Ancient Zodiacs, Star Names, and Constellations: Essays and Annotated Bibliographies

Episodic Survey of the History of the Constellations


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(A) Palaeolithic European Constellations:

Illustration One (1): Ice-age star maps? (Lascaux cave paintings, prehistoric amulet markings, cup marks, whorl markings, archaeoastronomy)

(B) Palaeolithic Siberian-North American Constellations:

Illustration Two (2): Ice-age bear constellation? (North American bear constellation)

(C) Chalcolithic / Early Bronze Age Levant Constellations:

Illustration Three (3): Lion iconography as constellation? (southern Levant sites, early Canaanite astral gods/goddesses, eight-pointed star at Teleilat el-Ghassul)

(D) Early Mesopotamian Constellations:

Illustration Four (4): Sumerian constellations and star-names? (Sumerian astral knowledge, Sumerian usage in Akkadian language, goddess Inanna and planet Venus)

Illustration Five (5): Elamite lion-bull iconography as constellations? (lion-bull symplegma in Mesopotamia, lion-bull symplegma at Persepolis)

(E) Late Mesopotamian Constellations:

Illustration Six (6): Kassite kudurru iconography as constellations? (kudurru god/goddess symbols, recent fantasy speculations of kudurru iconography as constellations)

Illustration Seven (7): Babylonian star calendars. (ideal schematic design of astrolabes, star lists on astrolabes, development of astrolabes, recent fantasy dating of astrolabes to 5500 BCE)

Illustration Eight (8): Assyrian Mul.Apin series. (Mul.Apin a compendium, Mul.Apin star lists, accuracy of text transmission, dating Mul.Apin)

Illustration Nine (9): Late Babylonian (Neo-Assyrian) planisphere. (planisphere K8538, recent fantasy interpretations of K8538, ziqpu planisphere)

Illustration Ten (10): Late Babylonian constellation depiction. (Seleucid era constellation depictions, date of bull constellation, Babylonian catasterisms, GU text BM78161)

Illustration Eleven (11): Babylonian world and universe. (Babylonian 'map of the world', levels of the Babylonian universe, Babylonian pole star(s)?, Babylonian astronomy)

(F) Bronze Age European Constellations:

Illustration Twelve (12): The Nebra sky disk enigma. (Nebra disk interpretations, Bronze Age gold cones, early constellation patterns on the ground?, Bronze Age Armenian artifact claimed to be geocentric solar system)

(G) Greek Constellations:

Illustration Thirteen (13): Aratus' Phaenomena, Classical Greek constellations. (Greek constellation set, Aratus' Phainomena, Hipparchus' critique of Aratus, Minoan constellations?, early star maps)

Illustration Fourteen (14): Sphaera Barbarica and Sphaera Graecanica. (the Zodiac of Cairo, the Planisphaerium Bianchini, the Sphaera Barbarica, Teucrus/Teucer)

Illustration Fifteen (15): Farnese celestial globe. (Farnese celestial globe, the Farnese Atlas image with the fig-leaf add-on, earliest depictions of Greek constellations?)

(H) Roman Constellations:

Illustration Sixteen (16): Roman celestial globes. (early Greek and Roman celestial globes, the Kugel/Mainz/Premyslid celestial globes, the Berlin/Salzburg/Grand fragments, 'Planisphere of Geruvigus', Roman planetariums)

Illustration Seventeen (17): Mithraic uranography. (Mithraic uranography, David Ulansey on Mithraism)

(I) Early Egyptian Constellations:

Illustration Eighteen (18): The decan stars. (sources, the decan system, the decan lists, rising decans, transit decans, time-keeping corrections, Hellenised decans)

Illustration Nineteen (19): Northern and southern constellation groups. (northern and southern constellations groups, astronomical ceilings, the goddess Nut, identifying Egyptian constellations)

(J) Late Egyptian Constellations:

Illustration Twenty (20): Denderah zodiac. (the Denderah zodiac, date of the temple of Hathor and round zodiac)

(K) Pre-Islamic Arab Constellations:

Illustration Twenty-one (21): Arabic anwā' tradition. (pre-Islamic Arabian anwā' tradition, Arabian system of lunar mansions post-Islamic, pre- and post-Islamic Arabian constellations)

(L) Iranian Constellations:

Illustration Twenty-two (22): Early constellations in Iran. (cosmological significance of ziggurats?, early Iranian constellations, earliest planetariums, astral bronze bowl, the celestial bow and arrow)

(M) Indian Constellations:

Illustration Twenty-three (23): Early constellations in India. (astronomy of the Rig Veda, the 27/28 lunar stars/asterisms, transmission of Indian astronomy to China, astral gods/goddesses)

(N) Chinese Constellations:

Illustration Twenty-four (24): Early constellations in China. (early scholarly studies, Neolithic Chinese constellations, the 'standard' Chinese celestial system, the lunar lodges, gnomon use in Borneo)

Illustration Twenty-five (25): Early Chinese star maps. (the Dunhuang star chart, Aurel Stein, early Chinese star maps, later Chinese sky maps)

(O) Modern Western Constellations:

Illustration Twenty-six (26): Ptolemy's star catalogue. (Claudius Ptolemy, Ptolemy's star catalogue, Arabic translation of Ptolemy's Almagest, contents of ancient star catalogues)

Illustration Twenty-seven (27): The Carolingian period. (the transmission of Aratean constellation figures, Carolingian celestial maps, loss of Roman uranography during the Dark Ages, Aratus Latinus)

Illustration Twenty-eight (28): Post-Islam Arab-Islamic constellations. (the Qusayr 'Amra lodge, constellations painted inside Qusayr 'Amra lodge bath house, the (variable) demon star Algol)

Illustration Twenty-nine (29): Al-Sufi's star catalogue. (Al-Sufi, Book of the constellations of the Fixed Stars, Arabic astrolabes and astronomical globes)

Illustration Thirty (30): Gherardo of Cremona. (Gherardo of Cremona, literal translation of Ptolemy's Almagest, medieval adoption of Arabic star names, transmission of Greek and Arabic texts to Europe)

Illustration Thirty-one (31): The eclipse (Late Middle Ages) and restoration (Late Renaissance) of Aratea. (the influence of Michael Scotus and then Albert Durer on constellation iconography)

Illustration Thirty-two (32): The constellating of the southern sky. (Pieter Keyser, Frederick de Houtman, the sky globe of Petrus Plancius, the celestial atlas of Andreas Cellarius, the Southern Cross stars)

(P) Amateur Mesopotamian Constellation Studies:

Illustration Thirty-three (33): Robert Brown's Researches into the Origin of the Primitive Constellations. (biographical details, Researches into the Origin of the Primitive Constellations unreliable)

(Q) Amateur Western Constellation Studies:

Illustration Thirty-four (34): Title page of Carl Swartz's book on the origin of the constellations. (biographical details, 'void zone' argument, Edward Maunder's support of the 'void zone' argument, Petter Swartz)

Illustration Thirty-five (35): Title page of Robert Brown's translation of Aratus' Phainomena. (Brown's misinterpretation of Phainomena, Brown's misunderstanding of Babylonian planispheres)

Illustration Thirty-six (36): Richard Allen's Star-Names: Their Lore and Meaning. (biographical details, Star-Names and Their Meanings unreliable, reliable modern sources for star names)

(R) Pioneer Mesopotamian Constellation Studies:

Illustration Thirty-seven (37): Franz Kugler's Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel. (biographical details, Die Babylonische Mondrechnung, Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel, types of astronomical texts)

Illustration Thirty-eight (38): Ernst Weidner's Handbuch der babylonischen Astronomie. (biographical details, Weidner's early Panbabylonism, Handbuch der babylonischen Astronomie unreliable)

Illustration Thirty-nine (39):Carl Bezold's Zenit- und Aequatorialgestirne am babylonischen Fixsternhimmel. (biographical details, use of Mul.Apin star lists, Werner Papke's erroneous early dating of Mul.Apin)

(S) Pioneer Western Constellation Studies:

Illustration Forty (40): Guillaume Postel, Ludwig Ideler, and Philipp Buttmann. (biographical details of Guillaume Postel, Ludwig Ideler, and Philipp Buttmann, their studies of constellation names)

Illustration Forty-one (41): Title page of Georg Thiele's Antike Himmelsbilder. (biographical details, Antike Himmelsbilder still an important study, Thiele's view that Farnese globe based on Hipparchus' catalog)

Illustration Forty-two (42): Franz Boll's Sphaera and Aus der Offenbarung Johannis. (biographical details, studies of ancient astrology, Sphaera still an important study, Aus der Offenbarung Johannis speculative)

Illustration Forty-three (43): Wilhelm Gundel's Sterne und Sternbilder im Glauben des Altertums und der Neuzeit. (biographical details, studies of ancient astrology and astronomy, Hans Gundel)

(T) Modern Constellation Studies:

Illustration Forty-four (44): Modern investigators of constellations and star names. (Hermann Hunger, Johannes Koch, David Pingree, Erica Reiner, Gerd Grasshoff, Andre le Boeuffle, Paul Kunitzsch, Roland Laffitte)


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