gordon earned his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania when he was 22. He became a leading Semitic languages scholar and had over 600 publications to his credit. Gordon, an authority on Ugarit and Ugaritic (a Semitic language used by Late Bronze Age Canaanites at Ugarit, Syria, circa 1550-1175 BCE; and written with a unique cuneiform alphabet), was a proponent of numerous eccentric causes. He believed he had identified a lunar zodiac in the order of the letters of the Ugarit cuneiform alphabet. Gordon's identification of a lunar zodiac in the letters of the Ugarit cuneiform alphabet has not met with general acceptance. Life dates 1908-2001.]

Bausani, Alessandro. (1978). "L'alfabeto come calendario arcaico." (Oriens Antiquus, Volume XVII, Pages 131-146). [Note: The title in English is: "The alphabet as an archaic calendar." Bausani suggested the Ugaritic cuneiform alphabet was connected with a lunar-based calendar. "I would like to end this brief discussion of problems connected with the alphabet by touching on a question that has long remained unexplained, although recently an unexpected and interesting solution may have been found: the order of succession of the signs. The order followed by our own letters (a, b, c, d, e...) is extremely ancient: it is directly documented in the 14th century B.C. in a primer found in Ugarit. Why are the signs in this order and not another? The reasons are certainly not phonetic (phonetically similar sounds such as t and d, s and z are placed for apart) or graphic (graphically similar signs such as `ayn and tet, gimel and lamed, or gimel and pe are not close together); on the other hand, it is difficult to believe in a casual grouping, totally devoid of guiding criteria, knowing the mentality of ancient Near East civilizations. In 1978 Alessandro Bausani, the brilliant orientalist who went on to specialize in History of Oriental Astronomy, suggested a new solution : on the basis of a study of lunar stations in Arab, Indian, and Iranian astronomy, which have sometimes ben related to the signs of the Arab alphabet according to its ancient order (corresponding to the Phoenician one), Bausani came to the conclusion that the Phoenician alphabetical order depicts a sort of calendar where the signs 'aleph, tet, `ayn and taw represent, in that order, the autumn equinox, the winter solstice, the spring equinox and the summer solstice. All this in an astronomical situation where the full moon of the autumn equinox occurred near the Pleiades, that is, around 2000 or 1600 B.C. The latter date corresponds exactly to what we have said about the beginnings of the alphabet. In its traditional order, the alphabet would then amount to a sort of primitive calendar, however approximate, which was worked out in a region like the Near East where summer, with its attendant drought, was felt to be especially inimical. The hypothesis of the calendar-like nature of the alphabet as a whole, and in particular the order of the signs which, as Bausani says, 'probably symbolized the days of a complete lunation felt to be more benevolent than others', has been significantly confirmed by Syro-Palestinian epigraphic documentation dating from the 1st millennium B.C. Numerous vases and seals, as well as various stands, present more or less complete alphabetical series, which are sometimes preceded by the preposition l, 'for'. Since these objects are always connected with religious ritual (votive or funerary), the religious character taken on by the alphabet in this context is evident. The presence of the above-mentioned preposition makes it probable that the expression 'for 'bgdh...' (this is the beginning of the Phoenician alphabet) corresponds to the expression l`lm 'for always' - a well-wishing formula addressed to both the living and the dead. When in the Apocalypse Goo introduces Himself with the words: 'I am the Alpha and Omega', using the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet to signify His eternity, we again meet the ancient Phoenician concept of the alphabet as symbolic of cyclic time, and we understand perhaps why the inventor of the alphabet wished to keep that relationship between sound and graphic sign which to us seems entirely superfluous." (Garbini, Giovanni; “The Question of the Alphabet,” Pages. 86-103, In: Moscati, Sabatino; The Phoenicians, 1988. [Mentions Alessandro Bausani, 1978 hypothesis on alphabet order, Page 102.].)]

Ettisch, Ernst. (1987). The Hebrew Vowels and Consonants as Symbols of Ancient Astronomic Concepts. [Note: Translated from an unpublished German-language manuscript by Harry Zohn. Ernst Ettisch (Eliyahu Rosch-Pinnah) was born in Berlin, Germany. He received doctorate in political science from the University of Berlin in 1922, and a doctorate of laws from the University of Freiburg in 1924. He emigrated to Palestine in 1934. For a time he was employed by the Canadian Assurance Company. He returned to Berlin in 1958, and was employed as a legal counselor. He  taught Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic on a voluntary basis at the Free University of Berlin. In 1961 he delivered a lecture on the significance of astronomy for the languages and scripts of ancient civilisations at the Universityof Frankfort. He died of heart failure in 1964. Ernst Ettisch has been categorized as a Revisionist Zionist. Also, see his article "Die Säge als Sonnensymbol im Alten Orient und ihre Darstellung in der jüdischen Mystik." (Paideuma: Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde, Volume 7, Number 7?, 1961, Pages 345-351). Anonymously reviewed in Anthropos, Volume 57, 1962, Page 208. The (English-language) book review in The World, Volume 1, Issue 11, 1988, states it is an interesting and highly researched book. Life dates: 1901-1964.]

Mair, Victor. (1992). "West Eurasian and North African Influences on the Origins of Chinese Writing." In: Luk, Bernard. (Editor). Contacts Between Cultures: Eastern Asia: Literature and Humanities, Volume 3 (Pages 335-338). [Note: At the 1990 ICANAS (= ICO) in Toronto, three scholars - Cyrus Gordon, Edwin Pulleyblank (Canadian Sinologist (now, (2010) Professor Emeritius), and Victor Mair - gave presentations asserting that the lunar calendar signs used in China are borrowed from the Ugaritic (type) "alphabet." ICANAS = International Congress of Asian and North African Studies. ICO - International Congress of Orientalists.]

Sermonti, Giuseppe. (1994). "Le nostre costellazioni nel ciclo de paleolitico." (Giornale di Astronomia, Volume 20, Number 3, Pages 4-8). [Note: The author is a geneticist and antievolutionist. Unreliable.]

Teames, Sally. (1997). "The Astronomical Origin of the Alphabet." (Paper presented at: Third Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop, University of Notre Dame, June 19-22; and The Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 109th Annual Meeting, June 29-30). [Note: The author is a school teacher. Paper abstract: "The Proto-Semitic alphabet is the ancestor of Greek, Etruscan, Roman, and all existing true alphabets in use today. It was the immediate predecessor of the early Semitic alphabets of the Hebrews, Phoenicians, Moabites, Edomites, Ammonites, Aramean, and South Arabians. Each of the twenty-two letters in the Proto-Semitic alphabet matches a constellation or asterism in or along the ecliptic. Not only do they match in shape and pattern, they also fall in the same general order, with only two constellations (Pisces and Aries) being out of sequence in the alphabetical order. The matching of certain letters is strengthened by the association of certain aspects of Mesopotamian skylore and by the fact that most of the corresponding letters in the Ugaritic cuneiform alphabet (1500­1200 BC) also match the same constellations. The implications of the findings of this research are threefold. First, the Proto-Semitic alphabet did not derive from the primitive Proto-Sinaitic alphabet at the turquoise mines at Serabit Al-Khadem and did not develop piecemeal, but was instead created as an organized unit of symbols designed after star patterns along the ecliptic. Second, the Proto-Semitic alphabet and the Ugaritic cuneiform alphabet may have originally been calendrical numbering systems (perhaps based on lunar stations). Third, similarities existing between the Proto-Semitic and the Ugaritic letter shapes, both being patterned after the same constellations and following the same general sequence, imply that the origin of the two may have been geographically close."]

Wei, Julie. (1999). Correspondences Between the Chinese Calendar Signs and the Phoenician Alphabet. (Sino-Platonic Papers, Number 94, March). [Note: Approximately 70 pages. The Sino-Platonic Papers is an occasional series issued by Victor Mair. Julie Wei is likely a student of Professor Victor Mair. By the author from the publication: "Similarities between the Phoenician alphabet and the Chinese calendar signs, the tiangan dizhi, or heavenly stems and earthly branches, have been remarked upon by a number of linguists. Besides some obvious similarities between the letters in the two sets, each set has 22 symbols. Are the similarities in symbols and the identical number of 22 mere coincidences? Are they anciently related and do they correspond one-to-one? Quite a few Sinologists and Assyriologists have grappled with this question, including Hugh Moran and David Kelley, Edwin Pulleyblank, and Victor Mair. In a recent article, "Early Contacts Between Indo-Europeans and Chinese," Mair stated that "The number of unquestionable, impeccable correspondences of symbols in the two sets sharing similar sounds and shapes is at least 15." (Mair 1996: 35). Earlier, Mair had disclosed, in an article entitled "West Eurasian and North African Influences on the Origins of Chinese Writing", his discovery that the two sets "display an almost perfect fit both graphically and phonetically" (Mair 1990), but due to other major commitments he has written on only a few of the correspondences. The problem first intrigued me several years ago. Recently I took up the puzzle again, and as a result have now identified all the correspondences that have not been identified in the literature. Indeed, there is a one-to-one correspondence between the 22 letters of the ancient Phoenician alphabet and the 22 of the Chinese ganzhi, a correspondence that seems to have been established in the early years of the Shang dynasty. In addition to phonetic and graphic correspondence, I have found that they also correspond in meaning. My findings are summarized in two tables (Table 1 and Table 2). It will be seen that I have assigned meanings to letters of the alphabet as well as to ganzhi letters whose meanings have hitherto been unknown or highly uncertain. How I have arrived at those meanings as well as at each of the 22 correspondences will be discussed, after some introductory remarks. Correspondence or Coincidence? In identifying the correspondences I have looked for a three-way resemblance in each pair of letters. In other words, any pair should resemble each other in sound, meaning, and symbol (grapheme). I have found that each of the 22 pairs has a three-way resemblance. This study has followed to a large extent the three fundamentals of method used by Joseph Greenberg in his pioneering work, The Languages of Africa (Greenberg 1966). The first is, when seeking correspondences between words, that "the sole relevance is comparison of resemblances in sound and meaning in specific forms." The second principle is that of "mass comparison as against isolated comparisons between pairs of languages." The third principle is that "only linguistic evidence is relevant in drawing conclusions..." (Greenberg 1966:1). However, the present paper is preliminary in that it falls somewhat short of "mass comparison". To some degree, "mass comparison" has been made to determine the meaning (as reflected by the symbol as well as by its most ancient, Hebrew, name) of each of the Phoenician letters of the alphabet. Several generations of scholars have done this by searching the Sumerian, ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and other Semitic vocabularies (Diringer 1968: 195ff, Jensen 1969: 255ff), and the meanings they have attributed to the Hebrew names of the Phoenician letters have been based on this search. This surely would qualify as "mass comparison". On the Chinese side, I have searched Chinese dictionaries for the ancient meanings of the ganzhi characters. I have also examined ancient Sumerian and Egyptian symbols as well as Sumerian, Egyptian, Coptic and, to a less extent, Assyrian, Hebrew, and other dictionaries for words and symbols that match a given Chinese character in sound, graph, and meaning and then compared them with the meanings generally attributed to the Hebrew names of the alphabet and to the alphabet letter itself. In some cases, with the assistance of the sinograph, I have been able to arrive at a new explanation of the meaning of the Phoenician-letter-with-Hebrew-name (which will simply be called the Phoen/Heb letter). In each case I argue for the meaning based on the evidence in Chinese, Sumerian, Egyptian, and Coptic, etc., as well as the extensive research already done by other scholars on the subject. (Coptic is later than the Shang dynasty, to which the 22 correspondences date, but since it is a descendant of ancient Egyptian and spells words with vowels, it can throw some light on Egyptian hieroglyphs, which are usually written without vowels. However, this study still falls short of sufficient "mass comparison" in that, where it has claimed, for a sinograph and Sumerian and ancient Egyptian words, a connection antedating the Phoenician alphabet, I have not had an opportunity to check my conclusions sufficiently against other ancient languages. Further work needs to be done to test my conclusions against the vocabularies of such languages as Hittite, Old Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Old Persian, and Sanskrit. On the other hand, since Sumeria [properly Sumer] and Egypt were dominant cultures, the existence of a word in their languages implies the existence of cognates or borrowings in many other contiguous or related languages, just as a word in Latin implies the existence of cognates or borrowings in many Romance and Germanic languages. As for Greenberg's third fundamental principle of method, that "only linguistic evidence is relevant" in making conclusions about correspondences, I have hewed as closely as possible to it. However, since pictograms are part of the Chinese language as well as of Sumerian and ancient Egyptian, I take "linguistic" to include not only "sound [phonetic shape] and meaning" but also pictorial or pictographic (graphemic) evidence. Resemblance of pictograms can be construed in several ways...."]

Sermonti, Giuseppe. (2002). "Desciende el Alfabeto de las Constellaciones?" (Beroso, Volume 7, Pages 7-30). [Note: Speculative. Unreliable.]

Serafini, Stefano. (2004). "La scrittura celeste: nell' alfabeto un' antica testimonianza archeoastronomica?" (Rivista Italiana di Archeoastronomia, Volume II, Pages 95-105). [Note: Speculative. Unreliable.]

Sermonti, Giuseppe. (2004). "Un tentativo di raffronto tra stazioni lunari e alfabeti." (Rivista Italiana di Archeoastronomia, Volume II, Pages 107-116). [Note: Speculative. Unreliable.]

Sermonti, Giuseppe. (2009). Alfabeto scende dalle stelle. Sull'origine della scrittura. [Note: Speculative.]

Pellar, Brian. (2009). On the Origins of the Alphabet. (Sino-Platonic Papers, Number 196, December). [Note: Approximately 50 pages. Part 1 of a 2-part paper. Sino-Platonic Papers is an occasional series whose chief focus is on the intercultural relations of China with other peoples. Thesis (Page 3): "In 2003, completely unaware of Moran and the others' work, I discovered that if you rotate the Phoenician alphabet ninety degrees counter-clockwise, and join the twenty-two letters into sequential couplets, a pattern appears that resembles the eleven constellations of the Egyptian solar zodiac. The alphabet doesn't follow a simple circular pattern, but instead follows a more complex pattern that incorporates letter reversals at the solstices. It also forms two loops that meet at the constellation Gemini. Furthermore, this astro-alphabetic pattern is not only found in Modern Hebrew, the Chinese Lunar Zodiac, Phoenician, Proto-Sinaitic, Egyptian Hieratic and Hieroglyphs, but, in accord with Petrie's assertion, proto-astro-alphabetic glyphs also appear on a European stag bone from 3800 BC, and on a Karanovo Culture zodiac from 4800 BC. All of these manifestations will be discussed in the course of this study." The author is a Sculptor. Academic qualifications as of 2010: B.A. Art, University of California, Irvine, 1987; B.A. Psychology, University of California, Irvine, 1988; M.F.A. English, University of California. Irvine, 1996. Literally unbelievable - and unreliable. The author is unable to find his way through the maze of claims about early astronomy. The author argues that the Phoenician Alphabet was based on the Egyptian Zodiac. Peter Daniels writes (ANE-2, 29 August, 2010): "... the author claims that the shapes of a broad miscellany of signs from throughout the Near East are imitations of constellations. But he doesn't seem to provide any evidence that the people who created the signs (over a wide expanse of space and time) connected the stars with lines the same as or similar to the lines he drew. (Nor do I find the shapes he comes up with particularly like the shapes of the letters.)" Pellar also assumes that the authors of Hamlet's Mill (1969) are reliable in their assertions about early astronomy. However, Pellar is prepared to arbitrarily change their interpretations. Facing page 300 of Hamlet's Mill are several drawings of cylinder seals taken from La Glyptique Mesopotamienne Archaïque by Pierre Amiet (1961). Regarding Figure 1427 on Plate 107 Santillana-Dechend (Hamlet's Mill) have the caption: "The Mesopotamian cylinder seal shows in the upper part the "God Boat"; in the lower part people are building a ziggurat, the proposition being that the boat is bringing the me from Eridu-Canopus, the measure of creation." Pellar (Page 9) reproduces the upper register scene only with his own caption: "Aquarius as the God boat on right. Then moving left, Pisces, Aries, and finally Taurus with a vessel on its back indicating the vernal equinox (Santillana 1969: 301)." Pellar also writes (Page 9): "The sequence from the older Mesopotamian Cylinder Seal in Figure 4, row A, is from right to left and starts with the sun being carried as a small bull in what Santillana calls a "God boat" (Santillana and Von Dechend 1998: 301). This God boat is actually Aquarius, the winter solstice at the time (the winter solstice symbolized the birth of light, thus the birth of the young god/bull as the sun/seed/logos on the ecliptic)." (Page 301 is irrelevant; the proper reference is "facing page 300.") There is no discussion by Pellar of Pierre Amiet's ideas regarding the cylinder seal. One again we have uninformed interpretations based on mistaken beliefs in an early zodiac. No case is ever established for a multitude of controversial statements/claims. Also, Pellar is not acknowledged as an authority on cylinder seals. The subjective nature of Pellar's reasoning - and dubious nature of his claims - lies with his claim (Page 35) that the so-called Kananovo disc depicts a 12-constellation zodiac.  (The rudimentary forms of the 12 modern Western zodiacal constellations no less.) Richard Flavin's speculative/subjective claims for a supposed Karanovo zodiac dating to circa 4800 BCE appear without critical comment. Incredibly, Pellar accepts a single amateur source that has not been subject to a peer-review process. (My understanding - personal communications - is that Richard Flavin does not currently support these claims and will revise the article when he has time available.) The Karanovo Seal (www.prehistory.it/fase2/karonovo.htm): "This stamp seal was found in Karanovo tell (a settlement mound), in the Maritsa Valley, near the modern city of Nova Zagora (central Bulgaria). Karanovo is the best known of these settlement mounds. The excavation, made by Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi I. Georgiev, has revealed artefacts and house plans of three millennia. In fact tell at Karanovo has accumulated 12 meters of cultural deposits from the Neolithic to the Bronze age. This tell was formed in layers over the centuries as wattle-and-mud houses were levelled and rebuilt about once each generation. The disk measures six centimetres in diameter, is two centimetres thick and with a handle 2 cm long. It is inscribed with the ancient European script and for this reason it was probably an object of prestige, placed in a prominent position and possibly used in religious ceremonies. The Karanovo seal was discovered in the remains of a house destroyed by fire; an incident which slightly scorched the seal, but ultimately has contributed to its fine state of conservation. The signs inscribed on the Karanovo seal are divided into four groups by the arms of a cross. The signs are straight, abstract and it is impossible to connect them to any forms belonging to the "real" world. This inscription is 6,800 years old. Richard Flavin had proposed that the incised characters from Karanovo bear a remarkable resemblance to the constellations which make up the western zodiac, in a somewhat sequential order." (Primary references are: Mikov, V., Georgiev, G. I., and Georgiev, V. I., in "L' inscription du sceau circulaire de Karanovo - la plus ancienne ecriture d' Europe," Arheologia, Volume 11, Sofia, 1969, Pages 4-13 (in Bulgarian); Makkay, János., "A chalcolithic stamp seal from Karanovo, Bulgaria," Kadmos, Volume 10, Issue 1, 1971, Pages1-9.) Needless to say, the so-called Karanovo Seal has various interpretations. (From his analysis of the Karanovo Seal the mathematician Vassil (Vasko) Georgiev (Institute of Mathematics, Bulgarim Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria) found that 8 characters show similarity with 8 characters of the Cretan hieroglyphic script. This is ignored by (unknown to?) Pellar.) See the discussion "Balkan Neolithic Scripts." by Gareth Evans in Kadmos, Volume 38, Numbers 1-2, January, 1999, Pages 114-120. Incredibly, Pellar also accepts that iconography dating variously to the 3rd-millennium and 5th-millennium BCE indicates star groupings that match the shape of modern Western star groups. Pellar believes that the classical zodiac - our modern equally divided 12-constellation zodiac (including Aries) - existed in its established form at least by the 3rd-millennium BCE (Page 18), and likely by the 5th-millennium BCE (Page 35). He states (Page 18): "When Aries became the Ram or Lamb by the process of precession of the equinoxes about 2300 BC, the Chinese instead of replacing the Bull by the Ram, as the Semites did ...." Pellar later (Page 28) states: "This link between Gemini and the Horizon/bull/Goddess/temple is also seen in a cylinder seal from around 2200 BC (Age of Taurus)." Pellar further states - mimicking New Age beliefs (Page 39): "The Age of Aries was a period of time when the vernal equinox resided in the house of Aries, which was one of the twelve houses of the zodiac. This period lasted until around the time of Christ, and was approximately 2160 yeas in length. We are currently residing near the end of the Age of Pisces, with the Age of Aquarius not far away." Pellar also states (Page 39): " ... it appears that the idea of precession pre-dated Hipparchus by at the very least, a thousand years." Brian Pellar (personal communication, 22/10/2010" states: "The Theban Ram-headed God Amun was the chief god during the age of Aries, and this god replaced the dominant bull gods and bull symbolism of the Pharaoh that took place during the earlier age of Taurus." The dominant bull god was the Apis bull. The Apis bull was believed to be the incarnation of the Egyptian god Ptah. It has not been demonstrated that the Apis bull (or similar) has anything to do with astronomy. The identification of native Egyptian constellations is mostly uncertain. The Apis bull has never been linked with a native Egyptian bull constellation (at any time - let alone during a supposed "Age of Taurus"). Chronologically the cult was more popular during the supposed "Age of Aries" than it was during the supposed "Age of Taurus." The Egyptian god Amun was originally frequently depicted as the Nile goose and later more frequently depicted as a ram, or as a ram-headed man. However, from the cult's beginning's Amun could be depicted as either a Nile goose or as a ram, or as a ram-headed man. Chronologically the cult originated in the supposed "Age of Taurus." The zodiac we have inherited is from the Greeks. There is no solid evidence that the Greeks possessed a complete zodiac until the 5th-century BCE. (We know the Greek zodiac was formalised by the latter half of the 5th-century BCE because the two Greek astronomers Meton and Euctemon both used it in their parapegmata (i.e., star calendars based on a division of the year into zodiacal signs). Its purpose lay with the establishment of the solar calendar.) The evidence is clear that the Greek introduction of such was that of a scheme borrowed from the Babylonians - excepting Aries and Libra. The Ram was an important cult figure in both ancient Egyptian and Babylonian civilizations - but perhaps not a constellation. Pellar writes (personal communication 22/10/2010): "The south wall of Senemut clearly shows a ram as a constellation in Egypt in 1470 BC." The ceiling of Senmut's tomb depicts decans, constellations, and planets. According to the astronomer Juan Belmonte the southern constellation (decan) sit or srt (seret) on the ceiling of Senmut's tomb could be a sheep (woolly usually horned ruminant mammal related to the goat), ram (male sheep), or goat (hollow-horned bearded ruminant mammal related to the sheep) = Capricornus or perhaps the stars in the area of Grus and Piscis Austrinus. (See: Belmonte, Juan. and Shaltout, Mosalam. (2009, Reprinted 2010). (Editors). In Search of Cosmic Order: Selected Essays on Egyptian Archaeoastronomy.) This constellation/decan was not connected with the stars of Aries. The zodiacal Ram is a Greek constellation. When the Greeks borrowed the zodiacal system from Babylonian uranography the Babylonian constellation of the "Hired Man" was replaced by the Ram. The Greeks changed the Babylonian zodiacal constellation "Hired Man" into Aries and the Romans later reintroduced the Babylonian zodiacal constellation Libra. (The constellation Libra was included in the Babylonian zodiac but was later described by Hellenistic astronomers, such as Ptolemy, as "'the claws' of the great Scorpio.") "The first sign of the zodiac, represented since Roman times as a ram, was originally referred to by the Babylonians as MUL.LU.HUN.GA (Akk. mul.lu.agru) "the hireling." Two orthographic variants encountered include the transparent abbreviations (MUL.)HUN and and HUN.GA. A third variant (MUL.)LU, common to Seleucid astronomical texts, is generally taken to be a homophonic substitution for the otherwise unattested abbreviation *LU. The LU-sign, however, may also be read UDU, the usual Sumerogram for Akk. immeru "a ram." Since the HUN and LU signs are paleographically quite similar in the late Babylonian ductus and the celestial hireling was equated with Dumuzi, the shepherd par excellence of Sumerian literature, some form of punning may have led to the metamorphosis of this sign from the hireling to the ram in Hellenistic Babylonia rather than later and elsewhere. Seals depicting rams en passant, with heads forward or reversed, are known from throughout the Hellenistic period in Uruk." ("Zodiacal Signs among the Seal Impressions from Hellenistic Uruk" by Ronald Wallenfels (Pages 282-283). In: The Tablet and the Scroll, edited by Mark Cohen, et. al. (1993).) The concept of precession-based zodiacal "world ages" is largely a 19th-century Theosophical concept invented by the occultist Helena Blavatsky. Nick Campion identifies that the concept draws "partly on Hesiod's sequence of ages outlined in the Works and Days, the Hindu Yugas, some 19th century studies of comparative religion and Madame Blavatsky's own theory of racial and spiritual evolution (Hastro-L, 13 April, 2000)." (However, the concept of precessional "world ages" can also be traced back to Origine des tous les cultes: ou, Religion universelle by Charles Dupuis (1794).) Additionally, the constellations are all of uneven size and we have no knowledge of the boundaries of any early constellations. We have no knowledge of even the boundaries of the Greek constellation scheme of Aratus of Soli circa 275 BCE. There is nothing in any early astronomical texts to prove a Twins-, Bull-, and Ram-period of precession. The concept of precession-based zodiacal "world ages" is largely a 19th-century Theosophical concept invented by the occultist Helena Blavatsky. Nick Campion identifies that the concept draws "partly on Hesiod's sequence of ages outlined in the Works and Days, the Hindu Yugas, some 19th century studies of comparative religion and Madame Blavatsky's own theory of racial and spiritual evolution (Hastro-L, 13 April, 2000)." (However, the concept of precessional "world ages" can also be traced back to Origine des tous les cultes: ou, Religion universelle by Charles Dupuis (1794).) Additionally, the constellations are all of uneven size and we have no knowledge of the boundaries of any early constellations. We have no knowledge of even the boundaries of the Greek constellation scheme of Aratus of Soli circa 275 BCE. To return to the Karanovo Seal momentarily. According to Sann Winn (Pre-writing in Southeastern Europe: The Sign System of the Vinca Culture ca 4000 BC, by Sann Winn (1981, Page 215)) there are 18 symbols depicted on the Karanovo Seal. These are divided into 4 groups by the arms of a cross, comprising 6 in one sector, 5 in another sector, 3 in another sector, and 4 in the remaining sector. See the sympathetic but confused astral-interpretation discussion by Marco Merlini PhD ("The Gradešnica script revisited," Pages 25-77) in Acta Terrae Septemcastrensis, V, 2006. On another issue, Pellar (Page 28) states: "Figure 13. Cylinder Seal that shows the Gemini gate between Leo and Aries. Note the water god Enki (Aquarius) with a stream of water meeting the Gemini/Taurus gate where Utu cuts open the horizon/gate to release the sun (ca 2200 BC. British Museum; Kramer 1971)." Also on the page Pellar states: "In Figure 13, note how the Gemini gate is situated between Leo (lion) on the far left and Aries (ram lying prone next to the gate) on the right. Also note that the tree standing next to the goddess on the Gemini gate appears to be the Axis Mundi, the world tree or axis (with its four branches/circles indicating the four directions/pillars), and appears to symbolize the vernal equinox at the Gate in 4320 BC (which cut the upper and lower celestial spheres). On the right of the gate is Enki, the water god, who is Aquarius." The constellation identifications are unfounded. Pellar does not acknowledge (and seems unaware) that the interpretation of scenes in ancient Mesopotamian art is immensely difficult. The Mesopotamian cylinder seal being referred to is the cylinder seal of Adda the scribe, one of the most famous cylinder seals known from the Ancient Near East. The identification is made from an inscription ('Adda, scribe' is written in cuneiform above a lion, identifying the owner as a high official), and the seal is dated by Dominique Collon (Assistant Keeper in the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities in the British Museum) to circa 2300-2200 BCE. The Akkadian greenstone seal is 3.9 cm high. Depicted on it are the 5 major deities of the Mesopotamian pantheon. From left to right (when looking at the rolled-out seal image) there is Nergal? (this god armed with a bow and quiver has not been identified with absolute certainty - he may perhaps represent a hunting god such as Nusku (= Ninurtu)), the goddess Ishtar (the goddess of fertility and war), the sun-god Shamash (Utu) busy cutting his way through the 2 peaks of Mount Mashu in order to rise at dawn, and the wisdom-god Enki (Ea) with streams of water coming out of his shoulders. Enki (Ea) is often depicted with a vase from which the water flows (or the waters of the Apsu (the Abyss) is depicted flowing from his shoulders), reminiscent of Aquarius, the Water Bearer. Enki (Ea), the god of subterranean waters and of wisdom and the Mesopotamian equivalent of Hermes, is accompanied by his attendant the 2-faced god Usimu (or Isimud), who was the gatekeeper of the Underworld. There are, however, a number of additional figures on the seal. A number of animal/bird figures are also depicted. On the ground at the left is a lion, an eagle is perched on the right hand of Enki (Ea), and on the ground under Enki (Ea) is a bull (not a ram = Aries as Pellar mistakenly asserts). A correct description of the seal iconography necessarily collapses his "Gemini gate and 4320 BCE date" argument. Also, the late Edith Porada, a major authority on ancient Near East imagery, and well aware of the water association with the syncretic god Enki-Ea, proposed that Aquarius originated from GU.LA, a naked hero depicted with streams of water flowing from his shoulders. GU.LA is described in a line in the Mesopotamian astronomical text Twelve Times Three (The star catalogue/astrolabe BM 82923) as "The Giant is the Lord of the Springs, EA." (The god Ea ("House of Water") became syncretised  with the god Enki by the Sargonic period. The hero figure GU.LA first appears in the 3rd-millennium BCE- without streams. That the seal conveys astronomical knowledge/astronomical mythology from a period some 2000 years before its manufacture is speculation knowing no restraint. (The concept of retro calculation also falls into the category of speculation knowing no restraint.) The date given for the astronomical/mythological concept takes us back some 1200 years before the early proto-cuneiform period (the invention of writing) beginning circa 3100 BCE. On the left peak of Mount Mashu a plant is depicted. This plant is not identified with certainty. It is thought to be either the Kishkanu (Mes [Knowledge/Culture]) Tree planted by Enki (Ea) in the Abyss, or the Halub tree, planted by Inanna and sought in the Abyss by Gilgamesh, or (perhaps) more likely the Tree of Rebirth sought in the Heavens by Etana (the eagle). These possible interpretations made by professional assyriologists do not include, and are a long way from, Pellar's world tree or axis mundi (with its four branches/circles indicating the four directions/pillars). The concept of axis mundi (popularised by Mircea Eliade) is also in need of critical assessment. According to Edith Porada, the late eminent authority on ancient Near East imagery, mythological, ritual, or other scenes remain unintelligible due to our inability to identify most of the principal figures and their actions. Some of the major gods/goddesses can be identified on the basis of textual descriptions. These include the goddess Ishtar and the syncretic god Enki-Ea. As part of his Conclusion Pellar (Pages 36-37) writes: "In addition, Petrie’s pre-Egypt theory of the early development of the alphabet needs to be taken more seriously. Based on the discovery that the small alphabet loop is also seen in Mesopotamia, and on the proto-writing glyphs being found in Tartaria, Karanovo, and China (such as found in Dawenkou, Shandong Province, and in Jiahu, Henan Province), it appears that there might have already existed a culture/tradition of proto-alphabetic signs based on theo-astronomical observations/rituals that not only pre-dated Egypt, Sumeria, and China, but that also had its roots in Northern Europe." All work by mainstream scholars supports the conclusion that all European alphabets did not originate in Europe. All alphabets in use in Northern Europe can be traced back to the ancient Greek alphabet - which has a Phoenician origin. For the type of evidence discussed Pellar's remarks concerning the possible origin (and loss) of early developments of the alphabet occurring in ancient Northern Europe are wildly speculative. Pellar is only able to give 2 very dubious examples: (1) glyphs appearing on a European stag bone from 3800 BCE (Spain), and (2) glyphs appearing on a Karanovo stamp from circa 4800 BCE (Bulgaria). Neither is from Northern Europe (unless we introduce additional speculation) and neither is convincing evidence for his conclusion. Pellar is very strong-minded (passionate) in defending the content of his publication and is currently (2010) preparing to publish a second part. He also appears to believe that inaccuracies such as those discussed above have no consequences for the credibility of his central thesis. According to Brian Pellar this paper "will go from the caves at Chavet in France to Catalhoyuk to Sumeria to Egypt to Crete to Rome." As a minor corrective point it is correctly Sumer, not Sumeria. Brian Pellar states: "From what I've been able to discover, the figures of the Egyptian/Phoenician zodiac are merely an extension of astro-theological processes that were perceived to have taken place in the circumpolar region of the sky. Thus the division between the Northern sky and the Southern." At his website Pellar claims that Sino-Platonic Papers is an academic journal. In proper perspective, Sino-Platonic Papers is actually Victor Mair’s (Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania) own private (usually non-peer-reviewed) publication that has a very small circulation. The editor seeks and encourages speculative contributions (hence the absence of the peer review process). (As of August, 2010 - the time the main body of this review was posted - Victor Mair now appears to state the Sino-platonic Papers are all peer-reviewed.) From Wikipedia (2010): "An academic journal is a peer-reviewed periodical in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as forums for the introduction and presentation for scrutiny of new research, and the critique of existing research. Content typically takes the form of articles presenting original research, review articles, and book reviews. Academic or professional publications that are not peer-reviewed are usually called professional magazines. … The peer-review process is considered critical to establishing a reliable body of research and knowledge. Scholars can be expert only in a limited area of their fields; they rely upon peer-reviewed journals to provide reliable, credible research upon which they can build subsequent, related research." Part of Victor Mair's explanation of Sino-Platonic Papers: "SINO-PLATONIC PAPERS is an occasional series edited by Victor H. Mair. The purpose of the series is to make available to specialists and the interested public the results of research that, because of its unconventional or controversial nature, might otherwise go unpublished. The editor actively encourages younger, not yet well established, scholars and independent authors to submit manuscripts for consideration. … This series is not the place for safe, sober, and stodgy presentations. Sino-Platonic Papers prefers lively work that, while taking reasonable risks to advance the field, capitalizes on brilliant new insights into the development of civilization."]

Serafini, Stefano. (2011). «Constellations, "Stone Age Code," and the Origins of the Alphabet.» In: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Language and Culture, Tomsk, May 25-27, 2010. (Volume 1, Pages 8-20). [Note: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Language and Culture, Tomsk, May 25-27, 2010, Tomsk State University Press.]

Lebeuf, Arnold. (2011). "The Alphabet and the Sky." In: Enrico Maria Corsini. (Editor). The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena VI. (Proceedings of a conference held October 18-23, 2009 in Venezia, Italy. The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena VI. Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Volume 441. (Pages 317-326).

Pellar, Brian. (2012). The Foundation of Myth: A Unified Theory on the Link Between Seasonal/Celestial Cycles, the Precession, Theology, and the Alphabet/Zodiac. Part One. [Note: Sino-Platonic Papers, Number 219, January, 2012. 132 Pages. A speculative essay in which the author manages to ignore critical sources. The author does not seem familiar with many of the sources he does choose to use. Unreliable.]


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The controversial issue of precessional re-alignment of Babylonian temples.

Martiny, Günter. (1932). Die Kultrichtung in Mesopotamien. [Note: Basically the publication of the authors doctoral thesis (for the Technical College of Berlin). (Dissertation zur Erlangung der Würde eines Doktor-Ingenieurs der Technischen Hochschule zu Berlin vorgelegt am 15. Februar 1932.) In his doctoral thesis/this monograph he claimed to have determined some of the stars used by the ancient Mesopotamians to orient their temples. (After gaining his PhD Martiny only rarely used the title "Doctor.") The author offers (flimsy) evidence that Neo-Babylonian temples were oriented with reference to the constellations appropriate to their tutelary deities. See the extensive (German-language) reviews by Anon in Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, 1934, Number 4, Columns 218-232; by Paul Neugebauer and Albert Schott in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Verwandte Gebiete, Volume 42, 1934, Pages 198-217; and the entry in Astronomischer Jahresbericht, Volume 34, 1932, Page 12. (Martiny (Architectura, 1. Jahrgang, Heft 6, Page 236) mentions a review by Viktor Christian in Architectura, 1. Jahrgang, Heft 1 (Number 311 in the Bibliography)) but I cannot presently access this journal. Also, see the review/critique of Die Kultrichtung in Mesopotamien by Franz Weissbach in OLZ, Band 37, 1934, Columns 218-232. It was claimed by Günter Martiny that his researches had confirmed that Babylonian and Assyrian sanctuaries/temples dating from that of Enlil-Assur-Zikurrat in 2931 BCE to Nabu’s Temple in 606 BCE, whose foundation dates were (believed) recorded, were oriented on the 1st Nisan of the foundation year, to the Pedjeshes (= ‘stretching the cord,’ a ritual performed in the foundation of a temple, comprising an arc of a circle intersecting Benetnash (Alkaid, Eta Ursae Majoris) and Spica). In his doctoral dissertation (published in 1932 as Die Kultrichtung in Mesopotamien) Martiny described in detail the methods upon which he believed they based the orientation of their temples. In his thesis Martiny tabulated the orientation of Assyrian temples for which the dates of foundation could be established (the oldest being circa 1800 BCE). Martiny maintained that Assyrian temples had been reconstructed (at least the foundations altered) during the period of their use; the orientations being varied according to the angle of the precession of the equinoxes. Günter Martiny believed that temple orientation to celestial phenomena began in Mesopotamia in the 3rd-millennium BCE and that by the 2nd-millennium BCE temples were oriented to specific stars, and the cult statue faced the direction of the rising star. According to Martiny the particular star would have heliacally risen on the Assyrian New Year. Günter Martiny believed he had found evidence that the orientation of a succession of Assyrian temples (of which the oldest date of foundation known is 1800 BCE) varies as a function of the angle of precession. (Martiny charted the changes of orientation of temples at Assur from 3000-500 BCE and believed he had identified a "steady" eastward movement in their orientations. His published chart indicates he examined the perceived "steady" eastward movement with changes in azimuths for β Andromedae.) According to Günter Martiny, Assyrian temples oriented to the southeast and Babylonian temples oriented to the northeast. In attempting to interpret Martiny's archaeological data Neugebauer and Schott initially proposed that Neo-Babylonian (i.e., Assyrian) temples were purposely directed towards the azimuth of the hour angle circle passing through the star alpha Virginis (Spica) and intersecting the horizon when the spring equinox is on the horizon. Both Paul Neugabauer (an astronomer) and Albert Schott (an Assyriologist) supported the temple-orientation theory of Günter Martiny.  (As a result of his review of Dr. Günter Martiny's work on the survey of Assyrian sanctuaries, Professor P. V. Neugebauer, (Observatory at the Rechen-Institut in Berlin-Dahlem), believed he had discovered that all Assyrian Temples, from 2930 BCE to 603 BCE, whose foundation dates were recorded, were oriented at dawn on 1st Nisan to the point of intersection with the horizon of a great circle of the sphere, passing through the stars Eta Ursae Majoris (η Ursae Majoris (Ursa Major)) (Eta Ursae Majoris has the traditional names Alkaid (or Elkeid) and Benetnash (Benetnasch)), and Spica.) Neugebauer later discarded this explanation when he could not find evidence that the star alpha Virginis (Spica) had importance in Mesopotamian astronomy. The competent German amateur astronomer and historian of early astronomy Robert Böker disagreed with the alpha Virginis (Spica) explanation given by Neugebauer and Schott. Böker suggested an alternative hypothesis based on the azimuth of the descent of the star alpha Crucis and showed that it had better agreement with the reputed dates and axis azimuths of the temples. (In his short pamphlet Berechnungen zur vorgriechischen Astronomie (1948) Robert Böker showed that in antiquity there was no competent way to determine the equinoctial point with sufficient accuracy or to fix the azimuth of the intersection.) However, Neugebauer's changed explanation held that a clearly recognisable line is formed by the stars alpha Cassiopeiae, eta Cephei, beta Ursae Minoris, alpha Draconis, eta Ursae Majoris, and eta Virginis, and this line formed the meridian used in the centuries before and after circa 3000 BCE, as the basis for the orientation of Neo-Babylonian (Assyrian) temples. (The astronomical orientation, but not precessional re-alignment, of Mesopotamian temples was considered by some 19th-century excavators and briefly considered in Stonehenge and Other British Stone Monuments Astronomically Considered by Norman Lockyer (1906, Chapter XXIX A Short History of Astronomy).) The thesis of Martiny is based on figures from Warka that were later seriously questioned. (Babylonian and Assyrian 'temple sites' included in his study were Uruk (Southern Iraq), Tell El-'Obēd (Tell el-'Ubaid) ) (Southern Iraq), Tepe Gawra (Northwest Iraq), and Assur (on the upper Tigris River in Iraq). One of the methodological issues with the figures produced by Martiny is that he charted the orientation of the Gimilsin Temple and the Palace Chapel according to True Magnetic North rather than True North and he made adjustments accordingly. Also, he gave no explanatory information regarding the data on the orientation of the other temples included in his orientation chart. Further, the "orientation chart," whilst showing the eastward movement of the Assur temples and β Andromedae, is somewhat vague. (There is no persuasive evidence that Mesopotamian temples, of any period, were systematically aligned to any directions.) Circa 1986 Asger Aaboe advised that Martiny's claims were purely hypothetical and that still today nothing is known about if and how the ancient Mesopotamians used astronomy to orient their temples. (See: Revue d'assyriologie et d'archéologie oriental, Tomes 80-81, 1986, Page 39.) The topic of temple orientation has never gained popularity in Assyriology. Martiny's ideas on temple orientation are briefly noted by the assyriologist William Hallo in his book Origins: The Ancient Near Eastern Background of Some Modern Western Institutions (1996, Page 84). As it is extremely difficult to obtain any biographical information on Günter Martiny I have chosen to go into some detail here. (Only recently, November, 2010, after years of systematic searching, have I located a source that provides core biographical details.) Günter Martiny (1903-1980) was a German architect (and building archaeologist or excavation architect) who specialized in ancient and medieval building archaeology. (I have seen 1908 offered as his year of birth.) (In one publication he is referred to as Architekt [i.e., Architect] Dr. Günther Martiny. His name appears mispelled as Günther instead of Günter in a few publications.) Gunter Martiny's early work involved the investigation of the construction and alignment of Mesopotamian temples. At some time (likely the mid 1930s) he changed his attention to Islamic/Byzantine architecture. He was a member of the German Archaeological Institute [Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts] (at least during the 1930s). He was, it appears, also connected with the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. There is reason to believe that in 1929 he was practicing as an architect (whose designs were highly regarded) in Dresden, Germany. When he began (sharing) editing/publishing the journal Architectura (with Leo Adler) he was residing in Berlin. (He was residing in Berlin at least by circa 1933. He may have also (briefly) resided in Munich.) I have also seen him referred to as an engineer but this is incorrect. (In several publications briefly mentioning him the terms Diplomingenieurs, Architekten Dipl.-Ing and Architekten Dr.-Ing., Berlin, are used (the latter obviously identifying this qualification was obtained in Berlin). At that period of time the German Diplom-Ingenieur (Dipl.-Ing.) was the equivalent of a M.S. degree. It is an engineering degree in the sense that technical studies were undertaken. In more modern terms he had a Diplom-Ingenieur der Architektur [Architekten] which is a Master of Architecture (Degree).) His Dr.-Ing. is obviously his PhD qualification. (His Dipl, Ing., was awarded 1927, Dresden; his Dr.ing [PhD] was awarded 1932, Berlin.) Amongst other things he was an architectural historian. He was interested in the (sacred) architecture of ancient Mesopotamia (at least during his younger days). For his doctoral dissertation he went to Mesopotamia as a member of the German expedition to Warka [= ancient Uruk] to specifically study the architecture of the ancient temples and buildings, and investigate the astronomical orientations of the temples. At least those temples for which foundation dates could be established. This particular German expedition was conducted from 1929 until 1934. (This expedition included the assyriologist Albert Schott (Privatdozenten für Assyriologie an der Universität Bonn).) (The German Research Foundation (Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft getragen) at one time also supported excavations at Warka. However, I am presently unsure of the years.) For the period 1928/1929 Martiny obtained a full scholarship (travel grant) from the German Archaeological Institute (DAI). (Martiny remained a member of, or at least closely connected with, the German Archaeological Institute until World War II.) Since 1859 the DAI allocated an annual grant for the promotion of young academics in archaeology and its neighboring sciences. In general, the focus was classical antiquity and the Mediterranean region, but also included the Middle East. (Other recipients for that period were Christoph Albrecht, Walter Hahland, Hans Bach Klum, Harald Koethe, William Kraiker, and Emil Kunze. (The duration of the scholarship is usually one year but can be extended in justified exceptions for a further one year.) The purpose was to assist scholars/students under 30 years to gain an impression of the countries and cultures, but especially get experience of the archaeological and historical sites and artifacts. During the time he was a member of this expedition he also spent time at Assur with the Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft. Along with Leo Adler he was an editor/publisher of the journal Architectura: Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Aesthetik der Baukunst. This journal first began publication in 1933. Leo Adler, a prominent German voice in architectural discussion between 1918 and 1926, could be described as an architectural theorist. Martiny was an admirer of Wilhelm Dörpfeld (1853-1940), the German archaeologist who was a specialist in ancient Greek architecture. He organised and contributed to the publication Wilhelm Dörpfeld: Festschrift zum 80 (1933). (It was William Dörpfeld who took the first steps to answer the questions of whether Odysseus' Ithaca can be found and whether it even actually existed. His excavations on Ithaca were largely financed by a wealthy Dutch gentleman, Adrian Goekoop. In his 2004 paper "Mapping Homer's Odyssey" Armin Wolf states: "Nevertheless, in 1925, even the distinguished archaeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld, drew a map of Homer's world in which Ulysses reached not only Tunisia (Lotos-Eaters, Cyclops) and Italy (Thrinakia), but also the southernmost point of Africa where he located the port Telepylus in the land of the Laestrygonians and -like Eumaios- "Aiaia," the island of Circe.") From the majority of his publications Günter Martiny can be considered a specialist in Mesopotamian temple architecture. Martiny was, at least prior to World War II, a significant shareholder in the specialist glassworks manufacturer, S[amuel]. Reich & Company, Zawiercie, Poland. Originally, the main shareholder was Julius Alois Empire, or rather his wife, Elsa, and her shares were transferred to the grandchildren, including Günter Martiny. After 1934, a portion of the shares were owned by the Moravská banka, Brno, the rest were owned by Günter Martiny. (Moravská banka, Brno = Moravian (commercial) bank in Brno, the Moravian capital city of Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic.) In 1936 his small but detailed book (176 pages) Die Piyale Pasha Moschee [The Piyale Pasha Mosque (burial place of Turkish admiral Piyale Pasha, died 1578)] was published. It is considered to be an exhaustive study of the construction and decoration of this 6-domed mosque. In it he gives a complete description of the plan, construction, and decoration of this Arab-Islamic mosque. He also published another small book, titled Istanbul, in the same year. In 1936 his article "Die Piyale Pasha Moschee." was published in Ars Islamica, Volume 3, Number 2, Pages 131-171. (Note: The reference is also given as: Martiny, Günther. 'Die Piyale Pasha Moschee.' in Ars Islamica Volume 1, Number 3, Part 2, 1934, Pages 131-171.) A large portion of the journal Asia and the Americas, Volume 37, Issues 1-6, 1937, is also given to an article by Günter Martiny on the Piyale Pasha Mosque in Istanbul, with plans, diagrams and architectural details. Martiny asserted that the architect must be someone of the school of the famous Ottoman architect Sinan, and not actually the master. During the 1940s Martiny focused on Byzantine architecture. (For a time in the 1950s he lived in Istanbul. However, he worked in Turkey earlier than this date. He was in Istanbul in 1940. One source states his research was carried out in 1929 and 1935.) His later work involved the investigation of medieval Ottoman mosque architecture. His involvement in this latter work would place him within the job category of an excavation architect. (Circa 1937 he worked as an archaeologist and architect on the excavation of Justinian's palace (built circa mid-5th-century CE) in Istanbul.) In 1948 (or earlier?) he wrote the 30 page (?) article Die Ausgrabungen im byzantinischen Kaiserpalast, Istanbul. In the late 1930's he appears to have resided (for a time) in England. From 1935 through 4 seasons to the summer of 1938 he was part of a British (or rather international, as a Turkish archaeologist was also included) archaeological 'dig,' led by Professor J. H. Baxter of St Andrews University (as Director of Excavations). (One source indicates that at some time, possibly in the 1930s, Martiny was also involved at a 'dig' at Tell Asmar, the mound being the site of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Eshnunnu (located in the Diyala Plain of Iraq). Also, another source located him in Istanbul in 1936, which would be the St Andrews University 'dig.'.) On this Istanbul 'dig' Baxter was Director of Excavations and Martiny was Field Director. The first part of the report of these 4 seasons of archaeological excavations (1935-1938) was published in 1947 as The Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperors (108 pages). The 2 young British scholars on this excavation were Robert Stevenson and Gérard Brett. Some details of an archaeological expedition involving Baxter and Martiny are contained in Sir David Russell: A Biography by Lorn Macintyre (1994). This is likely the Istanbul expedition. (In the book Günter Martiny is described as an archaeologist and architect. It is also mentioned that at one excavation of a building in 1948(?) the work of describing the excavation of the building was Günter Martiny's.) David Russell was a Fife paper manufacturer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and benefactor. He had a deep interest in history, archaeology, etc. and was a founding member of the National Trust for Scotland. David Russell (partly?) financed an archaeological 'dig' at Arasta Sokak, North Nicosia, Cyprus. On this 'dig' Günter Martiny sent a damning report on Baxter to David Russell headed "Professor Baxter is incapable of directing the excavation in the Arasta-Sokak." Apparently Baxter never found it easy to work with others and at one excavation at least there were clashes with members of the 'dig.' At this period of time Istanbul (Constantinople) was a magnet for archaeologists and art historians. Up to this period very little field-work had been carried out in Istanbul. (A source has indicated that in the early(?), mid(?) or late 1930s(?) Günter Martiny appears to have come under the scrutiny of the German SS. By early 1935 the 'racial content' of his lectures were under the scrutiny of the 'Racial Expert' at the Ministry of the Interior(/SS). (See: Prähistoire und Nationalsozialismus (2002) by Achim Leube and Morten Hegewisch.) Another source indicates he was concealing certain information from them (marriage details(?). This is indicated as part reason for his emigration.) In 1935 Martiny emigrated from Germany (in the sense that he permanently resided elsewhere for nearly half a decade. However, he seems to have remained employed by/connected with the German Archaeological Institute [Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts]. (He was a member of the German Archaeological Institute at least up until World War II.) His residence for approximately 5 years was likely divided between Turkey and the United Kingdom. (For 4 years he was involved in archaeological excavation work in Turkey, and then for 2-3 years he lived in London.) From 1938 to circa 1940 he was in London. In late 1939 he returned to Germany. From 1939 to circa 1947 he served as a soldier in the German army and became a prisoner-of-war. In 1946 he lectured at the Theological Seminary in Rimini, Italy. From 1949 to 1953 he was secretary of the YMCA in Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Bavaria. He then worked there as an Architekt and remained in Nürnberg (Nuremberg) for the rest of his life. (Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Volume 100, 1950, gives his address as Frauentorgraben 19, Nürnberg. This is in downtown Nürnberg where (at least presently) the Museum complex is located. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Volumes 102-103, 1952, gives his address as Bleichstrasse 16, Nürnberg. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. Volume 92, 1966, indicates that Martiny may have returned to Istanbul in 1966 at least.) It appears that from 1953 onwards he began working in his own (self-employed) business in Nürnberg (Nuremberg) as an Architect. Interestingly, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Volume 93, 1966, mentions "Herr Dr. Günter Martiny, 31, Bedford Way, London, W.C. l." Likely his last published article on Babylonian temples was "Das stabhaltende Tonmannchen in den ziegelkapseln babylonischer Tempel (Jahrbuch für kleinasiatische Forschung [Heidelberg], Volume 3, 1959, Pages 235-243). The last article by Günter Martiny that I can identify is "Wiederaufbau des Bergsfrieds Schloßberg bei Osternohe." in Mitteilungen der Altnürnberger Landschaft (abbreviation: MittAltnürnbergerLandschaft), Band 17, 1968, Page 68. The planned publication of Assur- und Sin-Samai-Tempel in Assur by Walter Andrae, Günter Martiny, and Ernest Heinrich (identified as in preparation in 1941) was never finalised by these authors. However, in 1955 A. Haller and W. Andrae published "Die Heiligtümer des Gottes Assur- und Sin-Samai-Tempel in Assur." (Wissenschaftliche Veroffentlichung der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft (WVDOG), Band 67). Also see his article: "Astronomisches zum Babylonischen Turm, 11 bis." (Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient Gesellschaft (MDOG), Number 71, 1932). Two manuscript letters (March 6, 1934 - May 20, 1937) from Günter Martiny to Paul Kahle are held at the Biblioteca di Orientalistica - Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Universita delgi Studi di Torino. Also, "[Item] 22: ms38515/12/2/22: printed Mosaic of the Season, 1936. By Günter Martiny, item on oilskin paper;" is in Collection: Papers of Sir David Russell, Group: Walker Trust - Byzantine Archaeology Papers; University of St Andrews, University Library Special Collections. (The Walker Trust excavations of the Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperors in Istanbul was carried out under J. H. Baxter, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, the University of St Andrews, in the period 1935-1938.) Life dates for Günter Martiny: 1903-1980.]

Martiny, Günter. (1932). "Astronomisches zum Babylonischen Turm, 11 bis." (Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient Gesellschaft (MDOG), Number 71).]

Martiny, Günter. (1933). "Zur Astronomischen Orientation Altmesopotamischer Tempel." (Architectura I, Pages 41-45). [Note: The author offers evidence - soundly criticized since - for the "precessional orientation" of Babylonian temples.]

Martiny, Günter. (1933). "Die astronomische Orientation der altmesopotamischen Tempel." (Forschungen und Fortschritte: Nach richtenblatt der deutschen Wissenschaft und Technik, Jahrgang 9, Heft 9, Pages 122-123). [Note: Another discussion of the astronomical alignment of Babylonian temples.]

Martiny, Günter. (1936). Die Gegensätze im Babylonischen und Assyrischen Tempelbau. (Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, Band 21, Number 3, Pages ?-?). [Note: A 37 page article which was reprinted as a pamphlet in 1966. See the Italian-language review in Rivista degli studi orientali (1940).]

Dombart, Theodore. (1936/37). "Die untere Babelturm-Freitreppe und ihr Steigungsverhältnis." (Archiv für Orientforschung, Elfter Band, Pages 66-71). [Note: The article comprises a discussion of Günter Martiny's ideas.]

Martiny, Günter. (1938). "Der umstrittene Sin-Šamaš-Tempel in Assur." (Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Volume 92, (Neue Folge, Band 17), Pages 174-177). [Note: In this same year he perhaps also had the article published in Orientalistische Literaturzeitung (Band 41, 1938, Pages 667-?).]

Martiny, Günter. (1938). "Etemènanki, der Turm zu Babel." (Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Volume 92, Pages 572-578). [Note: In this same year he also had an article published in Orientalistische Literaturzeitung (Band 41, 1938, Pages 667-?, but I have yet to identify the title. It may have been "Der umstrittene Sin-Šamaš-Tempel in Assur."]

Martiny, Günter. (1940). "The Orientation of the Gimilsin Temple and the Palace Chapel." In: Frankfort, Henri. et al. The Gimilsin Temple and the Palace of the Rulers at Tell Asmar. (Pages 92-96). [Note: Chapter III of the book, which is Volume 43 of The University of Chicago Oriental Institute Publications.]

Martiny, Günter. (1966). Die Gegensätze im Babylonischen und Assyrischen Tempelbau. [Note: This 37 page pamphlet is a reprint of an earlier journal article in Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, Band 21, Number 3, 1936.]

Lanfranchi, Giovanni. (1995) "Astronomia e politica in età neo-assira." In: Bertola, F[?]. (Editor). Archeologia e astronomia: esperienze e prospettive future. (Pages 131-152). [Note: Atti dei convegni dei Lincei 121, Roma. Accademia nazionale dei Lincei. Argued that written evidence supports the importance of temple orientation to southeast and its role in the politics of the Neo-Assyrian Period. 2001 details for Giovanni Lanfranchi were: Prof. Giovanni Lanfranchi, Dipartimento di Scienze dell'antichità, University of Padova, Italy.]


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The controversial issue of precessional re-alignment of Greek temples.

Francis Penrose (born 1817 at Bracebridge – died 1903 at Wimbledon) M.A., F.R.I.B.A. (1848); F.R.A.S. (1867); F.R.S. (1894); F.S.A. (1898); was a British architect (and classical archaeologist and amateur astronomer). Penrose was educated at Bedford Grammar and Winchester College and afterwards worked briefly for an architectural firm. He studied architecture under Edward Blore from 1835 to 1838. He attended Magdalene College, Cambridge University, as an undergraduate, studying astronomy among other subjects and completed his degree in 1842. He then studied abroad under the Cambridge designation of "travelling bachelor" from 1842 to 1845. He became surveyor of St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1852, and it was there that he did his main architectural work. In 1878 at least he also carried out excavations there. Francis Penrose became a Fellow of Magdalene in 1884. From 1886 to 1887 and from 1890 to 1891 he was Director of the present British School in Athens which he designed (without charging a fee). He was president of the RIBA from 1894 to 1896. He was appointed architect and antiquary to the Royal Academy in 1898. He was the author of a number of books and papers, including: Principles of Athenian Architecture (1851) the first complete publication on the subject (an enlarged edition appeared in 1888), and a work predicting eclipses. (On a Method of Predicting by Graphical Construction Occultations of Stars by the Moon and Solar Eclipses for Any Given Place, together with more Rigorous Methods of Reduction for the Accurate Calculation of Longitude (1869).) Francis Penrose published extensively in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society on the astronomical alignment of Greek temples in the Mediterranean. Penrose was also an amateur astronomer and published a work on Saturn in1869. Under the influence of Norman Lockyer he combined his interests in architecture, archaeology, and astronomy to study how astronomical phenomenon determined the design of ancient buildings, including Stonehenge. He believed he had demonstrated that Greek temples had particular foundation alignments, either solar or stellar, and due to the effects of precession the temple foundations were periodically realigned in order to keep the original orientations. Citations of published papers (on astronomical alignments) by Francis Penrose - by various sources - indicate some possible confusion with exact titles, dates, publications, and page numbers, and so do not always seem to be accurate. Many are easily accessible/downloadable from: http://archive.org/search.php?query=penrose%20temples

Penrose, Francis. (1892). "A preliminary statement of an investigation of the dates of some of the Greek temples as derived from their orientation." (Nature, Volume 45, Number 1165, Pages 395-397).

Penrose, Francis. (1893). "The Orientation of Greek Temples." (Nature, Volume 48, Number 1228, May 11, Pages 42-43).

Penrose, Francis. (1893). "On the Results of an Examination of the Orientations of a Number of Greek Temples, with a View to Connect these Angles with the Amplitudes of Certain Stars at the time the Temples were founded, and an endeavour to derive therefrom the Dates of their Foundation by consideration of the Changes produced upon the Right Ascension and Declination of the Stars arising from the Precession of the Equinoxes." (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Volume 53, Abstract Pages 379-384).

Penrose, Francis. (1893). "On the Results of an Examination of the Orientations of a Number of Greek Temples with a View to Connect these Angles with the Amplitudes of Certain Stars at the Time the Temples were founded, and an endeavour to derive therefrom the Dates of their Foundation by consideration of the Changes produced upon the Right Ascension and Declination of the Stars by the Precession of the Equinoxes." (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Volume 184, Pages 805-834).

Penrose, Francis. (1897). "On the Orientation of Greek Temples and the Dates of Their Foundation Derived from Astronomical Considerations, Being a Supplement to a Paper Published in the 'Transactions of the Royal Society,' in 1893." (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Volume 61, Abstract Pages 76-78).

Penrose, Francis. (1897). "On the Orientation of Certain Greek Temples and the Dates of Their Foundation Derived from Astronomical Considerations, Being a Supplement to a Paper on the Same Subject Published in the Transactions of the Royal Society in 1893." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Containing Papers of a Mathematical or Physical Character, Volume 190, Pages 43-65).

Penrose, Francis. (1899). "On the Orientation of Greek Temples, Being the Results of Some Observations Taken in Greece and Sicily in the Month of May, 1898." (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Volume 65, Abstract Page 288; Article Pages 370-375).

Penrose, Francis. (1901). "Some Additional Notes on the Orientation of Greek Temples; Being the Result of a Journey to Greece and Sicily in April and May, 1898." (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Volume 68, Pages 112-114).

Penrose, Francis. (1901). "Some Additional Notes on the Orientation of Greek Temples; Being the Result of a Journey to Greece and Sicily in April and May, 1898." (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Containing Papers of a Mathematical or Physical Character, Volume 196, Pages 389-395).

Lockyer, Norman. and Penrose, Francis. (1901-1902). "An attempt to ascertain the date of the original construction of Stonehenge from its orientation." (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Volume 69, Number 452, Pages 137-147).

Lockyer, Norman. and Penrose, Francis. (1901). "An attempt to ascertain the date of the original construction of Stonehenge from its orientation." (Nature, Volume 65, 21 November, Pages 55-57).

Lockyer, Norman. and Penrose, Francis. (1901-1902). "An attempt to ascertain the date of the original construction of Stonehenge from its orientation." (Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Volume 9, Third Series, Pages 109/137?-142?).

An early review is:

 J. K. F. (1899). "On the Orientation of Temples, Being the Results of Some Observations Taken in Greece and Sicily, in the Month of May, 1898 by F. C. Penrose." (The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 29, Number 3/4, Pages 336-337).

Modern reviews/critiques of the scope of Penrose’ work includes:

"The Astronomical Orientation of Ancient Greek Temples." by Alun Salt (2009, based on his 2008 doctoral thesis, Creating collective identities through astronomy? A study of Greek temples in Sicily. See: https://lra.le.ac.uk/handle/2381/7783). From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2775669/pdf/pone.0007903.pdf

From the Introduction: "It has long been proposed that classical temples may have been aligned with respect to sunrise on certain dates. The idea was first proposed by Nissen [1] in 1869. This idea was developed further by other authors such as Penrose [2,3,4] and Dinsmoor, [5] who argued that a temple could be dated from its astronomical alignment. This explanation was rebutted in the 1980s by Herbert [6] on the grounds that plenty of Greek temples did not face east. Following a survey of Sicilian and southern Italian temples Aveni and Romano [7] reasserted that there is an astronomical pattern to the alignment of Greek temples, but the two most recently published statements on the subject [8,9] both state that there was no evidence of astronomical intent. At best, there is no consensus about the answer, though a more accurate summary would be that opinion is shifting away from the notion of astronomical alignments being embedded within Greek temples."

References 6, 8, & 9: 

6. Herbert, Sharon. (1984). "The Orientation of Greek Temples." (Palestine Exploration Quarterly, Volume 116, Pages 31–34).

8. Boutsikas, Efrosyn. (2007). "The Orientations of Greek Temples: A Statistical Analysis." In: Pásztor, E. (Editor). Archaeoastronomy in Archaeology and Ethnography: Papers from the annual meeting of SEAC; Pages 19–23.

9. Retallack, Gregory. (2008). "Rocks, Views, Soils and Plants at the Temples of Ancient Greece." Antiquity, Volume 82, Number 317, Pages 640–657.

Astronomy and Ancient Greek Cult : an application of archaeoastronomy to Greek religious architecture, cosmologies and landscapes by Efrosyn Boutsikas (2007, doctoral thesis). See: https://lra.le.ac.uk/handle/2381/7566

An extract of her review of Francis Penrose; Page 21: "He [Penrose] argues that archaeologically there is evidence of another temple (earlier than the surviving one) on the same site, but with a different orientation. Archaeologically, in fact, there is no evidence for the presence of a temple around 1180 BC, the date Penrose deduces for the construction of the earliest temple. He further attempts to define the orientation of the older temple. However, as there are no surviving remains of that structure he concludes that the temple would have been built parallel to the masonry wall, which is oriented 4° away from the present temple of Apollo (1900: 613; 1901: 389). In fact, there is no archaeological evidence that an earlier temple shared the same orientation as the masonry wall. Penrose initially associates β Lupi with the orientation of the temple (1896: 383, 385). However, the lack of historical evidence and the faintness of the star result in him revisiting this claim. In 1900 he changes the stellar association to ε Canis Majoris (1900: 1, 86). With this alteration, he also alters the temple orientation from the initial 227° 53´ to 227° 8´ (1900: 612) without any reference to the reasons behind the orientation change, or the association of the constellation with Apollo." See also the entire Chapter 2: Literature Review (Pages 9-33).

 


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The controversial "void zone" theory of constellation origins.

C. G. S. [Swartz, Carl.] (1809). Le Zodiaque Expliqué ou Recherches sur L'Origine et la Signification des Constellations de la Sphere Greque. [Note: The premier edition of the authors 1807 publication that originated this form of argument. The author, Carl Gottlieb Swartz [Schwartz] (1757-1824), was a Swede who lived the latter part of his life in France. For critical (English-language) book reviews see "Origin and Antiquity of the Zodiac," by Anon [William Roberts ?] in The British Review and London Critical Journal, Volume 9, Number 17, February 1817, Pages 136-150; and by Anon in The Literary Panorama, and National Register, New Series, Volume 1, November, 1814, Columns 257-259. The reviewers do not mention the "void zone" argument. The "void zone" arguments have now been critically demolished by two recent articles by the astronomer and historian Bradley Schaefer. See: (1) Schaefer, Bradley. (2002). "The Latitude and Epoch for the formation of the Southern Greek Constellations." (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 33, Number 4, Pages 313-350); and (2) Schaefer, Bradley. (2004). "The Latitude and Epoch for the Origin of the Astronomical Lore of Eudoxus." (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 35, Number 2, Pages 161-223). The former paper establishes that the southern Greek constellations originated in the first millennium BCE. The latter paper establishes that the astronomical lore of Eudoxus was of Babylonian origin circa 1130 BCE.]

Proctor, Richard. (1878). "The Origin of the Constellation-Figures." In: Proctor, Richard. Myths and Marvels of Astronomy. (Pages 331-363). [Note: Chapter XIII of his book (of collected essays). For a discussion of the wide appeal of Richard Proctor see "The Visual Theology of Victorian Popularizers of Science" by Bernard Lightman, in Isis, Volume 91, Number 4, December 2000, Pages 651-680.]

Peck, William. (1884). The constellations and how to find them. [Note: In this publication the author believed that the constellations dated back to "Chaldea" circa 2000 BCE. See the (English-language) obituary by H. M. in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume LXXXIX, 1929, Pages 186-187. Life dates: 1862-1925.]

Peck, William. (1890). "The Constellation Figures - Their Probable Origin." In: Peck, William. A Popular Handbook and Atlas of Astronomy. (Pages 1-11). [Note: The article is Chapter 1 of his book. He uses several of the arguments and conclusions employed by the "void zone" proponents (i.e., Richard Proctor?). In this publication the author believed that the very earliest constellations were established by the Egyptians circa 15,000 BCE and were further developed by the "Chaldeans" circa 2000 BCE.].

Maunder, Edward. (1898). "The Zodiac Explained." (The Observatory, Volume XXI, Pages 438-444).

Maunder, Edward. (1897/1898). "The Oldest Astronomy." (Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Volume VIII, Number 9, Pages 373-376).

Maunder, Edward. (1898/1899). "The Oldest Astronomy. II." (Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Volume IX, Number 7, Pages 317-321).

Maunder, Edward. (1900). "The Oldest Picture-Book of All." (The Nineteenth Century: A Monthly Review, Volume 48, September, Pages 451-464). [Note: The article was also reprinted in The Living Age [Littell's Living Age], Seventh Series, Volume IX, October, November, December, 1900, Pages 614-624.]

Maunder, Edward. (1902). "Constellation Studies." In: Maunder, Edward. Astronomy Without a Telescope. (Pages 2-11). [Note: Chapter 1 of his book.]

Maunder, Edward. and Maunder, Annie. (1903/1904). "The Oldest Astronomy. III." (Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Volume XIV, Number 6, Pages 241-246).

Maunder, Edward. (1904). "Snake Forms in the Constellations and on Babylonian Boundary Stones." (Knowledge & Scientific News, Volume 1 New Series, Number 9, October, Pages 227-230).

Orr, Mary. (1913, new and revised edition 1956 by Barbara Reynolds). Dante and the Early Astronomers. [Note: See pages 35-38. Follows the ideas of Edward Maunder. See also; "M. A. Orr (Mrs John Evershed), astronomer and Dantist." by Mary Brück in Astronomy & Geophysics, Volume 38, June/July, 1997, Page 9.]

Crommelin, Andrew. (1923). "The Ancient Constellation Figures." In: Hutchinson's Splendour of the Heavens. (Pages 640-669). (2 Volumes, also later published in one volume but no date.) [Note: Chapter XVII in Volume 2. See the (English-language) obituaries by P. J. M. in The Observatory, Volume 63, January, 1940, Number 788, Pages 11-13; and by C. Davidson in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical society, Volume 100, February, 1940, Pages 234-236. Also see the (English-language) biographical entry in Who Was Who, 1929-1940, (published 1941), Page 309. Life dates: 1865-1939.]

Davis, George. (1959). "The Origin of the Ancient Constellations." (Sky and Telescope, June, Pages 424-427). [Note: The author uncritically accepted the views expressed in the highly unreliable book "Primitive Constellations," by Robert Brown Junior (2 Volumes, 1899-1900). (See the authors remarks at the end of the article references.)]

Ovenden, Michael. (1966). The Origin of the Constellations." (The Philosophical Journal, Volume 3, Number 1, Pages 1-18). [Note: The Philosophical Journal = Transactions of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow. Michael Ovenden was an astronomer. The authors ideas appeared earlier, for example in a talk on "The Origin of the Constellations" given in 1961 at an ordinary general meeting of the British Astronomical Association, and appeared in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Volume 71, 1960-1961, Pages 91-95. The article is unreliable and contains significant errors (and the same applies to the talk). See: "The Latitude and Epoch for the Formation of the Southern Greek Constellations." by Bradley Schaefer (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 33, Part 4, 2002 Pages 313-350); and "The Latitude and Epoch for the Origin of the Astronomical Lore of Eudoxus." by Bradley Schaefer (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 35, Number 2, 2004, Pages 161-223). For his initial talk/article in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, published 1960-1961 (and at least by 1959) Michael Ovenden had sought the advice and collaboration of the classicist Dr Abraham Wasserstein, Department of Greek, University of Glasgow, when developing his ideas on the origin of the constellations. (The University of Glasgow was the same university where Ovenden was teaching at the time. Wasserstein (1921-1995) was Assistant in Greek at Glasgow University from 1951 to 1952 and then Lecturer in Greek at Glasgow University from 1952 to 1960. Wasserstein then then, circa 1960, moved to Leicester University as Professor of Classics.) The core of Wasserstein's advice was the information which the works of Aratus and Hipparchus could give about the origin of the constellation figures. Wasserstein had an interest in Greek astronomy (see: "Thales' Determination of the Diameters of the Sun and Moon." The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Volume LXXV, 1955, Pages 114-116)). In addition to astronomy Abraham Wasserstein also had a deep interest in Greek mathematics and was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Life dates for Michael Ovenden: 1926-1987. See the (English-language) obituaries for Michael Ovenden by Archibald Roy in The Observatory, Volume 108, Number 1082, February, 1988, Pages 31; and the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 29, March, 1988, Pages 90-91. Life dates for Abraham Wasserstein: born 1921, Frankfurt am Main - died 1995, Jerusalem. Assistant in Greek, Glasgow University 1951-52, Lecturer 1952-60; Professor of Classics, Leicester University 1960-69, Dean of the Faculty of Arts 1966-69; Professor of Greek, Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1969- 89 (Emeritus); married 1942 Margaret (Macca) Ecker (two sons, one daughter). See: "Obituary: Professor Abraham Wasserstein." by Aubrey Newman (The Independent, Tuesday, 8 August, 1995).]

Ovenden, Michael. (1967). "Origine des constellations." (L'Astronomie, Janvier, Pages 1-18). [Note: A French-language version of the author's 1966 English-language article.]

Brown, Peter. (1971). "Origin of the constellations." In: Brown, Peter. What star is that? (Pages 9-25). [Note: Chapter 1 of his book. Life dates for Peter Lancaster Brown: 1927-?]

Pomerance, Leon. (1976). The Phaistos Disc: An Interpretation of Astronomical Symbols. [Note: Uncritically uses Michael Ovenden's constellation ideas to support his own theories. See the sympathetic, but skeptical, (English-language) book review by David Kelley in Archaeoastronomy: The Bulletin of The Center for Archaeoastronomy, Volume II, Number 3, Summer, 1979, Pages 20-21). See also the sympathetic, but critical, (English-language) book review by Sharon Gibbs in Archaeology, Volume 30, Number 4, July, 1977, Pages 283-285; and the subsequent exchange between author and reviewer in "Letters to the Editor," in Archaeology, Volume 31, Number 1, January/February, 1978, Page 60. For a calendrical interpretation see the (English-language) book review article "Mediterranean Civilisation and the Phaestos Riddle" by John Griffith (Nature, Volume 86, Number 2168, May 18, 1911, Pages 385-387). Worth reading is the (English-language) book review article "How Not to Decipher the Phaistos Disc: A Review" by Yves Duhoux (American Journal of Archaeology, Volume 104, 2000, Pages 597-600). A must read is "The Phaistos Disk: A One Hundred-Year-Old Hoax:?" by Jerome Elsenberg (Minerva, July/August, 2008, Pages 9-24).]

Clube, Victor. and Napier, Bill. (1982). The Cosmic Serpent: A catastrophist view of Earth History. [Note: See pages 268-269.]

Roy, Archibald. (1984). "The Origin of the Constellations." (Vistas in Astronomy, Volume 27, Pages 171-197). [Note: Archibald [Archie] Roy was an astronomer (now retired). The article originated out of an earlier series of articles published in the magazine "The Unexplained: Mysteries of Mind, Space & Time," Volumes 61-64, Circa 1981. The magazine was reprinted as a multi-volume book "Mysteries of Mind, Space & Time: The Unexplained," and the constellation articles appeared in Volume 5, Pages 560-574. The article is uncritical, speculative, and unreliable.]

Gingerich, Owen. and Welther, Barbara. (1984). "Some Puzzles of Ptolemy's Star Catalogue." (Sky and Telescope, May, Pages 421-423).

Hughes, David. (1984). "Draughtsmen of the constellations." (Nature, Volume 312, 20/27 December, Page 697). [Note: See the correction in Nature, Volume 313, 17 January, 1985, Page 182 (News and Reviews).]

Roy, Archibald. (1986). "The lamps of Atlantis: An astronomical detective story ((constellations))." In: Hunt, J[?]. (Editor). Cosmos: An Educational Challenge. (ESA Proceedings of the GIREP Conference 1986. (Pages 47-49). [Note: ESA = European Space Agency; GIREP = Groupe International de Recherche sur l'Ensignement de la Physique.]

Ridpath, Ian. (1988). "Stars and storytellers." In: Ridpath, Ian. Star Tales. (Pages 1-12). [Note: Chapter 1 of his book.]

Thurston, Hugh. (1994). "A Possible Origin for the Constellations." In: Thurston, Hugh. Early Astronomy. (Pages135-138). [Note: The section is part of Chapter 6: The Greeks.]

Rice, Michael. (1994). The Archaeology of the Arabian Gulf. [Note: The uninformed nonsense contained in a section of this book is a classic example of the influence of Michael Ovenden's ideas in misguiding even academic discussions on the origin of the constellations.]

Barrow, John. (1995, revised 2005). "Long day's journey into night: the origin of the constellations." In: Barrow, John. The Artful Universe. (Pages 161-174). [Note: The section is part of Chapter 4: The heavens and the Earth.]

Rogers, John. (1998). "Origins of the ancient constellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions." (Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Volume 108, Number 1, February, Pages 9-28). [Note: Both parts of this article need to be used with caution. They comprise a speculative and misleading synthesis compiled in part from dated and/or unreliable sources. These include: Richard Allen, Robert Brown, Andrew Crommelin, Alex Gurshtein, Willy Hartner, Edward Maunder, Michael Ovenden, Werner Papke, Archibald Roy, Richard Proctor, Giuseppe Sesti, and David Ulansey. These authors have had a major influence on the ideas expressed in the article. Unfortunately the article tends to be highly regarded instead of highly disregarded.]

Rogers, John. (1998). "Origins of the ancient constellations: II. The Mediterranean traditions." (Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Volume 108, Number 2, April, Pages 79-89). [Note: Both parts of the article comprise a total of 31 pages.]

Bormanis, Andre. (1999). "From Sumer to Star Trek: The History of Star Names." (SkyWatch '99, Annual publication by Sky Publishing Corporation, Pages 28-31). [Note: Unreliable.]


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Gurshtein's gradualist concept of constellation origins and zodiacal development.

Alexander Gurshtein

Gurshtein, Alexander. (1993). "On the Origin of the Zodiacal Constellations." (Vistas in Astronomy, Volume 36, Pages 171-190). [Note: This paper is a detailed explanation of his ideas on constellation origins. At some time in the early 1990s (or earlier) Alex Gurshtein (then Institute for History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow) initiated a large-scale project in the field of archaeoastronomical analyses of the origin and development of archaic constellations. Unfortunately the key influence for this project was the book Hamlet's Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend (1969). His new hypothesis of the origin of the zodiacal constellations reached back to the Paleolithic period and was based on precession. Under the heading "The ancient world in the light of interdisciplinary studies," the (Russian-language) Journal of Ancient History, Number 1, 1995, published a selection of articles of a round-table discussion Gurshtein's ideas on the origin of the zodiacal constellations. Besides being published in Russian his conclusions were also published in a number of English-language journals. With the involvement of a number of like-minded Russian colleagues (comprising, if you like, a 'Russian School' of constellation investigators) the group performed a broad circle of new archaeoastronomical investigations. (The 'Russian School' includes A. Gurshtein, E. Kaurov [Kaunov], G. Kurtik, A. Kuzmin, N. Nikolov, S. Yershova, and S. Zhitomirsky. It's early history is described by E. Kaurov in his "The development [of] palaeoastronomy in Russia before the conference 'Palaeoastronomy: Sky and Mankind' (1992-1997)." (Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions, Volume 20, Issue 6, Pages 1039-1044).) The early results of the 'Russian School' were published in two thematically orientated issues of the English-language Russian journal "Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions (Volumes 17, Issue 6, (1998) and 19 (1999)). Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions, 1999, Volume 17, Issue 6, Pages 439-440: "Archaeoastronomy : the Problems of Being EDITORIAL The first National conference of archaeoastronomy was held on 15-18 October, 1996 at the Institute of Archaeology (IA) RAS. The idea of this form of interdisciplinary cooperation was discussed at the interdisciplinary meeting (30th March, 1996), which took place after the first national session on archaeoastronomy (State Astronomical Institute (SAI) of MGU, 30th March, 1996; for the material of this session see Astron. Astrophys. Trans., 1996, Vol. 15, special issue on the conference 'Our Galaxy'). The first national conference on archaeoastronomy, 'Archaeoastronomy: the problems of being' was organized by IA RAS. This conference was sponsored by RFBR. One of the members of the organizing committee (OC) was E. N. Kaurov (EAAS). The OC declared six topics of the conference: 1. Archaeoastronomical memories with astronomical orientiers: types, forms and functional aims. 2. History of research of archaeoastronomy objects. 3. Applications of the methods of astronomy, astrometry and selection mechanics in archaeoastronomy. 4. Astronomical knowledge and rites in antiquity in the light of the archaeological, ethnographical data and data of mythology. 5. The model of the ancient world outlook: sources, forms and transformation. 6. Ancient ornaments in the archaeoastronomical aspect. The talks and the poster papers (in all 48 items of the 53 authors) were published in the summary at the beginning of the conference. The summary presented all of the six declared topics. The conference was successful. Astronomical research in archaeoastronomy was presented at the conference by V. N. Obridko et al., (IZMIRAN), D. D. Polojenzev (GAO), J. A. Nagovizin (GAO), V. A Jurevich ('Earth and Universe' magazine), E. N. Kaurov (EAAS) and others. The experience of organizing the first national conference on archaeoastronomy was used by the organization of the conference 'Palaeoastronomy: Sky and Mankind' (19-24 November 1997, SAI MGU). In this issue we present the materials of some ordinary papers of the conference 'Archaeoastronomy: the problems of being'. Before this issue Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions also published the papers by V. N. Obridko et al., (Astron. Astrophys. Trans. Vol. 17, 29, 1998). The scientific results of this conference were reported briefly in Russian Archaeology, 1998, 1, 230-238 (a science magazine in Russian). Two papers on archaeoastronomy are also published in this special issue (G. E. Kurtik and A. V. Kuzmin); there were discussed at the science seminars after the conference. E. N. Kaurov" It is generally regarded that the most noticeable early achievement of the 'Russian school' of constellation investigators was the publication of the "Transactions" of the international conference held in the Shternberg State Astronomical Institute (Moscow State University) [Sternberg Institute of Astronomy, Moscow State University], November 19-24, 1997, The project the conference project was Dr E[?]. Kaunov [Kaurov]. The 'Russian school' of constellation investigators is basically distinguished by their somewhat speculative high-end dates for the origin of constellations. Its members assert the subdividing of the stars of the northern celestial hemisphere into constellations has archaic sources and reasons, and began most probably in the Paleolithic period. There is a heavy emphasis also on astronomy attributed to the Neolithic-Bronze age (5th- to 2nd-millennium BCE). (See: Gurshtein, A. et al. 1998). "On the Status of Archaeoastronomy in Russia." (Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions, Volume 15, Issue 1-4, April, Pages 343-348).) Alexander Gurshtein (1937- ) is an eminent Russian astronomer and historian of science. Gurshtein has a Candidate of Science (1966) from Sternberg State Astronomical Institute in Moscow. He also has a Doctor of Science degree in Physics and Mathematics (1980) from Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg. As an astronomer Gurshtein was active in the Soviet Union's Lunar Space Program. (In 1974 Gurshtein was a deputy head of a laboratory in the USSR Institute of Space Research. He specialised in planetology.) He has been Head of Council for Astronomical Education, Russian Ministry of Education; and also Vice Director of the Institute for History of Science and Technology, Russian Ministry of Education. Gurshtein was also Editor-in-Chief of the Annual on History of Science published by the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Deputy Editor-in-Chief for the monthly Nature. He has authored several books, numerous articles, holds 5 patents, and has presented at many international forums. Since 1995 Gurshtein has been teaching at Mesa State College in the USA and he now resides permanently in the USA. In his old age Gurshtein has decided to aggressively promote his ideas, including aggressively attacking and maligning his critics. Life dates: 1937- . See the biographical entry in: The Encyclopedia of Russian Jewry edited by Herman Branover, Isaiah Berlin, and Zeev Wagner (Volume 1, Biographies A-I, 1998).]

Gurshtein, Alexander. (1994). "Dating the Origin of the Constellations by Precession." (Physics-Doklady, Volume 39, Number 8, Pages 575-578). [Note: A succinct explanation of his ideas of the origins of the constellations.]

Gurshtein, Alexander. (1995). "Prehistory of Zodiac Dating: Three Strata of Upper Paleolithic Constellations. (Vistas in Astronomy, Volume 39, Pages 347-362).

Gurshtein, Alexander. (1995). "When the Zodiac Climbed Into the Sky." (Sky and Telescope, October, Pages 28-33).

Gurshtein, Alexander. (1996). "The Great Pyramids of Egypt as Sanctuaries Commemorating the Origin of the Zodiac: An Analysis of Astronomical Evidence." (Physics-Doklady, Volume 41, Number 5, Pages 228-232).

Gurshtein, Alexander. (1997). "In Search of the First Constellations." (Sky and Telescope, June, Pages 46-50).

Gurshtein, Alexander. (1997). "The Origins of the Constellations." (American Scientist, Volume 85, Number 3, May-June, Pages 264-273). [Note: For an example of the ability of Gurshtein to evade issues when dealing with his errors see: Wolbarsht, Myron. Letters to the Editor: "Contesting constellations." American scientist, Volume 85, November/December, 1997, Pages 500-501. Letter commenting on some of the statements in Gurshtein's article, "The Origin of the Constellations," published in the May/June, 1997 issue, with Gurshtein's response.]

Gurshtein, Alexander. (1998). "The Evolution of the Zodiac in the Context of Ancient Oriental History." (Vistas in Astronomy, Volume 41, Number 4, Pages 507-525). [Note: This paper is the 3rd part of a single investigation started with publications in Vistas in Astronomy in 1993 and 1995.]

Gurshtein, Alexander. (2004) “Relevant queries in respect to [of] the archaic Chinese sky.” In: Orchiston, W., Stephenson, R., Debarbat, S., and Njha, I.-S. (Editors). Astronomical Instruments and Archives from the Asia-Pacific Region. [Note: Paper presented at the International Conference on Astronomical Instruments and Archives from the Asia-Pacific Region in Commemoration of the Inauguration of the Nha Il-Seong Museum of Astronomy Cheongju, Korea, 2-5 July, 2002. Once again, Gurshtein suggests the gradual development of the Zodiac from the mythology of the 6th-millennium BCE.]

Gurshtein, Alexander. (2005). "Did the Pre-Indo-Europeans Influence the Formation of the Western Zodiac?" (Journal of Indo-European Studies, Volume 33, Number 1 & 2, Spring/Summer, Pages 103-150). [Note: This article, his longest to date, is published in a peer-reviewed journal. In the conclusion to the article he makes the incredibly uninformed and misleading statement: "The writers making this claim [that the Western Zodiac originated during the 1st millennium BCE in Mesopotamia] propose no explanations as to why the Zodiac would have been instituted at this certain time in this certain place." This demonstrates that Gurshtein continues to remain completely unfamiliar with the Mesopotamian cuneiform evidence. It attempts to create a puzzle that does not exist. The explanations which he claims are lacking are actually given in a number of the references he cites. From my essay on the origin of the zodiac: "The zodiac was a development from the Babylonian scheme of 17/18 constellations/stars marking the path of the moon. The Babylonian system of 17/18 constellations/stars zodiac marking the path of the Moon belongs to the Assyrian Period (and perhaps originated circa 1000 BCE) and was still in use in the 7th-century BCE and contained the constellations that were to form the 12-constellation solar zodiac. At least 5 of these 17/18 constellations/stars are not previously listed but are additional constellations/named stars in the Mul.Apin series. Post Mul.Apin (i.e., toward the Neo-Babylonian Period) the number of constellations/stars in the Path(s) of Sin/Shamash was limited from 17/18 to 12. Circa 700 BCE a "zodiac" comprising of 12 irregular sized constellations had been developed. Only those 12 constellations/stars nearest to the path of the ecliptic were used. The other 5/6 were discarded as ecliptic markers. A Babylonian text from circa the 5th-century BCE which lists 12 months (and ignores the intercalary month) and their associated constellations, also assigns both the Pleiades and Taurus to month 2, both Orion and Gemini to month 3, and both Pegasus and Pisces to month 12. This provides an indication of another of the progressive steps towards an eventual zodiac of 12 equal 30 degree divisions and signs. The issue of reducing from 17/18 constellations/stars as marker's along the Moon's path was connected with the establishment of 12 (ideal) solar months of 30 days each. (The fact that certain stars had become connected with the schematic year of 12 months x 30 days each greatly assisted the development of the reduction of the zodiac to 12 divisions. The calendar was schematic because of the fact that the year does not consist of exactly 360 days. This made it necessary to add an extra 13th month now and then. The periodic intercalation of a 13th lunar month was done to keep the lunar calendar in line with the seasons. It was not based on solar observations.) (This theoretical division of the year into 12 months of 30 days each is indicated as dating back to the Old Babylonian Period circa 1800 BCE.) Hence the system of 12 zodiacal constellations was invented mostly from existing constellations/named stars that originated largely during the 2nd millennium BCE for marking a different i.e., (roughly approximating an) "equatorially-centred", sky system. (The Babylonians had no actual recognition of a celestial equator.) The 12-constellation zodiac replaced the earlier 17/18 constellation/star scheme that it developed from. Whilst there is relatively clear evidence that perhaps 8 of our 12 present zodiacal constellations existed in the 2nd millennium BCE there were at least 4 constellations - that were to form part of the zodiacal scheme - that most probably did not exist until the 1st millennium BCE. There is no unambiguous evidence that all of our present 12 constellations comprising the zodiac existed prior to the Late Assyrian Period. Circa the 5th-century BCE the Babylonian skywatchers needed a suitable frame of reference to indicate the positions of the Moon and the planets between the stars along the path of the ecliptic. With the demands of their developing astronomy it was no longer sufficient to continue with a scheme that simply noted that the Moon or a planet was close to this or that star. Circa 420 BCE the Babylonians substituted the original 12 constellations forming the zodiacal scheme with a sidereal scheme of twelve equal divisions of the ecliptic comprising 30º segments. This followed the Babylonian invention of degrees, which was introduced into mathematical astronomy to enable the measuring of celestial "longitude" from a given point (which was the vernal equinox). (A schematic month was comprised of 30 days and therefore each zodiacal segment or "sign" numbered 30°.) The zodiac of 12 equal signs was never used by the Babylonians as a coordinate system. It was only used as a mathematical abstraction for computing lunar and planetary motion. (The Normal Stars, a set of approximately 30 stars positioned around the ecliptic, continued to be used by the Babylonians for locating the positions of the moon and planets. About the middle of the 3rd-century BCE the zodiacal reference system seems to have finally become established as the norm for such.) Also, the Babylonians always simply defined the starting points of the scheme of zodiacal signs by their positions relative to the fixed stars. Hamal, the brightest star of the Ram (= Babylonian MUL.LU.HUN.GA ("Hired Man") was probably used to mark the vernal equinox. However, the completed zodiacal system of the Babylonians, for reasons still incompletely known, did not start at 0º ecliptic longitude but at about 355º, and this difference extends through the whole zodiac. ... In summary: The 12-constellation zodiac arose during the Late Assyrian Period (the Assyrian Period began circa 1100 BCE) from a deliberate scheme which circa 1000 BCE placed 17/18 constellations/named stars (comprising of 12 existing constellations/stars previously used in marking the equatorially-centred system of the "three stars each," and 6 "new" constellations) for use as reference points along the path of the Moon. The development of the 12-constellation zodiac into 12 equal divisions (i.e., 30 degree signs) occurred later during the 5th-century BCE (for mathematical reasons). In its final form the use of the zodiac also included marking the movements of the planets."]


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The ideas of Panbabylonism regarding constellations and star names.

Winckler, Hugo. (1899). "Himmel, kalender und mythos." (Altorientalische Forschungen, Zweite Reihe, Band II, Pages 354-395). [Note: Hugo Winckler was a German philologist, historian, and archaeologist. He was one of the founders of the Panbabylonism school and in this was influenced by the ideas of Eduard Stucken on astral mythology. Life dates: 1863-1913. See the (German-language) obituary by Anon [Felix Peiser?] in Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, 16 Jahrgang, Number 5, May, 1913, Columns 193-200.]

Winckler, Hugo. (1901, revised 1903). Himmels- und Weltenbild der Babylonier. [Note: See the (French-language) book review by Charles Fossey in L'Année Sociologique, Sixiéme Année [Tome VI] 1901-1902, 1903, Page 266. Also, see the (German-language) review by Felix Peiser of Peter Jensen's pamphlet "Kritik von Winckler's Himmels- und Weltenbild der Babylonier," in Orientalistische Literatur-Zeitung, Siebenter Jahrgang, Number 4, April, 1904, Columns 142-145.]

Winckler, Hugo. (1905). "Astronomisch-mythologisches. 1. Der weg Anus, Bels und Eas." (Altorientalische Forschungen, Dritte Reihe, Band II, Pages 179-184).

Winckler, Hugo. (1905). "Astronomisch-mythologisches. 2-4. Die erîtu-sterne - Die bahre und der fisch." (Altorientalische Forschungen, Dritte Reihe, Band II, Pages 185-211).

Winckler, Hugo. (1905). "Astronomisch-mythologisches. 5-18. Die formel - Marduk-Nebo - Welteinteilung - Ninib der nordplanet - Die zwillinge = mond und sonne - Des menschen sohn = erlöser." (Altorientalische Forschungen, Dritte Reihe, Band II, Pages 274-314).

Jeremias, Alfred. (1908, Second edition 1909). Das Alter der babylonischen Astronomie. [Note: The 1909 edition has approximately 30 additional pages - mostly dealing with the criticisms of the Jesuit astronomer and Assyriologist Franz Kugler against Panbabylonism. See the (German-language) book review by Wilhelm Erbt in Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, Dreizehnter Jahrgang, Number 12, 1910, Columns 545-546; and the (French-language) book review by Charles Fossey in Revue critique d'histoire et de littérature, Volume 44, Number 2, 1910, Pages 78-80. A (German-language) review by J[?]. Hehn of some key Panbabylonian publications by Hugo Winckler and Alfred Jeremias appears in Theologische Revue, 8. Jahrgang, 1909, 7 April, Number 5, Columns 142-145. Alfred Jeremias was a Lutheran minister in Leipzig and an archaeologist. He was a pupil of Franz and Friedrich Delitzch. Life dates: 1864-1935. See the (German-language) obituaries by Ernst Weidner in Archiv für Orientforschung, Zehnter Band, 1935-1936, Pages 195-196; and W[?]. Baumgartner in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Verwandte Gebiete, Neue Folge, Band 9, (Band 43), 1936, Pages 299-301. See: Ilgauds, Hans-Joachim. (2008). "Der Leipziger Theologe Alfred Jeremias (1864-1935) und die Geschichte der frühen Astronomie." In: Dick, Wolfgang. et al. (Editors). Beiträge zur Astronomiegeschichte, Band 9, Pages 185-204).]

Kugler, Franz. (1910). Im Bannkries Babels [In Babylons Binding Spell: Panbabylonian Constructions and Facts of Historical Religions]. [Note: A trenchant book against Panbabylonism (especially of the tenets of Winckler and Jeremias). The book is an expansion of Kugler's 1909 article in the journal Anthropos. In this book Kugler solidly rejected his previous astral interpretation of the Gilgamesh epic undertaken in his 1904 article. See the (German-language) book review by J[?]. Hehn in Theologische Revue, 12. Jahrgang, 1913, Number 6, Columns 166-168.]

Röck, Friedrich. (1912). "Palaeozodiacus und Dodekaoros." (Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, 15. Jahrgang, Number 9, September, Columns 385-391).

Röck, Friedrich. (1913). "Der Palaeozodiacus, die prähistorische Urform unseres Tierkreises." (Memnon, Band VI, Pages 147-176). [Note: Circa 1920 at least an associate professor at Museum für Völkerkunde, Austria.]

Jeremias, Alfred. (1913, Second edition 1929). Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur. [Note: Unreliable. See the (German-language) book reviews by Ernst Zinner in Vierteljahrsschrift der Astronomischen Gesellschaft, 65 Jahrgang, 1930, Pages 25-26; Bruno Meissner in Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Neue Folge, Band 9, (Band 84), 1930, Pages 94-100; and A[?]. Wiedmann in Theologische Literaturzeitung, Volume 55, Number 5, March, 1930, Columns 101-102; the (English-language) book review by Jacob Hoschander in The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series Volume 5, 1914-1915, Pages 634-637; and the (French-language) book review by Albert Condamin in Recherches de Science Religieuse, Volume 5, 1915, Pages 178-180. See also the short uncritical (English-language) book review of the second edition in The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Volume XXII, 1931-1932, Page 431.]

Weidner, Ernst. (1914). Alter und Bedeutung der babylonischen Astronomie und Astrallehre. [Note: Dated and unreliable. A collection of essays in defense of standard Panbabylonism ideas including Babylonian knowledge of precession and the phases of Venus. One chapter discusses the Babylonian scheme of constellations. As a young Assyriologist Ernst Weidner would appear to have been influenced by the Assyriologist and Panbabylonist Felix Peiser (who was editor of the journal Orientalistische Literaturzeitung). See the (German-language) book review by Bruno Meissner in Theologische Literaturzeitung, Vierzigster Jahrgang, Number 12, 1915, Columns 270-271.]

Jeremias, Alfred. (1915). "Sterne (bei den Babyloniern)." In: Roscher, Wilhelm. Ausführliches Lexikon der Griechischen und Römischen Mythologie. (Vierter Band, Columns 1427-1500).

De Santillana, Giorgio. and Von Dechend, Hertha. (1969; Fourth (English-language) reprint 1998. However, excepting for the 1993 German-language edition by Hertha von Dechend, and 1999 Italian-language edition edited by Alessandro Passi, without changes or corrections.) Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time. [Note: This book has received, and continues to receive, an enormous amount of uncritical support. However, it is a poorly organized book regarding its material and it presents an obscure and confusingly argued case. While the book contains an immense amount of loosely related information there is no persuasive evidence presented for the connections being made. Its purpose is basically an attempt to revive some of the key ideas of Panbabylonism i.e., Mesopotamian establishment of an equally divided, 12-constellation zodiac and knowledge of the effects (at least) of precession (and the incorporation of such into ancient mythological themes) by circa 4000 BCE. The book was basically written by Giorgio De Santillana - from von Dechend's chaotically organised seminar notes - when he was seriously ill (which helps to explain its lack of unity and coherence) and the numerous appendices were basically contributed by Hertha von Dechend. The book clearly shows the influence of Hertha von Dechend's teacher Leo Frobenius (who had written several books mirroring some Panbabylonian ideas, and the correspondence between mythological themes and celestial phenomena). The errata list that was enclosed with the 1993 German-language edition was left out of the 1994 reprint of such. See the critical (English-language) book reviews by Edmund Leach in The New York Review (of Books), February 12, 1970, Page 36, (Giorgio's De Santillana's protest letter regarding this review appeared in "Letters," The New York Review, May 7, 1970); by Jaan Puhvel in The American Historical Review, Volume LXXV, Number 6, October, 1970, Pages 2009-2010; by Lynn White Junior in Isis, Volume 61, 1970, Pages 540-541; by Gerald Gresseth in Journal of American Folklore, Volume 84, Number 332, April/June, 1971, Pages 246-247; by Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin in Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 3, 1972, Pages 206-211; by Albert Friedman in Journal of the History of Philosophy, Volume X, 1972, Page 479; by Hilda Davidson in Folklore, Volume CXXXV, 1974, Pages 282-283; by David Leeming in Parabola, Volume III, Issue 1, 1978, Pages 113-115; and the (German-language) book review by Thomas Barthel in Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, Band 99, Heft 1 und 2, 1974, Pages 284-287). See also the sympathetic (English-language) book reviews by Philip Morrison in Scientific American, Volume 221, Number 5, November, 1969, Page 159; and by Harald Reiche in The Classical Journal, Volume 69, Number 1, October/November, 1973, Pages 81-83. See also the sympathetic (Estonian-language) book review by Heino Eelsalu in Akadeemia [an Estonian journal], Number 6, 1995 Pages (Columns?) 1300-1301. For a review of the 1993 German-language edition see the (German-language) book review by P[?]. Richter in Sterne und Weltraum, Band 34, 1995, Pages 4-10. See the sympathetic (English-language) obituary of Giorgio de Santillana (1902-1974) by Nathan Sivin, Professor of Chinese Culture and the History of Science, University of Pennsylvania, in Isis, Volume 67, 1976, Pages 439-493; and the (English-language) obituary of Hertha von Dechend (1915-2001) by Uta Lindgren, Professor of the History of Science, University of Bayreuth in Isis, Volume 94, 2003, Pages 112-113. Professor Uta Lindgren mistakenly credits Hertha von Dechend with being was the first person to analyze myths for their astronomical content. Also, unfortunately, the nature of von Dechend's MIT seminars, though mentioned, are not clearly explained. (It appears there were 6 seminars per term of approximately 2 hours each. The seminars (or at least the latter 2) would seem to be presented as part of the Independent Activities Period (IAP) which is a special 4-week term held each year that runs from the first week of January until the end of January. The IAP provides members of the MIT community (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) with the opportunity to organise, sponsor, and participate in a wide variety of activities, including forums and lecture series that are not possible during the semester. All of these short courses of one term duration, were, and still are, open to the MIT university community. Judging by recent examples a seminar series conducted during this short term would, and still do, usually consist of a weekly evening lecture of 2-3 hours (by one of more presenters), some expected core reading, and some minor essays/projects. It also appears that Giorgio de Santillana (and other staff members at MIT) actually gave most of the presentations.) It is mentioned that Giorgio de Santillana first met Hertha von Dechend when he participated in a symposium in Frankfurt in 1958.]

Amory, Frederick [Frederic]. (1977). "The Medieval Hamlet: A Lesson in the Use and Abuse of a Myth." (Deutsche Vierteljahresschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, Volume 51, Number 3, Pages 357-395). [Note: Neglected/forgotten critique of Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend (1969). Includes 123 references. The essay comprises some 20,000 words. The article contains numerous misprints. Abstract: I. Réfutation de l'interprétation cosmologique donnée par G. deSantillana et H. von Dechend (Hamlet's Mill, 1969) de l'histoire d'H. Le moulin magique dans les mythologies nordiques et scandinaves, dans le folklore, la religion germanique, et les épopées nordiques. II. L'A. considère Hamlet comme le personnage du fourbe décrit par Lévi-Strauss dont la fourberie résoud dans un mythe un cas d'inceste. L'Hamlet de Saxo Grammaticus: sources irlandaises et islandaises, diverses formes de la légende. Son achèvement chez Shakespeare. The article is in English. See also: "The Conundrums in Saxo's Hamlet Episode." by Hans Sperber (PMLA, Volume 64, Number 4, September, 1949, Pages 864-870). PMLA is the journal of the Modern Language Association of America.]


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The controversial use of Phainomena authored by Aratus of Soli.

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1885). The Phainomena or 'Heavenly Display' of Aratos: Done into English Verse. [Note: Said to be a literal translation into English but radically different to the English translation rendered in "The Skies and Weather-forecasts of Aratus," by E[?]. Poste (1880). See the (English-language) review by J[ohn?]. Watson in The Academy, August 29, 1885, Number 695, Pages 137-138.]

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1892). "The Celestial Equator of Aratos." In: Morgan, E. (Editor). Transactions of the Ninth International Congress of Orientalists. 2 Volumes. (Pages 445-485). [Note: The paper is in Volume 2. This is the publication in which Robert Brown dates the origin of the Babylonian zodiac to 2084 BCE.]

Schott, Albert. and Böker, Robert. (1958). Aratos: Sternbilder und Wetterzeichen. [Note: See the sympathetic (German-language) book review by Manfred Erren in Gnomon, Band 31, 1959, Pages 728-732.]

Erren, Manfred. (1967). Die Phainomena des Aratos von Soloi. [Note: A detailed study. The author argues that the Aratean constellations can be dated to Babylonia circa 2000 BCE. Regardless of some of its radical conclusions it is considered to be the standard study in the German-language. See the critical (German/English-language) book review by Walther Ludwig and David Pingree in Gnomon, Band 43, 1971, Pages 346-354.]


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Astronomical-astrological interpretations of Mithraism.

Dupuis, Charles François. (1794/1795). Origine des tous les cultes: ou, Religion universelle. (7 Volumes (in octavo) (appeared 1794) plus 1 Volume of plates (i.e., atlas) (appeared 1795)). [Note: An early identification of Mithraic imagery in the tauroctony with constellations.]

Zoega, Georg. (1817). (Edited by F. Welcker). Abhandlungen.

Creuzer, Georg. (1836). Symbolik und Mythologie der alten Völker. (4 volumes, 3rd revised edition, 1836-1842). [Note: See Volume 1, Pages 267-290. The first astronomical identification of the Mithraic tauroctony. Held also that the Perseus of the Greeks is nothing more than a modification of the Persian Mithras. Creuzer was a German classical scholar, philologist, and archaeologist. Life dates: 1771-1858.]

Lajard, Félix. (1867). Recherches sur le Culte Public et les Mystères de Mithra.

Stark, Karl. (1869). "Die Mithrasstein von Dormagen." (Jahrbücherdes Vereins von Altertumsfreunden im Rheinlande, Band 46, Pages 1-25). [Note: The German scholar Karl Stark was a classical philologist. Life dates: 1824-1879.]

Stark, Karl. (1880). Systematik und Geschichte der Archäologie der Kunst. [Note: Published posthumously in 1880. Stark suggested a detailed astral interpretation of the 3 fragmentary Mithraic reliefs found at Dormagen on the Rhine. Earlier, in 1869 (at an International Congress? and/or publication), Karl Stark suggested that the tauroctony could be interpreted as a star map, with Mithras being identified with the constellation named after Perseus (who was commonly associated with Persia, and the bull).

Drews, Arthur. (1923). Der Sternhimmel in der Dichtung und Religion der Alten Völker und des Christentums. []Note: Arthur Drews had an astronomical interpretation for just about everything.]

Levi, Doro. (1944). "AION." (Hesperia, Volume 13, Pages 269-314).

Vermaseren, Maarten. (1963). Mithras, the Secret God. [Note: An authoritative book by a recognised scholar of Mithraism.]

Bausani, Alessandro. (1973). "Interpretazione paleo-astronomica della stele di Triora." (Bollettino del Centro Cannino di. Studi Preistorici, Volume 10, Pages 1?-19?/127?-134?).

Vermaseren, Maarten. (1974). The Mithraeum at Ponza. [Note: 38 pages. Includes discussion of the so-called zodiac Daressy and the so-called planisphaerium or Tabula Bianchini.]

Beck, Roger. (1977). "Cautes and Cautopates: some astronomical considerations." (Journal of Mithraic Studies, Volume 2, Number 1, Pages 1-17). [Note: This now defunct journal was a semiannual (twice a year) publication. It has been replaced by the Electronic Journal of Mithraic Studies.]

Insler, Stanley. (1978, 3 Volumes). "A New Interpretation of the Bull-Slaying Motif." In: de Boer, Margaret. and Edridge, T[?]. (Editors). Hommages a Maarteen J. Vermaseren. (Volume 2, Pages 519-538).

Speidel, Michael. (1980). Mithras-Orion: Greek Hero and Roman Army God. [Note: Seeks a Hellenistic origin for Mithraism i.e., the myth of Mithras is largely the myth of the Greek hero Orion. Mithraism, together with the cult of Iuppiter Dolichenus, was the most successful in the Roman army. Ostensibly an Iranian cult, it actually was, according to Michael Speidel, a Greek cosmic religion, based on the Greek view of the heavens and the myth of Orion. See the (English-language) book reviews by Robert Ogilvie in The Classical Review, New Series Volume XXXI, 1981, Page 305; and by Roger Beck in Phoenix, Volume 36, 1982, Pages 196-198. The (French-language) book review by Michel Malaise in Latomus Revue D'Études Latines, Tome XL, 1981, Pages 461; and the (German-language) book reviews by Peter Herz in Gnomon, Band 54, 1982, Pages 88-90; by Gerhard Radke in Anzeiger für die Altertumswissenschaft, XXXV Band, 3/4 Heft, Juli/Oktober 1982, Column 276; and by Kurt Rudolph in Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, Band 78, Nummer 3, 1983, Columns 279-280.]

Bausani, Alessandro. (1980). "Note stilla preistoria astronomica del mito di Mithra." In: Bianchi, Ugo. (Editor). Mysteria Mithrae. (Pages 503-515). [Note: Life dates: 1921-1988.]

Tuman, Vladimir. (1983). "The Cerberus Slab of Hatra may represent Important Astronomical Events." (Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 24, Pages 14-23).

Merkelbach, Reinhold. (1984). Mithras. [Note: Excellent lengthy study. Special unnumbered issue of Beiträge zur Klassischen Philologie. Life dates: 1918-?]

Ulansey, David. (1986). "Mithras and Perseus." (Helios, Volume 13, Pages 33-62).

Sandelin, Karl-Gustav. (1988). "Mithras = Auriga?" (Arctos, Volume 22, Pages 133–35). [Note: The author is a Finno-Swedish scholar.]

Beck, Roger. (1988). Planetary Gods and Planetary Orders in the Mysteries of Mithras. [Note: See the (English-language) book review by J[?]. Liebeschuetz in The Classical Review, New Series, Volume XL[40], Number 2, 1990, Pages 328-330).]

Ulansey, David. (1989; reprinted 1991). The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World. [Note: Published in Turkish in 1998; and published in Italian in 2001. In his book, Romanising Oriental Gods (2008, 2010) the author Jaime Alvar states (Page 97): "… a book neatly calculated to appeal to a wide public." Ulansey's book is exclusively concerned with an astral interpretation of Mithraism. The book comprises a wildly speculative precessional interpretation of the Mithraic religion. (In his web discussions Ulansey continues to adhere to a loose method of defending/arguing his ideas.) The author holds that Cilician pirates (residing in Asia Minor (= Turkey) and numbering some 20,000 persons) contributed to the development/propagation the Mithraic mysteries using Hipparchus' discovery of precession. Ulansey's key belief for the origin of Mithraism is that it is the product of an intellectual exercise by a small group of Tarsian Stoics who created a religion to explain Hipparchan precession. (In a nutshell: According to David Ulansey, Mithraism originated among the 20,000 strong pirates of Cicilia (Asia Minor = Turkey), the capital city of which was Tarsus.) Based on his 1984 Princeton University doctoral thesis titled: Mithras and Perseus: Mithraic Astronomy and the Anatolian Perseus-Cult. Highly speculative, selective, and controversial. (Ulansey received his PhD in (1984) in Religion from Princeton University.) The author (basically a "New-Ager") holds to a Jungian viewpoint for the interpretation of mythology. (Ulansey is a frequent lecturer at the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.) The book sets out a theory of the astronomical origin of Mithraism only. It does not contain any examination of the history of Mithraism nor does it contain any exposition of Mithraic cultic practices. As far as I am aware Ulansey has never engaged in any archaeological work concerning Mithraism and his few published articles on Mithraism, with one or two exceptions i.e., "Mithras and the Hypercosmic Sun" in Studies in Mithraism edited by John Hinnells (1994), basically repeat his book. (Ulansey's 1994 paper reappears as "Mithras, the Hypercosmic Sun, and the Rockbirth." in Alexandria 5: The Journal of Western Cosmological Traditions edited by David Fideler (April, 2000).) The author's astronomical ideas concerning Mithraism originated during a 1977 brain-storming session, on a picture of the Mithraic myth of the bull slaying, conducted in a graduate class on the Mystery Religions by Professor John Gager. (Ulansey is an amateur astronomer.) This immediate conclusion of Ulansey's has been kept by him and forms the basis for his continuing rejection of the theories of recognized Mithraic scholars. (From Ulansey's ongoing involvement in web discussions it is clear that he does not admit any requirement to modify his original position set out in his 1989 book.) It is tempting to see a connection with the visionary techniques of Carl Jung. On at least one occasion Jung's own visionary experiences involved himself mimicing the Mithraic Leontocephalus. Also, Jung was very much interested in the Mystery Religions and was especially fascinated with the Mithraic iconography of Mithras slaying a bull. See especially his repeated explorations of the Mithraic tauroctony in his book, Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (1912). Ulansey openly admits that he is not comfortable with mainstream scholarship in general. David Ulansey has a Ph.D. from Princeton University. Circa the early 1990s) he joined the California Institute of Integral Studies as a professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness Program. Currently (2012), he is Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at U.C. Berkeley, and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. This is a private graduate school with approximately 1000 (mostly part-time) students that is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (a regional accrediting agency recognised by the United States Department of Education). Ulansey usually identifies himself as a historian of religion(s), with a focus on the ancient Mystery Religions, Gnosticism, and early Christianity. (From Ulansey’s homepage (2013): " … Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at U.C. Berkeley, and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. … [A] scholar of the history of religions, comparative religion, and cultural history (Ph.D., Princeton Univ.), and before teaching at CIIS … was on the faculties of the University of California at Berkeley, Boston University, Barnard College (Columbia University), the University of Vermont, Princeton University, and Pacifica Graduate Institute. … [S]pecialty is the religions of the ancient Mediterranean world, especially the ancient Mystery religions, Gnosticism, ancient cosmology, and early Christianity. … [H]ave also taught courses in a variety of more speculative areas such as the evolution of consciousness, archetypal psychology, alchemical symbolism, the metaphysics of cyberspace, and applied deep ecology, and … have been a frequent lecturer at the San Francisco C.G. Jung Institute.") Ulansey teaches and writes on the history of religions, comparative religion, and cultural history. The Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness Program which he helped to start was conceived of as a combination of Western esotericism and selected scientific themes. The California Institute of Integral Studies, has undergone several transformations since originating in the early 1950s under the influence of the teachings of eastern gurus and similar. Prior to teaching at CIIS he was on the faculties of the University of California at Berkeley, Boston University, Barnard College (Columbia University), the University of Vermont, Princeton University, and Pacifica Graduate Institute. His main interests are the religions of the ancient Mediterranean world, especially the ancient Mystery religions, Gnosticism, ancient cosmology, and early Christianity. He has taught a number of speculative courses such as the evolution of consciousness, archetypal psychology, alchemical symbolism, the metaphysics of cyberspace, and applied deep ecology. He has frequently lectured at the San Francisco C.G. Jung Institute. His book Mysteria, The Ancient Mysteries and the Evolution of Consciousness (forthcoming) is based on a series of lectures Ulansey presented at the San Francisco C.G. Jung Institute. Ulansey is currently (2012) completing a book called, The Other Christ: The Mysteries of Mithras and the Origins of Christianity. Mithraic experts who are opponents of Ulansey's ideas on the origin of Mithraism include Roger Beck, Manfred Clauss and Helmut Waldmann. Most book reviewers at the time of the book's publication shared an absence of critical ability to deal with the material. (However, Ulansey continually refers to supportive extracts from these reviews as though they were timelessly relevant.) That people devising a cult circa 50 CE would decide to represent in stone the arrangement of the constellations in 2000 BCE - not what people could actually see in the sky - lacks credibility. The fact that the precession of the equinoxes had been discovered is not relevant. See the (English-language) book reviews by Bartel van der Waerden in Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 21, 1990, Pages 365-366; by Anon in Scientific American, September, 1991, Volume 265, Number 3, Pages 136; by John Griffiths in The Classical Review, New Series, Volume 41, Number 1, 1991, Pages 122-124 (a critical review); by Alan Bown in Isis, Volume 82, Number 2, June, 1991, Pages 359-360 (a critical review); and by Curtis Wilson in Ancient Philosophy, Spring, 1992, Volume XII, Number 1, Pages 242-244; and the (French-language) book review by (the French Egyptologist) Michel Malaise in Latomus, Tome 55, 1996, Pages 496-498. Also see "Gnostic Liberation from Astrological Determinism: Hipparchan "Trepidation" and the Breaking of Fate." by Horace Hodges (Vigiliae Christianae, Volume 51, Number 4, November, 1997, Pages 359-373) for the claim that at least some Gnostic sects used Hipparchus' discovery of the precession of the equinoxes as evidence of a benevolent force (a soteriological god) intervening in the world to successfully shift the zodiacal sphere to break the bonds of astrological fate and release the Gnostic elect from the power of the cosmos and its creator. On a personal note: In my experience David Ulansey is not always reliable with his explanation of issues; especially those relating to his critics. As example: on The Mithras List, March 6, 2005, Ulansey posted “It's also interesting that Gary Thompson says … [on his website], "Most book reviewers [of Ulansey's book] share an absence of critical ability to deal with the material." What he really means by that, as became clear in the Sebshesen discussions, is simply that they do not agree with him!" This is simply fictional. On the Sebshesen list I was continually amazed by how evasive Ulansey could be and the manner in which he dealt with facts. This sort of evasion and distortion seems to be a typical Ulansey tactic to deal with critics. Ulansey does not like critics! What became clear in the Sebshesen discussion was the distortive and evasive tactics of Ulansey when (1) dealing with the evidence presented by critics, and (2) attempting to marshal evidence to support his particular views.]

Ulansey, David. (1989). "The Mithraic Mysteries." (Scientific American, December, Volume 261, Number 6, Pages 80-85). [Note: The article is a summary of his book.]

North, John. (1990). "Astronomical Symbolism in the Mithraic Mysteries." (Centaurus, Volume 33, Pages 115-148). [Note: Critical of many of David Ulansey's ideas. See also the article review by Pamela Long in Avista Forum. Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Medieval Technology, Science, and Art, Volume 7, Number 1, Spring / Summer, 1993, Pages 7-8. It is supportive of North's position.]

Swerdlow, Noel. (1991). "On the Cosmical Mysteries of Mithras." (Classical Philology, Volume 86, January-October, Pages 48-63). [Note: A critical review of David Ulansey's book on Mithraism.]

Beck, Roger. (1994). "In the place of the Lion: Mithras in the tauroctony." In: Hinnells, John. (Editor). Studies in Mithraism. (Pages 29-50). [Note: Perceptively critical of David Ulansey's book on Mithraism.]

Waldman, Helmut. (1994). "Mithras tauroctonus." In: Hinnells, John. (Editor). Studies in Mithraism. (Pages 265-277). [Note: Critical of David Ulansey's book on Mithraism.]

Kocher, Kurt. (1995). Mithras: Kultbilder am Sternenhimmel.

Chapman-Rietschi, P[?]. (1997). "Astronomical Concepts in Mithraic Iconography." (Journal of the Royal Society of Canada, Volume 91, June, Pages 133-134). [Note: Informed historical summary of the development of astronomical interpretations of Mithraism.]

Beck, Roger. (1998). "The Mysteries of Mithras: A New Account of Their Genesis." (The Journal of Roman Studies, Volume LXXXVIII, Pages 115-128).

Clauss, Manfred. (2000). The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and his Mysteries. [Note: Excellent. See the (German-language) book reviews (of the 1992 German edition) by Rainer Vollkommer in Klio, Band 77, 1995, Pages 523-524; and by Robert Turcan in Gnomon. Volume 67, Number 2, 1995, Pages 144-147. A book review by Daniel Harmon of the English-language translation appeared in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 25-09-2001. Manfred Clauss is a recognised Mithraic scholar and an authority on the Greek-Roman period. He holds the academic position of Professor of Ancient History at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University in Frankfort and Main. Life dates: 1945-.]

Breyer, Ralph. (2001). "Mithras - der Nachthimmel? Auseinandersetzung mit Maria Weiß." (Klio Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte, Band 83, Heft 1, Pages 213-218). [Note: Basically a criticism of the thesis of Maria Weiß that Mithras may be equated with the star-lit night sky.]

Clauss, Manfred. (2001). "Mithras und die Präzession." (Klio Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte, Band 83, Heft 1, Pages 219-225). [Note: A devastating critique of David Ulansey's speculation that Cilician pirates developed the Mithraic mysteries using Hipparchus' discovery of precession. Part of the English-language "Summary" states: "This hypothetical construction reveals a degree of incapacity hitherto seldom to be seen in the studies of ancient history. Without understanding the source material one speculation has been put upon the other to built (sic) this theory."]

Griffith, Alison (2001). "Mithras, Death, and Redemption in Statius, Thebaid I, 719-720." (Latomus Revue D'Études Latines, Tome 60, Pages 108-123).

Beck, Roger. (Editor). (2004). Beck on Mithraism: Collected Works with New Essays. [Note: Excellent collection of essays and updated comments.]

Beck, Roger. (2006). The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire. [Note: In some parts of the book the discussion is quite dense and not always easy to follow. In Chapters 8 and 9 the author specifically deals with astronomical/astrological issues.]

Alvar, Jaime. (2008, 2010). Romanising Oriental Gods. [Note: Excellent major study. Includes a detailed study of historical and recent scholarship on Mithras. Translated and edited by Richard Gordon.]


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The "Did Cleostratus introduce the Babylonian zodiac to Greece?" debate between John Fotheringham and Edmund Webb.

Fotheringham, John. (1919). "Cleostratus." (The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Volume XXXIX, Pages 164-184).

Fotheringham, John. (1920). "Cleostratus: A Postscript." (The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Volume XL, Pages 208-209).

Webb, Edmund. (1921). "Cleostratus Redivivus." (The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Volume XLI, Pages 70-85).

Fotheringham, John. (1925). "Cleostratus (III)." (The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Volume XLV, Pages 78-83).

Webb, Edmund. (1928). "Cleostratus and his Work." (The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Volume XLVIII, Pages 54-63).


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The identification of kakkab mesri.

Jensen, Peter. (1886). "Der Kakkab misri der Antares." (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Verwandte Gebiete, Erster Band, Pages 244-267).

Halévy, Joseph. (1886). "L'Etoile Nommée Kakkab Mesri en Assyrien." (Journal Asiatique, Huitiéme Série, Tome VIII, Pages 369-380).

Oppert, Jules [Julius]. (1886). "Le Kakkab Mesri, Étoile de la Direction." (Journal Asiatique, Huitiéme Série, Tome VIII, Pages 558-562).

Oppert, Jules [Julius]. (1886). "Mul Kaksidi, l'etoile de direction et non Antarès." (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Verwandte Gebiete, Erster Band, Pages 435-439).

Mahler, Eduard. (1887). "Der Kakkab misri." (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Verwandte Gebiete, Zweiter Band, Pages 219-223).

Halévy, Joseph. (1887). "Un dernier mot sur kakkab mesri." (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Verwandte Gebiete, Zweiter Band, Pages 431-438).

Archenhold, Simon. (1887). "Ueber die Identificierungsversuche des Kakkab misri der Assyrer." (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Verwandte Gebiete, Zweiter Band, Pages 439-444).

Bezold, Carl. (1887). "Eine Bemerkung zur Antares-Literatur." (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Verwandte Gebiete, Zweiter Band, Pages 445-447).

Kugler, Franz. (1907). Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel. I. Buch: Babylonische Planetenkunde. (Pages 236-245).

Weidner, Ernst. (1912). "Zur Identifikation des kakkab KAK-SI-DI." (Babyloniaca: Études de philologie assyro-babylonienne, Tome 6, Pages 29-40). [Note: Forms part IV of a larger article: "Zur babylonischen Astronomie." See also erratum on page 234 of same journal.]


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Some articles by Joseph Lockyer in the journal Nature.

Lockyer, Joseph. (1891). "On some points in the early history of astronomy. I." (Nature, Volume 43, Number 1120, April 16, Pages 559-563).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1891). "On some points in the early history of astronomy. II." (Nature, Volume 44, Number 1123, May 7, Pages 8-11).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1891). "On some points in the early history of astronomy. III." (Nature, Volume 44, Number 1125, May 21, Pages 57-60).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1891). "On some points in the early history of astronomy. IV." (Nature, Volume 44, Number 1127, June 4, Pages 107-110).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1891). "On some points in the early history of astronomy. V." (Nature, Volume 44, Number 1131, July 2, Pages 199-202).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1892). "The origin of the year. I." (Nature, Volume 45, Number 1169, March 24, Pages 487-490).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1892). "The origin of the year. II." (Nature, Volume 46, Number 1179, June 2, Pages 104-107).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1892). "The origin of the year. III." (Nature, Volume 47, Number 1202, November 10, Pages 32-35).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1893). "The origin of the year. IV." (Nature, Volume 47, Number 1210, January 5, Pages 228-230).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1893). "The early asterisms. I." (Nature, Volume 48, Number 1245, September 7, Pages 438-440).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1893). "[The] Early asterisms. II." (Nature, Volume 48, Number 1248, September 28, Pages 518-520).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1893). "[The] Early asterisms. III." (Nature, Volume 49, Number 1261, December 28, Pages 199-203).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1901). "An attempt to ascertain the date of the original construction of Stonehenge from its orientation." (Nature, Volume 65, Number 1673, November 21, Pages 55-57).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1902). "The farmer's years. I." (Nature, Volume 65, Number 1681, January 16, Pages 248-250).

Lockyer, Joseph. (1902). "The farmer's years. II." (Nature, Volume 66, Number 1700, May 29, Pages 104-107).


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The colour of Sirius in antiquity.

See, Thomas. (1892). "History of the Color of Sirius." (Astronomy and Astro-Physics, Volume XI, April, Part 1, Pages 269-274; May, Part 2, Pages 372-385). [Note: See also the comments on this paper "Color of Sirius in Ancient Times" by William Lynn in Astronomy and Astro-Physics, Volume XI, New Series Number 7, August, Pages 634-635; and "The Color of Sirius in Ancient Times" by William Lynn in The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 1, January-May, 1895, Page 351.]

See, Thomas. (1892). "Note on the History of the Color of Sirius." (Astronomy and Astro-Physics, Volume XI, New Series Number 7, August, Pages 550-552).

See, Thomas. (1927). "Historical Researches Indicating a Change in the Color of Sirius, Between the Epochs of Ptolemy, 138, and Al Sûfi, 980, A. D." (Astronomische Nachrichten, Band 229, Columns 245-272).

Osthoff, H[?]. (1927). "Zur Farbe des Sirius im Altertum." (Astronomische Nachrichten, Band 229, Number 5495, Columns 443-444).

Dittrich, E[?]. (1928). "Woher das Epitheton >>rot<< für Sirius stammt." (Astronomische Nachrichten, Band 231, Number 5542, Columns ?-?).

Stentzel, A[?]. (1928). "Ägyptische Zeugnisse für die Farbe des Sirius im Altertum." (Astronomische Nachrichten, Band 231, Number 5542, Columns 387-392).

Meißner, O[?]. (1928). "Über die antiken Sternfarbenschätzungen." (Astronomische Nachrichten, Band 231, Number 5542, Columns 391-396).

Schossser, Wolfhard. and Bergmann, Werner. (1985). "An early-medieval account on the red colour of Sirius and its astrophysical implications." (Nature, Volume 318, 7th November, Pages 45-46).

Tang, Tong. (1986). "Star colours." (Nature, Volume 319, 13 February, Page 532). [Note: Points out that according to the Chinese evidence Sirius has always been white.]

McCluskey, Stephen. (1987). "The color of Sirius in the sixth century." (Nature, Volume 325, 1st January, Page 87 "Matters Arising.").

van Gent, Robert. (1987). "The color of Sirius in the sixth century." (Nature, Volume 325, 1st January, Pages 87-88 "Matters Arising."). [Note: See also the brief letter ""Red" Sirius" by Ian Ridpath in The Observatory, Volume 108, August, 1988, Page 130.]

Schossser, Wolfhard. and Bergmann, Werner. (1987). "The color of Sirius in the sixth century." (Nature, Volume 325, 1st January, Page 89 "Matters Arising.").

Warner, Brian. and Sneden, Christopher. (1988). "HD 38451: J. R. Hind's star that changed colour." (Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 234, September 15, Pages 269-279).

Dyke, Norman. (1988). "Sirius: its historical appearance." (Australian Journal of Astronomy, Volume 2, Number 3, April, Pages 102-104).

Bicknell, Peter. (1989). "Sirius and Manilius." (The Observatory, Volume 109, April, Pages 58-59).

Ceragioli, Roger. (1993). "The Riddle of Red Sirius: An Anthropological Perspective." In: Ruggles, Clive. and Saunders, Nicholas. (Editors). Astronomies and Cultures. (Pages 67-99).

Holberg, Jay. (2007). Sirius: Brightest Diamond in the Sky. [Note: An expert history of the lore and science of  the star Sirius throughout the ages. Includes a detailed discussion of the colour of Sirius in antiquity. The author is a noted astrophysicist and expert on the star Sirius.]


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The existence of constellations in the Paleolithic Period?

Breuil, Henri. (1909). "Le Bison et le Taureau céleste chaldéen." (Revue Archéologique, Quatrième Série, Tome XIII, Janvier-Juin, Pages 250-254). [Note: Henri Breuil (1877-1961), was a French cleric and archeologist, and a pioneer in the field of prehistoric archeology. He is still well-known today for his analysis of prehistoric cave paintings. Early researchers who investigated the possibility of Paleolithic constellations, and who are now mostly little known, include Marcel Boudouin (France), Henri Breuil (France, early work at Lascaux), Amandus Weiss (Switzerland), Heino Eelsalu (Estonia), and Marie König (Germany).]

Baudouin, Marcel. (1916). "La préhistoire des étoiles." (1: "Les Pléiades au néolithique."; 2: "La préhistoire des étoiles au paléolithique. Les Pléiades a l'poque Aurignacienne et le Culte Stello-Solaire Typique au Solutrien." (Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société d'Anthropologie de Paris, série VI, Tome VII, mars & déc, Part 1: Pages 25-103 and Part 2: 274-317). [Note: Comprehensive but somewhat speculative article on the Pleiades asterism in the Paleolithic Period and Neolithic Period. The author was a eminent pre-historian (and pioneer of archaeoastronomy). He argued for the existence of a Paleolithic stellar-solar cult.]

Baudouin, Marcel, (1917). "Démonstration de l'existence, au Néolithique, de Pierre à Cupules représentant les Pléïades au naturel et de l'Urne des Pléïades de la Période grecque." (Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, Tome 14, Number 5, Pages 237-244).

Baudouin, Marcel. (1921). "La Grande Ourse et le Phallus du Ciel. [Spongiaire phalliforme à gravures]." (Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, Tome 18, Number 11, Pages 301-308). [Note: Article in which Baudouin describes what he believes is a representation of stars in Ursa Major and Boötes incised on a fossilised and silicified sea-urchin (Echinus), on an amulet from stone-age northern Europe.]

Baudouin, Marcel. (1923). "Démonstration que les Poissons gravés du Paléolithique représentent la constellation des Pléïades." (Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, Tome 20, Number 10, Pages 311-312).

Huffer, C[?]., Trinklein, F[?]. and Bunge, M[?]. (1967). An Introduction to Astronomy. [Note: The authors claim that certain Paleolithic paintings represent asterisms. See page 95.]

Köenig, Marie. (1970). "Etude des incisions repestres comme manifestation d'un stade d'evolution de esprit humaine." In: Anati, Emmanuel. (Editor). Symposium international d'art préhistorique: Valcamonica, 23-28 Septembre 1968, (Pages 515-530). [Note: German prehistorian. Interpreted the horse in Paleolithic art as a symbol of the sun, and the bull as a symbol of the moon. Life dates: 1899-1988.]

Gingerich, Owen. (1984). "The origin of the zodiac." (Sky and Telescope, Volume 67, Pages 218-220). [Note: Speculates that the "Great Bear" constellation may date back to the ice-ages. The essay is also included in the author's The Great Copernicus Chase (1992) pages 7-12.]

Antequera Congregado, Luz. (1992). Arte y astronomia: evolución de los dibujos de las constelaciones. [Note: A doctoral thesis comprising 708 pages.]

Antequera Congregado, Luz. (1994, 2nd edition 2000). "Altamira: Astronomia y religión en el Paleolitica." In: Belmonte, Juan. (Editor). Arqueoastronomía Hispana. [Note: The book title also appears as: Arqueoastronomía hispánica.]

Edge, Frank[lin]. (1995). Aurochs in the Sky: A Celestial Interpretation of the Hall of Bulls in the Cave of Lascaux. [Note: A booklet comprising 35 pages. The author is often identified as an American astronomer who began his research into the topic in 1991. He is more correctly identified as a high school teacher. He holds that the Great Bull represents the constellation Taurus, dots in the bull's head represent the Hyades, and dots over its shoulder represent the Pleiades; and at that epoch the full moon and the summer solstice rested in the bull's horns.]

Edge, Frank[lin]. (1997). "Taurus in Lascaux." (Griffith Observer, Volume 61, September, Pages 13-17). [Note: On the possibility that a series of 6 dots above the shoulder of an auroch depicted in the Lascaux cave could represent the Pleiades, and another series of dots on the animal's face, the Hyades]

Christensen, Jesper. (1996). "Heaven and Earth in Ice Age Art: Topography and Iconography at Lascaux. (Mankind Quarterly, Spring/Summer, Volume 36, Numbers 3-4, Pages 247-259). [Note: Another earnest proponent - apparently with an art background - of constellations being depicted in Palaeolithic cave art (especially at Lascaux).]

Rappenglück [Rappenglueck], Michael. (1997). "The Pleiades in the "Salle des Tareaux", Grotte de Lascaux." In: Jaschek, Carlos. and Barandela, Fernando. (Editors). Actas del IV Congreso de la SEAC "Astronomía en la Cultura" / Procedings of the IVth SEAC Meeting "Astronomy and Culture", Pages 217-225).

Rappenglück [Rappenglueck], Michael. (1998). Eine Himmelskarte aus der Eiszeit? [Note: A doctoral thesis. The author's interest in the topic began in 1984.]

Rappenglück [Rappenglueck], Michael. (1999). Eine Himmelskarte aus der Eiszeit? [Note: Immensely interesting. The book is based on the author's 1998 doctoral thesis of the same title. (The book has 531 pages.)]

Rappenglück [Rappenglueck], Michael. (1999). "Palaeolithic Timekeepers Looking at the Golden Gate of the Ecliptic; the Lunar Cycles and the Pleiades in the Cave of La-TETe-Du-Lion (Ardéche, France) - 21,000 BP." (Earth, Moon, and Planets, Volume 85-86, Pages 391-404). [Note: The full journal title is: Earth, Moon, and Planets: An International Journal of Solar System Science. The author argues that a rock panel in the cave (dating to the Solutrean era circa 21,000-22,000 BCE) shows the combination of a star pattern - Aldebaran in the Bull and the Pleiades - with a drawing of the moons cycle above.]

Kaurov, E[?]. (1999). "Sky Luminaries in the Space Orienting Activity of Homo Sapiens in the Middle Palaeolithic." (Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions, Volume 17, Pages 459-473). [Note: Speculative.]

Jègues-Wolkiewiez, Chantal. (2000). "Lascaux, View of the Magadalenian Sky." (Val Camonica 2000 Symposium of Cave Art, Italy). [Note: Paper presented at the (annual) international symposium on prehistoric art at Val Camonica in November, 2000. The title also appears as: "Lascaux, the Magdalenian's View of the Sky."]

Lima, Pedro. (2000). "L'incroyable découverte d'une paléo-astronome. Lascaux planétarium préhistorique?" (Science et Vie, No 999, décembre, Pages 76-83). [Note: Science et Vie = Science and Life, a monthly science magazine issued in France since 1913 when its name was La Science et la Vie. The article is a summary of the work and ideas of Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez regarding the Lascaux cave. Jègues-Wolkiewiez has published numerous articles on her claim for 'zodiacal astronomy' at Lascaux. She believes the Lascaux cave paintings provide evidence for a Paleolithic 12-constellation zodiac similar to the Babylonian/Greek zodiac. French-language summary: "… sur le travail de Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez posant l’hypothèse d’une ceinture zodiacale représentée sur les murs de la grotte préhistorique de Lascaux. On s’étonnera à propos de ce travail que contrairement à tout ce que montrent les travaux en Histoire des sciences concernant la naissance du Zodiaque Mésopotamien (il n’est pas le seul possible et ses constellations ont évolué au fil de siècles) il y a à peine 3.000 ans en Mésopotamie, les hommes aient pu définir «une ceinture zodiacale» sans aucun outil mathématique ni le moindre système d’écriture… N’oublions pas que les peintures remontent à quelques 17.000 ans!"]

Brunod, Giuseppe. (2002). "The visibility tunnel: survey method of astronomical oriented cupmarks." (Proceedings of the International Meeting: Archaeoastronomy, a Debate Between Archaeologists and Astronomers Looking for a Shared Method. (Pages ?-?). [Note: Held Genoa and Sanremo, February 8-9, Genoa and November 1-3, Sanremo.]

Dimitriadis, Giorgio. (2002). "Cupmarks: a time system annotation. Geometric analysis of configuration." (Proceedings of the International Meeting: Archaeoastronomy, a Debate Between Archaeologists and Astronomers Looking for a Shared Method. (Pages ?-?). [Note: Held Genoa and Sanremo, February 8-9, Genoa and November 1-3, Sanremo.]

Martini, Sergio. (2002) "Constellation perception and rock art: methodological problems." (Proceedings of the International Meeting: Archaeoastronomy, a Debate Between Archaeologists and Astronomers Looking for a Shared Method. (Pages ?-?). [Note: Held Genoa and Sanremo, February 8-9, Genoa and November 1-3, Sanremo.]

Benigni, Helen. (2003). The Myth of the Year: Returning to the Origin of the Druid Calendar. [Note: Helen Benigni is Professor of English at Davis and Elkins College (Elkins, USA). Her Ph.D. work was in American Literature with an emphasis on Appalachian Literature. Since circa 2000 her research is focused on comparative mythology with an emphasis on Celtic and Greek cultures. She is interested in tracing the (Jungian) archetypes of the goddesses and gods of Neolithic culture in Europe and the Mediterranean to their Iron Age representations. In this book she claims to trace the constellations and their gods/goddesses from the Neolithic Period to the end of the Iron Age. She claims the (Druidic) Sequani Calendar has allowed her to place those archetypes on to the year using the stars, the moon and the sun as her guide. The contents of the book are unreliable and largely mystical. Posted by John at Celtic Calendar Reform (25 November, 2007): "A couple of years ago I had a great conversation with Helen and Barbara and they kindly sent a copy of their book. Their contention is a winter solstice start to the calendar, based partially on the solsticial event at Bruig na Bóinde New Grange. "The Myth of the Year reveals the astronomy underlying Celtic and Greek mythology using the calender (sic) of the Druids". They write, "A spectacular cycle of myths in the sky are the stories of creation at the Winter Solstice. They begin with the advent of cantlos, the eleventh [month] and move through Samonios with the Solstice...culminating with Dumanios and...Imbolc." Their first chapter is entitled 'The Sequani Calendar and the Sacred Calendar of Eleusis'. The authors draw upon "a copy of the Coligny Calendar as it was printed for the Royal Irish Academy in 1926 [which was an important study] by a linguist named Eoin MacNiell. MacNeill reworked a reconstruction by [Sir John] Rhys...". Rhys in his Hibbert Lectures of 1886 also connected  festivals of the Greeks and Celts, and the SCG book is quite parallel to his work. The SCG thus present a third start date for Samon, coincident with the nativity festival of the Unconquered Sun (later Christmas). Their challenge is to link the name Samon with the depth of winter, and Giammon with the height of summer; there are no considerations of the month names in the copy I have, which is disappointing and I feel their entire contention unconvincing. Helen is a writer and mythographer, Barbara is an astrologer and Éadhmonn is a Celticist and sculptor [Mark is a naturalist and artist, and Tim is a printmaker]."]

Rappenglück [Rappenglueck], Michael. (2003). "The anthropoid in the sky: Does a 32,000-year old ivory plate show the constellation Orion combined with a pregnancy calendar?" In: Blomberg, Mary., Blomberg, Peter., and Henriksson, Göran. (Editors). Calendars, Symbols, and Orientations: Legacies of Astronomy in Culture. (Pages 51-55). [Note: Proceedings of the 9th annual meeting of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture (SEAC), Stockholm, 27-30 August 2001.]

Rappenglück, Michael. (2004). "A Palaeolithic Planetarium Underground - The Cave of Lascaux (Part 2)." (Migration and Diffusion, Volume 5, Issue Number 19, Pages 6-47).

Rappenglück, Michael. (2007). "Cave and cosmos, a getopic model of the world in ancient cultures." In: Zedda, M[?]. and Belmonte, Juan. (Editors). Lights and Shadows in Cultural Astronomy. (Pages 241-249). [Note: Proceedings of the SEAC 2005. Published by Associazione Archeofila Sarda, Isil.]  

Jègues-Wolkiewiez, Chantal. (2007). "Chronology of the orientation of painted caves and shelters in the French Palaeolithic." (Val Camonica 2007 Symposium of Cave Art, Italy). (Pages 225-239). [Note: Paper presented at the (annual) international symposium on prehistoric art at Val Camonica in May, 2000.]

Jègues-Wolkiewiez, Chantal. (2007). "The roots of astronomy, or the hidden order of a Palaeolithic work." (Les Antiquités Nationales, Tome 37, February, Pages 43-52).

Aczel, Amir. (2009). The Cave and the Cathedral. [Note: Contains a short critique of the ideas of Michael Rappenglück (and others) regarding star and constellation identification in prehistoric European cave art. The author is a lecturer in mathematics and the history of science, and a distinguished science writer. Life dates: 1950- .]

Pásztor, Emília and Priskin, Anna. (2010). "Celestial symbols revisited. Palaeolithic sky lore: fiction or fact?" (Congrès de l’IFRAO, septembre 2010 – Symposium : Signes, symboles, mythes et idéologie. (Pré-Actes) / IFRAO Congress, September 2010 – Symposium: Signs, symbols, myth, ideology. Pleistocene art: the archaeological material and its anthropological meanings. (Pre-Acts)). [Note:  Abstract: There are elements of Palaeolithic art which are assumed to be celestial symbols. The most famous is the so-called star map in Lascaux cave in central France and thought to date back 16,500 years. It shows three bright stars known today as the Summer Triangle. The Pleiades star cluster has also been supposed to be found among the Lascaux frescoes. The presentation re-investigates the celestial symbols by comparative studies and Paleolithic people’s interest in the sky. Keywords: Europe, Palaeolithic, celestial symbols, constellation, sky lore. No published paper is available yet. Unoriginal and uninformed. The authors demonstrate no real understanding of the material they discuss.]

Hayden, Brian. and Villeneuve, Suzanne. (2011). "Astronomy in the Upper Palaeolithic?" (Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Volume 21, Issue 3, October, Pages 331-355). [Note: Abstract: "Beginning with Alexander Marshack's interpretation of engraved lines as lunar calendrical notations, a number of highly controversial claims have been made concerning the possible astronomical significance of Upper Palaeolithic images. These claims range from lunar notations, to solstice observances in caves, to constellation representations. Given the rare nature of artefacts and images that lend themselves to such interpretations, these claims are generally difficult to evaluate on the basis of archaeological data alone. However, comparative ethnology can provide at least a way of assessing the plausibility of such astronomical claims. If the premise is accepted that at least some of the Upper Palaeolithic groups were complex hunter-gatherers, then astronomical observances, or the lack of them, among ethnographic complex hunter-gatherers can help indicate whether astronomical observations were likely to have taken place among Upper Palaeolithic complex hunter-gatherers. A survey of the literature shows that detailed solstice observances were common among complex hunter-gatherers, often associated with the keeping of calendars and the scheduling of major ceremonies. Moreover, aggrandizers in complex hunter-gatherer societies often form 'secret societies' in which esoteric astronomical knowledge is developed. The existence of calendrical notations and secluded meeting places for secret-society members are suggested to be at least plausible interpretations for a number of Upper Palaeolithic caves and images." Brian Hayden, Archaeology Department, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada; Suzanne Villeneuve, Archaeology Department, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada, is Full Professor in the Archaeology Department of Simon Fraser University and has conducted a number of ethnoarchaeological projects in Australia, Mesoamerica, Southeast Asia and British Columbia.. Suzanne Villeneuve is currently the project director for the Keatley Creek Archaeological Research Project in British Columbia, her MA thesis was an analysis of the context and physical characteristics of art in four Upper Palaeolithic caves in the Dordogne region of France.]

Jègues-Wolkiewiez, Chantal. (2011). Sur les chemins étoilés de Lascaux. [Note: Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez is an independent researcher who has studied at University of Nice Sophia Antipolis (France). Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez has a Docteur ès Lettres et Sciences Humaines, anthropology. She received her doctorate with special honors and the congratulations of the Jury. She also has a MA in psychology. She is a Paleolithic researcher who has specialized in attempting to discover the time-keeping and astronomical capabilities of the people of Lascaux Cave in France. She believes there was a long cultural tradition of sky watching in the Upper Palaeolithic period.]

Jègues-Wolkiewiez, Chantal. (2012). L'ethnoastronomie, nouvelle appréhension de l'art préhistorique.


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Claims for an early knowledge of precession independent of Hipparchus.

Dupuis, Charles François. (1794/1795). Origine des tous les cultes: ou, Religion universelle. (7 Volumes (in octavo) (appeared 1794) plus 1 Volume of plates (i.e., atlas) (appeared 1795)). [Note: Numerous editions of the multi-volume edition appeared (usually issued over a number of years), and the number of volumes per multi-volume edition varied. (A celestial globe was also produced.) A 4-volume edition (3 volumes in quarto plus 1 volume of plates (i.e., atlas)) appeared 1796. Numerous one-volume abridged editions also appeared - the first being in 1797. The best abridged one-volume edition is the modified 1822 edition. A reprint of the French one-volume abridgement appeared as late as 1978. (A 3-volume abridged reprint also appeared 1897-1900.) An English translation of the abridged 1798 edition was published as "The Origin of all Religious Worship" in 1872 (the printing date is sometimes stated to be 1845 and also 1875), and reprinted 1984. Life dates: 1742-1809. A German translation of the abridged one-volume edition was published as "Ursprung der Gottesverehrung" in 1910. From Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalog # 55: "The author of "Origine de Tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle" ("The Origin of all the Faiths, or Universal Religion") Charles-François Dupuis (1742-1809), was a French Freemason, scientist, and scholar who held professorships at both the college of Lisieux (Paris), and the Collège de France, and was effectively the last great mythographer of the Englightenment. In this book he proposed that all mythology and religion, and attendant festivals, legends and sagas, had as their common source an ancient universal religion that drew its beliefs from the observation of natural phenomena, particularly the heavens. Thus god names were taken from those of the stars, and their stories as told in religion and myth were an allegory of astronomical phenomena. Dupuis traced this belief back to Egypt, and then followed the development of these ancient beliefs into the new religions such as Christianity, and noted their abandonment of many of the traditional elements. His arguments appealed greatly to the rationalists of the first French Republic, who at the time of the book's publication had recently instituted a program of de-Christianisation in France. Not surprisingly they also caused great offence to the Church, which probably explains why the work was placed on the notorious Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The work therefore is effectively a huge compendium of astrological / astronomical / beliefs and myths which are drawn from classical works such as those of Vergil, Pausanius, and Ovid, through to those of "the last Renaissance man,"Athanasius Kircher. Not surprisingly there was much occult content in the book, including a table of "Système des cabalistes dans la distribution des Anges, Intellegences et Esprits. Planétaires" and much on astrology. Occultists found it an immensely useful collection in much the same way as later generations would use Frazer's "Golden Bough," and Frederick Hockley is known to have made use of the Dupuis' lengthy quotations from the works of Kircher when compiling his "Occult Spells." The book itself is a masterpiece of Revolutionary-period book production. In keeping with the egalitarian ideology of the times the author is described on the title page simply as "Citoyen Dupuis" (Citizen Dupuis) and the date is given as "L'an III. de la République, une et indivisible. Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" (Year III of the French Republic: that is 1795). The first three volumes comprise text and tables, the fourth volume is a plates volume, comprising a frontispiece and title page, and twenty-one magnificent double page engraved plates of historical planispheres, astrological symbols, mythological scenes, etc."]

Martin, Thomas Henri. (1869). "Mémoire sur cette question: la précession des équinoxes a-t-elle été connue des Égyptiens ou de quelque autre peuple avant Hipparque?" (Mémoires présentés par divers savants a l'Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres de l'Institut Impérial de France, Première Série, Tome VIII, Pages 303-522). [Note: A serious but dated study of possible evidence for knowledge of precession in the ancient world before Hipparchus. Life dates: 1813-1884. See the (French-language) book review by Anon in Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 8e année, 1864, Pages 278-283. The essay "Sulla relazione del calendario degli antichi Egiziani col fenomeno della precessionare" ["On the Relationship of the Calendar of the Ancient Egyptians with the Phenomenon of the Precession"] by the astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli (see: Scritti Sulla Storia della Astronomia Antica, Tome III, Pages 109-119) was penned as comment on Thomas Martin's essay.]

Schiaparelli, Giovanni. ((Originally published)1874). "Sulla relazione del calendario degli antichi Egiziani col fenomeno della precessionare." In: Schiaparelli, Giovanni. (3 Volumes, 1925-1927; Reprinted 1997-1998). Scritti Sulla Storia della Astronomia Antica. [Note: Tome III, Pages 109-119.]

Massey, Gerald. (1883). The Natural Genesis. (2 Volumes). [Note: Completely unreliable. Life dates: 1828-1907. See the short obituary notice in The Athenæum, Number 4175, November 2, 1907, Page 553. See also an article on Gerald Massey by John Collins in the Contemporary Review, May, 1904. See the (English-language) book review by Anon in Athenaeum, 29 December, 1883, Pages 864. For an evaluation of Massey as a poet see "The Nestor of Living Poets." by the literary critic John Collins in The Contemporary Review, Volume LXXXV, January-June, 1904, Pages 727-738). For a fascinating biography of Gerald Massey see the book Gerald Massey: Chartist, Poet, Radical and Freethinker by David Shaw (1995; revised edition 2009). Massey was a respected poet, and also a freethinker, and spiritualist. He was raised in circumstances of dire poverty and had only a few years of elementary schooling. In 1855 at least  he was an editor at the Edinburgh News office. In 1880 Massey was elected Chosen Chief of the Most Ancient Order of Druids and held this position until 1906 when ill health forced his resignation. See also the (English-language) book review of David Shaw's book by Eric Kings in The Norwood Review, Number 190, Autumn, 20210, Pages 14-16.]

Kaye, George. (1891; Reprinted 1924). Hindu astronomy: ancient science of the Hindus. [Note: Argues for knowledge of precession in ancient Indian astronomy. See pages 28-29. The author (G. R. Kaye = George Rusby Kaye) was a British educationalist who basically lived his life in India. See the obituary by H[?]. Randle in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Number 1, January, 1930, Pages 221-223. Life dates: 1866-1929.]

Tilak, Bál. (1893). The Orion or Researches into The Antiquity of the Vedas. [Note: Unreliable. The author was an Indian lawyer and prominent political activist. Contains an argument for precessional mythology and "world ages."]

Tilak, Bál. (1893). Ä Summary of the Principal Facts and Arguments in the Orion; or Researches in the Antiquity of the Vedas." In: Morgan, E[?]. (Editor). Transactions of the Ninth International Congress of Orientalists. (2 Volumes). [Note: The Congress was held in 1892. The essay is in Volume 1, Pages 376-383.]

St. Clair, George. (1898). Creation Records Discovered in Egypt. [Note: The author believed that precessional knowledge was the basis for all Egyptian mythology. Life dates: 1836-1909.]

St. Clair, George. (1898). "The Atlas legend: precession of the equinoxes before Hipparchus. (The Westminster Review, Volume 150, December, Pages 647-654).

St. Clair, George. (1902). "Tartaros not Hades." (The Expositor, Sixth Series, Volume 6, Pages 70-72). [Note: A short speculative argument for precessional mythology in the Book of Enoch. The journal's list of contributors identifies George St. Clair as the Rev. George St. Clair.]

Hewitt, James. (1901). History and Chronology of the Myth-making Age. [Note: Unreliable. The author was a career civil servant. The book sets out an argument for precessional knowledge behind mythology. See the English-language) book review by Anon in The Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Volume XII, Number 3, 1901-2, Page 140.]

Ginzel, Friedrich. (1901). Die astronomischen Kenntnisse der Babylonier und ihre kulturhistorische Bedeutung. Parts I, II, & III. (Klio Beiträge zur alten Geschichte, Volume I, 1901, Pages 1-25, 189-211, 349-380). [Note: See page 205. Republished as a pamphlet in 1908.]

Jeremias, Alfred. (1908, 2nd edition 1909). Das Alter der babylonischen Astronomie. [Note: See the chapter "Präzession und Weltzeitalter." Life dates 1864-1935.]

Jeremias, Alfred. (1913, 2nd edition 1929). Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur. [Note: The book is generally unreliable. The author was unrelenting in the promotion of Panbabylonist ideas regardless of the absence of the quality of evidence used.]

Weidner, Ernst. (1913) “Die Entdeckung der Präzession, eine Geistestat babylonischen Astronomen.” (Babyloniaca: Études de philologie assyro-babylonienne, Tome 7, Pages 1-19).

Weidner, Ernst. (1914). Alter und Bedeutung der babylonischen Astronomie und Astrallehre. [Note: Contains an essay "Die Kenntnis der Präzession bei den Babyloniern" arguing for early Babylonian knowledge of precession. (Essentially the same as his 1913 article in Babyloniaca.) The essays contained in this book were all written by a very young Ernst Weidner and all are very much in the Winckler-Jeremias framework of Panbabylonism.]

Kaye, George. (1921). "The Nakshatras and Precession." (Indian Antiquary, Volume ?, Pages ?-?).

Schnabel, Paul. (1923, Reprinted 1968). Berossos und die Babylonisch-Hellenistische Literatur. [Note: In chapter 10, § 5 the author argues for the discovery of precession by Kidenas. The book is full of errors and unreliable. Life dates: 1887-?]

Schnabel, Paul. (1927). "Kidenas, Hipparch und die Entdeckung der Präzession." (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Verwandte Gebiete, Neue Folge, Band 3 (Band 37), Pages 1-60). [Note: The argument for the late Babylonian discovery of precession has been thoroughly demolished by Otto Neugebauer in "The Alleged Babylonian Discovery of the Precession of the Equinoxes." (Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 70, Number 1, 1950, Pages 1-8). See also an early demolition by Franz Kugler of the precession argument in “Erwiderung auf E. Dittrichs “Platons Zahlenrätsel und die Präzession” (OLZ XIII, Sp. 103 ff.).” (Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, Band 13, 1910, Columns 277-279).]

Martiny, Günter. (1933). "Zur Astronomischen Orientation Altmesopotamischer Tempel." (Architectura I, Pages 41-45). [Note: The author offers evidence - soundly criticized since - for the "precessional orientation" of Babylonian temples. Life dates: 1903-1980.]

Langdon, Stephen (1935). Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars. [Note: Several persons claim that in this book the Assyriologist Stephen Langdon expresses his opinion that the Babylonians knew of precession. (For example: The Observatory, Volume 71, Number 862, 1951, Page 120 , "Notes on Babylonian Astronomy" references Langdon for this assertion.) I am not aware of any explicit statement by Stephen Langdon regarding such. However, such may be inferred from some statements in Lecture 1 and also some other parts of the book. Langdon's acceptance of Sumerian constellations, and an early zodiac, are mistaken. This negates the book's use for claims of precessional knowledge by the Babylonians.]

Balcer, Witold. (1948?). The Mystery of the Zodiac. [Note: See the (English-language) book review by Michael Kamienski in Atlantis, March, Volume 1, Number 6, 1949, Pages ?-?; and Atlantis April/May, Volume 2, Number 1, Pages ?-? Kamienski believed that the zodiacal figures have a concealed symbolic meaning. Michael Kamienski [Michal Kamieński] (1879-1973) was an eccentric Russian-born astronomer (and mathematician) and comet orbit specialist who spent most of his academic life in Poland (at the University of Krakow (Cracow)). He was a leading world expert on cometary orbits. In 1971 Comet Wolf was renamed Comet Wolf-Kamienski in his honour. He was Director of the Warsaw University Astronomical Observatory from 1923 to 1945. Michael Kamienski was connected with The Atlantis Research Centre established by the English eccentric (and pre World War II diplomat to Poland) Egerton Sykes. Kamienski believed that astronomical research could be used to reveal a more exact date for various landmark events in ancient history. In 1956 Michael Kamienski, then Professor of Astronomy at the University of Krakow, gave an on-campus lecture titled "The Tragedy of Atlantis-Poseidia" and dated Halley’s Comet back to 9542 BCE, the time of the supposed submersion of Atlantis, and he further engaged in the wild speculation that a part of the tail or part of the head of Halley's Comet had broken off and fallen into the western Atlantic Ocean. (According to another source: "As a result of his investigations he proposed that a part of Halley’s Comet fell into the Gulf of Mexico in 9546 BC or 9540 BC and was responsible for the destruction of Atlantis.") He retired in 1963. An (English-language) obituary for Michael Kamienski by J[an?] Witkowski appeared in The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 15, 1944, Pages 48-50. The Atlantis Research Centre appears in the obituary as the British Society of Atlantological Research, and it is stated that Kamenski was a member. The name of the organisation in the obituary is fictional and The Atlantis Research Centre was not really a membership society. Witold Balcer (historian?/archaeologist?) was Polish (and prior to World War II had accumulated a large private library and collection of artifacts) and The Mystery of the Zodiac was published in Poland. His book is mentioned in an article published in Africana Bulletin (Number 37-40, 1991-1992, Page 110). (Africana Bulletin is a Polish academic publication published by the University of Warsaw.) I have yet to check my copies of Atlantis to determine whether the The Mystery of the Zodiac was in Polish or English. It is now a very rare book and does not appear in any catalogues.]

Frost, Stanley. (1952). "Eschatology and Myth." (Vetus Testamentum, Volume 2, Fascicle 1, January, Pages 70-80). [Note: The author discusses and rejects Panbabylonism but believes precession was discovered circa 380 BCE.]

Žába, Zbynek. (1953). L'Orientation astronomique dans L'Ancienne Égypte, et la Précession de L'Axe du Monde." [Note: 74-page pamphlet issued as Supplement 2 to Archiv Orientální. Zbynek Žába was a Czech Egyptologist. Life dates: 1917-1971.]

Lauer, Jean-Philippe [erroneously given as Jean-Phillipe]. (1960). "Zbynek Zába : L'orientation astronomique dans l'ancienne Égypte, et la précession de l'axe du monde." (Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale [BIFAO], Tome 60, Pages 171-183). [Note: Also given as, Lauer, Jean-Phillipe. (1960). "Zbynek Žába: L'Orientation astronomique dans l'ancienne égypte, et la précession de l'axe du monde." (Bulletin de L'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale du Caire, numéro 60, Pages 171-183[4])]

Pichon, Jean-Charles. (1963). Les Cycles du retour éternel. (2 Volumes). [Note: The author was a prolific French occultist. The book covers similar ground to that of Hamlet's Mill. Life dates: 1920-2006.]

de Santillana, Giorgio. and von Dechend, Hertha. (1969, and reprinted several times since (in English (1970, 1977, 1983), and Italian (1983, reprinted 1984, and 1998; then an expanded edition published 1999, reprinted 2000, and 2003); and a German edition (1993, reprinted 1994) with some changes and 17 extra pages)). Hamlet's Mill: An essay on myth and the frame of time. [Note: The book which re-introduced some of the basic ideas of Panbabylonism. Life dates for Giorgio de Santillana 1902-1974. Life dates for Hertha von Dechend 1915-2001. The book's contents are poorly organised and the evidence cited is poorly presented and confusing. While the book contains an immense amount of loosely related information there is no persuasive evidence presented for the connections being made. An expert knowledge of the history of Babylonian astronomy is lacking. (Some persons hold that a German-language edition was also published in 1969 but this is erroneous.) The authors did not revise their book (but Hertha von Dechend did later publish a German-language edition with some changes/additions) or publish any other on the theme. Unfortunately the errata list that was enclosed with the 1993 German-language edition was left out of the 1994 reprint of such. During 1961, 1966, and 1979 Hertha von Dechend (when a research associate at MIT) delivered seminars on ancient cosmology at MIT and her lecture notes were available for a time. They were full of errors regarding both spelling and sense. It would appear the intention of Harald Reiche to edit them was never fulfilled. It is also easy to discern that the greater contents of the book Hamlet's Mill is her work and owes much to her early MIT seminars. The basic role of Giorgio de Santillana as "co-author" was evidently that of editing her material. (The problem of the book being poorly organised probably largely originates from von Dechend's MIT lecture notes being poorly organised.) Her extensive German-language lecture notes from lectures and seminars at Frankfurt University beginning 1970 have, to my knowledge, never been translated or made generally available. After the retirement of Giorgio de Santillana in 1967 his history of science classes at MIT were continued by Harald Reiche, a Professor of Classics and Philosophy at MIT, who was an avid supporter of Hamlet's Mill. (In fact the only real support (at least initially) for the book came from certain faculty members of MIT.) Most latter-day commentators on Hamlet's Mill incorrectly believe that Giorgio de Santillana was still Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the time of publication of Hamlet's Mill in 1969. That he was not should have been clear from the dust jacket. After his retirement it appears he continued to lecture at MIT until he became seriously ill. A biographical entry for Giorgio de Santillana appears in Who Was Who in America (1985).]

Hartner, Willy. (1979). "The young Avestan and Babylonian Calendars and the antecedents of precession." (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 10, Pages 1-22). [Note: The author suggests that the tropical and sidereal year were distinguished in Babylonian astronomy by 503 BCE and that it implies knowledge of precession.]

Severin, Gregory. (1981). The Paris Codex: Decoding the Astronomical Ephemeris. (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, Volume 71, Number[Part] 5, Pages 1-101). [Note: In his study of the Paris zodiac table the author maintains that the ancient Maya were aware of the precession of the equinoxes. See the critical (English-language) book reviews by Michael Closs in Archaeoastronomy: The Journal of the Centre for Archaeoastronomy, Volume VI, Numbers 1-4, January-December, 1983, Pages 164-171; and by David Kelley in Archaeoastronomy (Supplement to the Journal for the History of Astronomy), Number 5 (Supplement to Volume 14), 1983, Pages S70-S72.]

Thomas, Jesse. (1982). "Rock Art and the Religion of the Sky." In: Bock, Frank. (Editor). American Indian Rock Art Volumes VII & VIII. [Note: A paper supporting Hamlet's Mill presented at the Seventh & Eighth American A.R.A.R.A. Symposium, 1980 & 1981. A previous paper by Jesse Thomas was "Rock Art and the Religion of the Sun." A.R.A.R.A. = American Rock Art Research Association.]

Reiche, Harald. (1985). "The Archaic Heritage: Myths of Decline and End in Antiquity." In: Friedlander, S[?]. et. al. (Editors). Visions of Apocalypse: End of Rebirth. (Pages 21-43). [Note: The author argues that the iconography of Iranian vases dating circa 4000 BCE are to be interpreted in terms of quasi-precessional phenomena.]

Ulansey, David. (1989; reprinted 1991). The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World. [Note: Not exactly pre-Hipparchus but involving some supposed precessional "back-dating." The book is based on his 1984 Princeton University doctoral thesis titled: Mithras and Perseus: Mithraic Astronomy and the Anatolian Perseus-Cult. Highly speculative and controversial. Ulansey's use of zodiacal symbolism that is supposedly derived from knowledge of precession is chronologically misplaced. A devastating critique of David Ulansey's speculation that Cilician pirates developed the Mithraic mysteries using Hipparchus' discovery of precession is given in: Clauss, Manfred. (2001). "Mithras und die Präzession." (Klio Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte, Band 83, Heft 1, Pages 219-225).]

Worthen, Thomas. (1991). The Myth of Replacement: Stars, Gods, and Order in the Universe. [Note: The author is a Classicist who retired from his position as Associate Professor, Department of Classics, The University of Arizona, in 1999. Basically the book takes an anthropological approach to precessional mythology. See the (English-language) book review by Raymond Mercier in Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 23, 1992, Pages 303-305).]

Sellers, Jane. (1992; revised edition 2003). The Death of Gods in Egypt. [Note: The author, who is not a professional Egyptologist, uses Egyptian mythology to test the ideas in Hamlet's Mill. Jane Sellers "gained her BA late in life, at Goddard College, Vermont, and went on to study Egyptology at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute." For reasons unrelated to the course the author did not complete her Ph.D. in Egyptology (under Dr. Klaus Baer) at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. Juan Villar, in his book The Seventh Wonder (2005), incorrectly/falsely identifies Jane Sellers as an Egyptologist, and associates her book with the University of Chicago. A revised and updated 2nd edition of her book was first privately published (unbound, i.e., loose sheet form) by the author in 1999 and then published as a bound volume by a minor publisher in 2003 (and this later 2nd edition is the preferred volume to use). Life dates: 1926- .]

Millar, Frederick. (1993). "The Irish David and Goliath." (Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Volume 87, Number 5, Pages 269-270). [Note: Abstract of paper presented at the RASC 1993 General Assembly. See also the publication: 1993 General Assembly Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, July 1-5, 1993, Halifax, Nova Scotia.]

Millar, Frederick. (1995). "The Celestial David and Goliath." (Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Volume 89, Number 4, Pages 141-154). [Note: The Canadian author argues that the ancient fear that "the sky is falling" was a description that identified knowledge of precession. The theme of the "sky falling down" appears in traditional South American myths. The explanation is linked to volcanic activity. Millar was a member of the Halifax Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He wrote several other articles on stellar mythology for the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada during 1998/1999. F. Graham Millar (as he always called himself) was a research meteorologist at the Head Office of the Meteorological Service of Canada for 16 years before joining the Defence Research Board for 23 years. (The Defence Research Board of Canada was established in 1947.) During WWII he was responsible for all coding and cipher work at the Toronto head Office. In 1992 he published the book, "My Years in the Meteorological Service." He viewed the book "Hamlet's Mill" as "true gospel." See the (English-Language) obituary by Mary Whitehorne in Nova Notes, Volume 32, Number 4, August, 2001, Page 6. For a critique of Millar's article (the identification of a number of errors of fact) see: Correspondence/Correspondance - Comments on the Celestial David and Goliath by Steven Biggs (Journal of the Royal Society of Canada, Volume 90, April, 1996, Pages 95-96). Millar generously acknowledged his mistakes. He is buried with his wife at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax. Life dates: 1910-2001. I am grateful to Philip Burns for informing me of Millar's first given name.]

Eelsalu, Heino. (1995). "Mida jahvatab Hamleti veski." [= "What does Hamlet's mill grind?"] (Akadeemia, Number 6, Pages (Columns?) 1300-1301). [Note: Akadeemia is an Estonian journal. Basically a book review (in Estonian) of the 1993 German-language edition of Hamlet's Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend. Supportive of precessional mythology. The author was an astronomer and historian of astronomy. Life dates: 1930-1998. See the (English-language) obituary by Mihkel Jöeveer and Tönu Viik in Acta Historica Astronomiae, Volume 10, Pages 224-226. Eelsalu interpreted many Estonian (Finno-Ugric) myths as having an astronomical meaning. He argues that the myth of the chopping down of the (celestial) world tree was due to the precessional shifting of the north pole (and subsequent tilting effect) from the Swan constellation.]

Sullivan, William. (1996). The Secret of the Incas. [Note: The author, who holds a doctorate from the Center of American Indian Studies at the University of St. Andrew's, applies the precessional mythology theme of Hamlet's Mill to the mythology of the Incas. His PhD was awarded in 1987 for research on which the book is based. The author also holds a MLitt degree from the Centre for Latin American Linguistic Studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. The thesis topic for this was "Quechua Star Names", and was based on fieldwork into star names currently known to the Indians of Peru and Bolivia. See the (English-language) book review by Gerardo Aldana in Archaeoastronomy, Supplement to: Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 28, Number 22, 1997, Pages S88-S89. Importantly, see the informed (English-language) review essay and critique, "Time, Essential and Relative: Politics of Representation of Incas and Mayas." by Arij Ouweneel in European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Volume 67, December, 1999, Pages 95-101; and also, The Shape of Inca History by Susan Niles (1999).]

Porter, Deborah. (1996). From Deluge to Discourse: Myth, History, and the Generation of Chinese Tradition. [Note: A fascinating astronomical interpretation of aspects of early Chinese mythology based on a 'Hamlet's Mill approach' and greatly influenced by the ideas of the sinologist David Pankenier who also believes in a 'Hamlet's Mill approach' to Chinese and other mythology. The author is one of a number of sinologists and others who believe the Chinese were well aware of the effects of precession prior to its actual discovery in China. This conclusion is evident from some surviving records from the Han period and also the content of some particular mythology from this period. The earliest tentative awareness of precession in China took hold in the Hou Han (= later Han) period. (The later Han period is also now referred to as the Eastern Han Dynasty and spanned from 25 to 220 CE.) During this period it was quite widely recognised that the calendar altered (i.e., became unreliable) every 300 years. That is, every 300 years there was a requirement to use a new calendar. Multiple mentions of the fact that the calendar was only good for 300 years appears in the multiple volumes of the Hou Hanshu (= Book of the Later Han) by the historian Fan Ye (flourished 398-445 CE). The discovery of the precession of the equinoxes in China can be attributed to the scholar Yü Hsi (flourished circa 307-338 CE) circa 320 CE who discussed it in his book, the An Thien Lun written 336 CE. (The book discussed whether the motions of the heavens were stable.) Yü Hsi obtained a value of about 1 degree in 50 tropic years for the precessional movement. The brilliant scholar Zu Chongzi (420-500 CE) created the Daming Calendar (some sources say promoted his father's calendar ) which took precession into account for the first time. The most thorough and comprehensive calendar in the history of China was the Dayan Calendar compiled in the Tang Dynasty (616-907 CE) by the monk Yi Xing. Deborah Porter has a PhD (Princeton University, 1989); her doctoral dissertation was titled: The Style of Shui-hu chuan. She was Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Utah, 1989-1996; Associate Professor, 1996-2002. See the favourable (English-language) book review by William Nienhauser, Junior in The Journal of Asian Studies, Volume 56, Number 3, August, 1997, Pages 776-779.]

Sarma, K[?]. (1997). "Precession of the Equinoxes." In: Selin, Helaine. (Editor). Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. [Note: See page 827. The article argues for knowledge of precession in India during Vedic times. The evidence offered is that Vedic priests changed (several times) the beginning of their year backwards from one constellation to the next previous constellation. It is not claimed that any measurement of precession was made. The author is with the Adyar Library and Research Centre, Adyar, Madras, India.]

Hodges, Horace. (1997). "Gnostic Liberation from Astrological Determinism: Hipparchan "Trepidation" and the Breaking of Fate." (Vigiliae Christianae: A Review of Early Christian Life and Language, Volume LI [Volume 51], Number 4, November, Pages 359-373). [Note: Not a claim for an early knowledge of precession independent of Hipparchus. The author argues that at least some Gnostic sects used Hipparchus's discovery of the precession of the equinoxes as evidence of a benevolent force (a soteriological god) intervening in the world to successfully shift the zodiacal sphere to break the bonds of astrological fate and release the Gnostic elect from the power of the cosmos and its creator.]

Wood, Florence. and Wood, Kenneth. (1999). Homer's Secret Iliad: The Epic of the Night Skies Decoded. [Note: Written and marketed for a popular (lay) readership. An astronomical interpretation of the Iliad that attempts to push its content back to circa 8000 BCE. Argues for an early equally divided 12-constellation zodiac, and Greek mythology embodying knowledge of precession. Inaccurate on basic issues and quite speculative. Its claim that the Iliad is the world's oldest astronomy book, incorporating knowledge of precession, founders on its ideas of constellation antiquity i.e., the claim that our inherited Greek constellations originated in Greece and Asia Minor circa eighth millennium BCE. The Woods maintain that the astronomical content of the Iliad was forgotten with the rise of Greek scientific astronomy. "Chapter 1: Astronomy and the Ancients" comprises a variety of ideas concerning the antiquity of the constellations and lacks an underlying unity. This chapter also supports the flawed "void space" argument for the antiquity of the constellations. The "void space" argument is a simplistic substitution for the more rigorous application of historical evidence (i.e., extent cuneiform and classical texts, philological analysis of constellation names, and constellation iconography and mythology). The 200 year-old "void space" originated at a time when philology and archaeology were both under-developed and unable to be applied in any meaningful way. A major argument in the book is the 45 regiments detailed in the Iliad's famous ‘Catalogue of Ships’ in Book II, represent 45 constellations. However, the British historian and linguist Andrew Dalby writes ("Rediscovering Homer" (2006, Page 39)): "The catalogue evidently began simply as a list of Greek cities ...." A strange manner for Homer to begin a hypothesised intention of cataloging constellations. A major argument in the book is the 45 regiments detailed in the Iliad's famous ‘Catalogue of Ships’ in Book II, represent 45 constellations. That the Iliad is allegory and was set in the sky is not a new idea. Publications propounding an astronomical interpretation of Homer's epics have existed for over 200 years. Charles Dupuis ("L'origine de tous les cultes" (1795)) held that the Iliad, Odyssey and the Voyage of Argo most likely described the voyage of the sun (or its representative planet) through the zodiacal constellations. Astronomical interpretations of mythology (often incorporating precession as the "key") have been extensively promoted in numerous books published between circa 1880 and 1930. William Warren's "Paradise Found" (1898) was meant as a new contribution to Homeric astronomy/cosmology. Interestingly Anton Krichenbauer in his "Theogonie und Astronomie" (1881) interpreted the Iliad as an allegorical history of a calendar reform needed circa 2110 BCE because of the precessional movement of the equinoxes. Perhaps the first book solely discussing the "astro-mythic" interpretation of the Iliad is "The Judgment of Paris" by Emmeline Plunket (1908). In this she was possibly influenced by the nature myth interpretation of Homer incorporated by William Gladstone in his "Landmarks of Homeric Study" (1890). Perhaps the heftiest proponent of astral mythology furnishing the key to Homer was the Panbabylonist Carl Fries in his "Studien zur Odyssee (2 volumes, 1910-1911), and "Die griechischen Gotter und Heroen" (1911). The Panbabylonist Peter Jensen held some similar astral ideas in his "Mythen und Epen" (1900), and "Das Gilamesch-Epos in der Weltliteratur" (2 volumes, 1906-1929). Even Arthur Drews in his "Der Sternhimmel" (1923) makes passing reference to an astronomical interpretation of Homer. It was also discussed by proponents of the 19th-century "sun myth" school. The minister and author Abraham Palmer (1847-1922) was probably the last real exponent of the "sun myth" school. At least his book "The Sampson-Saga and its Place in Comparative Religion" (1913) was probably the last substantial effort. (Interestingly, Metrodorus of Lampsacus (circa 5th-century BCE) identified Hector as the moon, Achilles as the sun, Agamemnon as the earth, and Helena as the air.) Historically, proponents of a scheme of astronomical mythology (nearly always based on an equally divided 12-constellation zodiac) have ceaselessly demonstrated that it is possible to incorporate a diverse and differing range of astronomical data into their interpretations. Almost all the authors interpret the same mythology or epics with different astronomical data i.e., identify different astronomical phenomenon. Simply, an "astro-mythic" scheme can bear several several interpretations. (It is interesting to see the apparently Jungian "astro-mythic" slant given to Hebrew mythology by Tom Chetwynd in his "The Age of Myth" (1991).) Such multitude of divergence indicates that the methodology is flawed or that the interpretations are forced. In a nutshell: The problem is no "astronomical key" has been identified - as is evidenced by the diverse astronomical methods of interpretation. This facilitates the criticism that often the method(s) of "astro-mythic" interpretation is perhaps not a method after all. A reasonable analogy would perhaps be the elaborate "Bacon is Shakespeare" ciphers that have been "discovered". What stands out is the fact that the coding systems and underlying identification messages are never the same. The 2 volumes by Ignatius Donnelly titled "The Great Cryptogram" (1888) are a prime example. John Nicolson's book "No Ciphers in Shakespeare" (1888) showed that the cipher scheme "discovered" by Ignatius Donnelly can be used to produce any required result. Likewise, elements within a single scheme of astronomical mythology can produce several variant interpretations. Two "recent" publications using the same tale in the context of "Hamlet's Mill" (1969) are "Heavens Unearthed in Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales" by Matt Kane (1999) and "Imaginery Landscapes: Making Worlds of Myth and Science" by William Thompson (1989). Both authors refer to "Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time". In "Chapter 5: Rumpelstiltskin" of Kane's book he interprets the tale as a lunar myth. In "Chapter 1: Rapunzel: Cosmology Lost" of Thompson's book he interprets the tale as involving the sun and moon and the planetary motion of Mercury, Venus and Mars. The importance of the ecliptic and the development of the equally divided 12-constellation zodiac does not appear until after the start of the Persian Period in Mesopotamia (circa 500 BCE). The evidence indicates that it was the astronomy of the Babylonian Mul.Apin scheme (circa 1000 BCE) that established the preconditions for the importance of the ecliptic and the establishment of the Babylonian zodiacal scheme which was later adopted by the Greeks. The Babylonian scheme of 12 zodiacal constellations was derived from a system of 18 constellations (established during the Assyrian Period, starting circa 1100 BCE) along the ecliptic to mark the path of the moon. The question remains how can a late Babylonian zodiac (developed circa 450 BCE) comprised of 12 constellations (and 12 equal divisions) have been in use by Homer some 300 years earlier? (And also have had an even earlier origin circa 8000 BCE - which is well prior to the existence of both the Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations.) For a whole different line of speculation see: "The Iliad as Politics" by Dean Hammer (2002). An outstanding recent study, that clarifies its indebtedness to West Semitic myth, is "The Iliad: Structure, Myth, and Meaning" by Bruce Louden (2006). The only support for the Woods that I am aware of come from Safari Grey, a United Kingdom postgraduate student, who argues that Homer was an astronomer.]

Anon. (1999). "Continued Fraction Decipherment: the Aristarchan Ancestry of Hipparchos' Yearlength & Precession." (DIO, Volume 9, Number 1, June, Pages 30-38). [Note: The article was written by DIO's editor Dennis Rawlins. Argues for knowledge of precession by Aristarchos 150 years before Hipparchus' discovery. Some references give Pages 30-42.]

Kollerstrom, Nicholas. (2001). "On the Measurement of Celestial Longitude in Antiquity." In: Simon, Gérard. and Débarbat, Suzanne. (Editors). Optics and Astronomy. (Pages 145-159). [Note: Proceedings of the XXth International Congress of History of Science (Liège, 20-26 July 1997). Volume XII. Includes an assessment of early precessional knowledge.]

Aveni, Anthony. (2001). Skywatchers: A Revised and Updated Version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico. [Note: Includes an assessment of whether the Mesoamericans had an understanding of precession. The author is an astronomer and expert on native American astronomy.]

Hansen, Chad. (2002). The five-fifths of myth. [Note: Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Dallas. Abstract: The main argument of the dissertation is that mythoi from around the world, as well as epics and legends that derive from these mythoi, embody an awareness of astronomical entities and events. In particular, the five planets visible to the naked eye can be divided into two groups according to their motion. The three planets Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars form one group, called here the Big Three, and the two planets Venus and Mercury form another group, called here the Divine Twins. These two sets of planets were personified by various groups of people from around the world, and woven into myth as the main characters of many stories. From the very outset, these five planets were thought to be involved in a celestial scenario of divine kingship of the sky and the gods, as well as the divine origin of human beings. The Big Three also contributed to the structure of society through clan division. The astronomical event known scientifically as the precession of the equinoxes was interpreted by the mythopoets as a succession of World Ages, each of which was ruled by a different king of the gods. This idea of world time led directly to the advent of the calendar as the expression of this succession. The grand myth of the World Ages was eventually transformed into epic and legend, in which traces of the myth can be discovered, using the techniques of critical hermeneutics in general and comparative mythology in particular. The dissertation discusses these astronomical underpinnings as they are expressed, in particular, in Egyptian mythos, in the Hindu epic The Mahabharata, in the Celtic legends compiled in the Mabinogi, and in the Mesoamerican mythos of the Mayan people as this is recorded in the Popol Vuh. Although some argument to this effect was proposed in the text Hamlet's Mill, no one to date has proposed the global distribution of this motif, nor offered so comprehensive an analysis of these archaeoastronomical influences in world narrative. Hence, this dissertation advances theories and evidence that are not only original in their orientation, but groundbreaking in their content.]

Maeyama, Yasukatsu. (2002). "The Two Supreme Stars, Thien-i and Thai-i, and the Foundation of the Purple Palace." In: Ansari, S[?]. (Editor). History of Oriental Astronomy. (Pages 3-18). [Note: Article on Chinese astronomy advocating the precessional origin of the Purple Palace. The author, an expert on ancient astronomy, was a colleague of and is influenced by Hertha von Dechend.]

Barber, Elizabeth. and Barber, Paul. (2004). When They Severed the Earth From the Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth. [Note: The authors maintain that myth originated in prehistoric non-literate societies as a vehicle to preserve and transmit information about real events and observations. The authors state that the original inspiration for much of their book were the essays in Before Philosophy by Henri and Henriette Frankfort, John Wilson, and Thorkild Jacobsen (1949). Chapter 16: Of Sky and Time is sufficient demonstration of the uninformed and wildly speculative nature of the authors arguments. They uncritically follow the central theme of Hamlet's Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend. Elizabeth Wayland is Professor of Linguistics and Archaeology at Occidental College, Los Angeles. Paul Barber is a research associate with the Fowler Museum of Cultural History at the University of California, Los Angeles.]

Magli, Giulo. (2004). "On the possible discovery of precessional effects in ancient astronomy." [Note: Paper lodged on the internet at arXiv. Abstract: "The possible discovery, by ancient astronomers, of the slow drift in the stellar configurations due to the precessional movement of the earth's axis has been proposed several times and, in particular, has been considered as the fundamental key in the interpretation of myths by Ugo (sic) de Santillana and Ertha (sic) von Dechend. Finding clear proofs that this discovery actually occurred would, therefore, be of relevant importance in a wide inter-disciplinary area of sciences which includes both social-historical and archaeo-astronomical research. In the present paper the possible discovery of astronomical effects induced by precession - such as the shift in the declination of the heliacal raising of bright stars or the so called precession of the equinoxes - is analysed for various ancient cultures in the world. Although definitive evidence of the discovery is still lacking, the quantity of hints emerging from the general picture is impressive and stimulating in view of further research." Giulio Magli is physicist (Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics, University of Milan), currently (2012) Full Professor at the Faculty of Civil Architecture of the Politecnico of Milan, where he teaches a course on Archaeoastronomy.]

Hughes, David. (2005). "Neolithic and Early Bronze Age skywatchers and the precession of the equinox." (Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Volume 115, Number 1, February, Pages 29-35). [Note: David Hughes was a professor of astronomy at the University of Sheffield, where he worked since 1965. Hughes was educated at Mundella School, Nottingham, Birmingham University (1959–1962, where he got a degree in physics) and Oxford University (1962–1965, New College and the University Observatory) where he got a D. Phil. in solar astrophysics. Abstract: "The article focuses on neolithic and early bronze age skywatchers and the precession of equinox. Skywatchers some 4500 years ago were seeking chronological determinants, such as the time of the summer solstice, using little mathematical knowledge. It is however clear that many Neolithic and Bronze Age structures, such as Stonehenge, were aligned towards specific Sun and or Moon rising and setting points on the horizon. Two important points are immediately noteworthy. We need to estimate the amount of notice that the society chief needs to prepare for the timely important event and the prediction accuracy that would be satisfactory."]

Lundwall, John (2006). "Taurus Oedipus and the Riddling Sphinx: A New Interpretation." [Note: Wildly speculative and uses several dated and unreliable sources. Published on the internet at Cosmos and Logos.]

Grofe, Michael. (2007). The Serpent Series: Precession in the Mayan Dresden Codex. [Note: Kindly brought to my attention by Laurence Crossen. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation for the Department of Native American Studies, University of California at Davis. The author is currently (2010) Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, American River College. Academic degrees: Ph.D., Native American Studies, University of California, Davis; M.A., Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies; B.S., Marine Biology, University of Miami.]

Sule, Aniket. et al. (2007). "Saptarshi's visit to different Nakshatras: Subtle effect of Earth's precession." (Indian Journal of History of Sciences, Volume 42, Number 2, Pages 133-147).

Durman, Aleksandar. (2009). "Celestial symbolism in the Vučedol culture." (Documenta Praehistorica XXVIII, Pages 215-226.) [Note: A journal of archaeological  interdisciplinary scientific research published yearly by the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana.]

Pellar, Brian. (2012). The Foundation of Myth: A Unified Theory on the Link Between Seasonal/Celestial Cycles, the Precession, Theology, and the Alphabet/Zodiac. Part One. [Note: Sino-Platonic Papers, Number 219, January, 2012. !32 Pages. A speculative essay arguing for early knowledge of precession. The author manages to ignore critical sources. Also, the author does not seem familiar with many of the controversial sources he does choose to use and does not handle them in a critical manner. They are simply used to establish 'starting points' for his argument. Unconvincing and unreliable.]


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Some articles by Robert Brown Junior.

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1885). "The Zodiacal Crab." (The Academy, February 21, Number 668, Pages 135-136). [Note: No material by Robert Brown is reliable. However, his mistaken ideas still continue to influence some people who write on the origin of the constellations.]

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1886). "The Names of the Great Syrian Goddess." (The Academy, April 10, Number 727, Page 257).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (November, 1886 - June, 1887). "On Euphratean Names of the Constellation Ursa Major." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 9, Pages 127-130). [Note: This is a communication to the Society.]

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1887). "Babylonian Astronomy in the West - The Aries of Aratos." (The Babylonian and Oriental Record [The Babylonian & Oriental Record], Volume 1, Number 3, January, Pages 33-35). [Note: See also: "Note on Babylonian Astronomy." by William Lynn. (The Babylonian and Oriental Record, Volume 1, Number 5, 1887, March, Pages 78-79).]

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1887). "The Babylonian Zodiac." (The Academy, January 29, Number 769, Page 73). [This is a letter which appears in the Correspondence section.]

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1887). "Remarks on some Euphratean Astronomical Names in the Lexicon of Hêsychios." (The Babylonian and Oriental Record, Volume 1, Number 9, July, Pages 140-143; and Volume 1, Number 10, August, Pages 148-150).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1887). "Etruscan Divinity-Names." (The Academy, November 12, Number 810, Pages 323-324).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1888). "The Euphratean Kosmological Theogony Preserved by Damaskios." (The Platonist [Magazine], An Exponent of Philosophic Truth, Volume 4, Number 3, March, Pages 113-118).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (November, 1888 - June, 1889). "Names of Stars in Babylonian." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 11, Pages 145-151). [Note: This is a communication to the Society.]

Brown, Junior., Robert. (November, 1889 - June, 1890). "Remarks on the Tablet of the Thirty Stars. Part I." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 12, Pages 137-152).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (November, 1889 - June, 1890). "Remarks on the Tablet of the Thirty Stars. Part II." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 12, Pages 180-206).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (November, 1890 - June, 1891). "Remarks on the Euphratean Astronomical Names of the Signs of the Zodiac." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 13, Pages 246-271).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1890). "The Zodiacal Crab." (The Academy, December 6, Number 970, Pages 532-533).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (November, 1891 - June 1892). "Euphratean Stellar Researches [Part I]." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 14, Pages 280-304).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1892). "The Milky Way in Euphratean Stellar Mythology." (The Academy, January 9, Number 1027, Page 43).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (November, 1892 - June, 1893). "Euphratean Stellar Researches [Part II]." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 15, Pages 317-342).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (November, 1892 - June, 1893). "Euphratean Stellar Researches. Part III." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 15, Pages 456-470).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1892). "The Celestial Equator of Aratos." In: Morgan, E[?]. (Editor). Transactions of the Ninth International Congress of Orientalists. 2 Volumes. (Pages 445-485). [Note: The paper is in Volume 2.]

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1894). "The Dawn of Astronomy." (The Academy, March 31, Number 1143, Pages 271-272). [Note: An article book-review of The Dawn of Astronomy by J. Norman Lockyer.]

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1894). "The Connexion between Babylonian and Greek Astronomy." (The Academy, November 10, Number 1175, Pages 379-380).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (January - December, 1895). "Euphratean Stellar Researches. Part IV." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 17, Pages 16-36).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (January - December, 1895). "Euphratean Stellar Researches. Part V." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 17, Pages 284-303).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (January - December, 1895). "Euphratean Stellar Researches. [Part VI]." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 18, Pages 25-44).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1897). "On the Origin of the Ancient Northern Constellation-figures." (The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, April, Pages 205-226).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (1901). "A Greek circle of late times showing Euphratean influence." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume XXIII, Pages 255-257).

Brown, Junior., Robert. (January - December, 1902). "Note on the Heavenly Body MUL . MUL." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 24, Pages 126-129). [Note: This is a communication to the Society.]


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Astrological geography.

Bouché-Leclercq, Auguste. (1899; Reprinted 1979). L'Astrologie grecque.

Boll, Franz. (1903; Reprinted 1967). Sphaera: Neue griechische Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Sternbilder. [Note: Astrological geography is discussed from page 296 onwards. See the (English-language) book review by Anon in Nature, Volume LXVII, November 1902 to April 1903, (Thursday, March 26, 1903), Page 481; the (French-language) book review by Édouard Chavannes in T'oung Pao, Series II, Volume V, 1904, Pages 208-212; and the (German-language) book review by Hugo Winckler in Orientalistische Litteratur-zeitung, Siebenter Jahrgang, Number 2, February, 1904, Columns 55-65; and Siebenter Jahrgang, Number 3, March, 1904, Columns 93-104. See also the (German-language) biography in Neue Deutsche Biographie, Zweiter Band, 1953, Page 432. Life dates: 1867-1924.]

Halevy, Joseph. (1906). "Nouvelles considérations sur le cycle turc des animaux." (T'oung Pao, Séries II, Volume 7, Pages 270-295).

Cumont, Franz. (1909). "La plus ancienne géographic astrologique." (Klio Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte, Neunter Band [Band 9], Heft 3, Pages 263-273). [Note: Whilst the article certainly appears in the original volume of Klio I could not locate this article in a reprint volume of Klio.]

Boll, Franz. (1914; Reprinted 1967). Aus der Offenbarung Johannis: hellenistische Studien zum Weltbild der Apokalypse. [Note: See Classical Philology, Volume 11, Number 3,  July, 1916, Pages 343-344 for a (English-language) book review by Shirley Case. See The Classical Review, Volume XXX, 1916, Page 22, for a (English-language) book review by W. K. Lowther-Clarke; and see Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, 19 Jahrgang, Juni 1916, Number 6, Columns 187-188 for a (German-language) book review by Ferdinand Bork; and see Theologische Literaturzeitung, Vierzigster Jahrgang, Number 12, 1915, Columns 273-276 (for a (German-language) book review by [?] Bouffet. For a critical book-length rebuttal of Boll's ideas in his book see Die Apokalypse des Apostels Johannes und die hellenistische Kosmologie und Astrologie, by (the Catholic theologian/(later) bishop) Joseph Freundorfer (1929).]

Weinstock, Stefan. (1948). The Geographical Catalogue in Acts II, 9-11." (The Journal of Roman Studies, Volume XXXVIII, Pages 43-46). [Note: Excellent article.]

Metzger, Bruce. (1970). "Ancient Astrological Geography and Acts 2:9-11." In: Gasque, W[?]. and Martin, Ralph. (Editors). Apostolic History and the Gospel. Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce. (Pages 123-133).

Goold, George. (Editor and translator). (1977; 2nd printing with revision of text and translation, 1992). Manilius Astronomica.

Quispel, Gilles. (1979). "Astrology." In: Quispel, Gilles. The Secret Book of Revelation. (Pages 21-24). [Note: The section "Astrology," is contained in the chapter "New Light on the Secret Revelation" of his book. The author was a Catholic scholar. He was Professor of the History of the Early Church, University of Utrecht, Holland; and Professor of the Hellenistic Background of the New Testament, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.]


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The sphaera barbarica.

Boll, Franz. (1903; Reprinted 1967). Sphaera: Neue griechische Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Sternbilder. [Note: The book includes a detailed discussion of the Sphaera Barbarica. See the (English-language) book review by Anon in Nature, Volume LXVII, November 1902 to April 1903, (Thursday, March 26, 1903), Page 481; the (French-language) book review by Édouard Chavannes in T'oung Pao, Series II, Volume V, 1904, Pages 208-212; and the (German-language) book review by Hugo Winckler in Orientalistische Litteratur-zeitung, Siebenter Jahrgang, Number 2, February, 1904, Columns 55-65; and Siebenter Jahrgang, Number 3, March, 1904, Columns 93-104. See also the (German-language) biography in Neue Deutsche Biographie, Zweiter Band, 1953, Page 432. Life dates: 1867-1924.]

Gundel, Wilhelm. (1936). Neue astrologische Texte des Hermes Trismegistos. [Note: III. Kapitel., Die Monomoiriai (Sphaera Barbarica), Pages 135-159.]

Boll, Franz. and Gundel, Wilhelm. (1937). "Sternbilder, Sternglaube und Sternsymbolik bei Griechen und Römern." In: Roscher, Wilhelm. (Editor). Aüsführliches Lexicon der Griechischen und Römischen Mythologie. (Volume VI, Columns 867-1071). [Note: A book-length article that remains a standard study of Greek and Roman constellations and star names. Both the authors were classical philologists who specialized in ancient astronomy. See: Columns 1038-1046 for the Sphaera Barbarica.]

Saxl, Fritz. and Meier, Hans. (1953). Bober, Harry. (Editor). Catalogue of astrological and mythological illuminated manuscripts of the Latin Middle Ages. Volume 3: Manuscripts in English libraries. (2 Volumes/Parts). [Note: The Introduction in Part 1 (of Volume 3) contains a brilliant short essay on the Sphaera Barbarica. See the (English -language) book reviews by William Stahlman in Isis, Volume 45, Number 3, September, 1954, Pages 309-311; by T[?]. Reese in The English Historical Review, Volume 70, Number 274, January, 1955, Pages 98-99; and by Lilian Randall in American Journal of Archaeology, Volume 59, Number 4, October, 1955, Pages 356-357. Life dates Fritz Saxl: 1890-1948. Life dates Hans Meier: 1900-1941. (Hans Meier was killed in the London blitz.) The primary source – though far from inclusive – for art history information on surviving illustrated manuscripts of the Aratea is the 4-volume work (1915-1966), Verzeichnis astrologischer und mythologischer illustrierter Handschriften des lateinischen Mittelalters, variously edited by Fritz Saxl, Hans Meier, and Patrick McGurk.]

Scherer, Anton. (1953). Gestirnnamen bei den indogermanischen Völken. [Note: Invaluable. See the (English-language) book review by Ernest Pulgram in Language, Volume 30, 1954, Pages 284-285; and the (German-language) book review by Ernst Zinner in Theologische Literaturzeitung, Volume 82, Number 9, September, 1957, Columns 674-675.]

Le Boeuffle, André. (1970). Le vocabulaire latin de l'Astronomie. [Note: Doctoral thesis. Published in 3 volumes in 1973. Includes a detailed discussion of the Sphaera Barbarica in Tome II, Pages 629-642.]

Hübner, Wolfgang. (1975). "Die Paranatellonten im Liber Hermetis." (Sudhoffs Archiv, Band 59, Heft 4, Pages 387-414).

Le Boeuffle, André. (1977). Les noms latins d'astres et de constellations. [Note: An abridged version of the authors 1970 doctorate thesis "Le vocabulaire latin de l'Astronomie." It includes a detailed discussion of the Sphaera Barbarica. See the (English-language) book review by Paul Kunitzsch in Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences, Volume 27, 1977, [should, I think, be Volume 28, 1978], Pages 334-335; and the (French-language) book reviews by Michel Rambaud in Revue des Études Latines, Volume 58, 1980, Pages 461-463; and by Pierre Hamblenne in Latomus Revue D'Études Latines, Tome XL, 1981, Pages 426-427.]

Volk, Katharina. (2009). Manilius and his Intellectual Background. [Note: Contains an informed discussion of the Sphaera Barbarica.]


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Astronomical depictions on ancient coins.

Anson, Leo. (1910-1916; Parts I-VI). Numismata Graeca.

Curtis, James. (1956). "Coinage of Roman Egypt: A Survey; Chapter IV: Mythology and the Zodiac." (The Numismatist, Volume 69, Pages 402-408).

Molnar, Michael. (1992). "The Coins of Antioch." (Sky and Telescope, Volume 83, January, Page 37).

Chambliss, Carlson. (1994). "Additional Astronomical Themes on Ancient Coins." (Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Volume 26, December, Page 1359).

Zimmermann, Linda. (1994). "Precious records: Gold and silver coins of the ancient world chronicle celestial events." (The Celator, Volume 8, Number 7, July, Pages 36-?).

Zimmermann, Linda. (1995). "Heads and Tails of Celestial Coins." (Sky and Telescope, Volume 89, Number 3, March, Pages 28-29). [Note: On astronomical events depicted on Roman coins.]

Chambliss, Carlson. (1995). "Bullion and Billion: Astronomical Images on Old Coins." (Mercury, Volume 24, Number 1, January/February, Page 23).

Molnar, Michael. (1998). "Symbolism of the Sphere." (The Celator, Volume 12, Number 6, June, Pages 6-7).

Ramsey, John. (1999). "Mithridates, the Banner of Ch'ih-Yu, and the Comet Coin." (Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Volume 99, Pages 197-253).

Abramzon, M[?]. (2002). "Astral symbols in Roman coinage: Origin and development of coin types." (Vestnik drevnej istorii, Number 1, Pages 122-142). [Note: Vestnik drevnej istorii = Journal of Ancient History.]

de Meis, Salvo. (2004). "Astronomical reflexes in Ancient Coins." In: Rollinger, Robert. and Ulf, Christoph. (Editors). Commerce and Monetary Systems in the Ancient World: Means of Transmission and Cultural Interaction. (Pages 470-498).

Gariboldi, Andrea. (2004). "Astral Symbology on Iranian Coinage." (East and West, Volume 54, Number 1/4, December, Pages 31-53). [Note: The article title is sometimes given as "Astral Symbology and Iranian Coinage." The author deals with Sasanian coins.]

Saslaw, W[?]. and Murdin, P[?]. (2005). "The Double Heads of Istrus: the Oldest Eclipse on a Coin." (Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Volume 37, August, Page 629).

Rovithis-Livaniou, Elani. and Rovithis, Flora. (2011). "Stellar Symbols on Ancient Greek Coins (I)." (Romanian Astronomy Journal, Volume 21, Number 2, Pages 000-000 [?]).

Rovithis-Livaniou, Elani. and Rovithis, Flora. (2012). "Stellar Symbols on Ancient Greek Coins (II)." (Romanian Astronomy Journal, Volume 22, Number 1, Pages 77-92). [Note: 12 pages.]

Dy-Liacco, Rafael. (2012). "Comets, Cults, and Coins: A material-theoretic framework for the archaeoastronomical study of the Book of Revelation." (Hukay, Journal for Archaeological Research in Asia and the Pacific, Volume 17, Pages 1-21).


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The origin and development of zodiacal and planetary symbols.

Maunder, Annie. (1934). "The Origin of the Symbols of the Planets." (The Observatory, Volume 57, Pages 238-247). [Note: Annie Dill, the second wife of Edward Maunder, was not always reliable when she ventured into historical subjects.]

Partington, R[?]. (1937). "The Origins of the Planetary Symbols for the Metals." (Ambix, Volume 1, Pages 61-64).

Neugebauer, Otto. (1942). "Egyptian Planetary Texts." (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series - Volume XXXII, Part II, January, Pages 209-250 + (16 Pages) Plates). [Note: Probably the best and most detailed discussion on the topic by Otto Neugebauer.]

Neugebauer, Otto. (1943). "Demotic Horoscopes." (Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 63, Pages 115-126 + Plates). [Note: Otto Neugebauer states that the signs used in the late (Roman) Demotic documents are undoubtedly the earliest known symbols. He also gives good references on the topic of the further development of the zodiacal and planetary symbols in Western Europe.]

Neugebauer, Otto. and van Hoesen, Henry. (1959). Greek Horoscopes. [Note: See pages 1 and 156.]

Neugebauer, Otto. (1959). "On the Solar Symbol in Greek Manuscripts." (Byzantine Zeitschrift, Volume 52, Pages 22).

Anon. (1982). The Origin of the Signs of the Zodiac." (Nature, Volume 296, Number 5857, April 8, Page 494). [Note: "100 years ago" section makes mention of the early work of Jesuit Fathers Joseph Epping and Johann Strassmaier on Babylonian mathematical astronomy. There is no mention of zodiacal and planetary symbols.]

Jones, Alexander. (1999). Astronomical Papyri from Oxyrhynchus. (2 Volumes). [Note: See Volume 1, Pages 61-63.]


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Articles by Bradley Schaefer on the origin of the Western constellations.

Schaefer, Bradley [Brad]. (2002). "The Latitude and Epoch for the Formation of the Southern Greek Constellations." (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 33, Part 4, Number 113, November, Pages 313-350). [Note: An important paper by an astronomer comprising a critical quantitative analysis of the "void zone" arguments for the origins of the Greek constellations in the third Millennium BCE.. A suitable discussion of numerous problems with the basic methodologies of Maunder-Crommelin-Ovenden-Roy has been undertaken Schaefer in this paper. His conclusions are that the southern Greek constellations originated in the first millennium BCE, and are basically derived from Babylonia. Several opponents/critics claim "they can't understand his statistical argument" and "only Schaefer believes his conclusions." None have offered a detailed rebuttal. Bradley Schaefer is currently (2011) professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Louisiana State University. He received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983. His research interests include the use of photometry of exploding objects to get results of interest for physical cosmology. He has also researched the dwarf planet Pluto with the aim of understanding the atmospheric variability of the system.]

Schaefer, Bradley. (2004). "The Latitude and Epoch for the Origin of the Astronomical Lore of Eudoxus." (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 35, Part 2, Number 119, May, Pages 161-223). [Note: A critical quantitative analysis of the date for the origin of the astronomical lore of Eudoxus. Establishes that the lore was of Babylonian origin circa 1130 BCE, and based on the information in the Mul.Apin series. In at least 1 reference for the article page number 161 has been mistakenly transposed to 116.]

Schaefer, Bradley. (2005). " The Epoch of the Constellations on the Farnese Atlas and their Origin in Hipparchus's Lost Catalogue." (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 36, Part 2, Number 123, May, Pages 167-196]). [Note: A controversial paper due to critics (principally the astronomer/historian Dennis Rawlins (1937- ), editor of DIO, the International Journal of Scientific History) ridiculing a number of errors and oversights by the author. The critique fails to acknowledge just how carefully Schaefer attempts to research the issues. The key oversight by Schaefer was lack of knowledge of the earlier (rather obscure) 1987 paper by Vladimiro Valerio (an Italian expert on ancient cartography/maps), on the history of astronomical investigations of the Farnese globe. This oversight was shared by other persons Schaefer consulted when researching his paper. Sadly, Valerio, on no real grounds, also took issue with the oversight. See also the scholarly critique: "Analysis of the Farnese Globe." by (astronomer) Dennis Duke in Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 37, Part 1, Number 126, Pages 87-100. It comprises a critique of Bradley Schaefer's paper that Hipparchus' star catalogue is the basis for constellation depiction on the Farnese globe.]

Schaefer, Bradley. (2006). "The Origin of the Greek Constellations." (Scientific American, Volume 295, Number 5, November, Pages 70-75). [Note: A reliable account - written for a popular audience - of the origin of the Greek constellations consolidated in Ptolemy's star catalogue and included in his book Almagest. Slightly dogmatic regarding the existence of a Paleolithic bear constellation. Written at the request of the editors of Scientific American, it marks the last paper by Schaefer on the origin of the Western constellations.]

Note: See also the important critical paper: "Statistical Dating of the Phenomena of Eudoxus." by Dennis Duke (DIO, Volume 15, December, 2008, Pages 7-23). URL: http://people.sc.fsu.edu/~dduke/eudoxus.pdf


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Diffusion and migration of constellations and star names.

MacLeod, William. (1929). "On the Diffusion of Central American Culture to Coastal British Columbia and Alaska." (Anthropos, Band 24, Heft 3-4, May-August, Pages 417-439).

Barker, Ernest. (1935). "Some Foreign Influences in Greek Thought." (Greece & Rome, Volume 5, Number 13, October, Pages 2-11). [Note: No specific discussion of the transmission of constellations and star names, but relevant to the topic.]

Yabuuti, K[?]. (1963). "The Chiuchih Li: An Indian astronomical book in the T'ang dynastý." In: Chugoku Chisei Kagaku Gijutsushi no Kenkyu (Tokyo). [= History of Chinese Science and Technology in the Middle Ages. (?)] (Pages 493–538). [Note: Presently no other details but see full reference in "A brief chronological and bibliographic guide to the history of Chinese mathematics." by Frank Swetz and Ang Tian Se (Historia Mathematica, Volume 11, Issue 1, February, 1984, Pages 39-56).]

Pingree, David. (1963). "Astronomy and Astrology in India and Iran." (Isis, Volume 54, Number 2, June, Pages 229-246).

Gibbon, William. (1964). "Asiatic Parallels in North American Star Lore: Ursa Major." (Journal of American Folklore, Volume 77, Number 305, July-September, Pages 236-250). [Note: His name almost invariably appears as William B. Gibbon. Gibbon was interested in folklore but was not a folklorist - he was a linguist. At the time of writing both of his articles on Asiatic parallels William Gibbon PhD was, circa 1960-1964 (at least), with the University of Nebraska (and was likely not connected with the Department of History there). Folklore studies there are (or were) under the umbrella of the Department of History. Gibbon's focus was languages. However, in 1962, at a meeting of  the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (held at Utah State University), Modern Languages I (Linguistics) Section, he gave a talk on "Foreign Influences on Slavic Star Mythology." (See: The Bulletin of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Volume XVI, Numbers 1 and 2, May, 1963.) In 1964, at the 2nd annual meeting of the Nebraska Folklore Society (held at the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha) he gave a talk on "Popular Beliefs and Superstitions." He was likely instrumental in the formation of the Nebraska Folklore Society circa 1962 (See: Western Folklore, Volume 23, 1964, Page 58.) At some time Gibbon appears to have taught the Russian language. Circa 1967 he was Associate Professor (of Russian?) (in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages?). His promotion to Associate Professor occurred circa 1962 (more likely 1967). (In 1964/5 he was described as being in the Department of Germanic Languages.) From 1974 until his retirement he was Professor of Russian. By 1983 at least he was Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Circa 1961 he appears to have been a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. Circa 1974-1975 he was Professor of Modern Languages. In the 1970s Gibbon served on the Editorial Board (with others forming a group from University of Nebraska - Lincoln) for the journal Studies in Twentieth Century Literature. Gibbon was born in Harvard, a small city in Nebraska. It appears he served in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1946. (He may also have served again during the period of the Korean war, from 1951 to 1953.) His BS was obtained in 1949 from Georgetown University, a private Jesuit university whose main campus is located in Washington, D.C. In 1950 Gibbon was one of 5 or 6 students in a (post-graduate) class (at the University of Pennsylvania) studying Slavic languages (initially Old Prussian) under the Bulgarian-born Antanas Salys. Likely his Master's degree, which was obtained in 1953. Another member of that class was William R. Schmalstieg (who had an outstanding career as a Balticist, Slavicist and Indo-Europeanist.). (Both students were part of the surge in American studies in Slavic and East European languages and literatures.) Gibbon's PhD (Slavic languages) was gained in 1960 from the University of Pennsylvania. His unpublished doctoral dissertation was "Popular Star Names among the Slavic Speaking Peoples." In 1959 he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Nebraska (more exactly, University of Nebraska-Lincoln?), as an Instructor in Russian and German (and remained in this position until 1967). He was Associate Professor of Russian from 1967-1974. During 1960 Gibbon was at the University of Graz, in Austria. It appears he was an exchange professor in Budapest, Hungary form 1972-1973. At some time (summer, 1997?) he was a participant in the teacher exchange program between the USA and the USSR. He spent his short time at the University of Moscow. When he became a retiree and Professor Emeritus (circa 2000?) he was in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, within the College of Arts & Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (On March 28, 2011, at UNL (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) William Gibbon, Emeritus Professor of Modern Languages and literatures, gave a lecture ("90 Years of Russian at UNL: Russian and U.S. Relations during the Cold War") to mark 90 years of Russian language education at UNL.) Gibbon was a member of the Midwest Modern Language Association (at least in the 1950s and 1960s) and secretary of the Slavic Section. He was also a member of the Nebraska Folklore Society. Also, he contributed a book review to The Slavic and East European Journal, Volume IX, Number 4, Winter, 1965. Gibbon was one of approximately 50 academics throughout the USA who pledged, apparently in the late 1950s or early 1960s, to establish and publish a standard collection of state-based folklore beliefs (in Gibbon's case, Nebraska) as part of the projected multi-volume Dictionary of American Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. See the discussion in Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore: Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from North Carolina (7 volumes, but see 1964, Introduction, Part 2). The project never achieved completion. Over the course of his academic career at the University of Minnesota and UCLA the American folklorist Wayland Hand (1907-1986) collected an Archive of American Popular Beliefs and Superstitions containing over 2 million items. Gibbon is a member of the American Folklore Society, and American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. The archive forms the basis for UCLA's ongoing project to produce an Encyclopedia of Popular Beliefs and Superstitions. See the short biographical entry for William Gibbon in Directory of American Scholars: A Biographical Directory (Volume 3, 1969/1982, edited by Jaques Cattell), issued by the American Council of Learned Societies. He presently lives in Malcolm?, Nebraska. For biographical details see also Box 95, Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska - Lincoln Libraries. He resides at 8301 NW 70th Street, Malcolm, Lancaster County, NE: 7800. Life dates: 1925?/1927?- .]

Gibbon, William. (1972). "Asiatic Parallels in North American Star Lore Milky Way, Pleiades, Orion." (Journal of American Folklore, Volume 85, Number 335, January-March, Pages 236-247).

Pingree, David. (1973). "The Greek Influence on Early Islamic Mathematical Astronomy." (Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 93, Number 1, January-March, Pages 32-43).

Mundkur, Balaji. (1978). "The Alleged Diffusion of Hindu Divine Symbols into Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica: A Critique [and Comments and Reply]." (Current Anthropology, Volume 19, Number 3, September, Pages 541-583). [Note: Relevant to critical approaches to issues of parallels/similarities.]

Duke, Philip., Ebert, P[?]., Langemann, G[?]., and Buchner, A[?]. (Editors). (1978). Diffusion and Migration: Their Roles in Cultural Diffusion. [Note: Conference papers, Archaeological Association, Department of Archaeology, of the University of Calgary (10th annual conference, 1977). Includes discussion of constellations and star names. See: "A Research Strategy for the Study of Star Lore." by Joe Stewart (Department of Anthropology, Lakehead University). His (unpublished) Ph.D. thesis (1974, University of Calgary) was "Mesoamerican and Eurasian Calendars." Philip Duke [P. G. Duke] is an archaeologist. Life dates: 1953- .]

Kunitzsch, Paul. (1986). "Remarks on Possible Relations Between Ancient Arabia and the Neighbouring Civilizations, as Found in Some Old Star Names." In: Pre-Islamic Arabia (Studies in the History of Arabia, Volume II, Pages 201-205). [Note: Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Studies in the History of Arabia ... April, 1979.]

Greenfield, J[?]. and Sokoloff, M[?]. (1989). "Astrological and Related Omen Texts in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic." (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 48, Number 3, July, Pages 201-214). [Note: No specific discussion of the transmission of constellations and star names, but relevant to the topic.]

Anthony, David. (1990). "Migration in Archeology: The Baby and the Bathwater." (American Anthropologist, New Series, Volume 92, Number 4, December, Pages 895-914). [Note: At the time of publication David Anthony was Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, and Anthropology Curator, Yager Museum at Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York. Abstract: "Migration has been largely ignored by archeologists for the last two decades. Yet prehistoric demography and population studies are accepted as central concerns, and neither of these can be studied profitably without an understanding of migration. Recent books by Rouse and Renfrew have resurrected migration as a subject of serious analysis. It is proposed here that systems-oriented archeologists, in rejecting migration, have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. Traditional archeological approaches to migration fall short because a methodology for examining prehistoric migration must be dependent upon an understanding of the general structure of migration as a patterned human behavior. Aspects of such a structure are suggested and an application to a particular case in Eastern Europe is described."]

Clark, G[?]. (1994). "Migration as an Explanatory Concept in Paleolithic Archaeology." (Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, Volume 1, Number 4, Pages 305-343). [Note: Abstract: "Migration is frequently invoked as an explanation for pattern in paleolithic archaeology but the credibility of doing so depends almost exclusively upon acceptance of an analogy between historical process and the processes that have combined to create an ancient archaeological record. It is argued here that paleolithic archaeology cannot be treated as an extension of history and that historical processes are therefore inappropriate analogies for the site formation processes manifest in Upper Pleistocene archaeological contexts. The credibility accorded migration as an explanatory concept varies from one national or regional research tradition to the next. Why this should be so is examined in a discussion of the paradigm concept and how it affects construals of the nature and meaning of pattern."]

Ragep, F. Jamil, and Ragep, Sally P.  (Editors). (1996). Tradition, transmission, transformation: proceedings of two conferences on pre-modern science held at the University of Oklahoma. [Note: "Synopsis: This volume is the outcome of two conferences held at the University of Oklahoma in 1992 and 1993 which dealt with issues of transmission and subsequent cultural transformations that occurred in the premodern histories of mathematics and science. Some twenty contributors explore transmission from a variety of perspectives, including the role of language and other facets of culture in the transmission process, the interaction of popular and elite science in transmission, successful and less than successful episodes of scientific appropriation and the role of institutions in this process. The volume uses the theme of transmission as a way to focus debate on the perennial issue of the continuity and discontinuity of ideas in the history of sciences." See especially the discussion on the transmission of Babylonian astronomical knowledge.] 

Krupp, Ed [Edwin]. (2000). "Night Gallery: The Function, Origin, and Evolution of Constellations." (Archaeoastronomy: The Journal of Astronomy in Culture, Volume XV, Pages 43-63). [Note: The best overall summary study to date. It establishes the benchmark for discussions of the origin, development, function and transmission of constellations. (It continues (2011) to be the best article overall on the subject.) For a relatively short article it is very comprehensive in scope and insightful. Originally presented by the author at Oxford VI, June, 1999. Supportive of Willy Hartner's controversial views on the earliest constellations. The author is the Director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and an expert on the early history of astronomy and astronomical lore. Edwin Krupp: 1944 - .]

Sarma, Nataraja. (2000). "Diffusion of astronomy in the ancient world." (Endeavour, Volume 24, Issue 4, 1 December, Pages 157-164). Abstract: "Astronomical techniques, calendars and devices were developed independently in many places around the world. However, there was much cross-cultural exchange of technology over the centuries. The cultures of Egypt, Greece, India and China influenced each others' astronomy and each cannot be treated in isolation."

Pankenier, David. (2000). Popular Astrology and Border Affairs in Early China: An Archaeological Confirmation." (Sino-Platonic Papers, Number 104, July. Comprises 23 pages). [Note: No mention of constellations. However, illustrates how military ventures could bring diverse geographic groups together.]

Rumsey, Alan. (2001). "Tracks, Traces, and Links to Land in Aboriginal Australia, New Guinea, and Beyond." In: Rumsey, Alan. and Weiner, James. (Editors). Emplaced Myth: Space, Narrative and Knowledge in Aboriginal Australia and Papua New Guinea. (Pages 19-42). [Note: See also the book's Introduction. Diffusion of beliefs between ancient cultures in northern Australia and parts of New Guinea.]

Pingree, David. (2002). "The Sābians of Harrān and the Classical Tradition." (International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Volume 9, Number 1, Summer, Pages 8-35).

Bier, Carol. (2004). "Patterns in Time and Space: Technologies of Transfer and the Cultural Transmission of Mathematical Knowledge across the Indian Ocean." Ars Orientali, Volume 34, Communities and Commodities: Western India and the Indian Ocean, Eleventh-Fifteenth Centuries, Pages 172-194). [Note: Abstract: "This article explores the potential role of textiles in the transfer of mathematical knowledge from the Indian subcontinent to the central Islamic lands and west-ward to an emerging modern Europe through an inquiry into prospective technologies of textile manufacture and pattern-making. Ikat textiles of the ninth and tenth centuries, found in Egypt but presumed to be from Yemen, serve as a means to explore possibilities of numeration and treatment of the spatial dimension. An initial attempt is made to separate patterning from the technology of textile production in an effort to treat the mathematical possibilities that patterning offers for the application of mathematical knowledge. This article proposes an ontology of pattern, distinct from the category of a textile itself, which raises significant questions pertaining to the transmission of mathematical knowledge in relation to expanded trade routes in the eighth through tenth centuries, coincident with Islamic developments in the understanding of two-dimensional space."]

Wen, Bo. et al. (2004). "Genetic evidence support demic diffusion of Han culture." (Nature, "Letters to nature," Volume 431, 16 September, Pages 302-305). [Note: Bo Wen first named of 18 authors.]

McEwan, Dorothea. (2006). "Aby Warburg's (1866-1929) Dots and Lines. Mapping the Diffusion of Astrological Motifs in Art History." (German Studies Review, Volume 29, Number 2, May, Pages 243-268).

Potts, Daniel. (2007). "Differing Modes of Contact Between India and the West: Some Achaemenid and Seleucid Examples." In: Ray, Himanshu. and Potts, Daniel. (Editors). Memory as History: The Legacy of Alexander. (Chapter IX, Pages 122-130).

Keddie, Grant. (2007). "Symbolism and Context: The World History of the Labret and Cultural Diffusion on the Pacific Rim." (Paper presented at the Circum-Pacific Prehistory Conference, Session VIII Prehistoric Trans-Pacific Contacts, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., August 1-6, 1989). [Note: The author is, 2007, with the Royal British Columbia Museum.]

Ôhashi, Yukio. (2008). "Introduction of Persian Astronomy into India." (Tārīkh-e 'Elm: Iranian Journal for the History of Science, Volume 6, Pages 49-74). [Note: Excellent paper. Abstract: "The Islamic astronomy including the Persian astronomy was thoroughly introduced into India from the 14th century AD or so. Firstly, the astrolabe was introduced at the time of Fīrūz Shāh Tughluk, and a Sanskrit work entitled Yantra-rāja (1370 AD) was composed by Mahendra Sūri. At that time, some Sanskrit astronomical (or astrological) works were also translated into Persian. The astrolabe became quite popular in India, and Padmanābha wrote the second Sanskrit work on the astrolabe in 1423 AD. During the Delhi Sultanate period and the Mughal Empire period, Islamic astronomy and Hindu Classical astronomy influenced each other. I would like to discuss the introduction of the astrolabe into India and the development of astronomy in India in this period."]

Williams, Clemency. (2008). "Some Details on the Transmission of Astral Omens." In: Ross, Micah. (Editor). From the Banks of the Euphrates. (Pages 295-318).

van Binsbergen, Wim. (2008). "Transcontinental mythological patterns in prehistory." (Cosmos, Journal of Traditional Cosmology, Volume ?, Number ?, Pages ?-?). [Note: Interesting for its analytical method.]

Haarman, Harald. and Marler, Joan. (2008). Introducing the Mythological Crescent: Ancient Beliefs and Imagery connecting Eurasia and Anatolia. [Note: Of interest for its analytical method and implications. Using examples such as the 'Mother Goddess' and 'Bear Cult' the authors propose an interconnected zone of Paeolithic culture. In the Paeolithic era there was a culturally interconnected zone that reached from Western Europe to Eastern Siberia: "There was a broad cultural region with related traditions of mythical beliefs interconnected by longterm (sic) contacts during prehistoric times. This area - called here the "Mythological Crescent" - is a zone of cultural convergence that extends from the ancient Middle East via Anatolia to Southeastern Europe, opening into the wide cultural landscape of Eurasia."]

López-Ruiz, Carolina. (2010). When the Gods were Born: Greek cosmologies and the Near East. [Note: Excellent discussion of cultural 'parallels' and the problems of identifying cultural transmission. No specific discussion of the transmission of constellations and star names, but relevant to the topic.]

Brown, David. (2011 (Expected publication date.)). The Interactions of Ancient Astral Science. [Note: = Vergleichende Studien zu Antike und Orient; X. Bremen: Hempen. If ever published will include discussion of the diffusion of the Mul.Apin series. Some essays have already been published separately. The volume of entire conference papers was expected to be published 2009; but delays continue.]

Popović, Mladen. (To be published 2013) "Networks of Scholars: The Transmission of Astronomical and Astrological Learning between Babylonians, Greeks and Jews." In: Ben-Dov, Jonathan. and Sanders, Seth. (Editors). Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge. [Note: Excellent.]


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Discussions of Classical astronomical texts.

Manitius, Carolus [Karl]. (1894). (Editor). Hipparchi in Arati et Eudoxi Phaenomena commentariorum libri tres. [Note: The most accessible edition of "Commentary on the Phainomena of Aratus and Eudoxus" by Hipparchus of Rhodes. Contains numerous errors. See the (English-language) book review by Edmund Webb in The Classical Review, Volume XII, Number 3, April, 1898, Pages 170-172). Life dates: 1848-1922. (See: The Observatory, Volume 46, Number 591, 1923, Pages 262-263.)]

Manitius, Karl. (1912-1913). (Editor). Des Claudius Ptolemäus Handbuch der astronomie. (2 Volumes).

Pedersen, Olaf. (1974). A Survey of the Almagest. [Note: See the (English-language) book reviews by Victor Thoren in Isis, Volume 68, Number 1, March 1977, Pages 139-141; and by Gerald Toomer in Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences, Volume 27, 1977, Pages 137-150.]

Goold, George. (Editor and translator). (1977; Revised reprint 1992). Manilius Astronomica. [Note: An excellent translation and commentary. Contains a discussion of Manilius's constellations. Star charts of the skies of Marcus Manilius follow page 386. See the (German-language) book review by Wolfgang Hübner in Gnomon, Band 52, 1980, Pages 11-15; and the (French-language) book review by André Le Boeuffle in Revue des Études Latines, Volume 65, 1987, Pages 308-309. For a biography of Marcus Manilius see "Dictionary of Scientific Biography," edited by Charles Gillispie, (1970-1990), Volume IX, Pages 79-80. (The "Concise Dictionary of Scientific Biography," (1982), based on the multi-volume edition, has numerous errors.) See also: Volk, Katharina. (2009). Manilius and his Intellectual Background.]

Toomer, Gerald. (1987). Ptolemy's Almagest. [Note: Ptolemy's 2nd-century CE 'Almagest' translated and annotated by Gerald Toomer. Excellent. See the (English-language) book review by Olaf Pedersen in Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 18, Number 1, February, 1987, Pages 59-63.]

Gee, Emma. (2000). Ovid, Aratus and Augustus: Astronomy in Ovid's "Fasti." [Note: See the (English-language) book reviews by John McMahon (Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania), Professor of Classics at LeMoyne College, Syracuse, New York) in Journal for the history of Astronomy, Volume 32, Number 2, May 2001, Pages 176-178; and by Philip Hardie in The British Journal for the History of Science, Volume 34, Number 2, June, 2001, Page 237.]

Bowen, Alan. and Todd, Robert. (2004). Cleomedes' Lectures on Astronomy. A Translation of The Heavens with an Introduction and Commentary. [Note: See the (English-language) book review by John McMahon in Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada, Volume 7, Number 1, 2007, Pages 87-92.]

Evans, James and Berggren, J. Lennart. (2006). Geminos's Introduction to the Phenomena: Translation and Study of a Hellenistic Survey of Astronomy. [Note: Excellent. See the (English-language) book reviews by Linda Taub in the Classical Review, Volume 101, Number 4, Summer, 2008, Pages 553-554; and by Jacqueline Feke (University of Toronto) in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2007.04.35.]

Volk, Katharina. (2009). Manilius and his Intellectual Background. [Note: The book won the 2010 Lionel Trilling Award. Contains an informed discussion of the Sphaera Barbarica. This is the 1st English-language book describing the Latin (Roman) astrological poet Marcus Manilius (about whom almost nothing is known excepting he flourished 1st-century CE) whose didactic poem Astronomica is the earliest extant comprehensive treatment of astrology. Manilius' Astronomica was written in the 2nd decade of the 1st century CE. See the (English-language) book review by Heather White in Myrtia, Number 26, 2011, Pages 369-371]

Gee, Emma. (2013). Aratus and the Astronomical Tradition. [Note: Publisher's Description: "Why were the stars so important in Rome? Their literary presence far outweighs their role as a time-reckoning device, which was, in any case, superseded by the synchronization of the civil and solar years under Julius Caesar. One answer is tied to their usefulness in symbolizing a universe built on "intelligent design." From Plato's time onwards, the stars are most often seen in literature as evidence for a divine plan in the layout and maintenance of the cosmos. Moreover, particularly in the Roman world, divine and human governance came to be linked, one striking manifestation of this being the predicted enjoyment of a celestial afterlife by emperors. Aratus' Phaenomena, a didactic poem in Greek hexameters, composed c. 270 BC, which describes the layout of the heavens and their effect on the lives of men, was an ideal text in expressing such relationships: a didactic model which was both accessible and elegant, and which combined the stars with notions of divine and human order. Across a period extending from the late Roman Republic and early Empire until the age of Christian humanism, the impact of this poem on the literary environment is apparently out of all proportion to its relatively modest size and the obscurity of its subject matter. It was translated into Latin many times between the first century BC and the Renaissance, and carried lasting influence outside its immediate genre. Aratus and the Astronomical Tradition answers the question of Aratus' popularity by looking at the poem in the light of Western cosmology. It argues that the Phaenomena is the ideal vehicle for the integration of astronomical "data" into abstract cosmology, a defining feature of the Western tradition. This book embeds Aratus' text into a close network of textual interactions, beginning with the text itself and ending in the sixteenth century, with Copernicus. All conversations between the text and its successors experiment in some way with the balance between cosmology and information. The text was not an inert objet d'art, but a dynamic entity which took on colors often in conflict in the ongoing debate about the place and role of the stars in the world. With this detailed treatment of Aratus' poem and its reception, Emma Gee resituates a peculiar literary work within its successive cultural contexts and provides a benchmark for further research."]


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Modern editions of the omen series Enūma Anu Enlil.

Enūma Anu Enlil is a Mesopotamian omen series comprising a collection of some 68-70 tablets dealing with the moon, sun, weather and stars/planets. The Mesopotamians usually used the first words in a document as the title. The first words of this text are, 'Enūma Anu Enlil' which means, 'When Anu Enlil.' The Enūma Anu Enlil series interprets observations (but there is no evidence they were formulated through observation) of the stars, planets, weather and natural occurrences like earthquakes. The tablets and their some 7000 omens were created and reached their final form during the second millennium BCE. They were kept like reference books so that scribes could use them to interpret the meaning of certain events and how they would affect the king. The series was likely in its canonical form during the Kassite period (1595–1157 BCE) from some form of prototype Enūma Anu Enlil current in the Old Babylonian period (1950–1595 BCE). Its transmission continued into the late 1st millennium. Seleucid copies of Enūma Anu Enlil are extant and the latest datable copy is 194 BCE. However, its purpose/use at this time is unknown. It is thought that the first 49 tablets were transmitted to India circa 4th- or 3rd- century BCE with the remaining tablets of the series being transmitted to India just prior to the Christian era. The whole series has not yet been fully reconstructed. Numerous gaps still remain in the text and reconstruction is difficult because exemplars of the same tablet usually differ in their contents or are organised differently. This has led some scholars to conclude that there may have been as many as 5 different versions of the text used in different locations throughout the ancient Near East.

The subject matter of the Enūma Anu Enlil tablets is sequentially organized into moon phenomena first, then solar phenomena, then weather activities, and finally the different stars and planets. Tablets 1-22 describe manifestations of Sin, the Moon god, and include dates and duration of various Moon events, the appearance of the horns in the crescent, and different halos as they can be seen when eclipses occur. The first 13 tablets deal with the first appearances of the moon on various days of the month, its relation to planets and stars, and such phenomena as lunar haloes and crowns. The omens from this section are the most frequently used in the whole corpus. Tablet 14 details a basic mathematical scheme for predicting the visibility of the moon. Tablets 15 to 22 are dedicated to lunar eclipses. Various forms of encoding are used, such as the date, watches of the night and quadrants of the moon, to predict which regions and cities the eclipse was believed to affect. Tablets 23-36 are dedicated to Samas, the Sun god, and the coronas and parhelia which can appear in connection with Solar eclipses. Tablets 23 to 29 deal with the appearances of the sun, its colour, markings and its relation to cloudbanks and storm clouds when it rises. Solar eclipses are dealt with in tablets 30 to 39. Tablets 37 (40)-49 (50) all relate to weather phenomena and earthquakes, which at that time would be considered equal to celestial events. This includes thunder and lightning, rainbows, clouds, earthquakes and winds. Particular attention is given to the occurrence of thunder. Tablets 50 (51)-70 relate to the stars and planets. They deal with planetary signs including planetary positions. These tablets in particular use a form of encoding in which the names of the planets are replaced by the names of fixed stars and constellations. Tablet 63 is the famous Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa. Several tablets concerning planetary omens have been published by Erica Reiner and David Pingree under the general title Babylonian Planetary Omens, Volumes 1–4. At the present time less than half of the omen series has been published in modern editions.

The first part of the lunar omens (tablets 1–6) has been published in Italian by Lorenzo Verdérame in Le tavole I-VI della serie astrologica Enūma Anu Enlil (2002 [2003?]).

An edition of Tablet 14 was published by Farouk Al-Rawi and Andrew George in Archiv für Orientforschung, Band 39, (1991-1992), Pages 52-73.

The lunar eclipses tablets (tablets 15–22) have been transliterated and translated by Francesca Rochberg-Halton in Aspects of Babylonian Celestial Divination (1989).

The solar omens (tablets 23–29) have been edited by Wilfred Van Soldt in The Solar Omens of Enuma Anu Enlil: Tablets 23 (24) – 29 (30) (1995). (Wilfred van Soldt is a Professor at Leiden University with expertise in assyriology.)

In preparation by Francesca Rochberg is The Solar Eclipses of Enūma Anu Enlil: Šamaš Tablets 31-36.

Reiner, Erica, in collaboration with Pingree, David. Babylonian Planetary Omens Part Two: Enuma Anu Enlil Tablets 50-51 (1981). (Bibliotheca Mesopotamia Volume Two, Fascicle Two.) (See the (English-language) article book review by "Babylonian Astrological Omens and Their Stars." by Wilfred Lambert in Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 107, Number 1, Jan-Mar., 1987, Pages 93-96.)

Reiner, Erica, in collaboration with Pingree, David. Babylonian Planetary Omens, Part Three (1998). This third fascicle of Babylonian Planetary Omens contains the edition of all known cuneiform texts dealing with the planet Venus. Large numbers of unpublished texts are transliterated and the previously published texts were checked and collated from the originals. The texts are accompanied by English-language translations, and each group of texts is commented upon from the point of view of the text history and astronomical significance. The authors' main focus is on the astronomical rather than the divinatory aspects of the texts. (See the (English-language) book review by Ulla Koch Westenholz in Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 120, Issue 2, 2000, Pages 256-257.)

Reiner, Erica, in collaboration with Pingree, David. Babylonian Planetary Omens Part Four (2005). The edition and English-language translation of first-millennium BCE Babylonian cuneiform omen texts that comprise tablets 64 and 65 dealing with omens derived from the appearance and movements of the planet Jupiter. There is an extensive introduction and astronomical commentary discussing the astronomical plausibility of the phenomena that are described in the omens. The textual material and its astronomical interpretation casts light on the extent of the Babylonian scholars’ knowledge of astronomy and furnishes another argument in the debate about observation versus scribal tradition in the description of these phenomena. (See the (English-language) book review by John Steele in Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 37, Part 3, August, 2006, Number 128, Pages 362-363.)

Tablets 44-49 comprising the 2nd half of the weather section have been edited by Erlend Gehlken in Weather Omens of Enūma Anu Enlil: Thunderstorms, Wind, and Rain (Tablets 44-49) (2012). This book is primarily written for Assyriologists. (Chapter 2.1 Tablet 44 (Thunder); Chapter 2.2 Tablet 45 (Thunder); Chapter 2.3 Tablet 46 (Thunder); Chapter 2.4 Tablet 47 (Lightning, Rainbows and Earthquakes); Chapter 2.5 Tablet 48 (Rain, Fog and Mud); Chapter 2.6 Tablet 49 (Wind).) Erlend Gehlken (Ph.D. Heidelberg 1991, Habilitation Marburg 2003) lectures at the University of Frankfurt/Main. Apart from articles on Mesopotamian astronomy he has mainly published on Late Babylonian texts from Uruk.

Reiner, Erica, in collaboration with Pingree, David. Babylonian Planetary Omens Part One: Enuma Anu Enlil Tablet 63: the Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa (1975). (Bibliotheca Mesopotamia Volume Two, Fascicle One.)

The deaths of both Erica Reiner and David Pingree in close succession towards the end of 2005 meant that no further fascicules would be appearing. The original texts and transcriptions (without translation) are found in: Virolleaud, Charles. (1905-1912(1913/14?)) (Editor). L'astrologie chaldéenne: Le livre intitulé "enuma (Anu) ilu Bêl." (14 parts (fascicles) in 4 vols.) (Life dates for Charles Virolleaud: 1879-1968. See: "L'oeuvre assyriologique de M. Charles Virolleaud." by Paul Garelli (Syria, Volume 33, Issue 1, 1956, Pages 13-16.) The intention Virolleaud had for a comprehensive edition, including translation, was never realized. Virolleaud's works were comprised of autograph texts and Akkadian transliteration (no indexes or translation). He has been criticized for apparently manipulating/combining some of the original sources. Different texts from various times and places were made into composite texts which he then rewrote in cuneiform. Also, Virolleaud, in his original volumes, does not number the tablets in the manner that his later partial editions do. Rather, he arranges the texts in groups under 4 headings: Sin, Shamash, Ishtar and Adad. Additionally, Virolleaud calls the overall collection "Enuma (Anu) ilu Bêl" instead of "Enūma Anu Enlil."

 


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