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

Compiled by Gary D. Thompson

Copyright © 2001-2021 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.
Attempts to use kudurru iconography to astronomically determine dates.
Astral religion.

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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 [Issue 1], January (some sources give March), Pages 20-34). [Note: The Danish author, a leading Assyriologist (died 2012), gives an astronomical interpretation of the subject matter. Bendt Alster believed that Mesopotamian myths were related to chronology; history was viewed as an eternal succession of cyclic periods, repeating the same patterns. According to Bendt Alster, inherent in structure of Sumerian mythology was the establishment of cyclic time (in which human lives become shorter). History was an eternal return to the same patterns - the (annual (and longer?)) return of the celestial bodies. 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 - he believed his thesis could not withstand criticism - 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). Bendt Alster was Professor of Sumeriology in the Institut for Tværkulturelle og Regionale Studier (ToRS), Det Humanistiske Fakultet, Københavns Universitet, Copenhagen, Denmark.]

Alster, Bendt. (1974). "The Paradigmatic Character of Mesopotamian Heroes." (Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Orientale, Volume LXVIII [68], 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 triumphante et vaincue dans la cosmologie sumérienne: recherche lexicographique. [Note: The title is sometimes given as: La Déesse triumphante et vaincue dans la cosmologie sumérienne.]

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. and Watson, Philip. (1991). "Further Notes on Birmingham Cuneiform Tablets Volume 1." (Acta. Sumerologica (Japan) [ASJ], Volume 13, Pages 409-417, 1 Figure). [Note: Further discussion of tablets in Watson, Philip. (1986). Catalogue of Cuneiform Tablets in Birmingham City Museum. Vol. 1: Neo-Sumerian Texts from Drehem. With some copies by W. B. Horowitz. The 1986 153-page book deals with 139 tablets formerly housed at the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. See the (English-language) book review by David Owen, "Random Notes on a Recent Ur III Volume." in JAOS, Volume 108, 1988, Pages 111-122). The article by Horowitz and Watson 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 meager. 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.]

Selz, Gebhard. (2014). "The Tablet With ‚Heavenly Writing’, or how to become a star." In: Panaino, Antonio. (Editor). Non licet stare caelestibus. Studies in Astronomy and Its History Offered to Salvo De Meis. (Pages 51-67). [Note: According to Gebhard Selz, in the dream vision of Gudea (and its interpretation by the goddess Nanše, the dream-interpreter of the gods) the shining stars of heaven are perceived as divine writing providing ominous signs and revealing divine schemes (ĝarza). The underlying notion is that of the sky being the writing tablet of the gods. (Page 65): "This article has demonstrated that not only the motion of the planet Venus was known around the time when writing was invented, but that already in the 22nd century BCE the concept of the stars as Heavenly Writing was securely established. Presently we are not able to date with more precision when writing and the heavenly stars entered this close connection. However, there can be no doubt that already during the 3rd millennium Sumerian astrology – astronomy gained a considerable significance. The references to the dub mul-an, and in elliptic use the mul-an, are clear forerunners of the Babylonian šiṭir šamê, the Heavenly Writing. The fact that at least two kings are attested to "have become a star" some time after their death shows close parallels to the apotheosis of the Roman emperors. The locomotion of the dead Mesopotamian kings was certainly "symbolized" by rituals, probably involving a boat journey and / or perhaps by setting free a bird. The connection the Heavenly Writing has to the Sumerian concepts of the 'Me' and the Ĝarza is noteworthy, albeit not yet entirely clear. Being stars, these kings became elements of the Heavenly Writing and their afterlife was thus ensured for eternity. Their names were inscribed into the eternal heavenly tablet."]

Kurtik, Gennady. (2016). "Observations of the planet Venus in archaic Uruk: the problem and the researches." (N.A.B.U. (Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires), Number 4, décembre, Pages 143-146).

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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: 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 ( "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. "the hireling." Two orthographic variants encountered include the transparent abbreviations (MUL.)HUN 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 (sic) 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.

Dombart, Theodor. (1915). Zikkurrat und Pyramide. [Note: Doctoral dissertation (Doktor-Ingenieurs), 1914. Published 1915. Discusses astronomical theories. Professor für Architekturgeschichte und Bauforschung at the Universität München. Life dates: 1884-1969. Published again with Contents page, Image index, and Index, as: Der Sakralturm I. Teil: Zikkurrat by Theodor Dombart (1920).]

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).]

Source: Sunlight and Shade in the First Cities: A Sensory Archaeology of Early Iraq by the archaeologist Mary Shepperson (2017, Page 155).


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 [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.

Note: For a while Martiny was a proponent of Assyrian temple alignment. However, his methods lacked rigour. At one time his ideas were supported by the astronomer P. V. Neugebauer. The asserted discovery by P. V. Neugebauer held that there was a great astronomical circle (running through η (eta) Ursae Maioris and Spica) that was used for the orientation (on New Year’s morning before sunrise) of the axis of all Assyrian temples. But archaeology has failed to provide consistent results. P. V. Neugebauer later changed his mind. The subject of the orientation of of Assyrian temples has been suspect.

Martiny was an admirer of Wilhelm Dörpfeld (1853-1940), the German archaeologist who was a specialist in ancient Greek architecture. For a time, Wilhelm Dörpfeld was architect (expert on Greek architecture) and excavation assistant to Heinrich Schliemann. Martiny organised and contributed to the publication Wilhelm Dörpfeld: Festschrift zum 80 (1933). During the 19th-century Wilhelm Dörpfeld carried out excavations at the Acropolis. (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.)

Circa 1937 he is located in Istanbul and referenced as 'Archäologe und Diplomat.' In Istanbul Martiny was a German Consul and archaeologist. (See: Dreizehn Jahre Istanbul (1937-1949) by Jan Schmidt (Leiden University) (2014, 2 Volumes).) In Istanbul, Martiny shared a house with the German assyriologist Rudolf Fritz Kraus (1910-1991), and also 3 Scottish students (who were to assist in the excavations) a Czech couple with a young daughter, and others. It is indicated that Martiny also lived in the same accommodation as the German Consul General.

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. Günter Martiny devoted much effort to a study of the orientation of Mesopotamian temples. His conclusions were that Mesopotamian temples were oriented with respect the north celestial pole. The circular path traced by this point in the sky due to the precession of the equinoxes determined the orientation of Mesopotamian temples and the orientation thus testified to the date. Martiny's proof was that the angular values of the corrections periodically introduced into the axial alignments of many Near Eastern sanctuaries equalled and thus offset those of the precessional shift for the same period.]

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.]

Nadali, Davide. and Polcaro, Andrea. (2016). "The Sky from the High Terrace: Study on the Orientation of the Ziqqurat in Ancient Mesopotamia." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 16, Number 4, Pages 103-108).

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

After the investigative work of Francis Penrose, mostly in the last decade of the 19th-century, there was very little work done on Greek temple alignments until the beginning of the 21st-century. Something that can be considered a lapse in classical scholarship. However, using 'alignments' as evidence instead of finding evidence for the cultural practice of 'alignments' poses a problem which archaeologists were quick to point out. It is rather easy to find supposed 'alignments' i.e., match stars with alignments of buildings. In 1901-1902, Francis Penrose and Norman Lockyer jointly published a paper on Stonehenge. I have not identified which papers - if any - deal with the possibility of significant solar orientations such as sunrise on significant dates (i.e., the cult statue or front door aligned to the sunrise on on the summer solstice, or aligned to the feast dates of any gods/goddesses) or some other relevant factor. There is evidence that later Greek temples were oriented at a very slight angle to one built say half a century earlier. As example: The orientation of the temples of Nemesis and Themis at Rhamnus (an ancient Greek city in Attica). The later temple of Nemesis is oriented at a very slight angle to the temple of Themis built half a century earlier, in a manner that caused considerable architectural difficulties. Indicated is the need/requirement for correct orientation overrode any architectural considerations.

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 in 1869. 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. Penrose was - and still is by some - considered a careful observer. 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. However, Penrose's work on the dating of Greek temples using the coincidence of the heliacal rising of a star with the rising sun on a particular date has been discredited by by modern archaeology. Penrose attempted to do for Greek temples what Lockyer had done for Stonehenge and some Egyptian temples. Lockyer's book, The Dawn of Astronomy (1894), depends on Penrose for his statements about Mediterranean alignments. 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: For the beginnings of a more modern discussion of the issues see: The Architecture of Ancient Greece by William Dinsmoor (Revised and expanded edition, 1973 (Republished 1983)).

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:

Astronomical Orientations and Dimensions of Archaic and Classical Greek Temples by Erin Nell (2003), unpublished MA thesis, University of Arizona.

"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: From: [Note: Published in PLoS: A Peer-Reviewed, Open Access Journal, Volume 4, Number 11. (PLoS = Public Library of Science) ]

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." [Note: Regarding Heinrich Nissen (1839-1912) a German professor of ancient history. His book in 3 parts (3 monographs), Orientation, Studien zur Geschichte der Religion (3 Volumes, 1906-1910), basically first appeared as articles. His book, Das Templum. Antiquarische Untersuchungen (1869), see particularly pages 188-189, was followed up in the 1870s and 1880s  with 4 articles, all with the same title, "Über Tempel-Orientirung." (Rheinisches Museums für Philologie, 1873, Pages 513-557; 1874, Pages 369-433; 1885, Pages 38-65; and 1887, Pages 28-61). The ideas contained in these 4 articles were printed later in revised form in a series of monographs 1906-1910.]

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:

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).

Regarding William Dinsmoor:

Dinsmoor, William. (1939). "Archaeology and Astronomy." (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Volume 80, Number 1, Pages 95-173). [Note: At least one source mistakenly gives, Proceedings of the American Philological Society.]

Dinsmoor, William. (1973, Revised and expanded edition (Republished 1983)). The Architecture of Ancient Greece.

Of interest:

Papathanassiou, Maria. and Papadopoulou Z[?]. (1997). "Orientation of the Greek temples on Delos." In: Proceedings of the 6th European and 3rd Hellenic Astronomical Conference, held in Thessaloniki, Greece, 2-5 July, 1997. (Abstract page 335). [Note: Joint-European and National Astronomical Meeting, JENHAM-97. 6th European and 3rd Hellenic Astronomical Conference, held in Thessaloniki, Greece, 2-5 July. 1997. Also describ4ed as: The sixth Meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS) on New Trends in Astronomy and Astrophysics held in Thessaloniki (Greece) jointly with the third Hellenic Astronomical Society Conference, on 2-5 July 1997 (For brevity the official acronym was JENAM-97.) Abstract: "We present the results of orientation studies of the majority (44) of the temples and the sanctuaries on Delos which date from different periods of the history of the island. Here are some examples of our study. The three Apollo temples built side by side to one another and dating from the end of the 6th century B.C. to ca. 417 B.C. face generally west (A = 263 degrees) as the horizon profile is almost horizontal. Two days (11 March 13 October) in a year the Sun---Apollo has the corresponding declination and sets exactly at the point of the orientation of these temples. During the month Hieros ( = Sacred, our February---March) of the Deliac calendar and especially in its 11---13th days great festivals were held in honour of Apollo. Therefore it is very likely that the orientation of Apollo temples is related to the setting Sun in March rather than in October. A possible explanation based on a stellar orientation towards delta Orionis or generally Orion's belt is not convincing as it is not supported by some historical archaeological evidence. The Artemision (7th century B.C.) is related to the rising Sun. The Oikos Naxion is a unique building with two doors, the oldest (2nd half of the 7th century B.C.) being that of the eastern side and the later (575 B.C.) that of the western side. These orientations are also related to the rising and setting Sun. But there are other cases, e.g. the Letoon and the Heraion, to which only a stellar orientation could be attributed. In our study we try to examine and elucidate every case according to the measured orientation in relation to the topography of the island (Kynthos mountain, port, etc) and the archaeological evidence." See also: Pantazis George. et al. (2009)."The Orientations of Delos' Monuments." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 9, Number 1, Pages 55-68). There is also the small booklet on JENAM-97: Hadjidemetrioy, John. and Seiradakis, John. (no date? [44 pages]). (Editors). Joint European and National Astronomical Meeting, JENAM-97, 6th European and 3rd Hellenic Astronomical Conference, held in Thessaloniki, Greece, 2-5 July, 1997, Highlights. "The booklet represents an overview of sections held during the JENAM 1997 in Thessaloniki (Greece) "New trends in Astronomy and Astrophysics". A list of members of Scientific and Local Organizing Commitees, a list of Sponsors as well as 2 Sections with content has been given. The first section : The future of European Astrponomy includes a Preface by P. Murdin as well as the abstracts of the Panel written by L. Woltjer, J. Trumper, R. Fosbury, J.-P. Swings, F.Sanchez, P. Shaver & J. Lequeux, R. Giacconi, P. Murdin (see: separate entries). The second section of the highlits (sic) includes Reports from the Convenors of the Sections: J.D. Hadjidemetriou, L. Vlahos, X. Moussas, P.G. Laskarides, N.Voglis, P.G. Niarchos, J.Ventura, N.K. Spyrou, S. Theodossiou. A list of Participants has been included at the end of the booklet. In 1997 at least, Maria Papathanassiou was at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.]

Mickelson, Michael., Higbie, C[?]., and Boyd, T[?]. (1998). "New Measurements of the Azimuthal Alignments of Greek Temples." (American Astronomical Society, 193rd AAS Meeting, id.23.03; Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Volume 30, Page 1284, Publication Date: 12/1998). [Note: Abstract: "The canonical opinion about the placement of Greek temples is that they are oriented east-west (Dinsmoor 1975). Major exceptions, such as the temple of Apollo at Bassae which faces north-south, are always noted in the handbooks, but many other temples are scattered across the Greek landscape in a variety of orientations. Although no surviving ancient author ever discusses the criteria for placing or orienting temples, we may assume from scattered remarks that Greeks had reasons for choosing the sites and orientations. In the last century, archaeologists and architects such as Nissen (1896), Penrose (1893) and Dinsmoor (1939), have measured the alignments of Greek temples on the Greek mainland, the west coast of Turkey, and the Aegean islands. Their data have varying degrees of precision and accuracy, as a recent paper by Papathanassiou (1994) makes clear. Parallel work done in Italy on Etruscan temples by Aveni and Romano (1994) provides further stimulus to re-investigate Greek temples. We have undertaken two field seasons in Greece to make preliminary measurements for a number of temples associated with Athena, Apollo, and Zeus. These temples were chosen for a number of reasons. The structures have to be well enough preserved to allow determination of the orientation of foundations, location of doorways and other openings, placement of cult statues etc. By focusing on these three gods, we may be able to discover patterns in the orientation and placement for specific divinities. For some of these questions, we are dependent on literary and inscriptional evidence, such as the work of the Greek travel writer, Pausanias. This paper describes the preliminary measurements made over our two field seasons in Greece. Field methods and analysis of the data will be presented along with proposed applications. Research supported by the Denison University Research Foundation."]

Liritzis, Ioannis. and Vassiliou, Helen. (2002). "Astronomical Orientations of Ancient Temples at Rhodes and Attica With a Tentative Interpretation." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 2, Number 1, Pages. 69-79).

Liritzis, Ioannis. and Vassiliou, Helen. (2006). "Were Greek temples oriented towards aurorae?" (News and Reviews in Astronomy and Geophysics, Volume 47, Issue 1, Pages 1.14-1.18).

Ioannis, Liritzis. Kravaritou, Sophia. (2007). "Were Ancient Greek temples of Demeter oriented towards a sole astronomical target or followed local festivities?" Talk presentation at Session 6, at the 8th Hellas Astronomical Conference. (The Hellenic Astronomical Society (Hel.A.S.) & the Democritus University of Thrace (DUTH) organized the 8th Hellenic Astronomical Conference, Thassos Island, 13-15 September 2007.) [Note: Abstract: "Astronomical Orientation of Ancient Greek temples to solar/moon/star rising/setting targets is an old subject (Penrose 1892. Nissen 1906-1910. Dinsmoor 1939), that still preoccupies many recent studies on Archaeoastronomy (Papathanasiou and Hoskin 1994. Papathanassiou & Papadopoulou 1997; Aveni and Romano 2000; Liritzis & Vasiliou 2002, 2003, 2006; Vassiliou, 2007). A main factor to the determination of the orientation of those temples is the date of the festivals celebrated in situ in honor of their divine owners. In reality, apart from the festivals with a fixed date, epigraphic evidence implies existence of local homonymous festivals with various and maybe movable dates, including seasonal rites associated to the agricultural year and celebrated in honor of Demeter, the chief deity of agriculture (Kravaritou 2006, 2007). Our problematic is oriented towards the eventual impact of this fact to the orientation of Demeters' temples. Here we provide new evidence based on measurements of 15 monuments attributed to Demeter at Eleusis, Athens, Thebes, Delphes, Eretria, Corinth, Delos, Tenos, Thassos, Mytilene, Kos, Rhodes, Knossos, Andros, and Sicily, that date to various historical periods and provide literary evidence attesting local celebrations. Those measurements are cross-examined in relation to bright stars – including whole constellations- whose rising/setting determined according to ancient texts the main agricultural works. Azimuth Values, angular altitude of skyline, and geographical coordinates were measured by magnetic compass, a clinometer, a theodolite and a GPS, and comparison was made with measurements obtained by other scholars. In the interpretation, use was made of the SkyMap Pro10. The question of the orientation of Greek temples is actually revisited, on the basis of investigating the impact and the eventual interference of both local festivities and panhellenic customs (cf. annual agricultural works) to the astronomical orientation of the temples of one single divinity, the Demeter. Bibliography A. F. Aveni & G. Romano, « Temple Orientation in Magna Grecia and Sicily », Journal for the History of Astronomy 31, 2000, 52-57. W. B. Dinsmoor, "Archaeology and Astronomy", Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 80, 1939, 95-173. S. Kravaritou, La configuration des calendriers des cités grecques. Temps du rituel et temps du récit, Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Paris/Lausanne 2006. S. Kravaritou, (2007) "Greek 'Calendars' and symbolic representation of the cosmic order: seasonal rites for Demeter", Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Special Issue, Vol.6, No 3 (in press). I. Liritzis & H. Vasiliou, "Astronomical Orientations of Ancient Temples at Rhodes and Attica with a Tentative of Interpretation", Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 2(1), 2002, 69-79. I. Liritzis & H. Vasiliou, « Archaeoastronomical Orientation of Seven Significant Ancient Hellenic Temples », Archaeoastronomy 17, 2002-2203, 94-100. I. Liritzis & H. Vasiliou, « Were Greek temples oriented towards aurorae ? », Astronomy & Geophysics 47, 2006, 14-18. H. Niessen, Orientation. Studien zur Geschichte der Religion, Berlin 1906-1910. M. Papathanassiou & M. Hoskin, "Orientation of the Greek Temples on Corfu", Journal for the History of Astronomy 25, 1994, 111-114. M. Papathanassiou & Z. Papadopoulou, "Orientation of the Greek temples on Delos", Proceedings of the 6th European and 3rd Hellenic Astronomical Conference, held in Thessaloniki, Greece, 2-5 July 1997. F. C. Penrose, "A preliminary statement of an investigation of the dates of some of the Greek temples as derived from their orientation", Nature 45, 1892, 395-397. Vassiliou, H 2007, PhD thesis, Dept of Mediterranean Studies, University of the Aegean, ...."]

Boutsikas, Efrosyn. (2007-2008). "Placing Greek Temples: An Archaeoastronomical Study of the Orientation of Ancient Greek Religious Structures." (Archaeoastronomy: The Journal of Astronomy in Culture, Volume 21, Pages 4-19).

Salt, Alun. (2010). "An analysis of astronomical alignments of Greek Sicilian Temples." [Note: Obtainable from]

Hannah, Robert. (2013). "Greek Temple Orientation: The Case of the Older Parthenon in Athens." (Nexus Network Journal, Volume 15, Issue 3, December, Pages 423-443). [Note: Abstract: "The study of the orientation of ancient structures has recently experienced a renaissance in scientific interest after languishing for much of the twentieth century. Under the umbrella of the new multi-discipline of archaeoastronomy, the analyses of orientations have become more sophisticated, with a wider range of celestial phenomena now included, along with information derived from cult myths and rituals, so that celestial phenomena are identified through being relevant on a local, cultural and cultic level. Ironically, this revival of interest in temple orientations largely matches in its methodology that of Dinsmoor [1931], yet his work has lost favour because of his insistence on the priority of solar phenomena. In this paper, I revisit Dinsmoor’s analysis of one temple, the Older Parthenon in Athens, to assess his methodology and conclusions.]

Ranieri, Marcello. (2014). "Digging the Archives: The Orientation of Greek Temples and Their Diagonals." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 14, Number 3, Pages. 15-27). [Note: The author is with the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica INAF-Roma, Rome, Italy.]

Hannah, Robert., Magli, Giulio., and Orlando, Andrea. (2015). "Understanding the meaning of Greek temples' orientations. Akragas Valley of the Temples as a case study." (Posted at [Note: Abstract: "The issue of the orientation of Greek Temples has been the subject of several debates since the end of the 19 century. In fact, although a general tendency to orientation within the arc of the rising sun is undeniable, specific patterns and true meaning remain obscure. With the aim of shedding light on this problem we present here a new complete, high precision survey of the temples of Akragas, the so called Valley of the Temples UNESCO site. Our results include a important temple which was essentially yet unpublished, and most of all show that very different reasons influenced the orientation choices, some symbolical, but others by far more practical, besides the general rule of orienting to the rising sun. In particular, the existence of temples orientated in accordance with the towns grid, as well as to the cardinal points irrespectively from the sun's declination associated to true east at the uneven horizon, is evidenced. Finally, for two temples having anomalous orientations a stellar and a lunar proposal are made respectively.” Robert Hannah: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Waikato, New Zealand; Giulio Magli: School of Civil Architecture, Politecnico di Milano, Italy; Andrea Orlando: Catania Astrophysical Observatory (INAF), Italy; National South Laboratory (INFN), Italy; and Institute of Sicilian Archaeoastronomy, Italy."]

Boutsikas, Efrosyni. (2015). "Greek Temples and Rituals." In: Ruggles, Clive. (Editor). Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy. (Chapter 140, Pages 1573-1581). [Note: A short article of considerable importance.]

Hannah, Robert., Magli, Giulio. and Orlando, Andrea. (2016). "The Role of Urban Topography in the Orientation of Greek Temples: The Cases of Akragas and Selinunte." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 16, Number 4, Pages 213-217).

Note: It is indicated that in the mid 1960s two German astronomers published an article in one of the early volumes of the German periodical Sterne und Weltraum, on a Greek temple (in Athens?) dedicated to the Dioscuri, that appeared to be aligned in the direction of the stars Castor and Pollux which could have been seen in a straight vertical line above each other in the Classical period.

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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).

Maunder, Annie. (1912). "The Date of the Bundahis." (The Observatory, Volume 35, Number 453, October, Pages 362-367).

Evershed, Mary. (1913). "The Origin of the Constellations." (Observatory Magazine, Volume 36, Number 460, April, Pages 179-181). [Note: One of the first informed critics of the void zone argument. In her short article, "The Origin of the Constellations." Evershed includes a succinct presentation of key arguments against 3 main methods used by the 'constellation detectives.' (Critique of void zone argument, polar alignment argument, and Taurus as original lead zodiacal constellation used by Edward and Annie Maunder, and the celestial circles of Aratus argument used by Brown Junior.) Rejects a 3rd-millennium BCE date for the Greek constellations. Dates the Greek constellations to the 1st-millennium BCE.]

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.]

Maunder, Annie. (1936). "The Origin of the Constellations." (The Observatory, Volume 59, Number 751, December, Pages 367-375). [Note: Attributes the Aratean constellations to an 'Elder Race' circa 2nd-millennium BCE. The author believes she has determined the date of the origin of the constellations - devised as a complete scheme - to 2900 BCE ± 100 years and to north latitude 37°-38°. Her method is only partially explained and the void zone is not mentioned. The author used the translation of Aratos' Phaenomena by G. R. Mair (whom she incorrectly identifies as G. W. Mair) in the Loeb's Classical Library Edition, 1921.) She reinforced her view in a short 1940 note answering Query 9, under Astronomical Queries. The constellations described in the Phainomena of Aratus were devised as a complete scheme between 3000-2800 BCE by an "Elder Race" who lived in Europe between latitudes 37° and 38° north. ("Astronomical Queries." by A. S. D. Maunder (JBAA, Volume 50, Number 4, 1940, Pages 158-159). See also the critical reply by Duncan MacNaughton (which is not free from some errors), "The Scorpion's Claws and the Scales." (JBAA, Volume 50, Number 5, 1940, Pages 185-186 under Communication to the Association).]

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. Originally a talk given/broadcast (at least in Australia) in 1965 on the ABC 'Science Show.' A printed version of the lecture is in the archive files of Peter Mason (Series 2 - Scientific Publications by P. Mason and Others, 2-53 Astronomy.). Inventory Identifier 109 Box Number 12 Series 2. Peter Mason was a physicist and science broadcaster. He was the foundation Professor of Physics, Macquarie University (Australia) from 1966. He also broadcast frequently on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) 'Science Show' and published a number of books for the lay-reader. 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 [Some sources give pages 91-97.]. 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). Extract: "Abraham Wasserstein, classicist: born Frankfurt am Main 5 October 1921; Assistant in Greek, Glasgow University 1951-52, Lecturer 1952-60; Professor of Classics, Leicester University 1960-1969, Dean of the Faculty of Arts 1966-1969; Professor of Greek, Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1969- 1989 (Emeritus); married 1942 Margaret (Macca) Ecker (two sons, one daughter); died Jerusalem 20 July 1995. ... He was a man of extremely wide scholarship; there can be few professors of Classics who are also Fellows of the Royal Astronomical Society, and his inaugural lecture at Leicester, delivered a short while after he had taken up his appointment, moved broadly but confidently over the whole field of Hellenic endeavour. Greek mathematics, astronomy, musical theory, philosophy, and history - all were brought together to illustrate what he termed "Economy and Elegance". ... After the end of the Second World War he came to Britain and studied Classics part-time at Birkbeck College, London, whence he graduated with his BA in 1949 and his doctorate in 1951. That year he was appointed as Assistant to the Department of Greek in Glasgow, where he stayed for nine years, subsequently as Lecturer in Greek; in later years he emphasised the debt he owed to the patterns of Glasgow's teaching and regarded it as a model to be followed. In 1960 Wasserstein applied for the Chair of Classics in Leicester, with so little confidence in himself that he did not even wait to hear the results of the interview. But his stay in Leicester from 1960 to 1969 was to prove memorable for him. He made many friends in the academic community and for him and his wife these were very happy years. These were stirring years too in the university, culminating in the first manifestations of student unrest in Britain. Much later colleagues still recalled how he stood single-handedly at the entrance to the library to prevent students extending their "sit-in" into its precincts. But when some students asked to be allowed to enter and retrieve their possessions, promising not to abuse this permission, he accepted their word and his trust was not betrayed." ("Obituary: Professor Abraham Wasserstein." by Aubrey Newman, The Independent, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 )]

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).]

Roy, A. E. [Archibald/Archie]. (1981). "The Lamps of Atlantis." (Memorie della Società Astronomica Italiana, Volume 52, Pages 613-625). [Note: Paper presented in June 1980 on the Greek island of Samos on the occasion of the Aristarchus of Samos Symposium. It does not have the detailed arguments of his 1986 talk/1987 paper, but does have 6 photographs and 1 illustration not included in any other talk/paper.]

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: Unreliable and misleading. Archibald [Archie] Roy was one of Scotland's most distinguished astronomers. The article originated out of an earlier series of 3 articles published in the magazine "The Unexplained: Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time," Volume 6, Numbers 61-64, 1981 Pages 1201-1205,1258-?, 1274-1277. The magazine was reprinted as a multi-volume book "Mysteries of Mind, Space & Time: The Unexplained," and the 3 constellation articles appeared in Volume 5, Pages 560-574. The article is uncritical, speculative, and unreliable. Life dates: 1924-2012. See the detailed (English-language) obituary "Archibald Edmiston Roy 1924-2012." by David Clarke in Astronomy & Geophysics, Volume 54, Issue 2, Page 2.38.]

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. (1987). "The Lamps of Atlantis." In: Nash, Sara. (Editor). Science and Intelligence. Proceeding of an Interdisciplinary IBM Conference, London, March 1986. (Pages 167-200). [Note: Earlier and later versions of the talk/article appeared. Some printed versions are quite brief. See also: "The lamps of Atlantis: An astronomical detective story (constellations)." In: Hunt, J[?]. (Editor). ESA Proceedings of the GIREP Conference 1986. Cosmos: An Educational Challenge (SEE N87-25026 18-89). (Pages 47-49). ESA = European Space Agency; GIREP = Groupe International de Recherche sur l'Ensignement de la Physique. Also referenced as: The Lamps of Atlantis - an astronomical detective story. ESA Spec. Publ., ESA SP-253, p. 47-49 (1986). Originally a talk given/broadcast (at least in Australia) in 1980 on the ABC 'Science Show.' A printed version of the lecture is in the archive files of Peter Mason (Series 2 - Scientific Publications by P. Mason and Others, 2-53 Astronomy.). Inventory Identifier 109 Box Number 12 Series 2. Peter Mason was a physicist and science broadcaster. He was the foundation Professor of Physics, Macquarie University (Australia) from 1966. He also broadcast frequently on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) 'Science Show' and published a number of books for the lay-reader. The topic was presented as a talk multiple times and also published multiple times. Archie Roy apparently originally wrote it as a presentation. It was also produced as a Planetarium presentation which still continues to be shown. The first mention I can identify of the presentation of the talk is in England: 'The Lamps of Atlantis' by Archie Roy, at Airdrie Library, November 10, 1978. Airdrie Public Library is a public library in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. The next presentation in 1978 was to a meeting of the 'Library Association' in England. Publicised as: "Forthcoming Attraction. Professor Archibald E. Roy, of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Glasgow, has kindly accepted an invitation to talk to the Society on Sunday,19th November [1978]. The Meeting will begin at 3 p.m. and will be held at the 'Library Association' 7 Ridgmount St., London W.C.1. The talk, entitled "The Lamps of Atlantis", will be concerned with the origin of the constellations and has relevance to the past history of mankind and of the earth. Professor Roy, besides being a noted authority in the field of astronomy, is renowned for his wit and his ability to enlighten in an entertaining manner both the layman and also those whose study of astronomy has proceeded beyond the elementary. It would be a great pity, therefore, if members were to miss this opportunity of meeting again on what promises to be a most enjoyable as well as enlightening occasion. Therefore PLEASE KEEP THIS DATE FREE, FREE, free: SUNDAY 19th NOVEMBER. Your ATTENDANCE will help to make a 'FULL HOUSE' - and thus a MOST STIMULATING afternoon." Following the meeting: "Meeting News. LONDON, 19th NOVEMBER 1978 - "THE LAMPS OF ATLANTIS." The meeting at the Library Association last November has not yet been reported in WORKSHOP: it was addressed by Archie Roy, one of the speakers at the Glasgow conference. Besides being the head of Glasgow University's Astronomy Department, Professor Roy is a most entertaining speaker. He is also a successful writer of detective fiction, and approached his subject - which we might call "The Historic Case of the Constellation Makers" - via "the four basic themes of all detective stories: Who did it? Why did they do it? Where did they do it? And when did they do it?" Drawing on Homer, Hesiod, Hipparchus, Eudoxos, and Ovenden, and with lucid explanations of such concepts as the Procession of the Equinoxes and the Zone of Avoidance, he presented his answers as: The Minoans (whose identification with the Atlanteans, as per current orthodoxy, he accepts); to aid maritime navigation; in the area of Crete (ca. 36°N); and about 2000-2500 BC. The lecture was excellently illustrated with striking slides; and those present will agree that Prof. Roy's own verdict as he thanked his listeners for their attention, fails to do it justice: it was he said, "poor thing, but Minoan"." Planetarium shows of 'The Lamps of Atlantis' per their advertising blurbs: (1) MacMillan Space Science Centre [and Planetarium] [Vancouver, British Columbia, Western Canada]. "June 28th [2003] is opening day for three new programs at Vancouver's H R MacMillan Space Centre. In the planetarium "Lamp's of Atlantis," based on the research of Professor Archie Roy takes a look at some early Mediterranean star watchers, and presents some interesting theories on who they were and where they were located." "John Dickenson (MacMillian (sic) Space Science Center)." (2) "LAMPS OF ATLANTIS Now Available for Fulldome Theaters from Evans & Sutherland and the Eugenides Foundation. [Dec 02, 2011 Judith Rubin] Salt Lake City, USA — Audiences will be able to explore the legend of the lost continent of Atlantis in the new show, Lamps of Atlantis, produced exclusively for digital fulldome theaters. A coproduction between Evans & Sutherland's award-winning Digital Theater Productions and the Eugenides Foundation planetarium in Athens, Greece, Lamps of Atlantis explores the mythology of Atlantis and investigates clues to the origin of the names of modern constellations that may have come from this mysterious civilization. This detective story promises to keep viewers fascinated and intrigued as the various pieces of evidence fall into place. Narrated by Terry O'Quinn, who played John Locke on TV's hit show, LOST, Lamps of Atlantis features fulldome time-lapse photography from striking locations around the world including Easter Island, Australia, Egypt, South America and Greece. The show also features computer animation visualizations of a number of international locations and the stars and constellations of the night sky. A 40 minute version of the show is available now, and a shorter, approximately 25 minute cut of the show is set for release in late December 2011. For users of Evans & Sutherland Digistar systems, the fulldome trailer is available for download on the DUG library. For more information about the show and to see a trailer, visit the Lamps of Atlantis website." (3) "Lamps of Atlantis showing at A&M-Commerce planetarium. ... Join us in the adventure as we explore the Lamps of Atlantis beginning January 20, 2012 at Texas A&M University-Commerce planetarium. In January, Lamps of Atlantis will be offered on Friday nights for both the 7 and 8 p.m. show times. Lamps of Atlantis is the latest full dome movie produced by Evans & Sutherland who also produced one of our all-time favorite shows, Stars of the Pharaohs. Our search for the lost continent of Atlantis takes us on a journey through the astronomical knowledge and understanding of the ancient Greeks. How did the constellations get their names? What different patterns did ancient cultures see in the sky? Was Atlantis a real place? Did it really sink into the sea? We will uncover clues to help us solve this age-old mystery. This 40-minute show is narrated by Terry O'Quinn, who played John Locke in TV's hit show LOST. Lamps of Atlantis will be offered at the A&M-Commerce planetarium each Friday night at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. in January and at 7 p.m. in February. Admission to the show is $3 for those under 18 and A&M-Commerce students with ID, $3.50 for university employees and senior citizens, and $4 for all others. A discount of $1 per person will be offered if tickets are purchased at the same times for two shows viewed on the same day. Each planetarium show begins with brief remarks by a member of the planetarium staff, who displays the Commerce night sky on the planetarium's 40-foot dome and points out the current visible constellations, stars, and planets." (4) ""Lamps of Atlantis" at the Pierce Science Dome. February 25, 2014. The Science Dome is a unique part of Pierce College. Not only is it the biggest science dome in Washington, it also has the highest resolution, making it one of best science domes in the area. The Science Dome features five films. One of the featured videos is called "Lamps of Atlantis". "The Lamps of Atlantis" was about the stars and how they might have led to the origins of Atlantis. This was preceded by a thirty-minute live presentation into Astronomy. The film moved from Egypt to China showing the differences in their constellations. Many of the western civilization's constellations are different from other parts of the world. For instance Leo, the Lion constellation is the Spinning Wheel in China. The film showed astrological maps of the stars and provided information on how the stars helped in everyday life in those times. The film showed how the stars were used for recanting (sic) myths like Orion in Greece. The documentary showed art from Egypt, Greece, and where they believe Atlantis to be. A sculpture of Atlas bearing the heavens is shown and the globe he has is a star map. The film explained how the documentary came to the conclusion that they found Atlantis' original place. The art, history and information are well represented. All this is packed into forty-five minutes. "The Lamps of Atlantis" special effects are quite realistic. The most notable time was when it rained because it was like a 3-D experience without the glasses and had the sensation of movement that is similar to a roller coaster. The film is shot well. It had scenery that gave the illusion of being close enough to touch. Every scene felt proportionate with the places shown. For instance, an Egyptian temple felt like a gargantuan building, with large pillars inside. The music added to the overall feel of the video, helping it transition from moment to moment and brought out the background." (5) "The Lamps of Atlantis. Date: Friday, 7/10/2015. Time: 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM. Location: Georgia Southern University Planetarium, 65 Georgia Avenue (From Fair Rd, turn on Herty Dr), Math/Physics Bldg.- Planetarium, Statesboro, GA 30458." (6) The planetarium program "Lamps of Atlantis" was also featured (from at least April 2017 to February 2018) at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum (operated by the Kalamazoo Valley Community College), Michigan. This program has been a feature there since at least July 2015. Obviously its worth as a reliable teaching aid has not been accessed. Note: However, Roy was later influenced by the fact that anciently the faint stars comprising the constellation Draco housed the pole and the sky turned around it and, as well, it enclosed the ecliptic pole, around which the Sun’s apparent motion is centered. Roy concluded that Draco must have seemed more important when it housed both the major hubs of the sky. In another deductive exercise Roy concluded that since the major civilization of the time in the right latitude was the Sumerian culture of Mesopotamia, whose early art he further speculated showed the figures of the polar constellations that we know, he changed his thesis and ascribed the drafting of the constellations to the Sumerians. (80th Birthday Lecture by Archibald Roy presented at the Glasgow Science Centre Scottish Power Planetarium, June 2004.)]

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. See the brief (English-language) book review by Alan Bowen in Isis, Volume 86, Issue 2, June, 1995, Page 309.]

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 head (organiser) of the conference project was Dr E[duard?]. 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).)  Likely due to the influence of Alexander Gurshtein a lot of the "Russian constellation school" studies are now being published in English. Alexander Gurshtein (1937-2020) was 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 authored several books, numerous articles, held 5 patents, and presented at many international forums. Since 1995 Gurshtein had been teaching at Mesa State College in the USA and then resided 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: 1937-2020. See the biographical entry in: The Encyclopedia of Russian Jewry (7-volume set) edited by Herman Branover, Isaiah Berlin, and Zeev Wagner (Volume 1, Biographies A-I, 1998).]

Obituary [by Anon]: "Alexander Aronovich Gurshtein. February 21, 1937 - April 3, 2020: Alexander A. Gurshtein, Ph.D., passed away in his home in Grand Junction, CO last week. He is survived by his wife, Olga Vorobieva; children, Kirill, Ksenya, and Michael; four granddaughters, and three great-grandchildren. Alex was born in Moscow, Russia during the height of the Stalinist purges, and his early years were shaped by the privations of WWII and the loss of his father in that war, as well as the anti-Semitism that he, like thousands of Soviet Jews, experienced firsthand when finishing school and entering university in the mid-1950s. As a boy, Alex got fascinated by astronomy by visiting the Moscow Planetarium, and it remained his passion for his entire career. Graduating with a degree in astrometry from the Moscow State Institute of Geodesy and Cartography (1959), he quickly went on to work inside the Russian Academy of Sciences for the Soviet space program in the headiest years of the Cold War space race. He worked first at the Shternberg State Astronomy Institute and later at the Institute for Space Exploration. At the height of his career, the research group he led chose landing locations for Soviet unmanned missions to the Moon. Telling stories about his various encounters with a cast of colorful characters in those years was one of Alex's favorite pastimes; his memoir, A Moscow Astronomer at the Dawn of the Space Age (2012), contains a detailed and lively account of that period, enhanced by the author's uncanny ability to remember names and dates. The son of a notable literary critic and translator, Alex always had literary ambitions. Even in the years of his work for the space program, he wrote numerous popular science articles for Soviet newspapers, magazines, and radio on the topics of astronomy and space exploration. One of his proudest moments was sneaking into national print a quote from poet Maximilian Voloshin, whose poetry was banned and censored by Soviet authorities. In 1973, he published The Eternal Secrets of the Sky, a book on the history of astronomy for young adults that had two subsequent editions and a total print run of 400,000. Around 1980, while on temporary professional hiatus, Alex spent his time researching and writing a historical novel about the founding of the Paris observatory. He published that book as The Stars of Paris in 2016. In 1981, he began a new professional chapter at the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences and Technology. Since the early 1990s, he turned his attention to the earliest history of the Western Zodiac. He saw as the most significant scientific accomplishment of his career the theory of the origin and development of the Zodiac that he elaborated in numerous Russian and English language articles and set down in its most complete form in The Puzzle of the Western Zodiac: Its Wisdom and Evolutionary Leaps. A Painful Ascent to the Truth (2017). Alex was a creative polymath who followed his many curiosities. He saw through the publication of at least two board games in the USSR. He also deeply loved the history of Moscow-the simplest of walks around his central Moscow neighborhood would turn into a fascinating excursion. Knowing the city intimately, in the early 1990s, he got involved with Russian television, reconstructing the fictional broom flight of Margarita from the novel The Master and Margarita for one TV episode. At various points, he served as an advisor on science education at the Russian Ministry of Education, helped vet astronomy-related stamps for the Russian postal service (he was an avid life-long philatelist and bibliophile), advised on book illustrations for children's science books, and served as a Deputy in a District Council of People's Deputies in the tumultuous days of Russia's transition to democracy in the early 1990s. In 1995, Alex was able to bring his family to the United States, settling in Grand Junction, CO, where he taught at Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) until 2010. He leaves behind a global network of family members, friends, colleagues, and students who were touched by his energetic pursuit of knowledge, deep commitment to education, and passionate engagement with his work over the course of six decades." (Published in The Daily Sentinel on April 8, 2020, Pages 33-34. A concise, detailed obituary.)

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.]

Witze, Alexandra. (1997). "Making sense of the stars." (The Blade [Toledo Blade], Monday, November 17, Pages 31-32). [Note: Newspaper published in Toledo, Ohio. The article was a explanation of of Gurshtein's ideas of the origins of the Western constellations. It was apparently prompted by Gurhtein's recent articles in Sky and Telescope.]

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. (2003). "Relevant Queries In Respect To The Archaic Chinese Sky." In: Orchiston,W., Stephenson, R., Debarbat, S., and Nha, I.-S. (Editors). Astronomical Instruments and Archives From the Asia-Pacific Region. [Note: A conference 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. The title also appears as: "Relevant queries in respect of the archaic Chinese sky." Publication date is sometimes given as 2004. A poorly argued attempt by Gurshtein to deal with the contrary evidence from Mesopotamia. Once again, Gurshtein suggests the gradual development of the Zodiac from the mythology of the 6th-millennium BCE. Abstract: "An extensive pattern of xing guan (celestial officials)--the asterisms of the Chinese heaven--has very little in common with the European cultural tradition of celestial nomenclature. It was shown in current-day literature, first of all by Sun Xiaochun and Jacob Kistemaker (1997), that the Chinese astronomical nomenclature in question was completed at the end of the Eastern Han (2nd-3rd centuries C.E.). Thus, a grandiose celestial reform was conducted in China the likes of which, fortunately for historians of astronomy, has not been accomplished anywhere else in the world. The European tradition of celestial nomenclature could be easily traced back to Greece and even deeper in time to Mesopotamia. As for China, its newly born pattern comprising of 283 asterisms and 1,464 stars practically ruined and erased all footprints of the preceding ingenuous astronomical pattern. Nevertheless, modern research on the genesis of constellations, especially the Zodiacal constellations, poses a set of problems in the resolution of which the data on the ingenious Chinese celestial nomenclature could play the crucial role. Problems connected with the author's hypothesis of constellation origin are considered. Its challenges with respect to the archaic Chinese sky and corresponding responses in modern literature are discussed." The last 2 sections of the presentation/article comprise: "4 THE ARCHAIC CHINESE SKY AS AN INDEPENDENT VERIFIER My basic source in this very specific area is the book The Chinese Sky During the Han: Constellating Stars and Society by Sun Xiaochun and Jacob Kistemaker (1997). The case of the Chinese sky appeared to be entirely different than the case of the sky in the Mediterranean region. In the centuries before the Common Era, the `Empire beneath the Heavens' reached well-being with a rise in national self-consciousness and the making of its own worldview, an example of which could be the unique Chinese religion without a priesthood. Chinese rulers believed that they had a mandate from Heaven to rule over the Earth. The ideology of imperial China served as the prime mover for a cataclysmic reform of the celestial `megalopolis', which was fully reshaped. Instead of the earlier episodic constellations, Chinese court astrologers of the Han Dynasty thoughtfully peppered the sky with 283 petty asterisms, often comprised of only one or two hard-to-distinguish stars. These newly-formed asterisms were molded to the likeness of the Chinese Empire: the Emperor, Celestial Officials, the Emperor's Facilities, etc. This celestial assemblage was propagated by all Chinese royal astronomical institutions of later times in that the previous celestial repertoire was utterly abandoned. For present-day historians of archaic astronomy, the reshaping of the Chinese sky was a stroke of bad luck. The misfortune happened because of the zealousness of the Chinese court reformers, who eradicated the legacy of ancient epochs in the sky. Nothing like this took place in a tradition that we can call the European tradition. The Mesopotamians followed in the footsteps of their predecessors. Greeks and Romans took the same path. Research of the archaic pre-Han Chinese sky would be of great importance for many reasons, and has to be put on the agenda. Results could be reached through purely astronomical considerations, archaic images, linguistics, and, last of all, probably through mythology. My knowledge of the issues of Chinese mythology, of course, is not complete. So far, I only know of one attempt to analyze some issues connected with it. A question posed by two Russian researchers (Stepugina and Kaurov, 1995) is whether any correlation exists between early Chinese mythology and the symbolism reflected in the names of the constellations of the first Zodiacal quartet. Is it possible to recognize archetypes for Gemini Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces among the mythological characters of archaic China during the era that was synchronous or, at least, reasonably close to the institution of the first Zodiacal quartet? The associated research was carried out by T.V. Stepugina, a well-known historian of Chinese culture, and E.N. Kaurov, a beginner in archaeoastronomy, and I would like to stress that they had no expertise in ancient Chinese astronomy. Their task was rather restricted, and their sources were solely mythological. They aimed to research Chinese mythology for the limited purpose of determining whether the early features of Chinese mythological narration could be interpreted as derived from the same archetypes as the figures of the earliest Zodiacal quartet. The title of their short presentation was "Ancient Chinese Myth and Mythological Grounds of Zodiacal Constellations", and it was published as a part of a discussion in the Herald of Ancient History, an official magazine of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Their conclusions are intensely positive. Concerning the idea of twins, as a Chinese analog to this metaphor they suggest a pair of early Chinese deities: a male, Fuxi, and a divine ruler of world, a female named Nuwa (Lady Wa). It is evident that transliterations of original Chinese names were possible. For example, `Fuxi' could be spelt (sic) Fu-hsi; Paoxi; Fu-Xsing; Pho-hsi; Pi-his, and so on. The same is true in respect of Nuwa. Who are these mythological characters? The goddess, Nuwa, was either a sister or a bride to Fuxi. A later tradition ascribes to them demiurgic activities: this divine couple administered order out of primordial chaos, they designed the world, and they configured human beings with a capacity to create their own sons and daughters. That is absolutely the same idea, in my mind, that was behind symbolism of Gemini in the European tradition. For an analog to the Mother Goddess--an archetype for the Zodiacal constellation of Virgo--they considered the same Chinese goddess, Lady Wa, who was playing a pivotal role in early Chinese mythology and at times was depicted with the body of a fish. Once again, this peculiarity stresses strong aquatic elements in Chinese mythology that could be easily linked with the symbolism of water seen behind the Zodiacal constellation of Pisces. Finally, the fourth metaphor within the first Zodiacal quartet, Sagittarius, was seen to be represented in early Chinese mythology by the Great Archer, Yi, who also has strong astral connotations. This legendary archer saved the Earth from death by shooting down nine of the ten Suns that originally were brought into being. Stepugina and Kaurov's paper strongly argues in favour of a conclusion that suggests that it can reasonably be argued that early Chinese mythology and Zodiacal symbolism of the earliest quartet could possess the very same archetypes. Many interesting details on the same issue can be found in the poster "The Home of Cosmic of Ancient East" presented at this conference by Zhang Chuanqi (2002). 5 AN AVENUE TO SEARCH As mentioned above, I am not an expert in a specific field of early Chinese mythology, and so I cannot critically evaluate the arguments put forward by Stepugina and Kaurov. I am simply telling you about their research as an example of queries into the Chinese sky that are relevant to modern archaeoastronomical issues. As with many other scholars, I consider archaic Chinese data as crucial to the verification or falsification of the hypothesis on Zodiacal development. That is why I appeal to this meeting. With so many experts present, jointly we can track down the puzzles of genesis and development of the archaic constellations that took place before recorded history. I would like to conclude with an allusion to Hamlet's Mill, the precedent book penned by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend and published thirty-three years ago, in 1969. I am deliberately referring to this extremely controversial book despite my knowledge of a stream of criticism and ill-wishing that has fallen upon the heads of these authors. The controversies surrounding this book continue to blaze even today. As a matter of fact, I agree that the authors were really short of `solid' so called `scientific' facts in support of their position. They deal basically with very uncertain mythological material. In the eyes of rigorous astronomers who have no feel for archaic history, this book could be considered bizarre and unconvincing. Nevertheless, as a professional astronomer turned historian, I would like to insist that this book is a great one. It is great because of its point of departure and its methodology, and it is great because of its output. Without serious factual astronomical evidence, due to their mastery of mythology and their intuition, the authors reached some very exciting and--I do not fear these words--`prophetic results'. I consider my model of the genesis and development of the ancient sky to be the next logical step along the same path. I am pleased that a number of my claims agree with the claims of de Santillana and von Dechend, and I am glad to count these very courageous authors as my direct forefathers. And once again, I appeal to this highly-regarded audience to help either verify or disprove the concept of the gradual development of the Zodiac through the three quartets that appeared due to the influence of astronomical precession. In this respect, the application of pictorial, mythological, linguistic and astronomical material from South and Eastern Asia could be very productive. [Stepugina, T.V., and Kaurov, E.N., 1995. Ancient Chinese myth and mythological grounds of Zodiacal constellations. The Herald of Ancient History, 1: 172-175 (in Russian).]" There was the reconstruction of Chinese constellations in the mid-Han period. The Han period is dated 206 BCE to 220 CE. I am not aware that Gurshtein's particular conjectures bear scrutiny. See: Astrology and Cosmology in Early China by David Pankenier (2013). Also, there has been no follow-up article by Gurshtein or any other Russian (or other) researcher.]

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. Simply, the existing body of written evidence argues decisively against the assertion having any validity in the context of the origin and development of the Occidental zodiac. The proposed 'evidence' for the origin and development of the Occidental zodiac before the Babylonian scheme of the 1st-millennium BCE is simply fantasy and without merit. 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."]

Gurshtein, Alex[ander]. (2017). The Puzzle of the Western Zodiac: Its Wisdom and  Evolutionary Leaps: A Painful Ascent to the Truth. [Note: 350 pages with 24 illustrations. Gurshtein has not succeeded in finding an academic publisher for his intended book setting out his speculations on constellation origins. It was published by AuthorHouse. Highly speculative and unsound. Basically a fantasy explanation of the origin of the Western zodiac. The author erroneously claims that the Mesopotamian cuneiform records "do not contain any keys to the ... impeti [impetus] behind its inception." Also, "... we do not have any reason to rule out the possibility that the birth of the Zodiac predates the period of its first written mentions."  Simply, the relevant cuneiform evidence shows that opposite is the case. More accurately he writes: Unfortunately, we are really short of facts at hand, and evidence evidence in favor of my concept is scarce and circumstantial. Nevertheless, under fire from skeptics and ill-wishers [= critics?], I turn to the comfort expressed in a piece of common wisdom: absence of evidence is not at all the same as evidence of absence." But this is a mistaken use of the traditional aphorism (which is a logical fallacy). The burden of proof is on the person making a claim/assertion to offer reason and evidence (that is not speculative) in support of such. Just how good evidence of absence is depends on how hard evidence of presence was sought. The case for evidence of absence depends upon whether or not evidence of any kind exists. If none exists, then absence of evidence is neither evidence of absence or of existence. The book contains numerous factual historical errors. Publisher blurb: "Though familiar to all, the twelve-strong Western Zodiac remains an enigmatic artifice of the archaic past. To date, no scholar has been able to determine who conjured up its constellations and when this might have happened. Nor do we know what the grand design behind this innovative endeavor might have been. This book, however, goes a long way towards answering those questions by combining together a variety of clues from multiple disciplines, including astronomy, archaeology, and linguistics. It provides a comprehensive framework that greatly expands our understanding of the genesis and purposes of this remarkable intellectual relic of our cultural heritage. The book’s overarching outcome – that the zodiacal necklace in the sky appeared gradually over time in three different stages, with each reflecting the immanent social and spiritual concerns of its time – provides a fundamental impact to reconsider our understanding of prehistory. No special knowledge is necessary to understand this captivating writing." AuthorHouse advertising description: "AuthorHouse is the leading provider of supported self-publishing services for authors in the United Kingdom and around the globe, with over 70,000 titles released. With our wide range of packages and services, we provide the tools and expertise you need to realise your publishing dreams. Distribute your book to a worldwide audience in classic black & white, vibrant full-colour, paperback, hardback, or custom leather-bound formats, plus all digital formats. For more information or to start your publishing journey, please call us on 0800 197 4150 or +44 1908 309250 if you are calling from outside the UK (international call rates apply). You can also follow @authorhouseuk on Twitter. It's time to share your story with the world!"]

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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 reviews by Charles Fossey in Revue critique d'histoire et de littérature, Volume 44, Number 2, 1910, Pages 78-80; and by S. R. in Revue Archéologique, Quatrième Série, Tome 15, Janvier-Juin, 1910, Page 190. 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; and the (Italian-language) book review by Bruto Teloni in Rivista degli studi orientali, Volume 7, Fascicle 1, 1916, Pages 267-270.]

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 theoretical and highly speculative work. 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, Edward. (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.]

Rousseau, A. and Dimitrakoudis, S[tavros]. (2006). "A study of catasterisms in the 'phaenomena' of Aratus." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Special Issue, Volume 6, Issue 3, Pages 111-119). [Note: In this highly speculative article the authors believe that Aratus wrote an astronomically accurate poem. The expectation that rather exact astronomical descriptions will be found in Aratus' Phainomena is puzzling. Aratus was not an astronomer or mathematician or even a good poet. The astronomical poem is best described by David Pingree "as a rather rough handy guide." Aratus avoided any descriptions of the complicated planetary phenomena. "Abstract: We provide a fresh analysis of the constellations in Aratos Phenomena by using the astronomical program Cybersky (by Stephen Schimpf) to check each reference of constellations within the poem for validity in 2800 BCE and 300 BCE (the later accounting for the broader period of time covering Eudoxus of Cnidus and Aratus of Soli). In each case, the latitude of observation was chose to be 36 North in agreement with the area of the sky that is not covered in the descriptions of Aratus (and contains the unseen constellations for a particular latitude). Each constellation was traced back to its Greek mythological origin through the various writers of antiquity. Our results are collected in a table of the constellations mentioned by Aratus in his epic poem, with respect to the ancient authors who have mentioned each constellation shaping its myth, the locations on the earth each constellation is associated with and the most likely date of observation according to Aratus description and taking into account precession and the proper motion of stars." The authors were on the staff of Section of Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics, University of Athens, Greece.]

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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.]

Campbell, Leroy. (1968). Mithraic Iconography and Ideology. [Note: Useful discussions of Mithraic iconography but to be used with caution. Attempts to show that basic Iranian concepts were preserved in Mithraism. Contemporaries described Mithraism as a Persian cult. Believes that Zoroastrian theology lies behind Mithraism but does not establish an early date for such. The illustrations are low quality. See the critical (English-language) review article (book review) “Method and Message in Mithraism.” by John Hinnells in Religion, Volume 1, Issue 1, 1917, Pages 66-71.]

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.) (For the story of the 1977 brain-storming session see also the retelling in: The Mind of Mithraists by Luther Martin (2014, Page 5).) 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. P.A.L.Chapman-Rietschi of Binningen, Switzerland, is an excellent independent research writer specialising in ancient astronomy. His main areas of professional interest are ancient astronomy and star lore. His hobbies include archaeoastronomy. He is a fellow of the RAS, as well as a member of the RASC, and the Egyptian Exploration Society.]

Miller, F[?]. (1998). "On the Mithraic Tauroctony." (Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Volume 92, Number 1, February, Pages 34-35). [Note: This article is a comment on Chapman-Rietschi's 1997 article. Millar informed me he was a "true believer" in Hamlet's Mill by de Santillana and von Dechend (1969). Millar was well qualified academically. He worked most of his life as a meteorologist and statistician. In 1998 he was approaching 90 years of age.]

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.]

Assasi, Reza. (2013). "Swastika: The Forgotten Constellation Representing the Chariot of Mithras." [Note: 16 pages including illustrations. Downloadable from the internet. At the 20th International Conference of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture, held in Slovenia in 2012, the author (2013) presented the paper "Swastika: The Forgotten Constellation Representing the Chariot of Mithras," in which he identified Mithras and his quadriga (a car or chariot drawn by 4 horses abreast) with the constellation Draco, centre of the zodiac in the map of the stars. The author proposed a new interpretation that contradicts that accepted by researchers of the Mithraic religion who associate Mithras with the sun. Critiques by other persons showed that the swastika never represented a constellation but instead represented the sun.]

Assasi, Reza. (2015). "Mithraeum as a Symbolic Planetarium." (Presentation at The Ninth Conference on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena, 24-27 August 2015, London).

Tiede, Vance. (2016?). "Four Imperial Roman Mithraea: An Astro-Archaeological Analysis." [Note: 20-page article downloadable from The author is a Professor at Yale University, Department of Archaeological Studies.]

Turcan, Robert. (2016). Recherches mithriaques. Quarante ans de questions et d'investigations. [Note: Robert Turcan (1929-2018) was Professor of Roman History at the University of Paris, Sorbonne. See the (English-language) essay book-review by Richard Gordon in "Mithraic ideas and reflections." (Journal of Roman Archaeology, Volume 30, 2017, Pages 666-669).]

Mastrocinque, Attilio. (2017). The Mysteries of Mithras: A Different Account. [Note: Attilio Mastrocinqu (1952- ) is Professor of Roman History at the University of Verona. Regarded as a very important study of Roman Mithraism. See the (English-language) essay book-review "Reinterpreting Mithras: A very Different Account." by Csaba Szabó (Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 69, 2018, Pages 211-216). Publisher's blurb: "In this work, Attilio Mastrocinque cautions against an approach to Mithraism based on the belief that this mystic cult resembles Christianity. While both Christian and pagan authors testified that Mithraic elements were indeed borrowed, according to Attilio Mastrocinque this was only done by some gnostic Christians. He counters that Roman Empire ideology and religion provide better clues on how to approach the matter, contending too that Virgil proves to be more important than the Avesta in understanding Mithraic iconography. The meaning of the central scene – the Tauroctony – thus becomes clear when the Roman triumph's central act of bull sacrifice is thought of as just that, with Mithras playing the role of victor as author of this success. The episodes depicted on many reliefs relate to a prophecy known to Firmicus Maternus and other Christian polemists, and which foretold the coming of a saviour, i.e. the first emperor, when Saturn returns and Apollo-Mithras will rule."]

Amendola, Luca. (2018). "Mithras and the Zodiac." (Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology, Number 5.1, Pages 25-39).

Tiede, Vance. (2019). "Four Imperial Roman Mithraea: An Astro-Archaeological Analysis." (Posted to [Note: "Abstract. The Roman astral-cults of the Sun (Sol) and Moon (Luna) enjoyed imperial sponsorship for 300 years, as evidenced by their images on Roman coinage from the end of the 1st century BC (Salzman 1990, p. 150; Clauss 1997, p. 250; Hijmans 2003, p. 383). However, on the Dies Natalis Invicti, AD 25 December 274, Roman Emperor Aurelian decreed Sol Invictus as the Dominus Imperii Romani, and ordered imperial coins honoring Mithras-Sol Invictus to be minted and the Templum Solis Aureliani to be built in Rome (Figure 1). The research focus of this paper study is to investigate the hypothetical role of astronomical orientation of Mithraic temples as a supplement to traditional approaches to the History of Architecture, e.g., iconography, inscriptions, geometry, literature, and mensuration, (see Scavi et al. 2016). The present study examines the orientation of four Mithraic temples (mithraea) adjacent to imperial Roman army forts (three on Hadrian's Wall and one at Dura-Europos, Syria). The paper presents counter evidence rejecting the claim that the major axes of two of these mithraea were oriented to the sunrise on the Winter Solstice (December 22nd) or Dies Natalis Invicti (December 25th) (cf. Sparavigna 2017a, 2017b). Rather, all three known mithraea on Hadrian's Wall are oriented respectively to the rise of the three brightest stars of constellations represented in the Mithraic bull-slaying tableau (tauroctonos) ca. AD 250, viz.: Aldebaran (α Taurii), Antares (α Scorpii), and Sirius (α Canis Major), thereby independently confirming the astral interpretation of K.B. Stark (1869). Every 19 years, the Dura? Europos mithraeum in Syria is oriented to the midwinter Full Moon rise at the minor lunar standstill, just as a mithraeum on Hadrian’s Wall is oriented to the Full Moon rise marking the death of Deified Hadrian.

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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, Part 1, 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).

Bezold, Carl. (1888). "A new text concerning the star kak-si-di." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 10, Page 265, Plates I-III).

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.

Barker, Thomas. (1683-1775) "Remarks on the Mutations of the Stars." (Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775), Volume 51, (1759 - 1760), Pages 498-504). [Note: Published by the Royal Society. Kindly brought to my attention by Robert van Gent.]

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: All papers by See on the ancient colour of Sirius are unreliable. In the 1890s See revived the colour of Sirius debate. 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 ?-?)

Schiaparelli, Giovanni. (1926). Scritti sulla storia della astronomia antica - Tomo Secondo (Volume II), Pages 179-212 & 213-234 [Note: Has 2 papers originally published in 1896 and 1897. Kindly brought to my attention by Robert van Gent.]

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).

Fernie, J. Donald. (1989). "Marginalia: Bloody Sirius." (American Scientist, Volume 77, Number 5, September-October, Pages 429-431.]

Gry, C. and Bonnet-Bidaud, J. M. (1990). "Sirius and the colour enigma." (Nature, Volume 347, 18 October, Page S25). [Note: Excellent article. Published in "Scientific Correspondence" section.]

Maneveau, Bernard. (1992). "Astronomie: contribution de l'Assyriologie à la couleur de Sirius." (NABU [Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires], 1992, Number 7).

Ceragioli, Roger. (1992). Feruidus ille canis: the Lore and Poetry of the Dog Star in Antiquity. [Note: Doctoral thesis; Harvard University. Abstract: "The Dog Star, Sirius, appears in many important works of classical poetry. It also appears in numerous myths and several religious rituals. A complex body of folklore surrounds it and it had a paramount importance in agriculture. Yet no one has attempted a systematic analysis of Sirius' place in Greco-Roman art and thought. This thesis begins that analysis. The introductory chapter discusses the methodology and approach that the thesis takes to the evidence, and supplies essential background information on Sirius' place among the constellations and its relation to the physical environment of the Mediterranean. Chapter one explores Sirius' role in ancient warrior traditions. Sirius embodied the principle of cosmic heat, and through heat it was thought to cause rabies in dogs. The Greek word for rabies is lussa. But lussa also named the madness of warriors such as Achilles in the Iliad. Etymologically, lussa meant "wolfishness." Rabid dogs, wolves, and raging warriors all exhibit fiery heat as an integral part of their natures. It is argued that raging warriors, wolves, and rabid dogs were largely interchangeable entities for the Greeks. Thus when Hector and Achilles in their raging are compared to Sirius, the comparison reflects more than the likeness of their surface brilliance. Chapter two explores Sirius' connection to erotic themes in ancient poetry. Because erotic experience could be represented as a conflagration that might burn the lover into a frenzy, the fiery raging Dog Star was an appropriate symbolic accompaniment. Sirius itself experienced erotic frenzy when it became passionate for Opora (the ripe fruits of summer). Chapter three turns to Sirius' involvement in viticulture. Sirius was said to ripen the grapes, but was also conceived to have once been the faithful dog of Icarius, who first introduced wine-drinking among humans. The chapter explores Sirius' role in the myth of Icarius, and the relation of that myth to the erotic and martial sides of Sirius."]

Ceragioli, Roger. (1993). "Behind the "red Sirius" myth." (Zemlya Vselennaya, Number 6, Pages 56-58).

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

Ceragioli, Roger. (1995). "The Debate Concerning the 'Red' Sirius." Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume xxvi .]

Chapman-Rietschi, P[?]. (1995). "The Colour of Sirius in Ancient Times." (Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 36, Number 4, December, Pages 337-350).

Ceragioli, Roger. (1996). "Solving the puzzle of "red" Sirius." [Note: Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 27, Pages 93-128.] [Note: Abstract. "The present paper is the second of two published in this journal concerning the problem of whether Sirius has changed its intrinsic colour from reddish to bluish white since Antiquity. The fundamental question to be answered is this: why did the ancients - and in particular Ptolemy - sometimes refer to Sirius as "reddish" when it cannot have been intrinsically different from its present bluish white colour? The author anticipates the answer by saying that ancient assessments of Sirius's reddishness depended on the varying appearances that the Dog-star shows near the horizon, where it sometimes appears reddish because of atmospheric scattering and the scintillation of its light. At higher altitudes in a calm sky, Sirius must have shown its intrinsic bluish white colour."]

Whittet, D. C. B. (1999). "A physical interpretation of the 'red Sirius' anomaly." (Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 310, Pages 335-359).

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.]

Brosch, Noah. (2008). Sirius Matters. [Note: See Chapter 3, See especially pages 35-52. Dr. Noah Brosch, The Tel Aviv University, Wise Observatory and Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv, Israel. Kindly brought to my attention by Robert van Gent.]

Theodossiou, Efstratios., et al. (2011). "Sirius in Ancient Greek and Roman Literature." (Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Volume 14, Number 3, Pages 180-189).

Return to top of page.

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, Number 9 (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." (The Mankind Quarterly, Volume 36, Numbers 3 & 4, Spring/Summer, Pages 247-259). [Note: Another earnest proponent - with an art background - of constellations being depicted in Palaeolithic cave art (especially at Lascaux). Adopts archaeoastronomy approach to the interpretation of Paleolithic cave art. Danish-born Jesper Christensen Ph.D. is an accomplished art historian with prehistoric art as a specialty. Ph.D. thesis, Svend Wiig Hansen (1922-1997) : the human figure in art after World War II (published, 1922). For decades he was on the staff of the University of Louisville. (His biographical details are sometimes confused with those of the Danish actor of the same name.) Married to American musicologist Jean Christensen and they have 2 children, Isabella (born 1977) and Nikolaj (born 1980). Jean Christensen (Ph.D., 1987) was on the staff at the University of Louisville. Retired as Professor of Music History, School of Music, University of Louisville. She specialised in the music of Danish composer Per Nørgård.]

Rappenglück [Rappenglueck], Michael. (1997). "The Pleiades in the "Salle des Tareaux", Grotte de Lascaux. Does a Rock Picture in the Cave of Lascaux show the Open  Star Cluster of the Pleiades at the Magdalenian Era (ca 15,300 BC)?" 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.]

De Santis, Henry. (2003). "La costellazione del Corvo su una roccia incisa: un’ipotesi di astronomia culturale." In: Associazione Ligure per lo Sviluppo degli Studi Archeoastronomici, 6° Seminario di Archeoastronomia, 08 Marzo 2003, Osservatorio Astronomico di Genova. (Pages 1-5).

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

Aujoulat. Norbert. (2004; 2011). Lascaux: Le Geste, l'Espace et le Temps. [Note: French-language text. Described as "a major coffee table book." See the (English-language) book review by: Lawrence Straus in Journal of Anthropological Research, Volume 61, Number. 2, Summer, 2005, Pages. 281-284.]

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.]

Pásztor, Emília. (2011). "Prehistoric Astronomers? Ancient Knowledge Created by Modern Myth." (Journal of Cosmology (online), Volume 14). [Note: Critical overview of claims for Paleolithic astronomy. Accessible at: "Emilia Pásztor is an archaeologist specialized in European Prehistory by her profession who also graduated from astronomy at ELTE, Budapest. She is a dedicated researcher of Bronze Age sky lore and a consistent promoter of archaeoastronomy. She has conducted field works in several parts of Europe and Asia and developed teaching material of indigenous astronomical cultural heritage of the Carpathian Basin. She is a founding member of the research team 'Investigation of prehistoric earthworks in Zala county' at Balatoni Museum, Keszthely which also aims at archaeoastronomical investigation of the monuments. She is the editor and co-editor of three books and author of more than 50 research papers."]

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.

Corbally, Christopher. and Rappaport, Margaret. (2015). "When Hominins First Looked Up and Saw Constellations."(Presentation at The Ninth Conference on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena, 24-27 August 2015, London). [Note: Speculative, but interesting. The images in the Caves at Lascaux have not been demonstrated to be constellations. Abstract: "Enrico Calzolari presented on constellations dating back to 5500 BC, at INSAP III, Palermo, 2001, in his paper, 'Paleo e Archeoastronomia'. Others have found astronomical images in archaeological sites dating around 30,000 to 31,000 years ago in Europe. Since 2001, scholars have begun to integrate archaeology with cognitive science and sychoneurology. We (co-authors Corbally and Rappaport) review the cognitive capacities needed for hominins in the genus Homo to interpret the skies as constellations. Until they could project their religious beliefs on the 'flat surface' of the sky dome, as on the walls of a cave, they could not interpret collections of attached stars as animals or mythological beings. We point to cognitive analogues in the archaeological literature that might suggest a capacity to interpret stars as constellations. While incorporating the critique of archaeologist Wynn and psychologist Coolidge (2009, 2010), we consider whether the making and stringing of beads is such an analogue. Beads are found widely in sites from Africa's Middle Stone Age. We ask: what are the cognitive capacities that beads imply? We borrow from the cognitive and psychoneurological literatures on modern use of beads in mental testing, and ask if bead-stringing could be transferred to constellation-making by the early human mind, much as we transpose writing on paper to writing on a blackboard. When did bead-making and stringing evolve, and for what purposes? Finally, are the images of constellations in the Caves at Lascaux probably the very earliest we can expect to find, or are other findings of archaeological depictions of constellations likely?"]

Antonello, Elio. (2016). "Sky simulations for the Palaeolithic epoch." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 16, Number 4, Pages 329-334). [Note: Paper presented at SEAC 2015 meeting, Astronomy in the past and present cultures, 9-13 November 2015, Rome. A speculative but excellent attempt to provide necessary analytical tools. Paper length is 6 pages. The author is with the Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Italy.

Antonello Elio. (2017). "The Palaeolithic Sky." In: Orlando, Andrea. (Editor). The Light, The Stones and The Sacred. Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings, Volume 48. (Pages 159-164). [Note: Proceedings of the XVth Italian Society of Archaeoastronomy Congress.]

Csillik, Iharka-Szücs., et al., (2017?). "About Some Neolithic Constellations." (?, Pages 621-630). [Note: Argues for Neolithic constellation families. Constellation families are collections of constellations with common characteristics such as a similar place on the celestial sphere, common historical origin, common mythological line. Believes the origins for the earliest constellations go back to prehistory.]

The Phylogenetic Methodology

"Phylogenetic" methodology involves applying evolutionary biological methods to cultural data with a view to shedding light on cultural evolution. Phylogenetics was originally developed to investigate the evolutionary relationships among biological species. However, it has now become popular in studies of cultural phenomena. Phylogenetic analysis of folklore/myths is a relatively new approach - a somewhat modern creative method. It seeks to construct a family tree of a myth's discrete elements, or "mythemes," and its evolution/development over time. It tries to trace the origins of different myths, possibly all the way to the Palaeolithic using large databases of attributes.

A phylogenetic tree is drawing out a graphical picture according to features stories share in common or don't share.

Jamshid Tehrani (an anthropologist at Durham University (Department of Anthropology) in the United Kingdom) and Julien d'Huy (a historian at the Panthéon–Sorbonne University in Paris) are pioneers in the application of phylogenetic methods developed by evolutionary biologists to study the evolution of folktales/myths. An early major (and high interest) paper by Jamshid Tehrani was "The Phylogeny of Little Red Riding Hood." (PLoS ONE [open-access], Volume 8, Issue 11, November 13, 2013, Pages 1-11). Julien d'Huy at the Pantheon–Sorbonne University in Paris is pioneering the use of evolutionary theory and computer modeling to compare and analyse magical myths and folktales. D'huy's analysis is based on the work of anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, who posited that numerous myths are similar because they have a common origin. Levi-Strauss traced the evolution of myths by applying the same techniques that linguists use to trace the evolution of words. D'Huy (and others) attempt to provide new evidence for this approach by borrowing recently developed computational statistical tools from evolutionary biology.

 Tehrani (2013) states: "... the aim of a phylogenetic analysis is to construct a tree of graph that represents relationships of common ancestry inferred from shared inherited traits (homologies)." The method, known as phylogenetic analysis consists of connecting successive versions of a mythical story and constructing a family tree that traces the evolution/development of the myth over time. Proponents of the method believe analysing how stories change in the retelling down through the generations sheds light on the history of human migration going as far back as the Paleolithic period. See: Tehrani, Jamshid. and d'Huy, Julien. (2017). "Phylogenetics Meets Folklore: Bioinformatics Approaches to the Study of International Folktales." In: Kenna, Ralph., et al. (Editors). Maths Meets Myths: Quantitative Approaches to Ancient Narratives. (Pages 91-114).

The method has its critics, especially regarding its criteria for computer modeling using probabilistic modeling programs, and the "rooting method." Some advantages and disadvantages of phylogenetic analysis:

(1) Advantages:

- Establishing a detailed cross-comparison of myths across the world.

- The possibility of showing evidence of the migratory patterns of humankind dating back thousands of years.

- An additional method/tool for investigating oral tradition (but with its limits yet to be fully established).

- Phylogenetic analysis can take into account all the story features that a researcher believes might be relevant.

(2) Disadvantages:

- Chance (coincidental) resemblances. Some themes are the type that may likely occur in any culture.

- Before the earliest writing any changes to myths are simply conjecture. Also, it cannot be known for certain what the language and stories told in it were.

- "Tracking" the age of a story simply based on the changes observed in historic times is speculation/conjecture.

- Lack of empirical conformation. Without a written record, which we do not have and cannot now have, there is no way to prove the method is working.

- Concerned with the similarity focused side of comparative mythology.

A few papers:

d'Huy, Julien. (2012). "Un ours dans les étoiles: recherche phylogénétique sur un mythe Préhistorique." (Bulletin Préhistoire du sud-ouest, Number 20, Bulletin Number 1 [1° Semestre], Pages 91-106).

d'Huy, Julien. (2016). "The Evolution of Myths." (Scientific American, Volume 315, Number 6, December, Pages 62-69). The statistical account of the methodology is considered somewhat oversimplified. About the cosmic hunt, the 2016 paper in French is more complete. See: "The Evolution of a Scientific American Graphic: Cosmic Hunt. Designers from Accurat Studio provide a peek behind the scenes, and explain how they developed a data visualization rooted in researcher Julien d'Huy's analysis of myths across space and time.":

d'Huy, Julien. and Berezkin, Yuri. (2016-2017, Double Issue). "How Did the First Humans Perceive the Starry Sky?" (The Retrospective Methods Network RMN Newsletter, Number 12-13, Pages 100-122). The best current illustration of the method is perhaps this paper co-written with Yuri Berezkin.

Berezkin, Yuri. (2017). The Birth of the Starry Sky. Ideas About the Night Luminaries in Historical Dynamics. [Note: Russian-language. The book analyses the areal distribution of tales and images related to the night sky, i.e. stars, constellations and shadows on the moon. The word "areal" refers to an area, which is an expanse of space or a region of land.]

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Claims for an early knowledge of precession independent of Hipparchus.

Did pre-Hipparchan narratives identify precession before it was expressed in scientific terms by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus of Rhodes (2nd-century BCE)?

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: When it first appeared the work produced an immense sensation. 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." An early abridgment and critique of Dupuis' Origine was: Analyse raisonnée de "l'Origine de Tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle" by Antoine comte Destutt de Tracy (1804).]

Biot, Jean-Baptiste. (1846) Mémoire sur le zodiaque circulaire de Denderah. [Note: The author believed that there was evidence that its designers incorporated the phenomenon of precession.]

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, Edward. (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).

Nuttall, Zelia. (1901). The Fundamental Principles of Old and New World Civilizations.

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.]

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.]

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

Lowell, Percival. (1913). "Precession and the Pyramids." (The Popular Science Monthly, Volume 80, Pages 449-460). [Note: A somewhat misleading title. It is a recomputation of the epochs when Thuban could have been viewed through the Entrance Passage of the Great Pyramid.]

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 [1914?]) “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 (Kidinnu). 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: In his 1935 book, Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars, Stephen Langdon tried to prove that the Akkadians got their Semitic calendar during the Amorite invasion (which he dated to 2300 BCE and that the Akkadians got their calendar from the Sumerian cults with their seat at Nippur. According to Langdon the Accadians passed their calendar on to the Assyrian and Babylonian temples and from there the Aramaeans and lastly to the Hebrews. Landon’s ideas have not been accepted. 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. Also, see the brief and indefinite discussion of precession by Langdon in The H. Weld-Blundell Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Vol. I  (1923; Pages 3-4). It is somewhat supportive of/suggests early knowledge of precession, based on a single example of mythical data.]

Balcer, Witold. (1948? (likely unpublished)). The Mystery of the Zodiac. [Note: It is uncertain whether the book was actually published or remained in manuscript form. See: "Witold Balcer's "Mystery of the Zodiac." [a review]" by Michael Kamienśki (Atlantean Research [Atlantis], Volume 1, Number 6, March, 1949, Pages 95-96). Also, "Avalon: The Mystery of the Zodiac (Conclusion)." by Witold Balcer (Atlantean Research [Atlantis], Volume 2, Number 1, April/May, 1949, Pages 14-16). Witold Balcer (researcher and collector/historian?/archaeologist?) was Polish (and prior to World War II had accumulated a large private library and collection of ancient art 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 determine whether The Mystery of the Zodiac was in Polish or English. (Likely it was in Polish with at least one short summary in English. The summary indicates just how fantastically speculative and separated from reality the book was.) If indeed published it is now a very rare book and does not appear in any catalogues. The origin of the mythological interpretation of zodiacal precession and the effects of zodiacal ages on humankind was the subject of the book. In some ways the book/manuscript is a precursor to themes in Hamlet's Mill (1969). Witold Balcer believed that 15,000 years ago there existed a culture that knew precession and introduced a 12-symbol zodiac (the Adamites). The concealed symbolic meaning of the zodiac refers to individual human life and also to the cultural life of humankind. This interpretation uses Virgo as the first sign and a retrograde direction through the signs to obtain the interpretation. It is most likely that the book remained unpublished. Whether Egerton Sykes ever had a copy of the manuscript is unknown. It appears the Polish astronomer Michael Kamienśki, a friend and colleague of Witold Balcer, may also have believed the zodiac had a hidden symbolic meaning referring to cycles of human (cultural) life. In believing the zodiacal figures have a concealed symbolic meaning, Kamienśki was likely adopting Balcer's ideas. It is very difficult to locate any biographical information about Witold Balcer. It is certain that Witold Balcer was an academic, and somewhat wealthy. It appears he was born 21-10-1921 in Ostrołęka/Scharfenwiese (Polish city integrated into Germany during WWII), and lived in Lochów. Circa 1930 it is indicated he was residing in Warsaw. It is also indicated he was sent to Dachau Concentration Camp on 3-7-1943. By at least 1949 he had died. Before WWII, Balcer and 2 other persons (academics) conducted a series of experiments with the Polish clairvoyant (supposedly, he failed numerous tests) Stefan Ossowiecki [also misspelled Ossowiencki]. Michael Kamienski. Michal Kamieński/Kamienśki] (November 24, 1879 to April 18, 1973) was an eccentric Russian-born Polish 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 and Halley's Comet. In 1971 Comet Wolf was renamed Comet Wolf-Kamienski in his honour. He was Professor of Astronomy at Warsaw University, and also Director of the Warsaw University Astronomical Observatory from 1923 to 1945. One source indicates Michael Kamienśki, retired circa the mid 1940's; another source indicates he retired in 1963. He was a member of the International Astronomical Union, the Polish Astronomical Society, Warsaw Scientific Society, Astronomical Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and Fellow of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and Associate Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (UK). 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.") (The lecture was originally held on January 18, 1956 in one of the largest halls of the University in Poland in Krakow. When over 500 people tried to attend but only 300 could be accommodated in the room, the lecture was repeated the following week.) An (English-language) obituary for Michael Kamienski by J[an?] Witkowski appeared in The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 15, 1974, Pages 48-50?/50-52?. The Atlantis Research Centre appears in the obituary as the British Society of Atlantological Research, and it is stated that Kamienski was a member. The name of the organisation in the obituary is fictional and The Atlantis Research Centre was not really a membership society. It's main function/focus was to regularly publish a journal.]

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).]

Hatch, Marion Popenoe. (1971). "An Hypothesis on Olmec Astronomy with Special Reference to the La Venta Site." (Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Research Facility, Volume 13, Pages 1-64).

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.]

Brotherston, Gordon. (1982). "Astronomical Norms in Mesoamerican Ritual." In: Aveni, Anthony. (Editor). Archaeoastronomy in the New World. (Pages 109-142).

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).]

White, David. (1991). Myths of the Dog-Man. [Note: Based on 1988 PhD thesis, University of Chicago. Seems to believe in an early universal 12-constellation zodiac. References Hamlet's Mill (1969).]

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 "sky is falling" myth may be connected with the horizontal position of the Milky Way dropping below the western horizon. 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 (1979) 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.]

Vlora and Tucci (1997). It is difficult to find any information for the seldom mentioned 1997 article by Vlora and Tucci. Both are identifiable as Italian academics. Vlora = Nedim Vlora, Universita degli Studi di Bari. Tucci = Giuseppe? Tucci (Egyptologist?) (not Pasquale? or Giulia Tucci). (Nedim Vlora, 1997: Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche e Geografiche dell'Università di Bari. At time of publishing "All'alba del Giorno Precessione e Moti Propri." with Raffaele Falagario (2002, Pages 27-32): Dipartimento di Bioetica; Sezione di Cosmologia, Geografia, Archeoastronomia; Università delgi Studi di Bari. The paper was presented at Padova conference in 2001: Societa' Italiana di Archeoastronomia, Congresso, Padova, 28 e 29 Settembre 2001.) For the 1997 article by Vlora and Tucci see: (1) Acta Geodaetica Et Geophysica Hungarica, Volume 33, 1998 (Akadémiai Kiadó). (2) Geomagnetism and Aeronomy with Special Historical Case Studies, edited by Wilfried Schröder, Volume 29, 1997. (Volume 29 of Interdivisional Commission on History: Newsletters of the Interdivisional Commission on History of IAGA, International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy/Issue 29 of Newsletters of the Interd. Comm. on History of IAGA). The only short description I can presently put together is: They carried out a detailed reading and (clever) interpretation of several symbols appearing in paintings within some Egyptian tombs. They claim that precession was known to Egyptian priests. They claim that they have decoded several symbols appearing in Egyptian tombs that demonstrate real measurement of equinox precession (or at least be interpreted in terms of an apparent knowledge of precession/possible indirect evidence about the knowledge of equinox precession) by ancient Egyptians.

Wood, Florence. and Wood, Kenneth. (1999, reprinted 2018). 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. The precession argument is tied to the arguments that the Greek equally divided 12-constellation zodiac was used by Homer circa 750 BCE and existed thousands of years prior to this. Needless to say a "fatal flaw" with the book's argument. Inaccurate on basic issues and quite speculative. A claim made without evidence is questionable. A claim made with erroneous material is dismissible. 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 "Imaginary 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 comes 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.]

Herouni, Paris M. (2004). Armenians and old Armenia: archaeoastronomy, linguistics, oldest history. [Note: 272 pages. Asserts that precession was discovered by astronomers at the prehistoric stone monument site at Carahunge (Carajunge/Karahunj/Karahundj) near the modern-day town of Sisian/Sissian/Siddian). The standing stones at Sisian are completely different. (He likely made the claim earlier than 2004 in a published paper.) The Carahunge stone complex (also known as Zorac' K'arer) is situated on a rocky promontory on high plain in eastern Anatolia in southern Armenia. Asserts that the standing stones at the complex functioned as an astronomical observatory. The complex comprises 223 large stones forming an immense oval configuration (over more than 17 acres (7 hectares)), most being 2-3 metres tall and weighing an average of 10 metric tons (but the tallest being up to 5 times heavier). The site is dated to the 3rd-millennium BCE. 84 of the stones have a smooth angled hole in them 3-7 cm in diameter. It is speculated they were observation points for the horizon for astronomical calculations. See also: Armiane i drevniaia Armeniia (2006, 319 pages) by the same author, and also dealing with exaggerated claims for archaeoastronomy. Paris Herouni was a scientist, inventor, astronomer, and academic. Professor Paris Herouni, a member of the Armenian National Academy of Science and President of the Radiophysics Research Institute in Yerevan. He meticulously surveyed the Carahunge site in a series of 4-day expeditions, beginning in 1994. He also attempted to prove that Stonehenge in England was also built by Armenians. (The Armenians were descendents of the remnants of the Hittites-Hurrians with a possible Phrygian connection.) It may be easiest to access the claims through the excellent book: Megalithism: Sacred and Pagan Architecture in Prehistory by Alberto Pozzi (2013 (sometimes erroneously given as 2014)). Ed Krupp (Hastro-L, 22-3-2016): "Gary Thompson has also referenced Zorats Karer = Carahunge = Karahunj in this discussion. I visited the site last October and can confirm that most of the astronomical claims made for it make no sense. I picked up a copy there of Herouni's book, Armenians and Old Armenia. It contains some interesting cultural material, but its astronomical analysis is labored and unpersuasive. The ruin is a mix of many epochs, and the primary astronomical "alignments" involve relatively large holes—useless for astronomical observation—in stones that were actually part of a Hellenistic wall and not part of the original prehistoric site. The extraordinarily archaic date argued by some for the site was astronomically calculated from the very implausible alignments of the holes in the stones. Genuine archaeological examination of the site provides a more recent and more reasonable date for the site. Even the most superficial examination of the site confirms it was a prehistoric necropolis with numerous chambered cairns, at least one of which is encircled by standing stones. The most remarkable thing about Zorats Karer is that it exists at all in this region. I visited other prehistoric standing stones, stone rows (for example, at Hartashen), dolmens, and such in Armenia, but as far as I know, nothing else on the scale of Zorats Karer has been reported. Its apparent singularity, not its alleged astronomy, is what requires attention. An avenue of standing stones does extend northeast from the primary chambered cairn at Zorats Karer, and it is said to be aligned with the major standstill northern moonrise. Lunar alignments have been attributed to megalithic monuments in western Europe, of course, but the case for most of them remains problematic. I included major and minor northern and southern moonset lines on Griffith Observatory's Lower West Terrace in the $93-million renovation and expansion completed in 2006, and personal experience has demonstrated how difficult it is to observe the standstill moon and establish its limit with any precision. A variety of practical problems complicate the observation even when one knows what the moon is doing."]

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."]

Anscombe, Kate. (2005). The Lion-Bull Combat as an Astronomical Symbol in the Context of the Origin of the Constellations. [Note: Unpublished (?) thesis for Master of Arts Degree, University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand). Approximately 140 pages; Call Number: 7LXG A. (The thesis was completed in 2005 and the MA awarded in 2006.) The author of the thesis supports the views of Willy Hartner on the earliest Mesopotamian constellations (and accepts his point of view as a "given"). Unfortunately she lacks intimate knowledge of the issues, relies exclusively on secondary sources, and has not been aware of recent archaeological work relevant to the interpretation of the lion-bull symplegma. Also, no recalculated "accuracy test" of Hartner's calculations is apparently made. This is a particular problem in view of her claims to identify slight time-related changes in lion-bull iconography. Kate Anscombe also presented a paper entitled "The Lion-Bull Combat" on February 1st, 2005, at the Australasian Society for Classical Studies Conference held at the University of Otago. Interestingly, in the (10-page) publication The Research in Classics for Higher Degrees in New Zealand Universities compiled by John Davidson and Jody Connor (July, 2004) Anscombe's MA Thesis at the University of Otago was listed as The Signs of the Zodiac in Greek and Roman Art.]

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. (It is available for download online at The author is currently (2016) Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, American River College, Sacramento, CA. He is currently (2016) teaching cultural anthropology, archaeology and physical anthropology. His students rate him very highly as a lecturer. He is a specialist in Maya hieroglyphic writing, archaeoastronomy, comparative mythology and cacao. Academic degrees: 2007: Ph.D., Native American Studies, University of California, Davis; 1998: M.A., Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies (Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology); B.S., Marine Biology, University of Miami. (Grofe started his undergraduate work in marine biology at the University of Miami and completed his studies at the James Cook University, Australia.) He was a researcher on the Maya Hieroglyphic Database Project, 2001-2007. Grofe is particularly interested in the confluence of mythological narrative and participatory science in Mesoamerica, and the historical interaction between the traditions of the Maya and Central Mexico. In his doctoral research at the University of California at Davis, he explored a new astronomical interpretation of the Serpent Series within the Dresden Codex, and he is currently expanding this research to incorporate the theoretical astronomy found in the Palenque inscriptions. He has published several papers and presented his diverse research on archaeoastronomy and the mythology of cacao at multiple conferences. In 2007, he designed and curated an exhibit on cacao and the ancient Maya at the Gorman Museum at U.C. Davis. As a lecturer he has taught numerous courses on the Popol Vuh and Native American literature. He also works with the Maya Exploration Center (MEC), a non-profit organization dedicated to the study of ancient Maya civilization. The Maya Exploration Center leads trips to ancient and living Maya sites in Central America, as well as to non-Maya sites like Machu Picchu in South America. Grofe has led multiple field courses in Belize, Mexico and India.]

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).

Littleton, C. Scott. and Malcor, Linda. (2008). "The Germanic Sword in the Tree: Parallel Development or Diffusion?" (The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe, Issue 11, May, Pages ?-?). [Note: "Abstract: In this paper we consider whether the Norse story of the "Sword in the Branstock" and the Arthurian tale of the "Sword in the Stone" may represent two variants of a tale about a celestial event that occurred 2160 B.C.E."]

Malcor, Linda. (2008). "The Icelandic Sword in the Stone: Bears in the Sky." (The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe, Issue 11, May, Pages ?-?). [Note: "Abstract: This paper examines the Icelandic saga of Hrolf Kraki, compares it to the Greek stories of Theseus and Kallisto, and argues that both traditions of the Sword in the Stone stemmed from a celestial event that occurred in 2160 B.C.E." "Conclusion §18. By 128 B.C.E. Hipparchus was discussing precession in his writings (Schaeffer 2006, 99), but ancient narratives talked about the phenomenon long before it was expressed in scientific terms. Although the Bear's Son tale is absent from the Arthurian tradition, Arthur has long had his name associated with the word for "bear" in Celtic languages, and some pundits have gone so far as to connect his name with Ursa Major (e.g., Allen 1963, 425). The Sword in the Stone, then, appears to be a tale about the north shift, and, because of Ursa Major's relation to the celestial pole, the Bear's Son tale became part of this complex of tales used to discuss precession. In Greek tradition, the stories appear separately, but the Icelandic variant, which presents the two tales together, likely preserves a more ancient form of the story, which is exactly what we would expect given the paradox of the periphery." Linda Malcor PhD (born 1962) is an American scholar of Arthurian legend. She is one of the proponents of the theory that the historical basis for King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were a 2nd-century Roman officer named Lucius Artorius Castus and Sarmatian auxiliary horsemen, which Artorius supposedly commanded in Britain. Linda Malcor earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with cum laude honors in English (minoring in history and comparative literature) from Occidental College in June 1984. She then went to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she earned her Master of Arts degree in Folklore and Mythology (Celtic Studies and Narrative) in 1986 and her doctorate in Folklore and Mythology (Medieval Studies and Indo-European Comparative Mythology) in 1991. Linda Malcor is a Freelance Researcher, and Writer. She is an international lecturer, and long-time researcher on a variety of film projects, including the 2004 movie, "King Arthur." She has written numerous scripts and articles and contributed to books.]

Cooley, Jeffrey. (2008). ""I Want to Dim the Brilliance of Šulpae!" Mesopotamian Celestial Divination and the Poem of "Erra and Išum"." (Iraq, Volume 70, Pages 179-188). [Note: Precession is not described. "A long time ago I was angry, I rose from my throne and brought on the Flood. When I rose from my throne, the judgment of Ki-tim up-ta-at-tir heaven and earth disintegrated. The heavens quaked such that the stars of heaven, their station(s) changed and I did not return them to their place(s)." Marduk's former abdication changed the normal, ideal positions of the stars. The celestial situation portended an earthly disaster which resulted in agricultural and environmental collapse (I 135-137). In the astronomical literature, the term manzazu "station" refers to a celestial body's position in the sky. In Enuma Elis V, the manzazu are described as the ideal celestial locations of the gods established for them at creation by Marduk: "He created stations for the great gods, The stars, their counterparts, he set in place (as) constellations."]

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.]

Coggins, Clemency. (2015). "The North Celestial Pole in Ancient Mesoamerica." In: Dowd, Anne. and Milbrath, Susan. (Editors). Cosmology, Calendars, and Horizon-Based Astronomy in Ancient Mesoamerica. (Pages 101-137).

Rutz, Matthew. (2016). "Astral Knowledge in an International Age: Transmission of the Cuneiform Tradition, ca. 1500–1000 B.C." In: Steele, John. (Editor). The Circulation of Astronomical Knowledge in the Ancient World. (Pages 18-54). [Note: Excellent. Conference papers.]

Theodosiou, E[?]. (2017). "The Astronomical Eras of Taurus, Aries and Pisces and their Correlation with Ancient Greek Sculpture." (Pages 299-307). In: Paipetis, Stephanos. (Editor). Ancient Greece and Contemporary World. [Note: Conference papers, An International Conference Ancient Greece and Contemporary World, The Influence of Greek Thought on Philosophy, Science and Technology, Ancient Olympia, 28-31 August 2016. The author is with the University of Athens. Unreliable paper. The section B4. Astronomy and Astronomical Instruments contains some very speculative papers that are most likely erroneous.]

Sweatman, Martin. and Coombs, Alistair. (2018). "Decoding European Palaeolithic art: Extremely ancient knowledge of precession of the equinoxes." (Athens Journal of History [online], 2018, Pages 1-30). [Note: 30 pages. Abstract: "A consistent interpretation is provided for zoomorphic artworks at Neolithic Göbekli Tepe and Çatalhöyük as well as European Palaeolithic cave art. It appears they all display the same method for recording dates based on precession of the equinoxes, with animal symbols representing an ancient zodiac. The same constellations are used today in the West, although some of the zodiacal symbols are different. In particular, the Shaft Scene at Lascaux is found to have a similar meaning to Pillar 43 at Göbekli Tepe. Both can be viewed as memorials of catastrophic encounters with the Taurid meteor stream, consistent with Clube and Napier's theory of coherent catastrophism. The date of the likely comet strike recorded at Lascaux is 15,150 ± 200 BC, corresponding closely to the onset of a climate event recorded in a Greenland ice core. A survey of radiocarbon dates of these animal symbols from Chauvet and other Palaeolithic caves is consistent with this zodiacal interpretation with an extraordinary level of statistical significance. Finally, the Lion Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel, circa 38,000 BC, is also consistent with this interpretation, indicating this knowledge is extremely ancient and was widespread." Athens Journal of History is published by ATINER [https://www.atine...tory.pdf ], which is listed as a predatory journal by Beall ( Posted at on 31 May 2018. Presentation given at the ATINER, a history-archaeology symposium in Athens July 16, 2018. Focuses on images at the Göbekli Tepe site. Speculative and imaginative. The paper enables one to appreciate how deep the rabbit hole of alternative archaeology/history is with its fantasy claims. Displays a limited knowledge of history and statistics. Their statistical arguments are not convincing. As a basic statement: Geoffrey Elton (1921-1994) (The Practice of History, 1967) counselled: "Those determined to put their faith in 'sophisticated' mathematical methods and to apply 'general laws' to the pitifully meagre and very uncertain detail that historical evidence often provides for the answering of interesting and important questions, are either to be pitied because they will be sinking in quicksand while believing themselves to be standing on solid earth, or to be combated because they darken counsel with their errors." In a coauthored 2017 paper Sweatman/Tsikritsis claimed that an important function of the Göbekli Tepe site was as an astronomical observatory to monitor comets and their meteor showers, mainly of the Taurid system. (See: "Decoding Göbekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?" by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 17, Number 1, 2017, Pages 233-250). Abstract: "We have interpreted much of the symbolism of Göbekli Tepe in terms of astronomical events. By matching low-relief carvings on some of the pillars at Göbekli Tepe to star asterisms we find compelling evidence that the famous 'Vulture Stone' is a date stamp for 10950 BC ± 250 yrs, which corresponds closely to the proposed Younger Dryas event, estimated at 10890 BC. We also find evidence that a key function of Göbekli Tepe was to observe meteor showers and record cometary encounters. Indeed, the people of Göbekli Tepe appear to have had a special interest in the Taurid meteor stream, the same meteor stream that is proposed as responsible for the Younger-Dryas event. Is Göbekli Tepe the 'smoking gun' for the Younger-Dryas cometary encounter, and hence for coherent catastrophism?") This type of fictional history is now appearing quite regularly and is inextinguishable. This type of history originates with people who assume to confidently write outside of their respective fields of expertise. The authors claim their conclusions are certain. The paper by the authors likely tell us more about these modern speculators and their sensationalist assertions than about the ancient people who constructed the site and put the monuments there. Martin Sweatman (a chemical engineer) is an Associate Professor at the School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Alistair Coombs is with the Department of Religious Studies, University of Kent, UK. He studied archaeology and religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He believes he has discovered (Prehistory Decoded (2018)) a prehistoric proto-writing system used for over 40,000 years at some of the world's most famous archaeological sites, such as Gobekli Tepe, Catalhoyuk, Lascaux, Chauvet and Altamira. Dimitrios Tsikritsis is an astronomer?/astrophysicist? at the University of Edinburgh (School of Engineering). It is frequently overlooked that over 90 percent of the Göbekli Tepe site has not yet been excavated. (Estimates vary between 1 percent and 5 percent.) Conventionally, the archaeological site Göbekli Tepe is interpreted as a temple complex that dates back to the 10th-9th millennium. It may be no older than the 8th-millennium BCE. Supposedly academic journals can now give support to poorly researched papers whose claims invite skepticism.  It is very unfortunate that people with little knowledge of the archaeology of Göbekli Tepe can somehow get their absurd "alternative facts" and invalid arguments published in what claims to be a legitimate (refereed) academic journal (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry). These type of "fantasy archaeology" articles do nothing for the reputation of the journal, its editorial staff, and its supposedly rigorous peer-review process. As example: Burley, Paul. (2017). "Critical Evaluation of the Paper by Sweatman, M. B. and D. Tsikritsis, "Decoding Göbekli Tepe with Archaeosatronomy: What Does the Fox Say?"" (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 17, Number 2, 2017, Pages 71-74). At the head of his paper Burley lists that he is with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota. This appears to be the identification of another academic writing outside of his field. (He has Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Science - Geology degrees (but apparently no graduate degrees) from the University of Minnesota.) However, from the body of the paper Burley is identifiable as an alternative historian and mystic who has published at least one article on Göbekli Tepe on the Graham Hancock website. In his so-called critical evaluation Burley is actually giving support to his own published ideas on the astronomical interpretation of Göbekli Tepe. A supposedly academic journal has become a platform for amateur alternative historians to disagree with aspects of each others ideas. Basically, 2 fringe historians are arguing against each other in an academic journal, to prove their own 'pet theory' - attributed to a culture we know almost nothing about - is the real historical truth. The underlying influence for all is indicated as the fringe writer Andrew Collins, namely his 2014 book Göbekli Tepe: Genesis of the Gods. Andrew Collins is an English fringe writer, lecturer (also claims to be an explorer, television personality). He has no formal qualifications. He is perhaps best described as an occultist/mystic. Somewhat lost is the sage advice: In the face of inadequate historical evidence it is best to suspend judgment rather than jump to conclusions. The issue is the benchmark (= at least standard of evidence and argument that eliminates the likelihood of irrelevant/false information, or superficiality) for maintaining an appropriate academic standard. This is not academic closed mindedness. This is not intended to exclude outré ideas along with nonsense ideas. Outré ideas can have value. Academic journals need to ensure that their benchmark for maintaining an appropriate academic standard is kept in good working order. If not, they risk becoming a platform for helping to promote pseudohistory/pseudoscience. This involves excluding publishing articles by persons who make amazing claims about history/archaeology but have no formal relevant qualifications, are not experts in the period, and are not experienced historians at all (= they have a questionable grip on facts about the past). It is not the function of academic journals to be popular with the public - nor help authors become popular with the public. Academic specialists in a field are the most qualified/competent to assess an argument in that field. A consensus of qualified and experienced experts meets the need for establishing what it is reasonable to believe. It is unlikely that an incorrect argument would be found persuasive by an expert in the field. It is likely that an incorrect argument would be found persuasive by a layperson (or by someone outside of their field). Unfortunately, the Internet now brings outlandish archaeological/historical ideas into the public domain. One result is alternative/fringe historians are becoming the go-to people on ancient archaeology and history.

Regarding claims by Graham Hancock. There is no genetic trace for any early "highly civilised" Atlantean civilization that travelled across the world.

Summary of problems with articles by Martin Sweatman:

In their paper "Decoding European Palaeolithic Art" the authors claim that ancient Palaeolithic/Neolithic people in Europe possessed a sophisticated knowledge of astronomy. "This [astronomical] knowledge, it seems enabled them to record dates, using animal symbols to represent star constellations [an ancient zodiac that is almost the same as our present-day zodiac], in terms of precession of the equinoxes." They relate this to the claims of 'coherent catastrophism' of Clube and Napier. The impact of cometary debris - the Taurid meteor stream - triggering the Younger Dryas period, a period of catastrophic climate change. For the authors the proof is provided with statistical analysis. They assert: "The basis of all empirical science is the statistical analysis of measurements combined with logical deduction." Note: The Younger Dryas period was a return to glacial conditions which temporarily reversed the gradual climatic warming after the Last Glacial Maximum started receding circa 18,000 BCE. The current theory is that the Younger Dryas period was caused by significant reduction or shutdown of the North Atlantic "Conveyor," which circulates warm tropical waters northward, in response to a sudden influx of fresh water from Lake Agassiz and deglaciation in North America.

An apparent assumption indicated is the acceptance of a generic set of Northern sky constellations/patterns (or generic set of Northern sky star groupings) as illustrated by the Greek constellation set familiar to us. Also, an apparent assumption is the dot and line indulged in justifies the Greek constellation pattern set. No satisfactory proof of an indigenous constellation/constellation set is given. The decision to connect 'stars' in dot and line manner to suggest Greek constellation patterns is not satisfactorily discussed. Problems include: (1) the assumption that the dot and line pattern indulged in justifies the Greek constellation pattern set for comparison purposes, (2) the acceptance of a generic set of Northern sky constellations/patterns (or generic set of Northern sky star groupings) as illustrated by the Greek constellation set, and (3) the use of a late Greek constellation/pattern set as the Northern constellations of an earlier date. There is no evidence that constellations, let alone a complete constellation set and zodiac, existed at this early period. There is circa a 10,000/12,000 year time gap between proposed Paleolithic constellations and the classical constellation figures of Western Europe. The assertion of constellation continuity is without any supporting evidence.

Their use of statistics is not based on a reasonable database. The database is comprised of speculation. The authors are dogmatic regarding the reliability of their use of statistical method. No justification is given. Their use of statistical method is deemed indisputably reliable.

The authors have only made use of selective English-language sources. No use is made of all existing evidence obtainable from non English-language publications.

No knowledge of scientific iconography and its method is demonstrated.

C 14 dating does not support one artist and one time period for cave art. Also, palimpsests are common in cave art.

The assumption is made that the present-day Greek constellation set is relevant to the Palaeolithic/Neolithic period. No evidence is given for this astonishing assumption. (The assumption that constellations/asterisms remain stable across time and culture is highly unlikely. It has never been demonstrated.) The stars for each constellation are not established.

No reasons are given why animal depictions should correspond to particular constellations. The correspondence made is arbitrary/questionable.

What exactly is meant by the 'centre' of a constellation and how it was fixed is not explained.

The authors do not show that independent results from other disciplines and methods (archaeology, iconography, etc.) give support to their ideas. (What is needed is a comprehensive/thorough examination/analysis of other approaches.)

Their association of iconography with cometary impact is simply without credible evidence. There simply is no evidence for the existence of coherent impacts. Climatic changes are not proof of impact criteria.

Accurate dating is needed for any association of cometary/meteorite impact with cultural changes. This is not provided.

The methodology utilised by the authors - which includes statistics, 'measurements,' accurate software - is flawed/inadequate. It only leads to pseudoscientific/pseudohistorical ideas.

Regarding the article, "Decoding Göbekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?" published 2017 in MAA. It has been pointed out that the construction of the argument made by the authors does not make logical sense and is formed from circular reasoning. Jason Colavito, who has been investigating/analysing fringe archaeological theories for years and posts his detailed conclusions at his blog web site: "The authors assumed that the comet really did hit the Earth, and they assumed that Göbekli Tepe should be understood astronomically, and therefore they use those assumptions to prove that the comet hit the Earth and was recorded at Göbekli Tepe." (

It is indicated that some academics outside their field cannot distinguish between scholarly history/historians and fringe history/historians. An earlier paper (to those coauthored by Sweatman) by 2 mathematicians, "New Possible Astronomic Alignments at the Megalithic Site of Göbekli Tepe, Turkey." by Alessandro De Lorenzis and Vincenzo Orofino (Archaeological Discovery, 2015, Volume 3, Pages 40-50). Both authors are with the Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica "E. De Giorgi," Università del Salento, Lecce, Italy. "Abstract: Göbekli Tepe is the oldest and one of the most important among the megalithic sites in the world. Its archaeoastronomical relevance has been recently evidenced by Collins (2013), according to whom the central pillars in four of the enclosures discovered in the site are oriented toward the setting point of the star Deneb (α Cyg), as this point moves in the course of the time, due to the equinox precession and the proper motion of the star. Taking into account these effects, Collins (2013) obtained an astronomical dating for the various enclosures which agrees rather well with the one obtained by Dietrich (2011) with the technique of carbon-14. In the present paper the careful evaluation of the effects caused by atmospheric extinction has enabled us to verify that the central pillars of the studied enclosures are in fact turned to face the setting point of Deneb, but these alignments occurred in epochs, still in agreement with the ones obtained by Dietrich (2011), but different from those proposed by Collins (2013). We have also individuated, for the first time, the probable astronomic alignments of two other enclosures at Göbekli Tepe, i.e. enclosures F and A. In particular, the first one seems to be oriented towards the rising point of the Sun on the day of the Harvest Festival, day approximately halfway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox. The second one, instead, shows an orientation towards the rising point of the Moon at its minor standstill. The positions of both celestial bodies have been obtained by extrapolating their declination to the date of the presumed construction reported by Dietrich (2011). A short discussion about the putative cultural motivations of these alignments is also presented." No details regarding Andrew Collins are included in their paper. The fantastic conclusion by the authors is: "Archaeoastronomy, when it has been applied with attention, has been quite a valid instrument, showing itself to be reliable for the comprehension of the symbolic world that characterized the ancient cultures (Ruggles, 2005; Magli, 2009). And it is this aspect of archaeoastronomical research that must be exploited to the utmost in future to understand the message that the ancient civilizations wanted to leave to posterity [= succeeding generations everywhere on the planet] when they built imposing megalithic complexes like Göbekli Tepe all over the planet." Why it is so difficult to read their "message" is an unexplained problem. However, one thing that makes the carved stones at Göbekli Tepe interesting is that the standing stones seem to have been deliberately buried circa 8200 BCE. An interesting aspect of the site is that it was purposefully buried with debris approximately 1500 years after it was built, presumably by those who were using it. The fact is the standing stones were periodically buried, with new stones built on top of or alongside the old ones. (This was obviously so the previous standing stones could be no longer used.) No one has yet demonstrated that we can understand the thought processes of people living some 12,000 years ago. Note: See also: (1) De Lorenzis, Alessandro. (2011). Paleoastrometria stellare: Effetti della precessione dell'asse terrestre e dei moti propri. Bachelor's Thesis in Physics, Lecce: University of Salento. (2) De Lorenzis, Alessandro. (2013). Studio archeoastronomico del sito megalitico di Göbekli Tepe (Turchia). Master's Thesis in Physics, Lecce: University of Salento.

Another example that some academics outside their field cannot identify solid references: Unfortunately, Archaeological Fantasies at comments and links to "The kind of history of Middle Eastern Constellations one might want to cite in this case – Origins of the ancient constellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions, by John H. Rogers." The paper was dated/unreliable when it was published 20 years ago and has never been revised by the author. Note: It is not established that constellations are depicted on the stone columns at Göbekli Tepe. There is certainly no reasonable evidence that a constellated sky was established there circa 10,000 BCE.

All types of people/self-proclaimed historians now seek to influence our understanding of the past regardless of whether their narratives are accurate or not, and regardless of whether their narratives comprise a superficial understanding of the subject matter. The pseudohistory phenomenon is very damaging to the legitimate work done by real scholars. Pseudohistorians offer an inane diversion having no legitimate significance. Drawing daft conclusions from good or bad data - even when there is almost no data - is now regularly engaged in by people with no scholarly background (= they do not fall within any category of academic scholar) or disciplinary focus. It is not the function of academic journals to support pseudoarchaeology and pseudohistory. Rather it is the function of academic journals (and books) to ensure that daft ideas are not mistaken for academic ideas by not publishing daft ideas. A common theme amongst fringe historians is the standard narrative of human history needs to be revised. A high level of proof is a primary requirement. Not adhering to this "method" is simply unprofessional and invites misleading conclusions. Conclusions are able to be drawn without serious consideration of all the data in context. With Göbekli Tepe the fringe historians are engaged in reusing/repeating material from earlier fringe historians which has already been discredited. Expert, rational, academic work in archaeology/ancient history needs to be unimpeded by competing fringe claims that appear to be endless. It is not a 'level playing field' between professional archaeologists/historians and amateur historians. Expert scholars dedicate their professional careers to studying archaeological and historical issues in a professional context that is defined by standards, peers, and benchmarks, and exchanges of ideas between themselves.


At: (BLOG Jason Colavito), Martin Sweatman posted a somewhat condescending message (7/8/2017 07:21:47 am): "Dear Jason, if you think you have something to contribute to this debate, why not try to publish your ideas in a peer reviewed academic journal, like we did? Feel free to choose one you feel is worthy. For your information, the site's archaeologists, who presumably are more qualified than you to defend their position, have responded to our paper, and we have, in turn, responded to them. Please see these latest developments in issue 2 of Volume 17 of the same journal. In the 'matters arising' section you will see we answer [but this is not the same as refute] some of your criticisms which were similar to the site's archaeologists. Ultimately, the issue is a matter of pattern matching and statistics, both of which are scientific disciplines. Regarding the provenance of coherent catastrophism and the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis, and the archaeological evidence surrounding Gobekli Tepe, once again all the evidence is published in peer reviewed academic journals. Having read through all this work carefully, I am of the opinion that the scientific case for both is very strong. Coherent catastrophism is pretty much the scientific consensus in the cometary science community, and while the YD impact hypothesis is vigorously debated, the case is also very strong given the recent discovery of the platinum anomaly across North America, Greenland and Western Europe. Evidence has also been found in Syria. Moreover, all of our work in our recent papers is consistent with the archaeological 'evidence'. When you are assessing this literature, it is important to distinguish between what is scientific evidence and what is simply opinion. In summary, I highly recommend you review the scientific literature, and if you feel you have something to contribute the debate, why not try to get your own paper published in a peer reviewed academic journal? [snip]"

Sweatman obviously believes that his published articles are adding to the scientific literature on Göbekli Tepe, and are in no way detracting from any scientific debate. The inference seems to be that unless comments/views are formally published in some sort of deemed academic journal they have not qualified as having any legitimacy. They are without the qualification of having passed the 'test' of academic legitimacy. The published paper is somehow deemed to be the better paper. This is a very artificial construct. Its irrelevance is highlighted by the failure of the peer-review process which is meant to exclude low quality papers from being published - not encourage the need for readers to engage in formal de facto peer-review. There is no indication that referees have critically read the paper. Fictional papers are getting past peer-review. The failure of the peer-review process to screen out fringe speculation is becoming a problem. Papers that are the equivalent of a short fiction story are being published. Publication in a peer-review 'academic' journal - that is not a top-tier journal - is no longer a stamp of reasonableness for an article. It no longer provides assurance that a paper has merit or is written to a high academic standard for the subject matter. The next point is it is now not unusual for authors of published papers to reference the url's of material that is only posted on the web. It matters little in scenarios where the peer-review process has broken-down. Note: Referees can also help to improve an article. However, this is certainly not possible for every article.

The approximate 5 percent of the architecture of Göbekli Tepe and its stone carvings that has been excavated to 2020 is very difficult to interpret. It is not indicated that it sets out a star map, or a system of star alignments. What is indicated is that it is a pre-pottery site involving monumental architecture; a meeting place for hunter-gatherers (used for social and other events). A hunter\gatherer meeting place for social interaction between regional groups is likely the best explanation.


Relevant critical comments on statistical arguments include:

(1) As a basic statement: Geoffrey Elton (1921-1994) (The Practice of History, 1967) counselled: "Those determined to put their faith in 'sophisticated' mathematical methods and to apply 'general laws' to the pitifully meagre and very uncertain detail that historical evidence often provides for the answering of interesting and important questions, are either to be pitied because they will be sinking in quicksand while believing themselves to be standing on solid earth, or to be combated because they darken counsel with their errors."

(2) In 2016 the American Statistical Association, issued/published a statement ("The ASA's Statement on p-Values: Context, Process, and Purpose" by Ronald Wasserstein and Nicole Lazar (The American Statistician, Volume 70, Issue 2, Pages 129-133) on the proper role of significance testing in research. The 6 principles, which are elaborated in the statement, are summarised as:

1. P-values can indicate how incompatible the data are with a specified statistical model.

2. P-values do not measure the probability that the studied hypothesis is true, or the probability that the data were produced by random chance alone.

3. Scientific conclusions and business or policy decisions should not be based only on whether a p-value passes a specific threshold.

4. Proper inference requires full reporting and transparency.

5. A p-value or statistical significance does not measure the size of an effect or the importance of a result.

6. By itself, a p-value does not provide a good measure of evidence regarding a model or hypothesis.

(3) Tests of significance can be very misleading. A statistical analysis of misleading data produces misleading conclusions. The reliability of the data used is a problem. The iconography is viewed as a literally accurate star map. however, there is no expert consensus that this is the case. The possibility of a false discovery with the data set is effectively ignored. The statement of p value and confidence intervals is one issue. The p value is neither as reliable nor as objective as most people assume. Though p values are called confidence values they are not measures of accuracy. In spite of what claims authors will make for statistics, a high p value for significance does not rule out error. When British statistician Ronald Fisher introduced the p value in the 1920s, he did not mean it to be a definitive test. He intended it simply as an informal way to judge whether evidence was significant and worthy of a second look. Authors relying on statistics needs to report effect sizes and confidence intervals as these convey what a p value does not: the magnitude and relative importance of an 'effect.' The p value cannot be construed as a statement about the underlying reality. Conclusions require a lot more evidence than simply a p value. It is an exploratory study which should be treated with skepticism unless other tangible supporting evidence is found. The plausibility of the outcome is an important factor in an assessment. The more implausible the hypothesis - sophisticated astronomy at an archaeological site circa 10,000 BCE - the greater the chance that a finding is a false alarm, no matter what the p value is. Also, the reminder, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. An analysis not using a p value would be more convincing. It is actually possible to 'fish' for significant p values (known as p-hacking (= data dredging or significance chasing)).

See also: "Scientific method: Statistical errors." by Regina Nuzzo (Nature, Volume 506, 12/13? February 2014, Pages 150-152). Regina Nuzzo warns: "The more implausible the hypothesis — telepathy, aliens, homeopathy — the greater the chance that an exciting finding is a false alarm, no matter what the P value is." Also: "It has been shown that changes in a few data-analysis decisions can increase the false positive rate in a single study to 60%." (2) "Creating falseness - How to establish statistical evidence of the untrue." by Per Lytsy (Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, Volume 23, 2017, Pages 923-927). Per Lytsy states in the Abstract: "When scientifically implausible or empirically weakly supported hypotheses are tested, there is an increased risk that a positive finding in a test is in fact is false positive. ... The standard of evidence of a hypothesis should depend not only on the results of statistical analyses but also on its a priori support. Positive findings from studies investigating hypotheses with poor theoretical and empirical foundations should be viewed as tentative until the results are replicated and/or the hypothesis gains more empirical evidence supporting it as likely to be true." It bears repeating that Kolev has no archaeological/textual/historical evidence for his claim for a very early date for the astrolabe material.

(4) Authors commit what David Fischer termed the fallacy of the overwhelming exception which occurs when they exclude evidence that is vital to constructing the whole picture. This leaves to one side the issue of the fallacy of statistical sampling which occurs in generalisations resting upon an insufficient body of data. As example with the claims of Rumen Kolev for Astrolabes being statistically dated to circa 5,500 BCE. There is sufficient completeness of archaeological/philological evidence from Mesopotamia to conclude there is an association between Astrolabes and 2nd-millennium BCE omen astronomy and creation epic astronomy. Also, the fact is it discards use of other information. That a Bayesian framework is the only one that can be used to evaluate the data presupposes that an analysis must only be done in quantitative terms. Other information is discounted. Kolev's acknowledgement of associated evidence playing a role is given in his response that a correlation date of 25,000 BCE would not be realistic as it would not fit with other (historical) evidence. It is difficult to achieve a successful interpretation from statistics alone. A solely statistical approach ignores the relevant issue of cultural context. Statistical analysis can only achieve limited explanatory success. A careful consideration of the broader evidence from both archaeological and historical evidence is required. (Note: Kolev's dismissal of 25,000 BCE is 2-fold: (1) It demonstrates that he realises the importance of associated issues/evidence - in this case the archaeological and cuneiform evidence. This is needed in order to decide regarding multiple dates given by his statistical analysis. The date of 25,000 BCE would not fit with archaeological and cuneiform evidence. (2) Kolev also wants to match the date of 5,500 BCE given by the Panbabylonist Alfred Jeremias.

Kolev uncritically accepts that astronomical ideas of 5,500 BCE have/would come down unaltered. There is no credible evidence to give their claims credibility. We know nothing of Mesopotamian astronomical ideas dating to circa 5,500 BCE. Only a particular statistical analysis by Rumen Kolev exists for the date he claims. Earlier claims by Panababylonists based on archaeological evidence were clearly based on misdating. That Kolev claims to have established a date that he has previously promoted - the date claimed by the Panbabylonist Alfred Jeremias - signals caution. But Kolev aims to set aside the results of modern assyriology. According to Kolev modern assyrologists are unreliable. Exclaiming his mathematical analysis to be a conclusive argument simply lacks rigorous reasoning. It is an odd result and one that is at odds with the historical evidence. The claim excludes the necessary use of all the related archaeological evidence and what it indicates. This evidence is scattered across time and place and text genres. The genres involved comprise astronomical, literary (religious), and omen texts. One searches in vain for any conference presentation or published paper by an assyriologist that is supportive of Kolev's claims. As far as I am aware even Simo Parpola has not done this. Kolev's statistical argument is not evidence until it is demonstrated to be relevant and objective. The limitation of the statistical analysis is the certainty of its validity. What other ways exist for an analysis of the data? Presently, the validity of Kolev's approach is questionable and the conclusion he has reached is not unassailable.

(5) Regardless of any claimed statistically significant outcome independent archaeological/philological confirmation is necessary. Tests of significance can be very misleading, especially where small data sets are involved. Only statistical analysis with a large set of data is suitable. Once again, statistical analysis ignores actual cultural issues. Quoting p values as an indicator that error is unlikely is a fallacy. Depending, the opportunities for error (so-called false positives) could be 30-40 percent or higher. A statement of p value and confidence intervals is one issue. Because of opportunities for error in statistical/experimental procedures, techniques such as the Bonferroni procedure and the Benjamin-Hochberg procedure, have been developed. Two questions that go with claims for statistical significance: Why is it considered statistically significant? What is the chance of getting statistically significant results? The significance test and its result should perhaps be regarded as a prima facie test only with the results being open to question if further supportive evidence is not to be found.

(6) There is also the possibility and usually unexplored issue that the alleged dating is a statistical artifact (a spurious finding). Usually there does not seem to have been any attempt to control for a statistical artifact.

For their conclusions to be regarded as reliable, authors needs to include examples from earlier researches (by anybody) that demonstrates the methodological success of their approach. Otherwise, we can rest assured that statistics can prove anything.

Authors who claim that: "If the iconography was not an 'astronomical text,' then its model would be a random model." usually lacks any demonstration or explanation on their part. Why would randomness be the most probable alternative? It is not unusual for randomness to exhibit 'clumpiness.' The data analysed can be deemed selective. In order for authors to to carry out their statistical method(s) they makes selections with the data. Statistical generalisations based on a biased sample or a 'contaminated' sample won't be accurate.

Worth noting: Competently conducted research that fails to reach "statistical significance: can still impart knowledge. Numerous journals are now reporting exact p-values.

Relevant critical essays include:

Lynn, W. T. (1887). "Aratus and Hipparchus." (The Observatory, Volume 10, Number 122, Correspondence, Pages 162-163). [Note: William Thynne Lynn (1835-1911) spent most of his career as a computer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich until his retirement in 1880.]

Woolard, Edgar. (1942). "The Historical Development of Celestial Coordinate Systems." (Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Volume 54, Number 318, Pages 77-90).

Swerdlow, Noel. (1979/1980). "Hipparchus's Determination of the Length of the Tropical Year and the Rate of Precession." (Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Volume 21, Issue 4, Pages 291-309).

Rappenglück, Barbara. (2008). "Cosmic Catastrophes and Cultural Disasters in Prehistoric Times? The Chances and Limitations of a Verification." (Archaeologia Baltica 10, January, Pages 268-272).

Rappenglück, Michael. (2013). "Paleolithic Stargazers and Today's Astro Maniacs - Methodological Concepts of Cultural Astronomy focused on Case Studies of Earlier Prehistory." (Anthropological Notebooks [Slovene Anthropological Society, Ljubljana], XIX, Supplement, 2013, Pages 83-100). [Note: Ancient Cosmologies and Modern Prophets. Proceedings of the 20th Conference of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture. [SEAC XX] Edited by Ivan Šprajc and Peter Pehani (2012).

Rappenglück, Barbara. (2013). "Myths and Motifs as Reflections of Prehistoric Cosmic Events: Some Methodological Considerations." (Anthropological Notebooks 19 (Supplement), Pages 67-83). [Note: "Abstract: The last three decades have seen a growing awareness that the planet Earth and human civilizations might be much more threatened by extraterrestrial objects than previously thought: It has been suggested on many occasions that the course of human prehistory has been remarkably shaped by big meteorite impacts, airbursts of meteoroids, or the load of the atmosphere with cosmic dust. Myths and motifs are interpreted to encode information of such events. This article brings to the fore a series of essential methodological steps which may strengthen such interpretations."]

Notroff, Jens. et al. (2017). "More Than a Vulture: A Response to Sweatman and Tsikritsis." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 17, Number 2, 2017, Pages 57-63). [Note: Abstract: "In a paper recently published in this journal, Martin B. Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis from the University of Edinburgh (School of Engineering) have suggested an interpretation for the early Neolithic monumental enclosures at Göbekli Tepe as space observatories and the site's complex iconography the commemoration of a catastrophic astronomical event ('Younger Dryas Comet Impact'). As the archaeologists excavating this site, we would like to comment on a few points that we feel require consideration in this discussion."

Peer-review/professional journals and the proliferation of pseudohistory

(1) Introduction

The peer-review process employed by Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry (MAA) failed to identify multiple issues with the soundness of the article, "Decoding Göbekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?" by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis (2017) - methods, evidence, and conclusions. It may well be that the article was accepted over the objections of one or more of the peer reviewers that wholly unwarranted claims were being made. Unfortunately the review process for the article is not discussed. It is not an important article that needs to be published. It's in the category of a rejectable paper.

(2) MAA Publication

"Decoding Göbekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?" by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 17, Number 1, 2017, Pages 233-250.

"More Than a Vulture: A Response to Sweatman and Tsikritsis" Jens Notroff, et al., Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 17, Number 2, 2017, Pages 57-63.

""Comment on "More Than a Vulture: A Response to Sweatman and Tsikritsis"" by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 17, Number 2, 2017, Pages 57-74.

"Critical Evaluation of the Paper by Sweatman, M. B. and D. Tsikritsis, "Decoding Göbekli Tepe with Archaeosatronomy: What Does the Fox Say?"" by Paul Burley, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 17, Number 2, 2017, Pages 71-74.

(3) Comments

MAA is published by The University of the Aegean, Department of Mediterranean Studies. Until the end of 2018 MAA was an Open Access Journal. This makes circulation difficult to estimate.

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry claims to be a reputable academic journal. However, its publication of the peer-reviewed article, "Decoding Göbekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?" was immediately identifiable as deeply flawed and not of a standard suited for publication in a professional academic journal. It promotes a particular fringe history claim. This raises questions regarding the effectiveness of the journal's peer-review process. Basically, how did the journal come to publish a sub-standard article?

A (peer-reviewed) critical response, "More Than a Vulture: A Response to Sweatman and Tsikritsis" was published in the succeeding issue, along with a (peer-reviewed) rejoinder, ""Comment on "More Than a Vulture: A Response to Sweatman and Tsikritsis"." Also published was another critique, "Critical Evaluation of the Paper by Sweatman, M. B. and D. Tsikritsis, "Decoding Göbekli Tepe with Archaeosatronomy: What Does the Fox Say?"." However, this article is immediately identifiable as flawed and not comprising a suitable critical standard. Within the critique Paul Burley promotes a particular fringe history claim.

It is now obvious that it is necessary for the reader to act as the publication's factchecker. 

(4) MAA Guide for Reviewers

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry (MAA) is an Open Access Journal published since 2001 by The University of the Aegean, Department of Mediterranean Studies, Rhodes, Greece. Since 2015 MAA is issued 3 times per year (April, August, December). From 2019 for the free download articles a subscription will be required. Past issues will still be accessible for free. The annual subscription for printed matter or online access is 210 Euros.

The International Journal MAA "Encourages international discussion on the coupling between archaeology and archaeometry in their broader sense, initiating forums of discussion on the establishment of widely accepted criteria of correct approach and solution of particularly current and future archaeological problems."

It covers the dual nature of archaeology and cultural heritage with science which includes, amongst others, natural science applied to archaeology (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, geophysics, astronomy), archaeology, ancient history, cultural sustainability, astronomy in culture, physical anthropology, digital heritage, new archaeological finds reports, historical archaeology, architectural archaeology, ethnoarchaeological prospective, critical reviews, from Paleolithic to medieval/Byzantine eras, all pertinent to the Mediterranean including adjacent areas with due interaction and/or parallel comparison to ancient Mediterranean cultures.

All papers are published in printed and electronic versions and DOI ( is attributed to each article. The printed version (2001-2015) is kept only if authors ask for back issues, or if individuals or libraries require printed volumes. MAA is indexed by the most important databases: Thomson Reuters - Clarivetics Analytics (Arts and Humanities Citation Index), WoS Core Collection (ISI), Arts and Humanities (Archaeology) - Scopus (Elsevier), Current Contents / Arts and Humanities - Clarivate Analytics, Social Sciences (Archaeology- Scopus (Elsevier), Arts and Humanities (Archaeology) - Scimago, Google Scholar, European Reference Index for the Humanities and Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS), NASA/ADS, Ulrichsweb and others.

The Editors will welcome contributions from all parts of the World focused on the Mediterranean region and interactions with neighboring regions.

"Guide for Reviewers

In principle we follow well established rules by Elsevier and Nature Journals.

The Review Process: All submitted manuscripts are read by the editorial staff. To save time for authors and peer reviewers, only those papers that seem most likely to meet our editorial criteria are sent for formal review.

Those papers judged by the Editor-in-Chief to be of insufficient general interest or otherwise inappropriate are rejected promptly without external review (although these decisions may be based on informal advice from specialists of editorial board).

Manuscripts judged to be of potential interest to our readership are sent for formal review, typically to two or three reviewers, but sometimes more if special advice is needed (for example on heavy interdisciplinary nature combining more than 2 disciplines). Peer review assists the editor in making editorial decisions and through the editorial communications with the author may also assist the author in improving the paper.

The Editor-in-Chief with reviewers then makes a decision:

Accept, with minor/major or without editorial revisions.

Invite the authors to revise their manuscript to address specific concerns before a final decision is reached.

Reject, but indicate to the authors that further work might justify a resubmission.

Reject outright, typically on grounds of specialist interest, lack of novelty, insufficient conceptual advance or major technical and/or interpretational problems.

Reviewers are welcome to recommend a particular course of action, but they should bear in mind that the other reviewers of a particular paper may have different technical expertise and/or views, and the editors may have to make a decision based on conflicting advice. The most useful reports, therefore, provide the editors with the information on which a decision should be based. Setting out the arguments for and against publication is often more helpful to the editors than a direct recommendation one way or the other.

Editorial decisions are not a matter of counting votes or numerical rank assessments, and we do not always follow the majority recommendation. We try to evaluate the strength of the arguments raised by each reviewer and by the authors, and we may also consider other information not available to either party. Our primary responsibilities are to our readers and to the scientific community at large, and in deciding how best to serve them, we must weigh the claims of each paper against the many others also under consideration.

We may return to reviewers for further advice, particularly in cases where they disagree with each other, or where the authors believe they have been misunderstood on points of fact. We therefore ask that reviewers should be willing to provide follow-up advice as requested. We are very aware, however, that reviewers are usually reluctant to be drawn into prolonged disputes, so we try to keep consultation to the minimum we judge necessary to provide a fair hearing for the authors.

When reviewers agree to assess a paper, we consider this a commitment to review subsequent revisions. However, editors will not send a resubmitted paper back to the reviewers if it seems that the authors have not made a serious attempt to address the criticisms.

We take reviewers' criticisms seriously; in particular, we are very reluctant to disregard technical criticisms. In cases where one reviewer alone opposes publication, we may consult the other reviewers as to whether s/he is applying an unduly critical standard.

We occasionally bring in additional reviewers to resolve disputes, but we prefer to avoid doing so unless there is a specific issue, for example a specialist technical point, on which we feel a need for further advice.

Selection of Peer Reviewers: Reviewer selection is critical to the publication process, and we base our choice on many factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations and our own previous experience of a reviewer's characteristics. For instance, we avoid using people who are slow, careless, or do not provide reasoning for their views, whether harsh or lenient.

We check with potential reviewers before sending them manuscripts to review. Reviewers should bear in mind that these messages contain confidential information, which should be treated as such. Reviewers are mainly chosen from the Editorial Board.

Writing the Review Report: The primary purpose of the review is to provide the editors with the information needed to reach a decision but the review should also instruct the authors on how they can strengthen their paper to the point where it may be acceptable.

As far as possible, a negative review should explain to the authors the major weaknesses of their manuscript, so that rejected authors can understand the basis for the decision and see in broad terms what needs to be done to improve the manuscript for publication elsewhere.

Referees should not feel obliged to provide detailed, constructive advice regarding minor criticisms of the manuscript if it does not meet the criteria for the journal (as outlined in the letter from the editor when asking for the review). Referees should be aware that authors of declined manuscripts may request that referee comments be transferred to another journal where they can be used to determine suitability of publication at the receiving journal.

Confidential comments to the editor are welcome, but it is helpful if the main points are stated in the comments for transmission to the authors. The ideal review should answer the following questions:

Who will be interested in reading the paper, and why?

What are the main claims of the paper and how significant are they?

Is the paper likely to be one of the most significant papers published in the discipline this year?

How does the paper stand out from others in its field?

Are the claims novel? If not, which published papers compromise novelty?

Are the claims convincing? If not, what further evidence is needed?

Are there other experiments or work that would strengthen the paper further?

How much would further work improve it, and how difficult would this be? Would it take a long time?

Are the claims appropriately discussed in the context of previous literature?

If the manuscript is unacceptable, is the study sufficiently promising to encourage the authors to resubmit?

If the manuscript is unacceptable but promising, what specific work is needed to make it acceptable?

These issues are mostly included in the Referee Report but can also be written at the end of the Report as Detailed Comments as well as comments on the article text itself.

Other Questions to Consider: We appreciate that reviewers are busy, and we are very grateful if they can answer the above-mentioned questions. However, if time is available, it is extremely helpful to the editors if reviewers can advise on some of the aforementioned points, taking into account that there are not any special ethical concerns arising from the use of human or other animal subjects, conflict of interest, plagiarism.

Timing: MAA journal is committed to rapid editorial decisions and publication, and we believe that an efficient editorial process is a valuable service both to our authors and to the scientific community as a whole.

We therefore ask reviewers to respond promptly within the number of days agreed. If reviewers anticipate a longer delay than previously expected, we ask them to let us know so that we can keep the authors informed and, where necessary, find alternatives.

Any selected reviewer who feels unqualified to review the research reported in a manuscript or knows that its prompt review will be impossible should notify the editor and excuse himself from the review process.

Anonymity: We do not release reviewers' identities to authors or to other reviewers, except when reviewers specifically ask to be identified. Unless they feel strongly, however, we prefer that reviewers should remain anonymous throughout the review process and beyond. Before revealing their identities, reviewers should consider the possibility that they may be asked to comment on the criticisms of other reviewers and on further revisions of the manuscript; identified reviewers may find it more difficult to be objective in such circumstances.

We ask reviewers not to identify themselves to authors without the editor's knowledge. If they wish to reveal their identities while the manuscript is under consideration, this should be done via the editor, or if this is not practicable, we ask authors to inform the editor as soon as possible after the reviewer has revealed his or her identity to the author.

We deplore any attempt by authors to confront reviewers or determine their identities. Our own policy is to neither confirm nor deny any speculation about reviewers' identities, and we encourage reviewers to adopt a similar policy.

Double-Blind Peer Review: MAA offers two double-blind peer review options.

Standard Review Process: Authors who choose this option expect to hear within 12 weeks about acceptance. If accepted the paper will appear in one of following issues.

Rapid Review Process: Authors who choose this option expect to hear within 10 days about acceptance, and if accepted they are obliged to convey a processing Fee.

Editing Reviewers' Reports: As a matter of policy, we do not suppress reviewers' reports; any comments that were intended for the authors are transmitted, regardless of what we may think of the content. On rare occasions, we may edit a report to remove offensive language or comments that reveal confidential information about other matters.

We ask reviewers to avoid statements that may cause needless offence; conversely, we strongly encourage reviewers to state plainly their opinion of a paper. Authors should recognize that criticisms are not necessarily unfair simply because they are expressed in robust language.

The Peer Review System: It is editors' experience that the peer review process is an essential part of the publication process, which improves the manuscripts our journals publish. Reviews should be conducted objectively. Personal criticism of the author(s) is inappropriate.

Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments. Not only does peer review provide an independent assessment of the importance and technical accuracy of the results described, but the feedback from reviewers conveyed to authors with the editors' advice frequently results in manuscripts being refined so that their structure and logic is more readily apparent to readers.

It is only by collaboration with our reviewers that editors can ensure that the manuscripts we publish are among the most important in their disciplines of scientific research. We appreciate the time that reviewers devote to assessing the manuscripts we send them, which helps ensure that MAA publishes only material of the very highest quality. In particular, many submitted manuscripts contain large volumes of additional (supplementary) data and other material, which take time to evaluate. We thank our reviewers for their continued commitment to our publication process.

Much has been written, on the peer review system as a whole. Alternative systems have been proposed in outline: for example, signed peer review, blind peer review and open peer review. The system has been exhaustively studied, reported on, and assessed - both positively and negatively. Our position on the value of the peer review system is represented in the following rationale: The goals of peer review are both lofty and mundane.

It is the responsibility of journals to administer an effective review system. Peer review is designed to select technically valid research of significant interest. Reviewers are expected to identify flaws, suggest improvements and assess novelty. If the manuscript is deemed important enough to be published in a high visibility journal, reviewers ensure that it is internally consistent, thereby ferreting out spurious conclusions or clumsy frauds.

Reviewers should identify relevant published work that has not been cited by the authors. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation. A reviewer should also call to the editor's attention any substantial similarity or overlap between the manuscript under consideration and any other published paper of which they have personal knowledge.

One problem with manuscript selection is the inherent tension between reviewers and authors. Reviewers wish for only the most solid science to be published, yet when they 'exchange hats' to that of author, they desire quick publication of their novel ideas and approaches. Authors of papers that blow against the prevailing winds bear a far greater burden of proof than normally expected in publishing their challenge to the current paradigm. Veering too far in one direction or the other leads to complaints either that peer review isn't stringent enough, or that it is stifling the freshest research. It is the job of the editors to try to avoid both extremes.

Journal editors do not expect peer review to ferret out cleverly concealed, deliberate deceptions. A peer reviewer can only evaluate what the authors chose to include in the manuscript. This contrasts with the expectation in the popular press that peer review is a process by which fraudulent data is detected before publication (although that sometimes happens).

We are requesting peer review's positive understanding and patience, as even papers that are misunderstood by reviewers are usually rewritten and improved before resubmission. Mistakes are made, but peer review, through conscientious effort on the part of reviewers, helps to protect the literature, promote good science and select the best. Until a truly viable alternative is provided, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Peer Review Publication Policies: All contributions submitted to MAA journal that are selected for peer review are sent to two (or more), independent reviewers, selected by the editorial board.

Any manuscripts received for review must be treated as confidential documents. As a condition of agreeing to assess the manuscript, all reviewers undertake to keep submitted manuscripts and associated data confidential, and not to redistribute them without permission from the journal. Manuscripts must not be shown to or discussed with others except as authorized by the editor. If a reviewer seeks advice from colleagues while assessing a manuscript, he or she ensures that confidentiality is maintained and that the names of any such colleagues are provided to the journal with the final report.

Privileged information or ideas obtained through peer review must be kept confidential and not used for personal advantage. Reviewers should not consider manuscripts in which they have conflicts of interest resulting from competitive, collaborative, or other relationships or connections with any of the authors, companies, or institutions connected to the papers.

By this and by other means, MAA endeavors to keep the content of all submissions confidential until the online publication date. Although we go to every effort to ensure reviewers honour their promise to ensure confidentiality, we are not responsible for the conduct of reviewers.

Reviewers should be aware that it is our policy to keep their names confidential, and that we do our utmost to ensure this confidentiality.

Under normal circumstances, blind peer review is protected from legislation. We cannot, however, guarantee to maintain this confidentiality in the face of a successful legal action to disclose identity in the event of a reviewer having written personally derogatory comments about the authors in his or her reports.

For this reason as well as for reasons of standard professional courtesy, we request reviewers to refrain from personally negative comments about the authors of submitted manuscripts. Frank comments about the scientific content of the manuscripts, however, are strongly encouraged by the editors.

Ethics and Security (see also Basic Information): MAA editorial board reviewers may seek advice about submitted papers not only from technical reviewers but also on any aspect of a paper that raises concerns. These may include, for example, ethical issues or issues of data or materials access.

Very occasionally, concerns may also relate to the implications to society of publishing a paper, including threats to security. In such circumstances, advice will usually be sought simultaneously with the technical peer review process. As in all publishing decisions, the ultimate decision whether to publish is the responsibility of the Editor-in-Chief."

(5) New Scientist Publication

Ancient carvings show comet hit Earth and triggered mini ice age" by New Scientist Staff and Press Association, New Scientist, 21 April, 2017. Journal reference: Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.400780.

(6) Comments

New Scientist is not a peer-reviewed magazine. They try to be a 'popular' publication. Interestingly (if not surprisingly), they are apparently considered one of the best science magazines. New Scientist has a very wide readership world-wide.

The fantasy article by Sweatman and Tsikritsis quickly attracted the attention of journalists at New Scientist. New Scientist published a short positive article about the article in Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeoastronomy. The story was credited to (anonymous) New Scientist staff and the Press Association. (If the story is being promoted by the Press Association it means that it will appear widely in newspapers around the world. The Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeoastronomy article also attracted the attention of other journalists/web owners elsewhere who also uncritically repeated the claims by Sweatman and Tsikritsis.) The New Scientist article includes a direct quote from the lead author, Martin Sweatman. Sweatman is keen to promote the article. He has already listed it as one of his "scientific" research publications on his University of Edinburgh web-page. We have the issue of a particular article exhibiting poor scholarship being associated with the name of the University of Edinburgh.

Good ideas can originate from anywhere, not just from professional scholars/experts in the particular field. But as one profession al archaeologist/academic remarked: "It is irritating when those trained in one discipline feel they can parachute into another and solve all its problems." It is indicated that Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeoastronomy and its peer reviewers did not bother to contact the archaeological team at Göbekli Tepe. Neither did the New Scientist journalists. Doing so would have immediately identified that there were significant flaws in the article by Sweatman and Tsikritsis. Instead we have the situation where 2 supposedly science/history journals have promoted pseudoarchaeology/pseudohistory and not made any legitimate retractions. Their articles remain as a future 'stumbling block' for the unwary/uninformed. Members of the public form a large reading audience for New Scientist. They are particularly vulnerable to misinformation published in science journals. The general readership have science/history illiteracy and are vulnerable. This is not the same as being gullible. The origins lie with the peer-review process/peer reviewers. In the case of journals like New Scientist the origins lie with the editorial staff.

It is regrettable that, "Decoding Göbekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?" by Martin Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, 2017, was able to proceed to publication in what most people/readers would believe is an academically rigorous journal. How the journal editors of MAA believed this article had suitably passed the peer-review process is not understandable. Without explanation/reason they have enabled this fringe claim to be given extra weight. Proponents of fringe history are able to claim that the article/claim has passed the peer-review process for an academic journal. Also, the New Scientist published a short article supportive of the particular MAA journal article.

(7) Background

New Scientist is a weekly English-language magazine that covers all aspects of science and technology. But the editorial staff of New Scientist state that the magazine is also about the publication of interesting ideas. The majority of the news section of New Scientist magazine is written by staff members. New Scientist is based in London and publishes editions in the UK, the United States, and Australia. Since 1996 it has been available online.

One of their claims ( "New Scientist is the world's most popular weekly science and technology magazine. Its website, app and print editions cover international news from a scientific standpoint, and ask the biggest-picture questions about life, the universe and what it means to be human. If someone in the world has a good idea, you'll read about it in New Scientist."

Also ( "New Scientist is widely read by both scientists and non scientists as a way of keeping track of scientific and technological progress. Many science articles in the general press are based on its contents, as New Scientist covers the social and cultural impacts and consequences of scientific and technological discovery, not just the underlying science. The magazine carries regular features, news and commentary on environmental issues and is an acknowledged source of evidenced information from the scientific community."

In 2014 the world-wide sale of New Scientist was almost 130,000 copies per week. This large circulation is ideal for the proliferation of pseudohistory/pseudoscience.

( "Criticism

Greg Egan's criticism of the EmDrive article

In September 2006, New Scientist was criticised by science fiction writer Greg Egan, who wrote that "a sensationalist bent and a lack of basic knowledge by its writers" was making the magazine's coverage sufficiently unreliable "to constitute a real threat to the public understanding of science". In particular, Egan found himself "gobsmacked by the level of scientific illiteracy" in the magazine's coverage[23] of Roger Shawyer's "electromagnetic drive", where New Scientist allowed the publication of "meaningless double-talk" designed to bypass a fatal objection to Shawyer's proposed space drive, namely that it violates the law of conservation of momentum. Egan urged others to write to New Scientist and pressure the magazine to raise its standards, instead of "squandering the opportunity that the magazine's circulation and prestige provides".[24] The editor of New Scientist, then Jeremy Webb, replied defending the article, saying that it is "an ideas magazine—that means writing about hypotheses as well as theories".[25]

"Darwin was wrong" cover

In January 2009, New Scientist ran a cover with the title "Darwin was wrong".[26][27] The actual story stated that specific details of Darwin's evolution theory had been shown incorrectly, mainly the shape of phylogenetic trees of interrelated species, which should be represented as a web instead of a tree. Some evolutionary biologists who actively oppose the intelligent design movement thought the cover was both sensationalist and damaging to the scientific community.[27][28] Jerry Coyne, author of the book Why Evolution Is True, called for a boycott of the magazine, which was supported by evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers.[27]"

(8) Peer-Review Issues

Neither Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry or New Scientist can qualify as a 'trusted source.' This is clear from particular articles they have proceeded to publish. It is regrettable that people with little knowledge of the archaeology of Göbekli Tepe can somehow get their absurd 'alternative facts' and non-sequiturs published in what claims to be a legitimate academic journal. The Latin term non sequitur ('it does not follow') refers to a statement, remark, or conclusion that defies the basic rules of reason by not following naturally or logically from previous statements or evidence. Publication of the paper ("Decoding Göbekli Tepe with archaeoastronomy: What does the fox say?") detracts from the reputation of the journal, its editorial staff, and its professedly rigorous peer-review process. It is regrettable that this paper was able to published in what most people would believe is an academically rigorous journal. How the journal editors let this pass to peer review and then was accepted is not understandable. Now this paper and it's unsustainable claims has been given undeserving weight. It is obvious that the reviewers did not consult with the excavation team. Their detailed refutation was published in a later edition of the journal, along with Sweatman's defense. The refutation should have been published along with the decision to publish Sweatman's bad original article.

It is now common for George Latura to make reference to peer review. George Latura's use of Hastro-L to draw attention to his articles, with the note that they are peer-reviewed, is an advertising campaign for his articles. Latura, who has no academic credentials, and who has not demonstrated any expert knowledge, relies solely on the peer-review process to imply that his articles meet a suitable standard. Latura is perpetually keen to advertise publication and peer-review of his articles and to give examples of credentialed scholars whose INSAP/SEAC/Oxford conference presentations and publications also appear in the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry. Latura obviously wants to identify that this establishes academic legitimacy for his material. Also, that he is 'qualified' to analyse historical issues. Touting will not do this. Also, intimating/inferring that his speculations might be true is hardly a suitable approach to establishing history. In the absence of any credible supporting evidence they are not useful. Latura is involved in guessing unlikely history. Pseudohistory is a form of pseudo-scholarship that attempts to distort or misrepresent what can be legitimately known from the extant evidence. Using speculation to establish history runs the risk of establishing counterfactual history. The issue is the standard of the peer-review process that is being implemented by some so-called professional journals. However, the peer review process can mean nothing at all. What we don't know is the standard of the peer review process. The peer-review is not a stamp of quality/legitimacy for an article. Whatever a journal states about its peer-review process we never actually know the standard with which the process is being applied. The peer-review process in not some decisive 'verdict' having merit that readily eclipses later comments in the merits of the article, and the credibility of the peer-review process. Some people make the statement: My article was peer-reviewed and your comments are not. Of course this 'defense' is not credible when the journal has demonstrated it has a questionable peer-review process. It is obvious that its peer-review process is questionable and that it enables the publication of highly flawed articles. It has been noted that many journals without the peer-review process publish very high quality articles that are better than those in peer-review journals.

The anonymity of reviewers is not so much the issue. The issue is the competency of reviewers for the subject matter and whether they implement an effective peer-review process. A journal claiming a high-standard peer-review process and an author of a published article stating/boasting it was subject to a peer-review process by that journal - and hence implying that it necessarily has merit, and that this merit involved a stringent 'test' and necessarily exceeds any non peer-reviewed comments - is simply nonsense. The history of the peer-review process demonstrates constant failings with ideal intentions. The peer-review process offers no reasons for absolute trust in a published article. The peer review process is not limited to/consolidated with a pre-publication 'assessment' process involving a few people. Certainly this process does not end any further/other comments from being legitimate. It does not 'protect' the article - or the journal that published it - from further comments. There is more expertise to be found within a a larger audience than the limitation of 1-3 people being involved in a peer review. Saying a published article was peer-reviewed does not establish the credibility of the published article (but it may help to). People openly discussing/critiquing published papers is an example of peer review (extended peer-review). There is also the example of the function of book reviews.

(9) History and Science

History is different from the sciences in that it is very difficult to speak of scientific progress with the study of history. However, such disciplines as archaeology and document analysis are scientific disciplines, and add to the knowledge of history. There are multiple ways to explain historical investigation/history. It is reasonable to explain historical investigation/history as the systematic and critical search for the accurate understanding of past events, especially regarding their human significance; a search which is based upon the application of recognised standards of evidence, inference, and credible/rigorous practice. This methodology is very much the same as scientific methodology. How science works: It is the responsibility of scientists to critically examine a new theory, and in many cases prove it wrong (or unsupported by suitable evidence). Every new theory has to be defended by its proponent(s) against intense and often bitter criticism and scrutiny. This is what keeps science honest. The rare theory that withstands the onslaught of criticism is strengthened and improved by it. The writing of history should not be subverted to ideological ends. This is not the way that good history should be conducted.

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Some articles by Robert Brown Junior.

Brown Junior, Robert. (1883). "On a German Astronomico-Astrological Manuscript, and on the Origin of the Signs of the Zodiac." (Archaeologia, Volume 47, Issue 2, Pages 337-360 + Plates). [Note: Perhaps his first article on the subject.]

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. (1889). "Names of Stars in Babylonian." (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, November 1888 to June 1889, Volume XI, (Letter article (communication to the Society), February 5, Number LXXXI) Pages 145-151).

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, Edward. (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: Traces the development of astrological geography. Not always reliable. Page numbers sometimes erroneously given as 253-273. Whilst the article certainly appears in the original volume of Klio I could not locate this article in a reprint volume of Klio.]

Kugler, Franz. (1910). Im Bannkreis Babels. [Note: On page 116 Kugler recognises there was a late Babylonian association of countries and zodiacal signs.]

Boll, Franz. (1914; Reprinted 1967). Aus der Offenbarung Johannis: hellenistische Studien zum Weltbild der Apokalypse. [Note: Page 46, Note 5. 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. [Note: George Gould's notes pages xci-xcii, and Manilius lines 4,744-4817.]

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.]

Malina, Bruce. (1995). On the Genre and Message of Revelation: Star Visions and Sky Journeys. (Page 103).

Steele, John. (2015). "Mesopotamian Astrological Geography." In: Barthel, Peter. and van Kooten, George. (Editors). The Star of Bethlehem and the Magi. (Pages 201-216).

Heilen, Stephan. (2015). "The Star of Bethlehem and Greco-Roman Astrology, Especially Astrological Geography." In: Barthel, Peter. and van Kooten, George. (Editors). The Star of Bethlehem and the Magi. (Pages 297-360).

Veszprémy, Márton. (2018). "The Transmission of Ancient Astrological Geography." In: (Editors). Farkas Csaba, Ribi András, Veres Kristóf György. Micae mediaevales VII. (Pages 181-207). [Note: Tanulmányok, konferenciák ; 12. Márton Veszprémy: "It is very likely that Manilius partly based his astrological geography on the Valens-Hephaestio tradition, with modifications made to suit his aims. Accordingly, we should be cautious when judging whether the astrological doctrines and techniques described by Manilius are indeed authentic (i.e. related to Hellenistic horoscopic astrology)." Márton Veszprémy is/was a PhD student in medieval history at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. Dissertation topic: the history of astrology in 15th and early 16th century East-Central Europe. Research interest: the history of astrology in general, its technical, cultural and social aspects. Author comment: "Mundane astrology deals with the fortunes of cities, kingdoms and states. Since the exact date of their foundation is very often unknown, ancient astrologers most often simply assigned countries and geographical regions to certain signs of the zodiac. Since we know that Hellenistic horoscopic astrology was created by a small group of people (according to David Pingree, perhaps even by a single person), we may reasonably ask whether the ancient astrological textbooks preserve traces of a common origin of the doctrines of astrological geography. The extant systems of ancient astrological geography are the ones presented by Marcus Manilius and Dorotheus of Sidon (first century CE), Ptolemy and Vettius Valens (second century CE), Paulus Alexandrinus and Hephaestio of Thebes (fourth century CE). The aim of my present article is to critically examine these sources as well as the theories formulated around them by earlier scholars (Franz Cumont and Godefroid de Callataÿ).]

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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.]

Blažeković, Zdravko. (1997). Music in Medieval and Renaissance Astrological Imagery. (2 Volumes). [Note: Unpublished doctoral dissertation; The City University of New York. Contains an excellent detailed discussion of the Sphaera Barbarica.]

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.

Seltman, E. J. (1899). "Nummi Serrati and Astral Coin Types." (The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Numismatic Society, Third Series, Volume 19, Pages 322-343).

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

Walker, John. (1952). "The Moon-God on Coins of the Hadramaut." (Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 14, Issue 3, Pages 623-626). [Note: Hadhramaut (also Hadramaut) is a region in southern Arabia.]

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 Tales of Celestial Coins." (Sky and Telescope, Volume 89, Number 3, March, Pages 28-29). [Note: On astronomical events depicted on Roman coins. The volume number is also given as 91.]

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.]

McIvor, Robert. (2003). "Astronomical Roman Coins." (The Celator, Volume 17, Number 10, October, Pages 18-24).

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).

McIvor, Robert. (2005). "The Star on Roman Coins." (Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Volume 99, Number 3, June, Pages 87-91).

Faintich, Marshall. (2008). Astronomical Symbols on Ancient and Medieval Coins. [Note: Date of publication is also given as 2007. 566 illustrations. Marshall Faintich has a Ph.D. in astronomy, is a past national director of the American Cartographic Association, and has been a numismatist for more than 50 years.]

Carswell, Christopher. (2009). Sidera Augusta: The Role of the Stars in Augustus’ Quest for Supreme Auctoritas. [Note: MA thesis, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.]

Rovithis-Livaniou, Elani. and Rovithis, Flora. (2010). "Old Coins with Astronomical Symbols." (Publ. Astron. Obs. Belgrade, Number 90, Pages 225-228). [Note: Old Greek coins.]

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.]

McIvor, Robert. (2011-2012). "A Supernova on Ancient Coins." (The Celator, Part 1 [No details], Part 2 [No details], Part 3, Volume 25, Number 12, December, Consecutive Issue Number 294, Pages 6-20; Part 4 [No details]). [Note: Illustrated 4-part article. The author is an insurance claims investigator and holds a Fellowship degree from the Insurance Institute of Canada. The Fellowship program closed at the end of 2017. Life dates: 1946- .]

Dy-Liacco, Rafael. (2012). "Comets, Cults, and Coins: A material-theoretical 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). [Note: "Abstract: Here I outline a material-theoretic framework for an archaeoastronomical study of the New Testament Book of Revelation. I begin with basic principles of materiality theory. I then argue that carefully observed celestial objects, as part of the material landscape, are on par with human-used structures. Thus, I develop a deeper notion of the “astral landscape.” Within this framework, I fit the basic Annaliste paradigm of three levels of space-time, and propose what I call a "cognitive-heuristic approach" to the study of this cognitive-material structure. Finally, employing data from astronomical software and the iconography of Roman coins, I show that this cognitive-heuristic approach allows an understanding of the New Testament Book of Revelation as a case of ancient prophetic sky reading." Speculative. The author is a Graduate student, Archaeological Studies Program, University of the Philippines, Diliman. ]

Woods, David. (2012). "Postumus and the Three Suns: Neglected Numismatic Evidence for a Solar Halo." (The Numismatic Chronicle, Volume/Number 172, December, Pages 85-92). [Note: Annual peer-reviewed journal of the Royal Numismatic Society founded in 1836. It appears the title has changed from The Numismatic Chronicle to Numismatic Chronicle, but references are still given as The Numismatic Chronicle.]

Ionescu, Doina., Rovithis, Flora., and Rovithis-Livaniou, Eleni. (2012). "The Zodiac: Comparison of the Ancient Greek Mythology and the Popular Romanian Beliefs." (Noesis, Volume 37, Pages 185-206). [Note: The paper draws a comparison between the ancient Greek Mythology and the Romanian folk beliefs for the Zodiac. Noesis is a periodical published by Académie Roumaine.]

Steyn, Danielle. (2012-2013). Chasing the Sun: Using Coinage to Document the Spread of Solar Worship in the Roman Empire in the 3rd Century CE. [Note: MA Thesis, Classics Department, University of Canterbury.]

Latura, George. (2013). "Constantine's True Vision: From Plato's Chi (X) to the Christian Chi Rho." (Coin News, February, Pages ?-?). [Note: The author states he is an independent researcher (whatever that may mean). The article revisits themes of his small self-published book, Visible Gates in the Pagan Skies (2009), 90-pages but really only a short essay. As the author writes speculative articles it is best to be familiar with any one or more of the following scholarly discussions: "Archaeologies and Agendas: Reflections on Late Ancient Jewish Art and Early Christian Art." by Jaś Elsner (Journal of Roman Studies, Volume 93, 2003, Pages 114-128). "The Staurogram in Early Christian Manuscripts." by Larry Hurtado (2006) in: New Testament Manuscripts: Their Texts and Their World edited by T. J. Kraus and T. Nicklas (2006, Pages 207-226). (Larry Hurtado is (2015) Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature and Theology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.) The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins by Larry Hurtado (2006, See especially pages 135-154). The Cross Before Constantine: The Early Life of the Christian Symbol by Bruce Longenecker (2015). "Description: This book brings together, for the first time, the relevant material evidence demonstrating Christian use of the cross prior to Constantine. Bruce W. Longenecker upends a longstanding consensus that the cross was not a Christian symbol until Constantine appropriated it to consolidate his power in the fourth century. Longenecker presents a wide variety of artifacts from across the Mediterranean basin that testify to the use of the cross as a visual symbol by some pre-Constantinian Christians. Those artifacts interlock with literary witnesses from the same period to provide a consistent and robust portrait of the cross as a pre-Constantinian symbol of Christian devotion. The material record of the pre-Constantinian period illustrates that Constantine did not invent the cross as a symbol of Christian faith; for an impressive number of Christians before Constantine’s reign, the cross served as a visual symbol of commitment to a living deity in a dangerous world."]

Latura, George. (2013). "Plato's Cosmic X: Heavenly Gates at the Celestial Crossroads." In: Sprajc, Ivan. and Pehani, Peter. (Editors). Ancient Cosmologies and Modern Prophets. (Pages 257-264). [Note: Proceedings of the 20th Conference of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture. Unreliable. The author is an amateur historian.]

Rovithis-Livaniou, Elani. and Rovithis, Flora. (2014). "Astronomical Symbols on Coins of the Roman Republic." (Romanian Astronomical Journal, Volume 24, Number 2, Pages 169-184). [Note: "Abstract. We present and describe some ancient Roman coins with astronomical symbols covering the interval 3rd century BC till the end of the Roman Republic, i.e. 27 BC. Any further available information for these coins is given, and a general discussion is made." Elani Rovithis-Livaniou is with the Department of Astrophysics, Astronomy & Mechanics; Faculty of Physics; Athens University; Greece. Sometimes the page numbers are erroneously given as 169-185]

Latura, George. (2014). "Plato's X & Hekate's Crossroads: Astronomical Links to the Mysteries of Eleusis." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 14, Number 3, Pages 37-44). [Note: George Latura is listed with the All American Bureau for speaking engagements. He describes himself as an independent scholar. Biography included with "Provisional Programme for: The Ninth Conference on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena": "1985-2005 - Time Inc. 2005-2015 - Independent research. 2013 - Published in SEAC 2012 Proceedings. 2013 - Numismatic Literary Guild Award (article). 2014 - Numismatic Literary Guild Award (book [more an essay]). 2014 - Published in SEAC 2013 Proceedings. 2015 - To be published in INSAP 2013 Proceedings." Unreliable. The popular quick-fix cult at Eleusis focused on seasonal phenomena related to agriculture (crop/soil fertility). Agriculture was not highly productive and famine was always a threat. The main staple food was bread of barley or wheat. Barley was resistant to variations in rainfall. Water was scarce, irrigation was not widespread, and dry grain farming was the rule.]

Latura, George. (2014). Ancient Coins Ancient Skies: Articles and Papers. [Note: Unreliable Engages in speculation.]

Andreou, Alexandros. (2014). "The Star and the Moon on Coins from the Athens Numismatic Museum's Collections." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume XX, Number X. Pages 1-8).

Mendillo, Michael. and Pollock, Ethan. (2015). "Christ and the Celestial Sphere: A Unique Mosaic in St. Isaac's Cathedral?" (Presentation at The Ninth Conference on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena, 24-27 August 2015, London). [Note: Abstract: "While celestial imagery appears in many religious paintings, Christ holding a celestial sphere is not commonly seen in Church decorations. St. Isaac's cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia, was built between 1818-1858, with the decorative phase involving Karl Bryullov (1799-1852), the Imperial Academy of Arts and personal interests of the Tsars. Within a Russian Orthodox Church, special attention is given to the wall (called the iconostasis) that separates the sanctuary from the public portion of the building. In St. Isaac's, the icon to the right of the entry into the sanctuary is a huge mosaic of Christ holding a large glass sphere containing stars and constellations. The image of a ruler holding a sphere dates to pre-Christian times. Later, when a crucifix was added atop the sphere, the object became known as a Globus Cruciger. From the Middle Ages onward, when Jesus held the Globus Cruciger the motif was called Salvator Mundi. Renaissance versions of Salvator Mundi range from da Vinci's to the one in the Hermitage by Titian. The designers of the mosaic in St. Isaac's did not copy these in detail, but surely in concept. The Russian artists Timothy A. Neff (1804-1876), Fedor P. Bryullov (1795-1869) and Fedor Bruni (1799-1875) provided the main guidance to the mosaicists, and yet astronomical motifs were not prominent in their prior accomplishments. In this paper, we explore the possible origins of the design used in St. Isaac's that added stars and constellations—most prominently Orion—to the glass sphere held by Christ."

Dimitrijevoc, Milan. (2015). "Astronomical Motifs in Serbian Medieval Numismatics." (Romanian Astronomical Journal, Volume 25, Number 3, January, Pages 211-224). [Note: The author is a medieval coin expert.]

Biedermann, David. (2016). "Sterne in der Münzprägung der Römischen Republik. Zur Mehrdeutigkeit eines Symbols." In: Haymann, Florian., Hollstein, Wilhelm., and Jehne, Marin. (Editors). Nomismata. Historisch-numismatische Forschungen 8. (Pages 145-172). [Note: Neue forschungen zur münzprägung der römischen republik. Beiträge zum internationalen Kolloquium im Residenzschloss Dresden 19.–21. Juni 2014. Author's comment: "The paper (in German) examines the iconographic tradition of the star on roman republican coins, showing that there it is misleading to interpret most of the stars appearing on coins after the Ides of March as the Caesaris Astrum. On the contrary, the star continues to be a variable symbol as it always was."]

Sidrys, Raymond V. (2020) The Mysterious Spheres on Greek and Roman Ancient Coins. [Note: Details from authors remarks Hastro-L posting (January, 2021): The author's 15-year research project developed into a book. The book focuses on quantities and percentages of the mysterious 5950 sphere (mostly celestial and terrestrial) images on Roman (76 BC-AD 476) coin reverses, and a few Greek coins. The research identifies which Emperors, Deities and Personifications are most frequently shown with a sphere, during reigns and eras, and determines the political, astronomical, religious and propaganda trends associated with the coin sphere images, and provides a variety of new findings. Greeks (620 BC-30 BC) very rarely showed sphere images on their coins – far less than 1%! In comparison, the later Romans during 76 BC-AD 476 issued coin reverse sphere types as 15% of their total coin types, and therefore millions of these important coin sphere types were minted. The Epilogue shows the continuous worldwide use (from 5th to 21st century) of sphere images on coins, reliefs, sculptures, astronomical models, drawings, paintings and large monuments, and some of them suggest that Imperial Roman sphere coins created a long legacy. I am very grateful to those HASTRO-L members who provided information about the diverse ancient astronomy theories – their names are included in the Acknowledgements. The author earned his BA (1971) in Anthropology at Northwestern University (also 1969 summer school at Harvard University), and MA (1973) and PhD (1976) in Anthropology at UCLA. My archaeological excavations were at Illinois, California, Guatemala, Belize and Lithuania. Primary research objectives were obsidian exchange among the ancient Maya, and Neolithic/Roman amber trade in the East Baltic, which resulted in a few books and more than 30 articles. In 1979, I was selected by the U.S. National Academy of Science as an exchange scientist with the Soviet Academy of Science to research Baltic amber. My research also included the Classical civilizations of Greece and Rome. I taught Classical civilizations at UCLA Extension in 1978; California State University, Fullerton in 1987; VMU in Kaunas in 1992; and Vilnius University (Lithuania) in 1995 and 2011. For years I belonged to the Ancient Coin Club of Los Angeles (ACCLA), and the Orange County Ancient Coin Club (OCACC).]

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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. But, importantly, see Bradley Schaefer's detailed posting to Hastro-L, Monday, 24 July 2017 in which he rebuts Dennis Duke's criticisms.]

Schaefer, Bradley. (2006). "The Origin of the Greek Constellations." (Scientific American, Volume 295, Number 5, November, Pages 96-101). [Note: Page numbers can be erroneously given as 70-75. 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.]

See the important critical papers: "Statistical Dating of the Phenomena of Eudoxus." by Dennis Duke (DIO-The International Journal of Scientific History, Volume 15, December 2008, Pages 7-23). (URL: And, "A 'Watermark' of Eudoxan Astronomy." by Elly Dekker (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume XXXXIX, Part 2, Number 135, 2008, Pages 213-238). (URL: (Note: Both are important articles for correcting the mistaken notion that Eudoxus was referring to constellations established circa 1000 BCE, and not in his own lifetime circa 370 BCE.)

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Diffusion and migration of constellations and star names.

For more than 300 years during the Late Bronze Age, from circa 1500 BCE to 1200 BCE, the Mediterranean region was a complex international region in which Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Canaanites all interacted, creating a unique cosmopolitan and globalized world-system. This Bronze Age internationalism ended in what has been termed an "apocalyptic disaster." After centuries of cultural and technological evolution, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms, that had taken centuries to evolve, collapsed rapidly. This end was world’s first recorded Dark Ages. It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas. The reason for the end of the Late Bronze Age is usually attributed to the so-called Sea Peoples, known to us from the records of the Egyptian pharaohs Merneptah and Ramses III. However, the end of the Bronze Age empires in the Mediterranean and Near East was more likely the result of multiple causes rather than a single wave of invasion. Whilst the "Sea Peoples" may likely have been responsible for some of the destruction that occurred at the end of the Late Bronze Age it is much more likely that a series of interconnected events, both human and natural - including earthquake storms, droughts, rebellions, and systems collapse (political, economic, and social) - combined to create the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age.

Ancient Greece was part of West Asia and subject to cultural influences from the Near East. The 1st period of ancient Greece being influenced by Near Eastern civilization was the high Mycenaean period (1450-1200 BCE) with the establishment of extensive international trade networks and communications networks between rulers. The 2nd period was the late Bronze Age period (1200-1050 BCE) with the substantial Greek colonisation of Cyprus and some parts of the south Anatolian littoral (sea coast). The 3rd period was the expansionist Assyrian empire. The Assyrian Empire expanded into the Middle East and Egypt 674-664 BCE. The Persian Empire expanded into Mesopotamia and Egypt circa 550-330 BCE. The Greek Empire expanded into Mesopotamia and Egypt between 334 and 323 BCE. We have here a reasonable trail for the diffusion and adaption of Mesopotamian astral science.

Kennedy, J[?]. (1898). "The Early Commerce of Babylon with India-700-300 B.C." (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, April, Pages 241-288).

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.]

Brown, G. Gordon. (1944). "Missions and Cultural Diffusion." (American Journal of Sociology, Volume 50, Number 3, November, Pages 214-219). [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).]

Campbell, John. (1963). "Ancient Alaska and Paleolithic Europe." (Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska, Volume 10, Number 2, April 1963, Pages 29-49. [Note: Based on his work (tool discoveries) at the Kogruk site, Anakturvuk Pass, Alaska in 1956. John Campbell (1927-2013) was an archaeologist and faculty member of the University of New Mexico (rejoining 1964 until retirement).]

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?- .]

Smith, William. (1965). Interconnections in the Ancient Near-East: a Study of the Relationships Between the Arts of Egypt, the Aegean, and Western Asia. [Note: Art is the usual evidence cited to prove contact. Life dates: 1907-1969.]

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- .]

Ericson, Jonathon. and Earle, Timothy. (Editors). (1982). Contexts for Prehistoric Exchange. [Note: Discusses - from the point of view of archaeology - issues that facilitate trade. Of course, trade facilitates cultural exchange.]

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.]

Halpern, Michael. (1986). "Sidereal Compasses: A Case for Carolinian-Arab Links." (The Journal of the Polynesian Society, Volume 95, Number 4, December, Pages 441-459).

De, S. S. and Basu, Baidyanath. (1987). "Some Astronomical References in the Vedas and the Quran - A Comparison." [Note: 1987 paper presented at the Seminar on Astronomy and Mathematics in Ancient and Medieval India: A Dialogue between Traditional Scholars and University-Trained Scientists, Ramakrishna Mission of Culture, Calcutta, May 19 to 21, 1987. See mention in: Historia Mathematica, Volume 18, Issue 1, 1991, Pages 56-62. Summaries of most of the papers and talks were published in a printed booklet, "Programme and Abstracts."]

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."]

Bobrova, Lara. and Militarev, Alexander. (1993) "From Mesopotamia to Greece: To the Origin of Semitic and Greek Star Names." In: Galter, Hannes. (Editor). Die Rolle der Astronomie in den Kulturen Mesopotamiens. (Pages 307-329).

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."]

van Lerberghe, Karel. and Schoors, Antoon. (1995). (Editors). Immigration and Emigration Within the Ancient Near East; Festschrift E[dward]. Lipiński. [Note: Emigration is the act of leaving one's native country with the intent to settle elsewhere. Conversely, immigration describes the movement of persons into one country from another. Both are acts of migration across national boundaries.]

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.]

West, Martin. (1997). The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth. [Note: Excellent. See the subsection "Astronomy", Pages 29-31. Martin Litchfield West, OM, FBA was an internationally recognised scholar in classics, classical antiquity and philology. Life dates: 1937-2015.]

van Lerberghe, Karel. and Voet, Gabriella. (Editors). (1999). Languages and Cultures in Contact: At the Crossroads of Civilizations in the Syro-Mesopotamian Realm. [Note: Proceedings of the 42nd RAI.]

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.]

Horden, Peregrine. and Purcell, Nicholas. (2001). The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History. [Note: See the (English-language) book reviews by Mark Whittow in The English Historical Review, Volume 116, Number 468, September 2001, Pages 900-902; and the Special Review by Gadi Algazi in Mediterranean Historical Review, Volume 20, Number 2, December 2005, Pages 227-245.]

Stearns, Peter. (2001). Cultures in Motion: Mapping Key Contacts and Their Imprints in World History.

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).

McEvilley, Thomas. (2002). Shape of Ancient Thought. [Note: Emphasises the role of the trading communities within Persian Babylon and Persepolis as melting pots of all kinds of new ideas.]

Parpola, Simo. (2003). "Assyria's Expansion in the 8th and 7th Centuries and its Long-Term Repercussions in the West." In: Dever, William. and Gitin, Seymour. (Editors). Symbiosis, Symbolism, and the Power of the Past: Canaan, Ancient Israel, and Their Neighbors from the Late Bronze Age Through Roman Palaestina. (Pages 99-111). [Note: Discusses that important Ionian intellectual stimuli was due to Assyrian influence through Lydia.]

Witzel, Michael. (2003). Linguistic Evidence for Cultural Exchange in Prehistoric Western Asia. (Sino-Platonic Papers, Number 129, December 2003). [Note: Includes mention of "star" and "Great Bear."]

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.]

Kurtik, Gennadij. and Militarev, Alexander. (2005). "Once more on the origin of Semetic and Greek star names: an astromonic-etymological approach updated." [Later ( corrected to: "Once more on the origin of Semitic and Greek star names: an astronomic-etymological approach updated."] (Culture and Cosmos, Volume 9, Number 1, Pages ?-?). [Note: The title spelling is given as printed. Can be downloaded at "Abstract: The contribution is a new version of the paper "From Mesopotamia to Greece: to the Origin of Semitic and Greek Star Names" once written by a Sumerologist (L.Bobrova) and etymologist (A. Militarev), and recently revised, updated and corrected in most part by a historian of the Mesopotamian astronomy (G. Kurtik). The present paper analyzes Sumerian and Akkadian (Babylonian) names of 34 celestial bodies, and their equivalents in other Semitic languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Syrian Aramaic, and Ge`ez, or ancient Ethiopian) and in Greek and Latin. Its main goal is to demonstrate the importance of Sumerian and Babylonian celestial body names as a source of corresponding terms in other cultures, up to the conventional inventory of modern astronomy, and to reveal four strategies by which other cultures drew ideas for name-giving from the treasury of Mesopotamia's lexicon of celestial bodies. Whereas one of these strategies -- echoing, or full translation, of a Sumero-Akkadian term -- is axiomatic, the other three -- shift of meaning or interpretation of a Sumero-Akkadian term; lexical, or "material" borrowing; and, especially, folk etymology, or misinterpretation -- are understudied and practically unnoticed. The authors do not focus on such complicated matters as a historical background of Mesopotamian influence, direct or indirect, on Greek culture; a direction and routes of inter-borrowing between different speaking areas other than Akkadian and their contacts with the Greek world; a chronology of all kinds of cultural contacts and influences; probable connections between the early pre-Islamic Arabic and Babylonian traditions; or the problem of identification of Mesopotamian constellation and stars. However, the data presented may give a certain impulse to further investigation of these matters, while feasible etymologies and relations established between names can even throw some light upon debatable identification cases." The old paper it updates is: Bobrova, Lara. and Militarev, Alexander. (1993) "From Mesopotamia to Greece: To the Origin of Semitic and Greek Star Names." In: Galter, Hannes. (Editor). Die Rolle der Astronomie in den Kulturen Mesopotamiens. (Pages 307-329).]

Kristiansen, Kristian. and Larsson, Thomas. (2005). The Rise of Bronze Age Society: Travels, Transmissions and Transformations. [Note: See: 6. The cosmological structure of Bronze Age society (Pages 251-319); and 8. Cosmos and culture in the Bronze Age (Pages 357-368).]

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).

Mair, Victor. (2006). (Editor). Contact and Exchange in the Ancient World.

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.]

Tuplin, Christopher. (Editor). (2007). Interaction with(in) the Archaemenid Empire.

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.]

McLaughlin, Raoul. (2010). Rome and the Distant East: Trade Routes to the Ancient Lands of Arabia, India and China. [Note: Excellent discussion of trade routes. 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.]

Neelis, Jason. (2011). Early Buddhist Transmission and Trade Networks. Mobility and Exchange within and beyond the Northwestern Borderlands of South Asia.

Sampson, Adamantios. (Editor). (2011, 2 Volumes). The Cave of the Cyclops: Mesolithic and Neolithic Networks in the Northern Aegean, Greece. [Note: The various contributors indicate a case for a complex network of trade activities and large-scale movements in the Aegean region, and contact between Aegean cultures and southwestern Anatolia circa 8000 BCE.]

Louden, Bruce. (2011). Homer's Odyssey and the Near East. [Note: Discussion of the problems of identifying cultural transmission. No specific discussion of the transmission of constellations and star names, but relevant to the topic. See the critical (English-language) book reviews by Jonathan Ready in Bryn Mawr Classical review 2011.08.25; and by Martin West in International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Volume 18, Number 4, December, 2011, Pages 611-615.]

Albessard, Lou. (2011). "Home is where one starts from": the mechanics of cultural diffusion in Iron Age Atlantic Europe as evidenced by British and French circular architecture. [Note: MSc Archaeology dissertation, The University of Edinburgh. No specific discussion of the transmission of constellations and star names, but relevant to the topic.]

Berezkin, Yu, (2012). "Folklore Parallels Between Siberia and South Asia and the Mythology of the Eurasian Steppes." (Archaeology Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia, Volume 40, Number 4, Pages 144-155). [Note: Discusses some particular folklore parallels between Eastern Europe and Siberia and the Eurasian Steppes, and South Asia. The author also acknowledges the movement of folklore themes from South Asia into North America.  Where folklore themes migrate to astral can also migrate to. The author is with the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkammer).]

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.]

Cline, Eric. (2014). 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed. Turning Points in Ancient History 1. [Note: Relevant to cultural diffusion throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East during the 2nd-millennium BCE. The author makes the case that various civilizations of the Near East and Aegean were economically and politically interconnected beginning as early as the 15th-century. The 4 centuries from 1600 BCE to 1200 BCE saw the establishment of a system of complex internationalism throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East. At the start of the 12th-century - roughly contemporary with the battle between Ramses III and the Sea Peoples - this interconnected system fell apart and the various participating civilizations collapsed. Cline establishes that the major civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean belonged to an interconnected system by the start of the Late Bronze Age in the 15th-century and that this system originated in the preceding Middle Bronze Age. Cline gives a number of examples: Exchange between Crete and Mesopotamia in the Middle Bronze Age; the appearance of envoys from Crete in the tombs of New Kingdom Egypt; political tensions between New Kingdom Egypt and the Mitanni of Syria; and interactions between the Mycenaeans and Hittites along the western coast of Turkey. A 13th-century example of the interconnectedness of the Eastern Mediterranean is the Uluburun shipwreck off the coast of southern Turkey. The contents of the ship to illustrate the great extent of trade that joined the various civilizations of the Near East and Aegean. This is also supported with texts from the archive of a 13th-century merchant from Ugarit. Tablets dating to the first decade of 12th-century Ugarit (when the Late Bronze Age came to an end and the Early Iron Age began) suggest that trade and diplomatic correspondence continued until the destruction of the city around 1185 B.C. Besides Ugarit, a number of other cities in northern Syria and the Levant have destruction levels dating to the beginning of the twelfth-century. How civilizations that had been thriving since the 15th-century collapsed is unknown. Possibly it was due to multiple events: Earthquakes, climate change, internal rebellion, invaders and the collapse of international trade, decentralization and the rise of the private merchant, and the invasions of the Sea Peoples.]

Evans, James. (2014) "Mechanics and Imagination in Ancient Greek Astronomy: Sphairopoïia as Image and Tool." In: Guichard, Luis. et. al. (Editors). The Alexandrian Tradition. Interactions between Science, Religion, and Literature. (Pages 35-72). [Note: 2011 conference proceedings. IRIS Ricerche di cultura europea – Forschungen zur europäischen Kulturz 28. Bern: Peter Lang. See the (English-language) book review by Fabio Stok in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2015.08.15. The book title and book review were kindly brought to my attention by John McMahon.]

Jones, Alexander. (2014). "Transmission of Babylonian Astronomy to Other Cultures." In: Ruggles, Clive. (Editor). Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy. (Volume 1, Pages 1877-1881).

Geller, Markham. (Editor). (2014). MELAMMU: The Ancient World in an Age of Globalization. [Note: Discusses the 1st-millennium BCE.]

Wick, Peter. and Rabens, Volker. (Editors). (2014). Religions and Trade. Religious Formation, Transformation and Cross-Cultural Exchange between East and West.

Grey, Safari. (2015). "Homer's Odyssey: Astronomy and the influence of the Near East.' (Presentation at The Ninth Conference on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena, 24-27 August 2015, London). [Note: Has the clear indication of being an uncritical return to the Panbabylonism of the pioneering assyriologist Peter Jensen. Abstract: "There has been a trend in scholarship, especially over the past two decades, examining the substantial influence of Mesopotamian culture and its literary tradition upon the writings of Homer. Whilst Homer's Odyssey is widely recognised as one of the earliest pieces of Western literature, its written form represents a long oral tradition which, according to this recent scholarship, is likely to have been influenced by the culture of the Near East. One of the primary aspects of Mesopotamian culture, especially within its religious expression, is astrotheological belief and the practice of astronomy. It therefore seems likely that if Homer's epics were influenced by Near Eastern culture that there should also be astronomical or astrotheological content within the epics as well. This paper argues that there is not only some astronomical influence on Homer's Odyssey, but that the text itself is, in actuality, a fundamentally astronomical text, and that the twelve adventures of Odysseus have deep and intimate connections with the twelve signs of the zodiac. Using select examples from the text this paper aims to demonstrate a comprehensive astronomically influenced narrative within Homer's Odyssey, sharing in a tradition of celestial narrative which is also found in the Eastern Epic of Gilgamesh."]

Mak, Bill. (2015). "The Transmission of Buddhist Astral Science from India to Asia: The Central Asian Connection." (Historia Scientiarum, Volume 24, Number 2, Pages 59-75).

Dashu, Qin. and Jian, Yuan. (Editors). (2015). Ancient Silk Trade Routes. Selected Works from Symposium on Cross Cultural Exchanges and Their Legacies in Europe.

Kistler, Erich., Öhlinger, Birgit., Mohr, Martin. and Hoernes, Matthias. (2015). (Editors). Sanctuaries and the Power of Consumption: Networking and the Formation of Elites in the Archaic Western Mediterranean World. [Note: Proceedings of the international conference in Innsbruck, 20th-23rd March 2012. Philippika, 92. See the (English-language) book review by Charlotte Potts, University of Oxford, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2016.08.34. In part: "This volume presents the collected proceedings of a conference held at the University of Innsbruck in 2012. The conference was designed to test the extent to which network theory could help to analyse and interpret the archaeological data for 'protoglobal complexities of circumstances, people and their activities' in the Archaic Western Mediterranean (p. XI). As such the publication aims to join the growing body of scholarship focused on describing and explaining connections between different Mediterranean communities in the first millennium BC, and particularly those using theoretical approaches developed in the social sciences such as peer-polity interaction, network analysis, and globalisation. ... One of these mechanisms, and indeed the one at the heart of this volume, is religious activity. In order to allow contributors to make comparisons between different sites, the organisers of the Innsbruck conference identified sanctuaries as a common frame of reference and adopted the working hypothesis that sanctuaries facilitated elite networks that would have otherwise been impossible."]

Mörner, Nils-Axel. and Lind, Bob. (2015). "Long-Distance Travel and Trading in the Bronze Age: The East Mediterranean-Scandinavian Case." (Archaeological Discovery, Volume 3, Pages 129-139). [Note: Deals with a few constellations. Originally prepared as a symposium paper. Revised and updated for journal publication.]

Steele, John. (2016). (Editor). The Circulation of Astronomical Knowledge in the Ancient World. [Note: Excellent. The book had its origins in a 2014 conference held at Brown University.]

de Ligt. Luuk. and Tecoma, Laurens. (Editors). (2016). Migration and Mobility in the Early Roman Empire. [Note: Studies in Global Migration History, 23/7. Leiden: Boston: Brill. Useful for understanding free and forced labour migration.]

Bachvarova, Mary. (2016). From Hittite to Homer: The Anatolian Background of Ancient Greek epic. [Note: See the critical (English-language) book reviews by Yoram Cohen in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2016.11.14. Deals with oral transmission. Argues that in Iron Age western Anatolia there was a demand for luxury goods, and for performing bards.]

Rowlands, Mike. and Ling, Johan. (2016). "Long-term Cosmological Interconnectedness and Long-distance Trade: Cosmology and Comparative Advantage in the Bronze Age and Beyond." In: Melheim, Lene., Glørstad. Håkon. and Glorstad, Zanette. (Editors). Comparative Perspectives on Past Colonisation, Maritime Interaction and Cultural Integration. (Pages 235-252). [Note: Publisher's blurb: "This volume explores processes of colonisation and cultural integration from the end of the last Ice Age to the present from a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective. All kinds of human mobility-whether across long or short distances, and whether involving short-term or longer interactions-are potential triggers for change and also cultural integration. The colonisation of an area most clearly brings into focus what kind of social fabric encompassed the actual historical processes. Recent perspectives on the social and cultural embeddedness of exchange, and how objects facilitate constructions of identities and political legitimacy, serve to frame and explicate the role of material culture in such processes. The contributions to this volume shed light on various social aspects of movement, migration and colonisation among hunter-gatherers and Neolithic groups as well as in chiefdoms and state societies. Geographically, an area spanning from the Mediterranean to central Europe and the North Sea region, Greenland and Siberia is covered. Three social and historical processes - the social aspects of colonisation, cultural integration and maritime interaction - are particularly discussed as interrelated phenomena." Lene Melheim is Researcher in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Gothenburg. Hakon Glorstad is Professor in the Department of Heritage Management, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo. Zanette Tsigaridas Glorstad is a Researcher at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo.]

Mak, Bill. (2016). "Astral Science of the East Syriac Christians in China During the Late First Millennium." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 16, Number 4, Pages 87-92).

Molloy, Barry. (Editor). (2016). Of Odyssey and Oddities: Scales and modes of interaction between prehistoric Aegean societies and there neighbours. [Note: Excellent collection of essays. Emphasis is on trade but also includes cultural and knowledge issues.]

Garcia, Juan Carlos Moreno. (Editor). (2016). Dynamics of Production in the Ancient Near East. [Note: Mobile populations and their effect on the diffusion of ideas.]

Hoffmann, Susanne. (2017). Hipparchs Himmelsglobus: Ein Bindeglied in der babylonisch-griechischen Astrometrie? [Hipparchus' celestial globe: A link in Babylonian-Greek Astronomy?] [Note: The author is an independent astronomer; Dipl.-Phys., Dipl.-Wiss.Hist., PhD, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2016.]

von Bredow, Iris. (2017). Kontaktzone Vorderer Orient und Ägypten: Orte, Situationen und Bedingungen für primäre griechisch-orientalische Kontakte vom 10. bis zum 6. Jahrhundert v. Chr. Geographica Historica, 38. [Note: "In her book, von Bredow tries to identify places, situations and preconditions, which led to the broadly acknowledged cultural and economic contacts between Greece and the Near East (including Egypt) from the 10th to the 6th century BC, through two main methodological approaches: first, by applying theoretical concepts of the communication sciences and, secondly, by utilizing socio-cultural and socio-technological theories and explanations. The focus is only on contact zones in the Near East itself, a phenomenon von Bredow calls "primary contacts" as opposed to "secondary contacts", which are placed within the Greek sphere." See the complete (English-language) book review by Alexander Vacek, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2019.03.31.]

Mattingly, D. J. et al., (Editors). (2017). Trade in the Ancient Sahara and Beyond. Trans-Saharan Archaeology.

Di Cosmo, Nicola. and Maas, Michael . (Editors). (2018). Empires and Exchanges in Eurasian Late Antiquity: Rome, China, Iran, and the Steppe, ca. 250-750.

Brown, David.(2018). The Interactions of Ancient Astral Science. [Note: With contributions by Jonathon Ben-Dov, Harry Falk, Geoffrey Lloyd, Raymond Mercier, Antonio Panaino, Joachim Quack, Alexandra van Lieven, and Michio Yano. Abstract: "Why and when did ancient scholars make the enormous effort to understand the principles and master the mathematics of foreign astral sciences? This work provides a detailed analysis of the invention, development and transmission of astronomy, astrology, astral religion, magic and medicine, cosmology and cosmography, astral mapping, geography and calendrics and their related mathematics and instrumentation in and between Mesopotamia, Egypt, the West Semitic areas, Greece and Rome, Iran, India and China. It considers the available textual evidence from the most ancient times to the seventh century CE. The author has worked the contributions of eight internationally renowned scholars into what amounts to a new history of the oldest sciences. The result is a challenging read for the layperson and a resource for the expert and includes an extensive index to the entire volume. It provides a new typology of cultural interactions and, by describing their socio-political backdrop, offers a cultural history of the region. In particular, astral science in the Hellenistic period west of the Tigris is completely re-evaluated and a new model of the interactions of Western and Indian and Iranian astral sciences is provided."]

Misiewicz. Zoë. (2018). "The Importance of Experts: Agents in the Transfer of Astral Knowledge between Hellenistic Mesopotamia and the Greek speaking World." (Pages 317-332). In: Crisostomo, C. Jay., Escobar, Eduardo A., Tanaka, Terri., and Veldhuis, Niek. (Editors). (2018). The scaffolding of our thoughts. Essays on Assyriology and the History of Science in Honor of Francesca Rochberg. [Excellent.]

Mörner, Nils-Axel., and Lind, Robert. (2018). "Astronomy and Sun Cult in the Swedish Bronze Age." (International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 8, Number 2. Pages ?-?). [Note: "Abstract. The Scandinavian Bronze Age started quite rapidly at around 1750 BC, and is marked by three simultaneous events: 1) importation of bronze from the east Mediterranean region, 2) export of amber from southeast Sweden to the east Mediterranean region, and 3) the carving of pictures of big ships on bedrock and boulders in southern Scandinavia. We take this as evidence of travel and trading by people coming from the east Mediterranean region on big ships via Gibraltar and the North Sea to Scandinavia. At the same time, the Sun cult flourished in southern Sweden and Denmark, as evidenced by monuments perfectly oriented with respect to the Sun’s daily and annual motions over the sky (e.g. Ales Stones), rock carvings of solar symbols and in solar alignment, and a number of ritual objects related to the Sun Cult (e.g. The Golden Sky Dome). In this paper, we summarize and update available data, especially the data from Southern Sweden."]

Wallace, Saro. (2018). Travellers in Time: Imagining Movement in the Ancient Aegean World. [Note: Travellers in Time re-evaluates the extent to which the earliest Mediterranean civilizations were affected by population movement. Contents: Imagining movement -- Movement as explanation : the heritage -- Movement, "Anatolianising" culture and Aegean social change circa 3500-2300 BCE -- Crete and Cretans in the Mediterranean, eighteenth to sixteenth centuries BC -- "Aegean" expansion : new dynamics, new boundaries in the later LBA -- Myth and movement from circa 1200 BC -- Later Iron Age Mediterranean movement and "Greek colonisation" -- Conclusions : movement disassembled. Saro Wallace held full-time lectureships at the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff, Reading and Warsaw (2004-2010). Her career has also included a number of prestigious research fellowships, including those of the Leverhulme Trust, the Alexander S. Humboldt Foundation, the W. F. Albright Institute, and the Centre for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University. She has been the recipient of numerous primary research grants including those of the British Academy, the Institute for Aegean Prehistory and the Society of Antiquaries. Since 2008 she has directed field research (survey and excavation) in the landscape around the Bronze to Iron Age site of Karfi, Crete. From 2017 she has been Senior Research Fellow in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester.]

Roelens-Flouneau, Hélène. (2019). Dans les pas des voyageurs antiques : circuler en Asie Mineure à l'époque hellénistique.

Mak, Bill. (2019). "Greco-Babylonian Astral Science in Asia: Patterns of Dissemination and Transformation." In: East-West Encounter in the Science of Heaven and Earth, Kyoto University International Symposium: International Conference on Traditional Sciences in Asia: East-West Encounter in the Science of Heaven and Earth (2017), Kyoto, Japan, October 25-28, 2017, Pages 14-34. [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.

Whilst, as yet, no 'technical' astral omen texts from the 3rd-millennium have been discovered, there generally is little doubt amongst assyriologists that some forms of divination were engaged in. It would simply be unusual if the Sumerians did not engage in divination and believe that celestial bodies held religious significance. That would identify them as the only known culture not to perform divination or believe that celestial bodies held religious significance. Divination is one of the best documented intellectual and religious endeavours of ancient Mesopotamia. Divination texts exist from the beginning of the 2nd-millennium BCE. Judging by their epigraphy, the earliest astral omen texts are thought to date to the 2nd half of the 17th-century BCE. The tradition of divination in Mesopotamia was continued until the demise cuneiform culture circa 1st-centuy CE. Its remnants persist to the present-day in astrology, one of the various divination genres. It is indicated that the duration of Mesopotamian divination is longer than 2 millennia and developed in the 3rd-millennium BCE. The assyriologist Francesca Rochberg (2006) has made the point that the age of the beginnings of astronomical observation and the systemisation of astronomical phenomena is directly correlated with the existence of celestial omens. However, the assyriologist Ulla Koch (circa 2010) states the recent analysis/interpretation of themes of Sumerian literary mythology have led to the suggestion that they reflect principles imbedded in the later written traditions of celestial divination. 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 assyriologist Jeanette Fincke ("Der Assur-Katalog der Serie enūma anu enlil (EAE)" in Orientalia, New Series, Band 70, 2001, Pages 19-39) identifies 4 different versions of the omen series Enūma Anu Enlil: an Assur version comprising 63 tablets, a Nineveh version comprising 69 tablets ( followed by Late Babylonian Uruk), a Neo Babylonian version relating to Babylonia (Kish and Babylon) comprising 68 tablets, and a ‘Babylonian' version (presently only attested in Niniveh) comprising 70 tablets. 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.

Ernst Weidner 1941-1944, 1954-1956, and 1968-1969 did pioneering work that established the fundamental elements of the order of the first 50 tablets.

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. See also: Ossendrijver, Mathieu. (2014). "Some new results on a commentary to Enūma Anu Enlil Tablet 14." (N.A.B.U., Number 4, décembre, Pages 158-161).

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

The tablets concerning solar phenomena other than eclipses have been edited by van Soldt. 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. (Just as observations of the synodic period of Venus apparently made during the reign of the Old Babylonian king Ammisaduqa (1646-1626 BCE) were later incorporated into tablet 63 of the standard omen series Enūma Anu Enlil observations of Jupiter were incorporated into tablet 59-60.) 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.)

The section of Enūma Anu Enlil concerned with meteorological and geological phenomena, tablet 36/37-49, has received attention by Erlend Gehlken. Erlend Gehlken (2005), "Die Adad-Tafeln der Omenserie Enūma Anu Enlil. Teil 1: Einführung." (Bagdahder Mitteilungen, Band 36, Pages 235-273); and (2008), "Die Adad-Tafeln der Omenserie Enūma Anu Enlil. Teil 2. Die ersten beiden Donnertafeln (EAE 42 und EAE 43." (Zeitschrift fur Orientarchäeologie, Band 1, Pages 256-314.) According to his reconstruction, the tablets 36-37 were concerned with mist, tablets 38-41 with cloud formations during the day and at night, tablets 42-46 with thunder, tablet 47 with strokes of lightening and earth quakes, tablet 48 with rain, fog and mud, and tablet 49 with winds. In Baghdader Mitteilungen (2005), Erlend Gehlken discussed the order of the tablets and gave an introduction to problems with the EAE tablets relating to weather phenomena.

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. (See the (English-language) book review by Henryk Drawnel in The Biblical Annals, Tome 3, Number 1, 2013, Pages 189-191. The (English-language) book review by John Steele, in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, is in press.) The first part of the weather section of EAE (tablets 36-41) that deals with mists, clouds, dawn, and the glow of sunset is yet to be published.

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 production of the 4 volumes of BPO from 1975 to 2005 had been a 30-year period of scholarly cooperation. 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."

Heeßel, Nils P. (2018). Dating eae. When was the Astrological Series Enūma Anu Ellil Created? (Pages 253-263). In: Crisostomo, C. Jay., Escobar, Eduardo A., Tanaka, Terri., and Veldhuis, Niek. (Editors). (2018). The scaffolding of our thoughts. Essays on Assyriology and the History of Science in Honor of Francesca Rochberg.

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Attempts to use kudurru iconography to astronomically determine dates.

Attempts to date kudurru by assuming their iconography has astral significance and then using the arrangement of their iconography to establish astronomical dates is both speculative and unproven. Over 40 symbols appear on kudurru. The arrangement of symbols do not occur in a fixed order on kudurru but vary. But see the recent discussions by Sara Pizzimenti (2014). An early, fully elaborated, (but erroneous) theory of kudurru symbols as zodiacal signs was proposed by Fritz Hommel (Aufsätze und Abhandlungen, Band 1, 1900 and Band II, 1901, Pages 236-272, 350-372, and 434-474). More completely: The work comprises 3 volumes: Band I, 1892; Band II, 1900; Band III, 1901. See Band II, Number 7: "Der Ursprung des Tierkreises": (S. 236—268); particularly "die babylon. Grenzstein-Embleme" (S. 244—265). See Band III, Number 10: "Die Astronomie der alten Chaldäer": {I. Der Tierkreis. (S. 350—372). II. Die Planeten und Nachträgliches zum Tierkreis. (S. 373—396). III. Die übrigen Sterne. (S. 396—433)} (mit einem Nachwort [vom 29. Mai 1891 zur „Astronomie der alten Chaldäer“ (1891/2). [Especially] A. Zu den Grenzsteinen. (S. 434—445). B. Zu den Planeten. (S. 446—458). C. Zu den Fixsternen. (S. 458—474). The most detailed attempt was also later made by Fritz Hommel (Zu den babylonischen Grenzsteinsymbolen (1920)) who perceived in the kudurru symbols an equatorial zodiac dating to the 5th-millennium BCE.

Hommel, Fritz. (1900). "Der Ursprung des Tierkreises." In: Hommel, Fritz. Aufsätze Abhandlungen II, Number 7. (Pages 236-268). [Note: There were early pioneering attempts (i.e., Epping-Strassmaier (AaB), Hommel) to prove that the boundary stone images represent nothing else than the zodiac. This failed through improved knowledge of the date for the establishment of the zodiac. Thoroughly outdated discussion nu Hommel the of possibility of zodiacal symbols being depicted on kudurru. The essay has several parts. The second part comprises "die babylon. Grenzstein-Embleme." (Pages 244-265). May be considered a prelude to his (rare 16-page pamphlet) "Zu den babylonischen Grenzsteinsymbolen" (1920). The latter is a detailed attempt to use the kudurru symbols to draw and date the Babylonian constellations. He argued in this latter essay that the kudurru symbols represented an equatorial zodiac dating to the 5th-millennium BCE. This is pure fantasy.]

Hommel, Fritz. (1901). "Zu den Grenzsteinen." In: Hommel, Fritz. Aufsätze Abhandlungen III, Number 10. (Pages 434-445). [Note: Thoroughly outdated discussion of possibility of zodiacal symbols being depicted on kudurru. Attempts to use the kudurru symbols to draw and date the Babylonian constellations. Forms part of his lengthy essay "Die Astronomie der alten Chaldäer." May also be considered a prelude to his (rare 16-page pamphlet) "Zu den babylonischen Grenzsteinsymbolen" (1920).]

Maunder, Edward. (1908). "The Triad of Stars." (The Expository Times, Volume XIX, Pages 300-303). [Note: The article later appeared in The Observatory, Volume 31, August, Pages 303-307. Flawed discussion of kudurru (boundary-stone) iconography and dating.]

Hommel, Fritz. (1920). Zu den babylonischen Grenzsteinsymbolen. [Note: A later detailed attempt by the Panbabylonist Fritz Hommel to use the kudurru symbols to draw and date the Babylonian constellations. Based on several earlier articles. He argued in this later essay that the kudurru symbols represented an equatorial zodiac dating to the 5th-millennium BCE. This is pure fantasy.]

Tuman, Vladimir. (1987). "Kudurru # SB 25 At The Louvre Museum Represents The Summer Solstice Festival June 22, 1203 B.C. (Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Volume 19, Pages 652-?). [Life dates: 1922 (Iran) - 2007 (USA). Tuman earned a B.S. with honors in physics at Birmingham University and an M.S. in geophysics at the Imperial College in London. After WWII, he returned to Iran and married Turan Faramarzpour. They moved to Masjid-Soleiman where he distinguished himself as a petroleum engineer at the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. In 1957 Tuman was offered a job by an American petroleum company and immigrated to the United States. Upon receiving an offer in 1959 for a tenure-track position at the University of Illinois, Dr. Tuman and his family moved to Champagne-Urbana, where he taught geophysics. In 1962, he entered a doctoral program at Stanford University in California. The family moved to Palo Alto, where, upon completion of his doctorate in geophysics, Dr. Tuman conducted research at the Stanford Research Institute.  In 1965, he accepted a position at Stanislaus State College (since renamed Stanislaus State University) in Turlock, as the founder and chair of the Physics Department. His teaching career there spaned over 25 years. It was later in his career that he became interested in Babylonian astronomy. Near the end of his academic and research career, Dr. Tuman combined his passion for Assyrian culture with his life-long love of learning, leading him to pioneer new methods in archeo-astronomy. He used these methods to interpret symbols on Assyro-Babylonian stones as planets and constellations, and to argue, through precise astronomical dating, that the Assyro-Babylonians had developed aspects of astronomy that were later adopted by other cultures. His 2 volume study of Babylonian astronomy was never completed.]

Tuman, Vladimir. and Hoffman, Robert. (1987/1988). "Rediscovering the Past: Application of Computers to the Astronomical Dating of Kudurru SB22 of the Louvre Museum." (Archeoastronomy: The Journal of the Center for Archaeoastronomy, Volume X, Pages 124-138).

Tuman, Vladimir. (1989/1990). "Astronomical dating of the Kudurru, IM-80908." (Sumer, Volume 46, Numbers 1/2, Pages 98ff).

Koch, Ulla., Schaper, Joachim., Fischer, Susanne. and Wegelin, Michael. (1990/1991). "Eine neue Interpretation der Kudurru-Symbole." (Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Volume 41, Pages 93-114). In their article "Eine neue Interpretation der Kudurru-Symbole." (Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Volume 41, 1990/1991, Pages 93-114) the authors Ulla Koch, Joachim Schaper, Susanne Fischer, and Michael Wegelin also attempt to identify and date constellations. They proposed that the symbols placed on kudurrus were star maps for a given date. This has not been acknowledged as successful.

Iwaniszewski, Stanislaw. (2003). "Archaeoastronomical Analysis of Assyrian and Babylonian Monuments: Methodological Issues." (Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume XXXIV, Pages 79-93). [Note: Excellent critique of attempts to date kudurrus astronomically. The author (Dr. habil.) was with the State Archaeological Museum, Warsaw. Current position Professor - Researcher, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia Monterrey, Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico.]

Pizzimenti, Sara. (2014). "The Astral Family in Kassite Kudurru Reliefs. Iconographical and Iconological Study of Sîn, Šamaš and Ištar Astral Representations." In: Marti, Lionel. (Editor). La famille dans le Proche-Orient ancien: réalités, symbolismes, et images. Proceedings of the 55th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Paris, 6th-9th July 2009. (Pages 151-161). [Note: A very interesting paper. Unfortunately the author places credence on outdated texts such as Ernst Weidner, HBA (1915). Currently (2014) Research Fellow in Near Eastern Archaeology, Department of Ancient World Studies, 'Sapienza' University of Rome, Italy. Education in archaeology: Università degli Studi di Roma 'La Sapienza.' PhD Near Eastern Archaeology.]

Pizzimenti, Sara. (2014) "The Kudurrus and the Sky. Analysis and Interpretation of the Astral Symbols as Represented in Kassite Kudurrus Reliefs." [Note: Presentation at American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) Annual Meeting, November 19-22, 2014, San Diego, California, Papers "Conservation and Site Preservation in the Near East." "Abstract: People have always been fascinated with the vault of heaven. The stars have been synonymous with immortality, due to their continuous and cyclical presence. Because of their immortality, stars and planets were considered heavenly images of the gods. With the rise of the Kassite dynasty, in the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE, a transformation happened in religious though and in the representation of the gods. One notices a gradual but continuous transformation in their representation, with the introduction of the symbolic representation of the divinities that replaced the anthropomorphic one. Symbolic divine representations are the main subject of the decoration of the kudurrus, the Babylonian boundary stones. The crescent, the eight-pointed star, and the sun-disk have a prominent place, and are always rendered in the upper part of the kidders. It is thus possible to note an iconographical change and some differences in their relative positions by analyzing each symbol represented on the kudurrus. The aim of this paper is to identify recurring symbolic patterns on Kassite kudurrus (sic) reliefs, and to understand their meaning. Thanks to modern software it is now possible to calculate the equinox precession (e.g. Solexv. 10.0). It is in fact possible to reconstruct the heavenly vault of the Kassite period, enabling one to compare the patterns identified and the astral conjunctions. It is possible that these patterns are not only divine symbol representations, but also a time image of the sky, with its own specific meaning."]

Pizzimenti, Sara. (2016). "The Kudurrus and the Sky. Analysis and Interpretation of the Dog-Scorpion-Lamp Astral Pattern as Represented in Kassite Kudurrus Reliefs." (Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Volume 16, Number 4, Pages 119-123). [Note: More speculative interpretation. This essay is her recent: SEAC 2015, November 10, 11:15am – 11:35am, paper: "The Kudurrus and the Sky. Analysis and Interpretation of the Astral Symbols as Represented in Kassite Kudurrus Reliefs."]

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Astral religion.

A still useful annotated bibliography - spanning some 25 years - is: Gundel, Wilhelm. (1934). Astronomie, Astralreligion, Astralmythologie und Astrologie. Darstellung und Literaturbericht 1907-1933. (Jahresbericht über die Fortschritte der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft. Zweihundertdreiundvierzigster Band.) The creation of historical knowledge from the remains the past has left behind can often be a problem. Establishing that some statements are the truth avoids the claims and counterclaims of contending assertions. Establishing a basic minimum on historical 'knowability' helps avoid extravagant claims and extreme views at the expense of the real substance of the actual remaining evidence. Also, dogmatic assertions must not be taken as proof; resemblance is not confirmation. All history as legitimate opinion misses the fact of ensuring that deliberate misrepresentations and manipulated historical evidence (misrepresentation of the evidence) are not employed in legitimate historical debate. It is obvious that many people do not have the historical scholarship, expertise, and knowledge to properly understand fantasy constructions that proponents promote as valid considerations.

The earliest gods/goddesses were representations of the elemental powers i.e., thunder.

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Astral Mythology

The term astral mythology broadly means occurrences in the heavens are given the form of a narrative, with personifications of heavenly bodies and constellations. Securely identifying astral/celestial content in the mythology/religion of Mesopotamia - a traditionally favourite focus in the late 19th-century and early 20th-century - has been fraught with difficulty.

Present-day worship of astral object (planets and stars) survives only in a corrupt or obscure form. It has been remarked that true star worship existed only among some ancient civilisations associated with Mesopotamia. It is indicated that Mesopotamia, where both astronomy and omenology/astrology reached a high degree of refinement—especially after a Hellenizing renaissance of astronomy—was the origin of astral religions and myths that affected religions all over the Greek/Roman/Persian world.

The concept of myth is highly controversial. There are many ways of thinking about myth - there is no one theory of myth. Divergent and incompatible meanings are given. There also is a view that myths have no intrinsic meanings. Myth serves to to construct order out of an arbitrary world. Myths serve to try to make the world make sense. Mythological narratives are fictitious. Myths are a supernormal narrative (fictional story) for giving meaning/sense to the world. One of the prime functions of myth is to create order out of a seemingly random universe, to make meaning out of the meaningless. Myths are not to be interpreted literally. A myth is a retold metaphorical narrative that is a way of making sense in a senseless world. Myth involves a hidden meaning behind the narrative structure. A myth is not a falsehood. A myth is a sophisticated social representation. Basically, the term astral mythology means occurrences in the heavens are given the form of a narrative, with personifications of heavenly bodies and constellations.

There are many problems concerning the nature, meaning and functions of myths. It has been proposed that systems of myths generally evolve in technically deficient societies as explanations for what those societies do not possess the means to understand. No single theory has proved sufficient to explain the origin of the Greek cults, legends. and myths. Regarding Greek myths: Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica 2.17, gives 3 narrative explanations for the constellation of the dolphin: it commemorated a man called Delphin who helped the love affair of Poseidon and Amphitrite; it is Dionysus's warning reminder to humankind of the sailors he changed into dolphins; it commemorates the dolphin who rescued Arion. Also, there are 8 different explanations of the constellation Engonasin, the Kneeler, in Poetica Astronomica 2.6. Are all versions structured from the same 'code' and do they all convey the same meaning?

Astral mythology: Explaining Mesopotamian (and other) mythology as a projection and allegory/metaphor of the movement of celestial bodies. It is an attempt to articulate knowledge of the Sun, Moon, stars and planets. First promulgated by the German star-myth school (by Eduard Stucken). An elaborate system of astronomical mythology is a different category to mythology supposedly being used as a (coded) technical language to explain an elaborate system of astronomical knowledge/astronomical constructs.

The term 'astronomical mythology' encompasses several distinctively different concepts/schemes. Astral mythology may include aspects of astral religion. Star stories (celestial storytelling) have no historical basis.

 One hundred years after the demise of Panbabylonism (at the end of World War I) a minor resurgence in astronomical mythology has occurred. See: Sullivan, Lawrence. (1983). "Astral Myths Rise Again: Interpreting Religious Astronomy." (Criterion, Volume 22, Number 1, Winter, Pages 12-21). Aspects of the modern renewal copy/repeat themes present in the German star-myth school and the German Panbabylonian school, plus the earlier nature-myth school. An example is Hamlet's Mill (1969) by Giorgio de Santillana and Herth von Dechend (1969). An important/relevant issue is: what is meant by the descriptor 'astronomical mythology'? Approaches to the supposed content of astronomical mythology vary. There is a need to distinguish between what can be termed categories of explanation of astronomical mythology. Astronomical mythology as explanation can be reduced to 3 convenient (simplified but not distortive) categories. Each of these categories have distinctive parameters.: (1) Star (constellation) stories (simple/descriptive stories independently invented by cultures). Included within this category are nature-myths. Star stories are usually comprised of catasterisms/star lore and the explanative content is culturally specific. An example is Micmac star stories. The main sources of Greek star-myths were the lost astronomical poems of Hesiod and Pherecydes and later works by Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Aratus and Hyginus. (2) Cosmic mythology developed (and existing) within cultural boundaries. Involves a cosmological system. An example is the pre-Islamic astral mythology of Iran. Basic knowledge of the cosmic scheme is recoverable from the Avesta. The Avestan scheme involves ancient Iranian concepts of the celestial sphere and astral bodies. (3) Coded language cosmic mythology (preliterate origin, single point of origin, widely spread by cultural diffusion). This category comprises a more complex approach to the nature and function of astronomical mythology. Mythology is interpreted as a coded technical language for astronomical phenomena that forms an integrated scheme. Put another way - A comprehensive cosmological scheme/construct having mythology as its scientific language. Component parts are claimed to include the equally divided 12-part zodiac, scheme of 12 zodiacal world ages, and precession. Included within this category is Panbabylonism and the application of the theory to the Old Testament. The application of Panbabylonism (astral mythology) to the interpretation/explanation of Old Testament figures did not rule out historicity. The historicity of traditions was not denied. But the traditions had been shaped by astral motifs. However, the application of astral mythology acted to demolish the historicity of Old Testament figures. Important component parts of Panbabylonism include an equally divided 12-part zodiac and an exact knowledge of precession (and a system of 'world ages' based on it). Hamlet's Mill (1969) is a derivation of Panbabylonism. There is no evidence to support the development of an elaborate system of astral myths, especially as a form of technical language. It is difficult to have any patience with claims for a widely spread ancient (pre-literate) system of myth as an astronomical language originating from the establishment of an ancient zodiac and knowledge of precession (precessional time (as calendar?)).

The subject of astronomical mythology attracts both laypersons and credentialed scholars.

A collection of individual star myths (celestial stories) from a cultural group is hardly a structured system of astronomical mythology. Interrelationship would be needed, and also an astronomical scheme. There is no 'organic' unity between star stories that would suggest more intricate cosmic/astronomical themes being structured into - and shared between - them.

David Mathisen is a prolific blogger and writer of (mostly self-published) books on his particular claims (interpretations) for the existence of ancient astral mythology. According to Mathisen myths and sacred stories of the world are based upon a common, world-wide system of celestial metaphor. This system of metaphor is also operating in the Biblical scriptures. Mathisen believes he can provide a systematic explanation of the principles underlying this celestial "language." For a recent unconvincing attempt by Iurii Mosenkis see: Mosenkis, Iurii. (no date, circa 2010?). "Astronomical Code of Ancient Texts: Methodological Approaches." [Note: Unpublished. 6 pages. Uncritical. To be used with caution. Downloadable from]

A more usual approach has been to examine mythological motifs. A mythological motif (i.e., cosmic hunt) may be extensively distributed in common and variant versions (Orion-based, Big Dipper-based). The cosmic hunt is commonly associated with the constellation of Orion, but is also associated with the Big Dipper. The theme/motif of is located across Northern Eurasia, North America, and Equatorial (West) Africa.

The starting point for the (Sumerian) development of a system of astral myths is perhaps the essays of the late Sumerologist Bendt Alster and the Semiticist Jerrold Cooper. See: "The Paradigmatic Character of Mesopotamian Heroes." by Bendt Alster (Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Orientale, Volume LXVIII [68], Number 1, Pages 49-60). The author favours an astronomical interpretation of the subject matter. Also: Alster, Bendt. (1976). "Early Patterns in Mesopotamian Literature." In: Eichler, Barry. (Editor). Kramer Anniversary Volume, Pages 13-24). The Danish author, who was a leading Sumerologist/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. "Literature and History: The Historical and Political Referents of Sumerian Literary Texts." by Jerrold Cooper. In: Historiography in the Cuneiform World. Part 1 (2001). Edited by P. Steinkeller. et al. (Pages 131-147). The article has been described as a sophisticated take on astral underpinnings in mythology. The story of the descent of the goddess Innana to the underworld is identifiable as describing the motions of the plant Venus. Inanna was associated with (1) the planet Venus, and (2) the constellation Anunītu (the eastern fish of the later zodiacal constellation Pisces), and (3) the later goddess Ištar was associated with the 7 stars of the circumpolar Margidda (Wagon) constellation (= Ursa Maior/'Big Dipper'). (One source also associates Ištar with the constellation Anunītu. The association of Inanna/Ištar with Anunītu appears to be very late.) Venus has also been identified with 'The Bow.' The eminent assyriologist Francesca Rochberg believes that Mesopotamian religion was not astral in nature. Rather, an astronomical body (i.e., sun, moon, planet, star, constellation) might represent a specific god/goddess, but astronomical bodies themselves did not have a god/goddess-like status. (See: Rochberg, Francesca. (2009). "The Stars Their Likenesses." In: Porter, Barbara. (Editor). What Is a God? (Pages 41-91).) However, the astronomical aspect of Inanna is somewhat ambiguous. During the Ur III period the heliacal settings of the planet Venus were marked by the festivals of Nanaya and Anunnitum (Sauren). Also, Inanna was a city goddess.

Basic knowledge of the scheme of early Iranian astral mythology is recoverable from the Avesta. There were 3 levels to the heavens and then uppermost there was paradise. Based on magnitudes of light the stars comprised the the lowest level; the moon the middle level; the sun the highest level; then, uppermost, there was paradise. It is obviously not a technically correct model. Likely it is a theological model. There were few constellations. There were 2 circumpolar constellations (Ursa Major and the Pleiades). No pole star was identified. At the time of composition of the Avesta there was no star occupying the polar region. Some individual stars were identified. There is no clear mention of the planets. There were also 2 battle stories of Tištriia (identified with Sirius), the leader of the astral army of stars and the the champion against the falling stars. Tištriia battles Apaoša, the demon of the drought, and also battles the female demon Pairikā Duziiāiriiā (a comet?). Four leader stars are mentioned. These leader stars are Tištriia, Vanant (or Wanand), Satavaesa (or Sadwēs), and the Haptoiringas (or Haftoreng). Only 2 of the 4 can be reasonably identified (i.e., Tištriia with the star Sirius, and Haftoreng with the stars of Ursa Major. It is speculated that the leader stars function as markers for the seasons or equinoxes/solstices. A calendar scheme is also indicated. A mix of astral mythology and astral religion is indicated. Perhaps a more suitable term is astral cosmology. See also: "Cosmology and the Expansion of the Iranian Empire, 502-628 CE." by Richard Payne (Past and Present, Number 220, August 2013, Pages 3-33).

The complex system of astronomical mythology/astral religion propagated by the German star-myth school and the German Panbabylonism school are not credible. They are fantasies. It is worth mentioning there is no trace of Panbabylonian ideas (a scheme involving the integration of zodiac, precession, world ages) in Iranian astral mythology, as might be expected. The discussion of astral mythology or astral religion per the Panbabylonists is indicated as outdated/outmoded and the revival of such without benefit. There is no evidence that there was an elaborate system of astral myths/astral religion per the tenets of the German star-myth school and the tenets of the German Panbabylonism school.

Note: The case of the Pleiades. The Pleiades asterism/constellation is a small conspicuous group of stars positioned along the ecliptic. The astral mythology associated with the asterism/constellation Pleiades has much in common worldwide, particularly between several ancient, widely separated cultures. How to explain? Coincidence has been postulated. Trans-Eurasian migration. The Eurasian East as the earliest zone (assembly area) for people) for the worldwide spread of the astral mythology connected with the Pleiades. Also, Pleiades mythology being on the the earliest stories originated by people before they travelled out from Africa. The smallness of the early human population needs also to be taken into account. Migration out of Siberia and into the Americas involved a single initial migration circa 20,000. Later there was differentiation into distinct groups. Early human had the power of speech.

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Astral Religion

Securely identifying astral/celestial content in the mythology/religion of Mesopotamia has been fraught with difficulty. During the pioneering period of assyriology it was believed the (astral) religion, astronomy and chronology of the Babylonians form one whole. Stephen McCluskey has pointed out: "Just because a religion uses astronomical phenomena to regulate the recurrence of sacred times, uses observations of sunrise to orient sacred structures, or even uses astronomical metaphors (e.g., comparing the church to the Moon since it reflects the divine light, not its own), does not imply that we are looking at worship of the Sun or the Moon."

Astral religion: The belief that the Sun, Moon, and planets were hypostases of gods/goddesses, and worshipped as such. Celestial divination assumes astral religion, but astral religion does not necessarily assume celestial divination. The rise of astronomy and astrology over other divinatory techniques was a primary reason contributing to the astralization and solarization of the gods/goddesses throughout the ancient Near East.

The god Sah and his consort, Sopdet (Spdt, Sepedet), who is probably better known by her Greek name, Sothis, personified the constellation of Orion (which he is sometimes referred to) and the bright, first magnitude star Sirius (the "dog star") respectively. Sah was a god in ancient Egyptian religion, representing a constellation that encompassed the stars in Orion and Lepus, as well as stars found in some neighboring modern constellations. His consort was Sopdet known by the ancient Greek name as Sothis, the goddess of the star Sirius. Sah came to be associated with a more important deity, Osiris, and Sopdet with Osiris's consort Isis. Sah was frequently mentioned as "the Father of Gods" in the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts. The pharaoh was thought to travel to Orion after his death.

The Egyptian pharaoh Akhnaton (Amenhotep IV) tried to establish the Sun God (Aton) at Heliopolis as the centre of the whole Egyptian cult, but he was unsuccessful. The short-lived adoration of the sun-disc Aten was established by pharaoh Akhenaten in the 14th-century BCE. Aten (also Aton, Ancient Egyptian: jtn) is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of the god Ra. The worship of Aten was eradicated by Horemheb who was the last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled for 14 years somewhere between 1319 BC and 1292 BCE.

Many of the gods/goddesses in ancient Mesopotamian pantheons had both celestial as well as terrestrial manifestations. (This was also the case for the gods/goddesses of other pantheons.) However, inaccurate reconstructions of the antiquity and history of Mesopotamian astral sciences inevitably meant that early astral interpretations were faulty.

The important city Sippar, in central Mesopotamia, had a renowned sun temple.

The current status of astral religion/mythology is somewhat unsettled. Astral religion (worship of the stars) refers to the cultic worship of heavenly bodies or deities (gods/goddesses) associated with them. There were considerable astral elements in Babylonian religion. Babylonian astrology depended essentially on astral religion. Manfred Hutter has written: "The relationship between a heavenly body and a deity may range from identification to mere association - the boundaries are fluid. There is no astral religion per se, but elements of astral religion appear within particular religious systems. Some scholars have attempted to trace the whole of mythology to astral religion or astral mythology, but such theories are now obsolete. It is important to distinguish astral religion from astrology ...." (See: Hutter, Manfred. "Astral Religion." Religion Past and Present. Brill Online, 2014. Manfred Hutter (born 1957) is a Professor at Bonn University, Department of Comparative Religion. He holds 2 doctorates. Religion Past and Present (RPP) Online is the online version of the updated English translation of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide: the Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (RGG).)

Some scholars connect astral religion and astrology. As example: Cooley, Jeffrey. (2011). "Astral Religion in Ugarit and Ancient Israel." (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 70, Number 2, Pages 281-287). At least for ancient Israel and contemporary Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Mesopotamia he connects astral religion and astrology. Several scholars maintain that ancient astrology was basically a religion. The relationship of astral religion to astrology remains unsettled. Kugler demonstrated that Babylonian astrological concepts - not to be confused with astral omenology - were of a much more recent origin than was supposed by those scholars who based their ideas of Babylonian astral religion upon the supposed antiquity of Babylonian astrology. Ancient Near Eastern religions commonly (though not always) associated or identified the visible planets with gods/goddesses. The eminent assyriologist Francesca Rochberg believes that Mesopotamian religion was not astral in nature. Rather, an astronomical body (i.e., sun, moon, planet, star, constellation) might represent a specific god/goddess, but astronomical bodies themselves did not have a god/goddess-like status. (See: Rochberg, Francesca. (2009). "The Stars Their Likenesses." In: Porter, Barbara. (Editor). What Is a God? (Pages 41-91). Also see the earlier more detailed discussion: Rochberg, Francesca. (1996). "Personifications and Metaphors in Babylonian Celestial Omina." (Journal of the American Oriental Society, Volume 116, Number 3, July-September, Pages 475-485).) Establishment of horoscopy: - the technique of predicting an individual's future; - mathematical art (causal); based on planetary positions in zodiac, at time of birth; predicted events are inevitable and cannot be avoided. Though largely geometrical Greek horoscopic astrology is still based on concept of astral religion (i.e., gods and goddesses residing in the planets). Also the early belief that planets and stars establish a system of influence on peoples lives by emanating rays.

The existence of a strong indigenous astral element in Syria, the Levant, and Mesopotamia is indicated. In ancient Ugarit and Judah astral religion, at one time, held a place of importance before being displaced by other god's cults. Not known is whether there was an archaic West Semitic astral cult or whether astralization was introduced by the impact of the Assyrian conquest. There is little indication of the worship of astral gods/goddesses in Israel before the defeat of Israel (722/721 BCE). However, the existence of a small (18cm diameter, 3.5cm deep) bronze Aramaic bowl (dated circa 8th-century BCE) portraying an astral scene involving constellations, is evidence for the the existence and antiquity of a strong Aramean or West Semitic astronomical tradition. The astral scene depicting constellations is not a "sky map" (an actual astral scene is not depicted) but is perhaps based on a "sky map." It is likely the bowl was used for astral divination. See: "Another Look at an Aramaic Astral Bowl." by K. Lawson Younger Junior (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 71, Number 2, October 2012, Pages 209-230).

See the detailed discussion: Yahweh and the Sun: Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel by J. Glen Taylor (1993). The author argues that there was in ancient Israel a considerable degree of overlap between the worship of the sun and of Yahweh - even that Yahweh was worshipped as the sun in some contexts. See also: The Near Eastern Background of Solar Language for Yahweh by Mark Smith (1990) (Journal of Biblical Literature, Volume 109, Number 1, Spring, Pages 29-39). An early study was: Hollis, F. J. "The Sun-Cult and the Temple in Jerusalem." In: Hooke, Samuel. (Editor). Myth and Ritual (1933). The language of the sun-cult had royal connections.

In pre-Islamc Arabia there was a whole pantheon of astral gods/goddesses. In the polytheistic religions of Arabia most of the gods/goddesses were originally associated with heavenly bodies, to which were ascribed powers of fecundity, protection, or revenge against enemies. (The ancient Arabians associated different territories with different gods/goddesses.) The Sabaeans, and their old Semitic planetary cults (planetary astral system of gods/goddesses), were South Arabian. The astral basis of the South Arabian pantheon is identified with such divine names as Shams/Shamsu ("Sun") and Rub'/Rib' al-Khali ("Moon-Quarter"). The epithets "Mother of 'Athtar [among the Sabaeans]," "Mother of [the] goddesses," "Daughters of [the god] Il" allude to still-obscure theogonic myths.

Zoroastrianism (with its astral cosmology, and celestial realm populated by celestial beings), Mithraism (with its association with astrology), and other similar types of astral religions such as the solar cults of the later Roman Empire (involving astrology) located the gods/goddesses and the proper home of the human soul and special spiritual powers in the celestial realm. The ancient Egyptians identified passage to the afterlife and the attainment of immortality with the passage through the celestial regions, such as the circumpolar region. Astral elements of Zoroastrism (the religion of Zarathustra) were influential – especially the astral origin of the soul. Circa 450 BCE saw Greek knowledge of, and borrowing of, Persian myths. Circa 400 BCE saw the influence of Zoroastrism (the religion of Zarathustra) – astral origin of the soul. Involving Greek form of Persian myth that the soul comes from the realm of the stars to unite with a living body – and so human character is determined by the heavens. Astrologers were particularly concerned to know the positions of the "heavenly elements" at the moment of the individual's birth, for celestial configurations marked the path that the soul had taken in its descent into the body. These same celestial forces had accordingly exerted, and would continue to exert, an influence on the soul, perhaps determining its experiences. (Introduced into Mesopotamia from Persia.) Zoroastrianism underwent changes during the Achaemenian era, such as the absorption of Babylonian astral lore. Belief in the development of Zurvanism, a modified form of Zoroastrian religion that supposedly appeared in Persia during the Sasanian period is controversial and likely the uncritical invention of Western scholarship.

A fundamental idea of Pythagorean astronomers was the divinity of the astra, especially the planets.

The worship of celestial objects was not a native feature of Greek religion. Worship of the Sun was limited among the Classical Greeks. Helioatry (worship of the Sun) was frequently labelled as barbaric by Classical authors. However, there is evidence for sun worship in some Greek cities i.e., there was a solar cult in Corinth. Martin Nilsson (1874-1967, a Professor of Classical Archaeology) showed that the older Greeks had few star myths. George Lewis (1806-1863; a British statesman and classicist) made the observation that on the whole, Greek mythology had little connection with the celestial bodies. Also, the Classical Greeks associated astral cults with the barbarians. Earlier, George Lewis (1806-1863), An Historical Survey of the Astronomy of the Ancients (1862), made the point that the religion and mythology of the early Greeks had scarcely any reference to astronomy, or to the adoration of the celestial bodies. Also, the divination practices of the early Greeks had little connection with the celestial bodies. Early Greek divination practices involved the use of oracles, dreams, entrails (innards), and the flight of birds. The Greeks also drew prognostics from prodigies ('wondrous rare natural phenomenon'), among which comets, meteors, and eclipses held an important place.

The Hellenistic Age (332 BCE-circa 4th-century CE) was a time of great political, economic, and cultural expansion for the Greeks and Romans, who had intentions to conquer and rule the known world. With the Greek conquest of the Persian empire in the 2nd-half of the 4th-century BCE previous border limitations collapsed and regular cultural and intellectual exchange between Greece and Babylon was enabled. An interesting development in the Greco-Roman religious imagination also occurred during this time, as people began to envision the stars and planets in new ways. A consequence of the conquests of Alexander the Great was that Babylonian star religion was mingled with Greek cosmology and the concept of transmigration of souls. The form of astrology resulting from this spread throughout the Hellenistic world and became very common in the Roman Empire. Hellenistic astrology was a combination of Babylonian and Egyptian astral religions and Greek astronomy. In astrology a particular relationship between human destiny and the celestial bodies was expressed. Astrology also put into mathematical language some methods of astral divination.

Astral religion, though it had oriental roots i.e., in Babylonia, was fundamentally a Hellenic creation, Pythagorean and Platonic. The belief that the stars and planets are gods/goddesses—a notion borrowed from ancient Near Eastern cultures—entered into Greek thought in the 4th-century BCE. The spread of astrology in the Hellenistic world was accompanied by the spread of astral religion. Astral religion in the Greco-Roman world came in many forms. Astral religion was propagated by Plato in his later years. Astral religion was evident in the philosophy of Plato (Timaeus, and Laws) - but was without a cult. Astral immortality featured in Plato. The final stage of Greek thought on the afterlife is the period dominated by Plato which included progression towards astral immortality. But Plato offered different versions of the fate of the soul: Phaedo 80c-e; Gorgias 526b-d; end of Republic (Myth of Er). On Plato and astral immortality, see: "Hellenistic Influence on the Idea of Resurrection in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature." by Stephen Bedard (Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism [JGRChJ], Volume 5, 2008, Pages 174-189, see pages 180–6). In the last 3 centuries BCE, Classical and Hellenistic astral religions focused on Plato's theory of the soul's celestial descent/ascent. In the first 2 centuries CE the focus of astral religions was on personal salvation. Platonic philosophy considered the soul to originate in the celestial realm and to be trapped/imprisoned in an earthly body where the two were in conflict. After death the soul proceeded to the realm of the gods/goddesses where it would dwell in its native star. Epicurus was hostile to Plato's astral religion.

In Greece and Rome the fixed stars were not the objects of astral cult worship. Astral cults seem to be rather uncommon in ancient Greece. In mythology, however, particular stars/constellations could become associated with semidivine heroes/heroines. The practice of referring a planet as the star of a particular god/goddess originated in Classical Greece and became consolidated in the Hellenistic period. In Rome it became common to identify a planet simply by the name of the god/goddess associated with it. In Rome the Sun and the Moon moved undecidedly between being planets of the gods/goddesses Apollo and Diana respectively and gods/goddesses in their own right. Catasterism is the transfer of human beings to the celestial realm, usually in the shape of a constellation. Greek catasterism (originating circa 4th-century BCE) was related to the belief that the human soul is a star. Catasterism was attested to in Egypt in the 3rd-century BCE. It was not common in Babylonia. Greek mythical stories which have an astronomical reference are comparatively recent in origin. Greek astral legends are an aspect of Alexandrianism, and genuinely early Greek astral myths are rare. Occasionally a Greek myth was given an astronomical meaning by later writers, which it lacked in its earlier form. From the 6th-century BCE onwards, legends concerning the constellation subjects were frequently treated by the Greek historians and poets.

The stars did become very important in religion in a way very different from their importance in mythology when the Greeks adopted and developed late Babylonian astrological methods and beliefs. "After the Persian conquest of Egypt during the sixth century BCE, Babylonian star religion had become closely linked with the indigenous inhabitants of that country. In the Ptolemaic kingdom established by the Greek during the fourth century, an astrological literature written in Greek but made out of Babylonian, Egyptian, and Greek elements came into being. The so-called Hermetic books compiled between 50 BC and 150 CE contain a complete theology [astral mysticism] which spread rapidly throughout the Roman world." (Myths of the Zodiac by Hugh Lloyd-Jones (1978).)

Circa 400 BCE. there was the influence of Zoroastrism (the religion of Zarathustra) which saw the astral origin of the soul. It involved a Greek form of Persian myth that the soul comes from the realm of the stars to unite with a living body – and so human character is determined by the heavens. Astrologers were particularly concerned to know the positions of the "heavenly elements" at the moment of the individual's birth, for celestial configurations marked the path that the soul had taken in its descent into the body. These same celestial forces had accordingly exerted, and would continue to exert, an influence on the soul, perhaps determining its experiences. (Introduced into Mesopotamia from Persia. But the doctrine of the astral destiny of the soul may have originated earlier in the 5th or 6th century BCE in Mesopotamia.)

he oldest Greek reference to celestial immortality is a comment by Ion of Chios, a 5th-century BCE Pythagorean poet who wrote "... when someone dies he becomes like the stars in the air" (Cumont. 1922, Page 95). Plato developed the idea with extensive detail in the Timaeus, where he informs us that the Demiurge fashions the immortal component of every human soul from leftovers remaining from the preparation of the World-Soul (Cornford, 1937, Page 142).

In Alexandria the rapproachment of philosophy and astral religion was accelerated by the revival of Platonism.

The Stoic philosopher Posidonius of Apamea (135-50 BCE) reshaped astrology and astral religion and influenced the acceptance of both within Stoicism. (Stoicism held the idea of cosmic sympathy and the universal rule of Fate.) Greek philosophy from its beginnings tended to regard celestial objects as divine. This happened partly because the Greek philosophers were impressed by the regularity of the movement of the fixed stars, and also partly because of the influence of the astral content of the religious beliefs of the neighbouring oriental countries. During circa the beginning of the 3rd-century BCE Greek philosophy was opened up to astral religion by the Stoics, whose founder, Zeno of Citium (Cyprus), began to teach in Athens. Stoic determinism and Babylonian astral religion were natural allies.

Shortly before 100 CE a new mystery cult - the cult of Mithras - arose in the Roman Empire and spread quickly. It combined the attributes of a classical sun-god with a religion of salvation, guaranteed by baptism, communion and 7 degrees to be passed. The cults of Mithra, Cybele, and Isis in the Roman empire all had cosmic-astral aspects. The major transition on solar worship among the Romans was brought about by Augustus, the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, controlling Imperial Rome from 27 BCE until his death in CE 14. In 10 BCE he had 2 huge Egyptian obelisks transported to Rome, re-erected, and officially dedicated to Sol. Images of the Roman astral cults of the Sun and Moon appeared on Roman coinage from the end of the 1st-century BCE. By the 3rd-century CE many aspects of astralism (astral cults) were succeeded by the cult of sun worship (Deus Sol Invictus), which dominated the 3rd-century CE, and was perhaps a refoundation of the ancient Latin cult of Sol), and the cult of emperor worship (with its origins in the 1st-century BCE - the Roman emperors being portrayed as astral gods on Earth) which became state religions within the Roman Empire. The Roman astral-cults of the Sun (Sol) and Moon (Luna) enjoyed imperial sponsorship for 300 years. The rise of the sun cults is characterised by the merging of different gods from various cultures (and also within cultures). In classical Greece the god of the sun, Helios, amalgamated with the god of light, Apollo. Mithraism is identified as an astral mystery-cult/mystery-religion. Astral beliefs appear among the doctrines attributed to the (Christian) Spanish bishop Priscillian of Avila in the 4th-century. Sun god worship was established by Emperor Aurelian in 274 CE and he based it upon the Syrian sun god at the ancient Semitic city of Palmyra.

The introduction/imposition of the sun-god Elagabal from the Syrian town Emesa as the highest god of the empire (the highest god of the Roman pantheon), attempted about 220 CE by the young Roman emperor Elagabalus (reigned from 218 to 222; bearing the same name as the sun-god), failed. (The sun-god Elagabal was worshiped in the form of a meteoric black stone.) The introduction of Sol Invictus, however, the invincible god of the sun, by the Roman emperor Aurelian in 274 CE succeeded. Aurelian introduced the cult of Sol Invictus as a henotheistic god to the Roman Pantheon. Henotheismis is the worship of a single god/goddess while not denying the existence of possible existence of other gods/goddesses. (The Roman grammarian Sextus Festus (probably flourished in the later 2nd-century CE) associated the worship of Sol with the Aurelian family (Aurelian was a Roman Emperor, early 3rd-century BCE) in Rome.) This was the beginning of the development of the submission of the Roman pantheon to the sun-god. On the Dies Natalis Invicti, CE 25 December 274, Roman Emperor Aurelian decreed Sol Invictus as the Dominus Imperii Romani, and ordered imperial coins honoring Mithras-Sol Invictus to be minted and the Templum Solis Aureliani to be built in Rome. The cult of the sun, shaped by Helios - Apollo - Mithras Sol Invictus was very popular. The Roman emperor Augustus chose Apollo as his guardian god. Apollo became the Cosmocrator. In the imperial propaganda, the emperor Augustus likened his own government to the ruling of the cosmos by Apollo. The Roman worship of the Sun, with Sol as an independent god, not equated with the Greek sun god Apollo, is indicated as only being prominent in late Roman cult.

Note: Branka Migotti (2017) identifies the moral and political untrustworthiness of Elagabalus as a key reason for failure and the moral and political trustworthiness of Aurelian as a key reason for success.

Aurelian had designated the winter solstice (December 25th) as natalis solis invicti, a date which also corresponded to the traditional celebration of the Saturnalia. December 25th was later transformed into a Christian holiday sometime between 274 and 336. It then became known as the celebration of Christ’s birth, the 'Sun of Righteousness,' as he was styled in Old Testament prophecy, which probably reflected the increasing Christian tendency to use solar imagery to describe Christ.

Legionary standards were religious totems, concerned with the sky-father Jupiter Optimus Maximus to whom all military units solemnly sacrificed at the beginning of the year. The Roman standards primarily belong to the paraphernalia of religious cult. The religion of Iuppiter Dolichenus became popular in the Roman Army. The greatest support for Mithraism was found within the Roman army.

So popular was solar worship among everyday people that the symbols and iconography associated with Sol Invictus made their way into Christian rhetoric, liturgy, and art well before the 4th-century.

Regarding the non-Christian origin of Christmas and the influence of solar worship. The placement of the birth date of the biblical Jesus was done in late antiquity to help combat popular interest in sun worship and associated gods. Interestingly, in the (annotated) Roman Calendar of Polemius Silvius (Gaul, mid 5th-century) pagan and Christian festivals are incorporated together in a Christian framework. In this last ancient Roman calendar we have (the calendar of Polemius Silvius, composed in Gaul and dating to the year 449), it unambiguously records December 25 as Jesus' birthday: "natalis Domini corporalis, solstitium, et initium hiberni" (= physical birthday of the Lord, solstice, and beginning of winter).

The characterisation of Harranian/Sabian pagan religion as astral appears in Arabic accounts of the 9th-century CE.

Early studies concluded that it is not indicated that Sun-worship existed in the old religion of China. But see recent studies such as: Esposito Monica. (2004). "Sun-worship in China - The Roots of Shangqing Taoist Practices of Light." (Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie, Volume 14, Pages 345-402).

Franz Kugler and astral religion: Kugler's SSB3 (sub-title: God types and cult forms) was intended to be about types of gods/goddesses and their cults in Babylonian religion (and their astronomical character = astral religion, astral cults, astral omens/astrology). It is not possible to identify what Kugler would have written on the topic. However, from the proposed title, its intended content has not been replaced any book published during or after Kugler's lifetime. (A god/goddess and astral cult approach is indicated.) Some material of the type that likely would have comprised SSB3 appeared in his book Im Bannkreis Babels (1910) and a number of articles. Also, Babylonian astral religion is one of the subjects of the 2nd volume of Franz Kugler's, Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel. Some of the material on Babylonian astral religion received attention in SSB (particularly SSB2) and also appeared in the 2 Ergänzung. Possibly the focus would have been on the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods. Kugler may have intended including kudurru symbols - as examples of astral symbols - in his study. If so, it would have been misleading. Quite often, Babylonian planet names tend to have the determinative for god/goddess (see: Kugler, SSB1, 1907, Page 62). For Kugler, an understanding of Babylonian religion is linked with their celestial observations. Kugler recognised that Babylonian religion exhibited prominent astral features. According to Kugler, Babylon had priority in celestial observations and the mythical interpretation of atmospheric and astral phenomena. According to Kugler this is what created their religion and also astrology. Astral religion, astrology, and astronomy are all linked to the class of astronomer/astrologer priests. Kugler believed (SSB1) that Babylon was influential on the cultures of Near East prior to the conquests of the Assyrians and the Persians. Perhaps the only point on which Kugler agreed with the Panbabylonists was that the origin of 'astrology,' as an expression of religious sentiment, historically preceded astronomy. This viewpoint by Kugler was the product of research results of the early 20th-century. In his SSB, Kugler viewed astral religion as the most noble (highest) form of polytheism. (Kugler did not view astral religion as a primitive aspect of religious behaviour and belief. He viewed it as the highest expression of polytheism.) According to Kugler 'astrology' was also the mother of astronomy. 'Astrology' was found upstream of a process which necessarily leads to astronomy. Kugler believed that without absolute conviction that the stars were messengers for the destiny of humankind the Babylonians would probably have never concerned themselves - apart from the Sun and Moon as regulators of time – with the scientific study of the stars. In SSB 2 (1909/1910) Kugler also has a chapter on the deification of kings. Interestingly, Morris Jastrow Junior pointed out (1911, Page 256): "In Babylonia and Assyria we have first 'astrology' and astronomy afterwards, in Greece we have the sequence reversed: astronomy first and astrology afterwards." Mathematical astrology did not come into existence until circa the commencement of the Christian era.

But Kugler refuted the main arguments by which Winckler and Jeremias supported the original astral character of Babylonian religion.

Astral beliefs and rites (i.e., were also established in China (Taoist). The cult of the Sun existed in the early stages of Chinese civilisation. The East African Masai worshipped the stars. Some of the Native North Americans worshiped the stars. See also: "Magic and Animism in Old Religions: The Relevance of Sun Cults in the World View of Traditional Societies." by George Oesterdiekhoff. (Nar. umjet (Croation Journal of Ethnology), 45/1, 2008, Pages 43-66). The author was/is with the the Institute for Sociology, University of Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe.

Sin or Suen or Nanna was the god of the moon in the Mesopotamian religions of Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with the Semitic Suen. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Suen's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north. A moon god by the same name was also worshipped in South Arabia. The German classical scholar Wilhelm Roscher (1845-1923) provided evidence that beneath Greek religion there lies a substratum of pre-agricultural moon-worship. See the bibliography in his Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, Band 4. 646 and his Über Selene und Verwandtes (1890). Lunar gods and goddesses who personify the moon and its cycles, are comparatively rare figures in mythology. In agricultural traditions the moon is usually regarded as female and is the benevolent ruler of the cyclical vegetative process.

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Franz Kugler's Flirtation with Babylonian Astral Mythology and Astral Religion

Up till 1905-1907 Kugler was supportive of astral myth and astral religion ideas. He probably first gave attention to such between 1900 and 1905 at least. By 1904 (the year of publication of his astral interpretation of the Gilgamesh myth) 3 schools/streams able to influence Kugler's dabbling in astronomical mythology were: (1) the Star-Myth school, (2) Panbabylonism, and (3) the Babel-Bibel school. All 3 schools originated in Germany in the last decade of the 19th-century.

For a time Kugler was engaged with the Epic of Gilgamesh. In his 1904 essay Kugler agreed with the astral theories of Panbabylonism to a limited extent. Kugler's lengthy early article: Kugler, Franz Xaver. (1904). "Die Sternenfahrt des Gilgamesch: Kosmologische Würdigung des babylonischen Nationalepos." (Stimmen aus Maria-Laach, Band LXVI [66], Heft 4, April, Part 1: Pages 432-449 + 2 fold-out diagrams (star maps), and Heft 5, May, Part 2: Pages 547-561). This was an examination/explanation of the Gilgamesh epic as astronomical mythology. Kugler's single published flirtation with the astral myth theories. This article - in which Kugler proposes an astral solution for the Gilgamesh myth - is Kugler's (last of apparently several early) brief flirtations with the astral interpretation of mythology promoted by Panbabylonism.

In the epic of Gilgamesh (Table ix. cols. ii.–iv.) we find the mention of 2 giant scorpion-'men,' one male and the other female, terrible giants, keepers of a door. Kugler believed in his 1904 article that he had shown that these (were) 2 celestial scorpions - reproduced in Babylonian sculptures - that were the 2 zodiacal constellations Scorpio and Sagittarius. (Apparently it was the last of several early flirtations by Franz Kugler with astral mythology.) This article - in which Kugler proposes an astral solution for the Gilgamesh myth - is indicated as Kugler's (last) brief flirtation with the astral interpretation of mythology.

Kugler's article is an example of reading/reconstructing so-called mythical texts as 'Klartext' i.e., uncoded text, clear text, in understandable form. The 2 diagram's Kugler included with the article are exact sky-maps showing Gilgamesh's travels in the sky. In this 1904 essay Kugler agreed with astral myth theories to a limited extent. At the time of its publication Kugler's essay was accepted as an excellent exposition proving the purely astral character of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The article was perhaps not entirely speculative. It was accepted at the time - and still is by some - that Kugler showed that the 2 celestial scorpions - reproduced in Babylonian sculptures - were the 2 zodiacal constellations Scorpio and Sagittarius. However, he seems to have been influenced by the astronomical interpretation of some kudurru iconography made as early as 1889 by Epping in AaB.

This article was the last flirtation by Franz Kugler with the German astral myth schools  At the time of its publication Kugler's essay was accepted as an excellent exposition proving the purely astral character of the Epic of Gilgamesh. A few years later Kugler rejected the article. Kugler later (SSB1) repudiated the ideas he had expressed in the article. Kugler demonstrated (SSB (1907) and IBB (1910)) the complete lack of convincing evidence in favour of Babylonian astral mythology but not astral religion. Kugler at first was sympathetic to the astral myth ideas of Panbabylonism, but later rejected these ideas when he became convinced that any significant astronomy could not have existed in Mesopotamia before the era of Nabonassar. Late Mesopotamian and Hellenistic astronomers calculate the years by a chronological system called 'era of Nabonassar,' which began on February 26, 747 BCE.

Just how far Kugler would have supported the early (or later) development of an elaborate system of astral myths in Babylonia or other parts of the Near East is now impossible to understand. With the tenets of Panbabylonism disproven, some form of substitute system did not exist. However, numerous forms of astral myths and symbols did exist in the Near East and elsewhere. But a system of precessional myths did not exist.

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How Kugler May Have Approached SSB3: Some Provisional Notes on Astral Gods/Goddesses

Kugler believed that just about the whole Babylonian Pantheon was astral. This singular interpretation was later shown by improved knowledge not to be correct.

SSB3, intended to be a study of Babylonian astral mythology and astral religion, was never completed and published. Interestingly, Kugler had stated that it was almost ready for publication. No publisher problems were indicated. (The economic situation in Germany after WWI briefly improved between 1924-1929. However, Germany in the 1920s remained politically and economically unstable. The Weimar democracy could not withstand the disastrous Great Depression of 1929 and in that year the German economy collapsed.) However some material for SSB3 was published in SSB2. SSB2 was a larger volume than usual.

Based on his published ideas some conjecture on what would have appeared in SSB3 can be attempted. As a framework, perhaps a basic 4-step process which can be readily expanded to a much wider scope. (1) It is possible that Kugler's approach would have identified all major Akkadian gods/goddesses linked with a star (planet or star). This would have been based on numerous names used by the Mesopotamians for celestial bodies were the same as those applied to gods/goddesses. On some inscriptions the names of the planets have the Sumerian determinative prefix for 'god/goddess,' DINGIR, and on other inscriptions the names of the planets have the determinative prefix for 'star/heavenly phenomena,' kakkabu. (Sumerian DINGIR (Akadian ilu) means god/goddess.) (2) Construction of a compendium of astral associations of Babylonian/Mesopotamian gods/goddesses with planets. (3) List of god/goddess symbols and their meaning. (4) List of god/goddess cult places and rituals/myths. (As example: astral gods/goddesses were occasionally invoked in haruspicy.) Gods/goddesses and their cults were generally associated with cities. A god/goddess could be associated with one or more cities. (See: Das Pantheon der Stadt Uruk in der Seleukidenzeit by Otto Schroeder (1916).) (5) Construction of a compendium of astral associations of Babylonian/Mesopotamian gods/goddesses with constellations/stars. (6) List and discussion of Kudurru iconography: Whether constellation symbols or god/goddess symbols. (Kugler accepted some Kudduru symbols were astral. Obviously Sun (Shasmash), Moon (Nannar), and Venus (Inanna). But also several others) (7) List and discussion of astral (god/goddess) triads. (8) The colours of the planets and the meaning of such in Babylonian/Mesopotamian astral lore. (9) The planetary order (listing sequence) on tablets. (10) A further summary review of Babel-Bibel-Streit and Panbabylonism. (11) A review/critique of Peter Jensen's claims regarding the Gilgamesh epic. (It is unknowable whether Kugler would have mentioned his earlier article: Kugler, Franz Xaver. (1904). "Die Sternenfahrt des Gilgamesch: Kosmologische Würdigung des babylonischen Nationalepos." (Stimmen aus Maria-Laach, Band 66, Part 1: Pages 432-449 + 2 fold-out diagrams, and Part 2: Pages 547-561). (Note: An examination of the Gilgamesh epic as astronomical mythology. This article - in which Kugler proposes an astral solution for the Gilgamesh myth - is Kugler's brief flirtation with the astral interpretation of mythology promoted by Panbabylonism. Kugler later (SSB1) repudiated the ideas he had expressed in the article.) (12) Also, Babylonian/Mesopotamian cosmic geography? Whether Kugler would have included discussion of Babylonian/Mesopotamian cosmic geography (as was later done in great detail by David Horowitz) is unknowable. (13) Also, 'Astrolabe' menologies (particularly 'Astrolabe' B)? This is also unknowable. (14) The Enuma elish so-called creation myth. Whether Kugler would have included a discussion of this is unknowable.

It is not possible to attempt an understanding of how Kugler would have dealt with the Milky Way. Babylonian identifications for the Milky Way (Keilschrift Milchstraße) = the river of the high cloud; the long road; River of Night; the forest of heaven. Antiranna, the forest of heaven, was an ordinary name of the Milky Way. (See article in JRAS, 1920; and Heimpel, W. (1989). "The Babylonian background of the term 'Milky Way'." In: Studies A. W. Sjoberg (1989) Pages 249-252.) The Babylonians identified the Milky Way with the tail of the goddess Tiamat; set in the sky by Marduk after he chased and killed Tiamat.

SSB3 would have been text-based and descriptive. (Doing calculations based on kudurru iconography does not seem likely.) Some of Kugler's ideas would have been erroneous. Also to be kept in mind is by 1909/1910 Kugler had refuted the main arguments by which Winckler and Jeremias supported the original astral character of Babylonian religion.

Astral Associations of Mesopotamian Gods/Goddesses

All major Akkadian gods/goddesses were linked with a star (planet or star). Numerous names used by the Mesopotamians for celestial bodies were the same as those applied to gods/goddesses. On some inscriptions the names of the planets have the Sumerian determinative prefix for 'god/goddess,' DINGIR, and on other inscriptions the names of the planets have the determinative prefix for 'star/heavenly phenomena,' kakkabu. (Sumerian DINGIR (Akadian ilu) means god/goddess.) The eminent assyriologist Francesca Rochberg believes that Mesopotamian religion was not astral in nature. Rather, an astronomical body (i.e., sun, moon, planet, star, constellation) might represent a specific god/goddess, but astronomical bodies themselves did not have a god/goddess-like status. (See: Rochberg, Francesca. (2009). "The Stars Their Likenesses." In: Porter, Barbara. (Editor). What Is a God? (Pages 41-91).) While not an 'astral religion,' the Sumerian and Babylonian tradition did have astral features.

Kugler could be expected to include a discussion of cosmic gods/goddesses, and mountains as god/goddess thrones.

God/goddess cults were popular terms for discussing gods/goddesses and their devotee practices/beliefs and their astral associations. This continued up to the 1950s.  For example: "The late Assyro-Babylonian cult of the moon and its culmination at the time of Nabonidus." by Julius Lewy (Hebrew Union College Annual, Volume 19, 1945-46, Pages 405-489).

Through monopolization the number of gods/goddesses decreased over time. As example: Inanna annexed Delebat, a goddess of the planet Venus. The majority of the 'great gods/goddesses' extent after circa 1500 BCE most usually had Semitic (or Semiticised) names rather than their ancient Sumerian names. Some god/goddess names were not changed.

Astral gods/goddesses were occasionally invoked in haruspicy.

Kugler/Price and astral identifications in early 20th-century

Down to the 1st-century BCE Babylonian star-lore was steeped in mythical concepts, although this went together with exact astronomical observations.

The great gods/goddesses were often associated (or in some cases thought to be) with astral symbols. For example see the early illustrated study: Altorientalische Symbolik by Hugo Prinz (1915).

Ancient Babylonia linked Ishtar with Sirius. In Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens, Morris Jastrow identifies Ninsun as Ishtar. Kugler identifies the goddess Ishtar is identical to Sirius. He writes that at 3000 BCE she lives as a consort of Tammuz from her heliacal setting, about April 1st, to her heliacal rising about June 20th. According to Kugler (Sternkunde und Sterndienst II) Ishtar-Sirius lives as a consort of Tammuz from her heliacal setting, circa May 1st, to her heliacal rising (circa July 20th), [calculated for 3000 BCE, from April 1st to June 20th]. This is the period of lush/luxuriant vegetation and of animal pairing/species pair bonding to raise offspring. (See Boyce, HZ I 74-5; Kugler, Sternkunde, II 84.)

 In ancient Babylonia, Sirius was closely associated with Spica. The 2 stars were represented by a single goddess, held to be a manifestation of Ishtar. Spica was especially the star of the 6th month, which was presided over by Ishtar.

The Babylonians associated the planet Mercury with the advent of rain and flood. There were similarities with Iranian star-lore/uranography.

And like the sun Ninsumun/Sirius also seems to move along with Gudea wherever he goes. If Ninsun is identical to Ishtar as well as to Sirius then in March she is the evening star "following" the sun. And thus Ninsumun alias gracious Lamassu may also "follow" the steps of Gudea. (The Great Cylinder Inscriptions A & B of Gudea, Cylinder A, translated by Ira Price.)

Excursus: The planetary order (listing sequence): From his examination of various texts Kugler formed the "Stabilität des babylonischen Planetenkultes" ("stability of the Babylonian planetary cult") theorem. The planet lists showed reasonable stability/consistency over time (with the order of the listed planets) until the end of the Assyrian period. (Obviously there was a convention for ordering the 5 planets.) The order of the listed planets then show changes. Other cuneiform texts give different nonstandard orders for the planets. From the end of the Assyrian period Jupiter and Venus are constantly at the top. Stability then further ceases with Saturn, Mercury, Mars and also Mars, Saturn, Mercury appearing at the top of the planet lists. But Jupiter-Venus-Mercury-Saturn-Mars as found on Goal-Year Texts of the Seleucid period is the only frequently recurring order.

According to Kugler, the early Babylonian scheme for the order of the planets is Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Mars. The later scheme (introduced circa 400 BCE) is Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Mars. Babylonian omenology assigned planets to different gods/goddesses: Jupiter = Marduk, Venus = Istar, Mercury = Nabu, Saturn = Ninib, Mars = Nergal. The Greeks of the 4th-century BCE were influenced by the Babylonian scheme and replaced their old descriptive names of the planets for those of various gods/goddesses that corresponded closely with the Babylonian series. The Star Dil-Bat. - In Z. Assyr. XIII, 1908, Pages 155-165, Morris. Jastrow, Jr., agreed with the conclusions of Kugler that the planets are to be identified with the great gods of Babylonia as follows: Jupiter = Marduk, Venus = Ishtar, Saturn = Ninib, Mercury = Nebo, and Mars = Nergal. Jastrow held that these identifications did not change from the earliest to the latest times. In the case of Venus (Dil-Bat), he argued that this planet was never associated with any other god/goddess than Ishtar. Supposed instances to the contrary were held to rest upon a misunderstanding of the texts.

Kugler's argument (Kugler 1907, 13-14) for the supposed early Babylonian planetary order depends on his discussion of only 3 sources. Neugebauer 1975, 690 and Pingree 1978, 2.214, following Boll 1912, 2561 and Boll 1914, 342-344, suggest that the sequence Jupiter-Venus-Saturn-Mercury-Mars, which occurs cyclically in the sequence of Chaldean Terms, originates in a pre-Seleucid Babylonian convention for ordering the five planets.

Milky Way: The Babylonians identified the Milky Way with the tail of the goddess Tiamat; set in the sky by the god Marduk after he chased and killed her. According to Kugler the Milky Way was the Babylonian road of the gods/goddesses (Stimm. Maria-Laach, 1904, Pages 445f.) In the 5th century BCE the Greek poet Pindar paved the way for a milky highway to heaven for the divine by calling the Milky Way the road of the gods. The soul, in this scheme, has an affinity with the gods and wants to rejoin them. (The Roman god of the Milky Way Galaxy is named Orbis lacteus. The God is neither male nor female, and displays no gender specific traits that we know of.)

Astral Associations of Mesopotamian Gods/Goddesses (1): Planets

God/Goddess (Usual names.) Planet (The ordinary name for planet in Babylonian is bibbu. The Sumerian term UDU.IDIM.MES (Akkadian bibbu) = wild sheep = planets. The Babylonian astronomers conceptualised a grouping of 7 planets (though not always in their astronomical texts). The Sun and Moon were grouped with the 5 actual planets that were visible.) Comments Cult Place(s)
Kugler: Shamash (= Samas) (god) = the Sun. Other god names: Bisebi. The Sun Shamash the sun god had close mythological connections with Ishtar, the goddess of the planet Venus.  


Kugler: Sin (god) = the Moon. Other god names: Aku (Sumerian Nanna). The Moon Cult of Sin the Moon god at the Sumerian city of Ur. Also, Sin = Kaksidi.  
Kugler: Nabu (god) = Mercury. Other god names: Bibbu / Lubatgud / Gudbir / Nusku / GUD.UD. Mercury Mercury is primarily the 'star' of the god Nabu (Nebo).  
Kugler: Sarpanitu (goddess) = Venus. Other goddess names: Inanna / Ishtar / Zib / Delebat = Dilbat / Zib. Venus The astral aspects of Inanna relating to Venus, the star Sirius, and cometary imagery are well documented. (Also, Ishtar = Sirius.) The Semitic Ishtar cult was immensely popular. The goddess Sarpanitu is sometimes associated with Venus. The name Delebat (Dilbat) was given a determinative prefix for god/goddess but was not a name applied to anything other than the planet Venus. Ninsi'anna was the Sumerian goddess of the planet Venus, venerated as morning and evening star. Originally a female goddess, Ninsi'anna sometimes appears as male god in later texts under the influence of Semitic theology where Venus deities were usually male. After the Old Babylonian period, Dilbat replaced Ninsi'anna as a name for Venus, and this is the regular term for the planet Venus in astronomical tablets throughout the 1st-millennium BCE. The Iranians worshipped the planet Venus as the goddess Anahiti.


Cult places for Ninsi'anna: Temples in Ur, Sippar, Larsa, and Nippur.
Kugler: Nergal (god) = Mars. Other god names: Simutu / Mustabarrumutanu / An / ZalbadAnu / Ninib. Mars One of the most popular names of Mars was Salbatanu.  
Kugler: Marduk (god) = Jupiter. Other god names: Dapinu / Umunsigea / Merodach / Nibir / Tebir / Sagmegar. Jupiter Marduk celebrations were held at the city of Nippur. Marduk had a strong association with the city of Eridu. 
Kugler: Ninib (god) = Saturn. Other god names: Lulim / Lubatsagus (Abbreviated SAGUS (Sagus)) / Gin / Lubad. Saturn The older form of the name = Ninurta.  

The cult of Ninib was prominent in Shirgulla and in Nippur. The great temple of Ninib was situated in Nimrud.



Astral Associations of Mesopotamian Gods/Goddesses (2): Constellations/Stars

God/Goddess City: There was no simple one-to one correspondence between a city and a constellation, however, there were some associations which appeared regularly. Astral Association
Damkina (goddess). The 'lady of the earth.' (Originally a Sumerian goddess; earlier Sumerian name = Damgalnuna.) (Sumerian city) Nina. Astrologically associated with the 'Wagon of Heaven' (= Ursa Minor).
Damu (Originally a Sumerian god). Girsu (also, a cult was established in Isin). 'Star of the god Damu,' or 'swine star' (= the 'sea-hog' (= Delphinus)).
Ellil (Akkadian). (Originally a Sumerian god; earlier Sumerian name Enlil). Nippur. Astrologically associated with the constellation Boötes.
Inanna (goddess) Primary centre was the city of Uruk. (1) the planet Venus, (2) the constellation Anunītu (= the eastern fish of the later zodiacal constellation Pisces), and (3) the star mulTIR.AN.NA was associated with Venus in Late Babylonian celestial divination practice.
Ishara (Late Sumerian period goddess; first appeared in the Northern Syria (Ebla) and Kizzuwatna (Southern Anatolia i.e., Luwian and Hurrian cultures)). Goddess of Ebla but later established in Mesopotamia in Drehem in Ur III period. (1) Astrologically associated with the constellation Scorpius (the goddess of Scorpius), and (2) called the mother of the Sibittu, the 7 unnamed gods (who may have been associated with the Pleiades).
Ištar (goddess) Uruk The 7 stars of the circumpolar Margidda (Wagon) constellation (= Ursa Major/'Big Dipper'). Also, Ishtar = Sirius.
Lugalirra and Meslamtaea (twin gods; originally Sumerian). Kisiga (also, Kutha). Great Twins (= Gemini).
Marduk (god) (Babylonian city) Babylon. (1) Esagil(a) temple, the temple where Marduk was worshipped was connected with mulIKU (the Field-star = Pegasus) because the temple was regarded as the terrestrial replica/image of the constellation, and (2) Orion.
Ninurta (god) Nippur. The star Sirius.
Ninmah (goddess). (Originally a Sumerian mother goddess; alias Nintu, alias Ninhursag). Kěs. (1) Vela (associated with a celestial area adjoining and overlapping Vela), and (2) Puppis (also Puppis and Vela). [Note: In some of the older literature the name of the mother goddess at Kêš (Nintur/Ninmah), is apparently identified with the Hydra constellation and with Scorpio; and the temple of Ninharsag in Kêš was apparently identified with the fish-goat constellation (our Capricorn). The city of Kêš and its temple were located in a vast field in heaven.]
Enki (god) Eridu The mul Nun-ki star of Eridu is apparently located in Argo. The god Enki-Ea ruled the cosmic domain of the Abyss.
Sala (goddess) Adad. (1) The Furrow (= part of the immediately adjacent constellation Virgo), and (2) the star Spica "ear of grain").

Cuneiform tablet BM 47495 (a part of the 81-11-3 collection in the British Museum) contains a correlation of constellations with geographical units (mostly cities).

See the important discussion: "Cities" (Pages 207-216) in "Mesopotamian Astrological Geography" (Pages 201-216) by John Steele In: The Star of Bethlehem and the Magi edited by Peter Barthel and George van Kooten (2015). John Steele has explained there was not a simple one-to one correspondence between city and constellation, although there are some associations which appear regularly. The earliest text attesting to associations between constellations and cities is K 4386 (= CT 1919), a Neo-Assyrian copy of a lexical list from Nineveh.

Boundary-Stone Iconography: Constellation Symbols or God/Goddess Symbols?

Babylonian boundary-stone (kudurru) iconography (Kassite Period 1530-1160 BCE) includes the following depictions: Bull, Lion, Scorpion-Archer, and Goat-Fish (= Goat). In the early period of Assyriology it was common to identify these symbols (and others) as depictions of the zodiacal constellations. Further work in Assyriology has changed this assumption. It not established that constellations or constellation symbols are being depicted. It is established, however, that god/goddess symbols are depicted. For a recent attempt to establish the astral nature of kudurru symbols (from the Kassite Period, circa 1530-1160 BCE) see: "Eine neue Interpretation der Kudurru-Symbole," by Ulla Koch, Joachim Schaper, Susanne Fischer, and Michael Wegelin (Archive for History of Exact Sciences, Volume 41, 1990/1991, Pages 93-114). However, the attempts to date kudurru by assuming their iconography has astral significance and then using the arrangement of their iconography to establish astronomical dates is both speculative and unproven. Ursula Seidl, a present-day kudurru expert, maintains in her article "Göttersymbole und -attribute." (Reallexikon der Assyriologie (Dritter Band 3, 1957-1971, Pages 483-490)) that kudurru iconography has no astral significance. (See also her book: Die Babylonischen Kudurru-Reliefs Symbole Mesopotamischer Gottheiten (1989). In this book, regarded as the standard study of kudurru iconography, she maintains her scepticism that kudurru symbols have an astral significance.)

Kugler accepted some Kudduru symbols were astral. Obviously Sun (Shasmash), Moon (Nannar), and Venus (Inanna). In the epic of Gilgamesh (Table ix. cols. ii.–iv.) there is mention of 2 giant scorpion-'men,' one male and the other female, terrible giants, keepers of a door. Kugler believed in his 1904 article that he had shown that these (were) 2 celestial scorpions - reproduced in Babylonian sculptures - that were the 2 zodiacal constellations Scorpio and Sagittarius. This position was also argued earlier by Peter Jensen in his book, Assyrisch-Babylonische Mythen und Epen (1900, Pages 205-210); and by Alfred Jeremias in his book, Izbubar-Nimrod. Eine Altbabylonische Heldensage (1891, Pages 66-68).

The Colours of the Planets

Graeco-Roman astronomers linked the respective planets to specific colours. The Babylonians identified planet colours. See: Antike Beobachtungen farbiger Sterne by Franz Boll (1916).

Excursus: Babylonian/Mesopotamian Triads:  Not to be mistaken for the Christian doctrine of the Trinity (i.e., 3 gods/goddesses in one).

In Babylon und Christentum I, Kugler, under Remarks, referred to Babylon und Christentum II for elaboration of Babylonian god trinities. It has not proven possible to locate a copy of this latter pamphlet/article.

The important triad of gods comprised Anu, Enlil (Marduk), and Ea (Enki). The Sumerian god Enlil was eventually replaced as the chief god of the Mesopotamian pantheon by the Babylonian national god Marduk. The Sumerian god Enki was later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. The god Ea was one of the 3 most powerful gods in the Mesopotamian pantheon, along with Anu and Enlil. (Note: The god Anu was typically thought to have a consort (a goddess).) Another triad was comprised of Sin, the moon-god, Shamash, the sun-god, and Adad, or Hadad, the storm-god. (Note: The associated female figure was the goddess Ishtar.) See: Samuel Hooke, Babylonian and Assyrian Religion (1963, Pages 16-19). Other apparent triads were: Ea, Marduk, and Nebu. Nebu, Ea, and Marduk were the gods of wisdom. Ea, Marduk, and Girru apparently also formed a triad. The Babylonian triads played very minor roles in the practical religious life of the people.

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Whether or not early Mesopotamian religion is to be (primarily) interpreted as an astral religion there were astral aspects associated with the gods/goddesses. The gods/goddesses of Mesopotamia were not only associated with plants, animals or mythic accounts of agriculture and craft, but also with stars. In the Akkadian so-called creation myth, Enuma Elish, the god Marduk paints the stars as the "images" (tamshilu) of the god/goddessess. Some of the gods are explicitly astral deities, e.g. Inanna/Ishtar, the goddess of Venus and the morning and evening star; sun god Utu/Shamash; as well as the moon god Nanna/Sin. The general symbol for "heaven" and "god/goddess" is the prominent cuneiform sign "An" that figuratively depicts a star with 8 rays. From at least the early 2nd-millennium BCE divination/omenology held the central position in Mesopotamian intellectual life. Behind it was the belief in a scheme of cosmic order established by the gods/goddesses.

It is unlikely that Oceanic astral religion will be recovered as has astronomical navigation. But see: Williamson, Robert. (1933, Reprinted 1977). Religious and Cosmic Beliefs of Central Polynesia. (2 Volumes; See Volume 1). [Note: Not always reliable. The author died before he could carry out final revisions of the manuscript. New Zealand, Hawaii, and Fiji are excluded. See the (English-language) book reviews by Walter Ivens in Folk-Lore, Volume XLV, 1934, Pages 94-95; J. C. A. in The Journal of the Polynesian Society, Volume 43, Number 170, 1934, Pages 118-123; Arthur Hocart in Nature, Volume 133, Issue 3366, 1934, Pages 663-664; and by F[?]. Bell in Oceania, Volume 4, Number 3, March, 1934, Pages 369-370. Reverend Robert Williamson M.Sc., worked under the British anthropologist Alfred Haddon in New Guinea but was not himself an academic. Life dates 1856-1932.]

Early Sumerian religion was not astral/planetary

There were no planetary gods/goddesses in the earliest Sumerian pantheon. The formal scheme involved An (sky), Enlil (storm), Ninhursaga (fertility), Enki (underground water), Nanna (moon), Utu (Sun), Ereshkigal (underworld), Ezen (grain), etc. It was only much later that the 5 planets were named after gods/goddesses, whose origin had nothing to do with the planets (3 were borrowed from local solar gods): Nergal (Mars), Marduk (Jupiter), and Ninurta (Saturn). Inanna was a rival to the Sumerian earth goddess Ninhursaga who eventually became dominant and associated with Venus. According to the sumerologist Thorkild Jacobsen (The Encyclopedia of Religion edited by Mircea Eliade (1987, Volume 9, Page 451)), "At Uruk - in antiquity as today a center of date culture - there was [Dumuzi-]Amaushumgalana, the power for animal growth and new life of the date palm, and his consort Inanna, earlier Ninana ("mistress of the date clusters")."

But there are other aspects to astral religion/astral mythology. The gods/goddesses of the ancient inhabitants of Babylonia and Assyria had qualities derived from natural phenomena. Enlil, a sky god, was "Lord Wind." Samas was the Sun-god (an astral body). Both were 2-natured gods. Enlil was believed to bring rain-carrying clouds to promote agricultural fertility, but also embodied tempests and hurricanes and in this guise was a destructive god. Samas brought light and warmth, but also could destroy crops and dry out rivers, and kill people and animals by sunstroke. The assyriologist Hildegard Lewy stated that in Assyria, Babylonia, and Iran: (1) The concept of the divine origin of human kings is a characteristic trait of the religion of celestial bodies. (2) Stage towers (step pyramids) were also connected with the worship of celestial bodies. (3) The blood as the carrier of the soul was another belief for worshippers of celestial bodies.

But see: (1) Alster, Bendt. (1974). (1) "On the Interpretation of the Sumerian Myth "Inanna and Enki."" (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, Volume 64, I Halband [Issue 1], January (some sources give March), Pages 20-34). [Note: The Danish author, a leading Assyriologist (died 2012), gives an astronomical interpretation of the subject matter. Bendt Alster believed that Mesopotamian myths were related to chronology; history was viewed as an eternal succession of cyclic periods, repeating the same patterns. According to Bendt Alster, inherent in structure of Sumerian mythology was the establishment of cyclic time (in which human lives become shorter). History was an eternal return to the same patterns - the (annual (and longer?)) return of the celestial bodies. 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 - he believed his thesis could not withstand criticism - 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). (2) "On the Interpretation of the Myth 'Inanna and Enki." (Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, Band 4, Pages 20-34). Bendt Alster was Professor of Sumeriology in the Institut for Tværkulturelle og Regionale Studier (ToRS), Det Humanistiske Fakultet, Københavns Universitet, Copenhagen, Denmark.] (3) Alster, Bendt. (1974). "The Paradigmatic Character of Mesopotamian Heroes." (Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Orientale, Volume LXVIII [68], Number 1, Pages 49-60). [Note: The author favours an astronomical interpretation of the subject matter.] (3) Alster, Bendt. (1976). (4) "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.] (5) Rochberg, Francesca. (2010). "Sheep and Cattle, Cows and Calves: the Sumero-Akkadian Astral Gods as Livestock." In: Melville, Sarah. and Slotsky, Alice. (Editors). Opening the Tablet Box: Near Eastern Tablets in Honor of Benjamin R. Foster. (Pages 347-359). [Note: Rochberg discusses livestock metaphors for the 'divine' stars and planets (astral gods/goddesses). Rochberg accepts an early symbolic connection between gods/goddesses and stars/planets. It is thought likely to have a Sumerian connection.]

Morris Jastrow's numerous publications on Babylonian religion indicate that the association of gods/goddesses with planets was basically arbitrary and also a late development. According to Morris Jastrow (Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia (1911): "The Conception of a god of heaven [i.e., Anu] fits in, moreover, with the comparatively advanced period when the seats of the gods were placed in the skies, and the gods identified with the stars. Such an astral theology, however, is not a part of the earlier religious beliefs of the Babylonians ...." This is supported by more recent scholarship. William Fulco (The Encyclopedia of Religion edited by Mircea Eliade (1987, Volume 7, Page 82, see also Page 145)) writes: "Comparative Semitic evidence suggests that the Akkadian Venus deity was originally masculine but became completely feminized when identified with the female Sumerian deity Inanna. Because of the eventual syncretism of the Sumerian and Akkadian pantheons, the traditions concerning Inanna-Ishtar are extremely complicated. By one such tradition she is the daughter of the sky god An, by another the daughter of the moon god Nanna-Sin (and thereby sister of the sun god Utu-Shamash), and by still another, the daughter of Enlil or Ashur"

By circa the mid-3rd millennium BCE the Sumerian pantheon (later adopted by the Babylonians) was structured with 2 superior triads over the body of lesser gods dominated by those with planetary associations (due to their importance in omenology). These are listed as follows with their sacred (harmonic?) number (often used as the name of the god/goddess) when known in parentheses: 1: An (60), Enlil (50), Enki (40); 2: Nanna (30), Utu (20), Inanna (15); and 3: Ninurta (50), Marduk (10 - changed to 50 by the Babylonians), Neral (12, later 14), Nabu (?), Adad (10), etc. To the Babylonians, the 2 superior triads were: (1) Anu, Enlil, and Ea; and (2) Sin, Shamash, and Ishtar. An/Anu was the overall head of the pantheon with Enlil (and later Marduk, the patron god of Babylon, when it attained political domination of Mesopotamia) being the next most powerful. To the Assyrians, Ashur, patron deity of Ashur, was the overall head of the pantheon (otherwise it closely resembled the pantheon of Babylon).

One of the best studies that is a likely/suitable substitute for Kugler's SSB3 is: Babylonien und Assyrien by Bruno Meiussner (1925, 2 Volumes; Zweiter Band see: Dreizehntes Kapitel: Das Pantheon (Pages 1- 51), Vierzehntes Kapitel: Die Priester nnd der Kultus (Pages 52-101), Fünfzehntes Kapitel: Kosmologie und Theologie (Pages 102-150), Sechzehntes Kapitel: Die religiöse Literatur (Pages 151- 197). Possibly Kugler's focus would have been on the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods.

(i) Near East:

Hommel, Fritz. (1901). Gestirndienst der alten Araber und die altisraelische Überlieferung. [Note: 32 pages. Dated and needs to be used with care. The author maintains that star-worship was the oldest form of Semitic religion, and probably the oldest form of human religion.]

Jastrow Junior, Morris. (1905-1912, in German). Die Religion Babylons und Assyriens. (2 Volumes in 3 Parts plus a volume of illustrations, Bildermappe zur Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens.) [Note: See: Zweiter Band, Zweite Hälfte. The book is an enlarged and entirely rewritten German edition of the earlier English edition, The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria (1898), together with a separate volume of illustrations and explanations bearing on the religion of the Babylonians and Assyrians (3 Volumes altogether). The volume of illustrations, Bildermappe zur Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens was published in 1912. The German-language study encompasses temple ritual and cult.]

Note: Babylonian astral religion/sternreligion is included as a subject in Kugler's SSB2. In this regard SSB2 (1909/1910-1924) can be considered as 2 volumes in 1, i.e., containing subject matter that Kugler planned for SSB3 (but which never appeared as a separate volume).

Kugler, Franz Xaver. (1909/1910). Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel: Assyriologische, astronomische und astralmythologische Untersuchungen. II. Buch: Natur, Mythus und Geschichte als Grundlagen babylonischer Zeitordnung, nebst eingehenden Untersuchungen der älteren Sternkunde und Meteorologie. 1. Teil.

Kugler, Franz. (1910). Im Bannkreis Babels: panbabylonistische Konstruktionen und religionsgeschichtliche. [Note: Possible astral aspects of Babylonian religion was investigated by Kugler in his 1910 book, Im Bannkreis Babels (specifically written as a critique of Panbabylonism). See the (German-language?) book reviews by P. F. Hestermann (S. V. D. (= Pater Ferdinand Heinrich Hestermann (1878-1959), anthropologist (during the Nazi period he was anti-Jewish), Society of the Divine Word ) St. Gabriel) in Anthropos, Band. 5, Heft 4, 1910, Pages 1197-1198; and by I. Linder in Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie, Volume 35, Number 1, 1911, Pages 139-144. See also the (German-language?) book review by Hermann, J. (1910). in Theologischer Jahresbericht, Page 48. See also: Theologische Literaturzeitung, 1911, Pages 322ff,; and the (German-language) book review by the Austrian astronomer Friedrich Ginzel in Deutsche Literaturzeitung, Number 3, 21, Januar, 1911, Columns 185-187.]

Jastrow Junior, Morris. (1911). Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria. (Somewhat relevant.)

Kugler, Franz Xaver. (1912). Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel: Assyriologische, astronomische und astralmythologische Untersuchungen. II. Buch: Natur, Mythus und Geschichte als Grundlagen babylonischer Zeitordnung, nebst eingehenden Untersuchungen der älteren Sternkunde und Meteorologie. II. Teil. Heft 1.

Hehn, Johannes. (1913). Die biblische und die babylonische Gottesidee. (A lengthy study that includes considerable discussion of astralmythologie/astral religion.)

Kugler, Franz Xaver. (1914). Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel: Assyriologische, astronomische und astralmythologische Untersuchungen. Ergänzungen zum I. und II. Buch. II. Teil. Sternkunde und Chronologie der älteren Zeit.

Langdon, Stephen. (1914). Tammuz and Ishtar. (Now dated.) Note: See the detailed discussion of Babylonian astral gods/goddesses, especially: “Chapter V "Tammuz and Innini as Astral Deities", Tammuz and Ishtar by Stephen Langdon. 1914, Pages 159-184. Needless to say the information and ideas are dated. Tammuz was a god of vegetation, and his astral connections are of relatively late origin.

Deimel, Anton. and Schneider, Nikolaus. (1914, in Latin). Pantheon Babylonicum.

Prinz, Hugo. (1915). Altorientalische Symbolik. [Note: Scholarly overview of both Egyptian and Babylonian astral symbolism. See the (German-language) book review by Hugo Gressmann in Theologische Literaturzeitung, Volume 40, Number 23, November, 1915, Columns 481-485.]

Burrows, Eric. (1924). "Hymn to Ninurta as Sirius (K 128)." (Centenary Supplement of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Pages 33-40 + 2 Plates). [Note: The author was a Jesuit scholar who wrote frequently on Babylonian astral mythology.]

Kugler, Franz Xaver. (1924). Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel: Assyriologische, astronomische und astralmythologische Untersuchungen. II. Buch: Natur, Mythus und Geschichte als Grundlagen babylonischer Zeitordnung, nebst eingehenden Untersuchungen der älteren Sternkunde und Meteorologie, II. Teil. Heft II.

Jensen, Peter. (1928). "Astralmythen." In: Reallexikon der Assyriologie (Erster Band, Pages 305-309). [Note: The author was a noted Assyriologist and also a radical Panbabylonist. To be used with caution.]

McKay, John. (1973). Religion in Judah under the Assyrians. [Note: In Chapter VI, "Astral Beliefs in Judah and the Ancient World." the author capably discusses the issue of Assyrian astral beliefs in Judah circa 732-609 BCE. The book formed part of his doctorate thesis.]

Wolters, Al. (1995). "Belshazzar's Feast and the Cult of the Moon God Sîn." (Bulletin for Biblical Research, Volume 5, 1995, Pages 199-206).

Frahm, Eckart. (2013). "Rising Suns and Falling Stars: Assyrian Kings and the Cosmos." In: Hill, Jane. et al. (Editors). Experiencing Power, Generating Authority: Cosmos, Politics, and the Ideology of Kingship in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. (Pages 97-120).

Pongratz-Leisten, Beate. (2014). "The King at the Crossroads between Divination and Cosmology." In: Lenzi, Alan. and Stökl, Jonathan. (Editors). Divination, Politics, and Ancient Near Eastern Empires. (Pages 33-48). [Note: A very interesting chapter of the book.]

Pongratz-Leisten, Beate. (2015). "Empire as Cosmos, Cosmos as Empire." In: Religion and Ideology in Assyria. (Pages 145-197). [Note: A very interesting chapter of her book.]

(ii) Middle East:

Some recent articles/books dealing with early Canaanite astral mythology and astral worship include:

Holladay, Junior., John. (1968). "The Day(s) the Moon Stood Still." (Journal of Biblical Literature, Volume 87, Number 2, June, Pages 166-178).

McKay, John. (1973). Religion in Judah under the Assyrians. [Note: In Chapter VI, "Astral Beliefs in Judah and the Ancient World." the author capably discusses the issue of Assyrian astral beliefs in Judah circa 732-609 BCE. The book formed part of his doctorate thesis.]

Teixidor, Javier. (1979). The Pantheon of Palmyra. [Note: See chapters II (The Cult of the Sun and the Moon at Palmyra (pages 29-52)) and III (section: Shamash and His Astral Companions (pages 64-71)).]

Stähli, Hans-Peter. (1985). Solare Elemente im Jahwesglauben des Alten Testaments.

Zatelli, Ida. (1991). "Astrology and Worship of Stars in the Hebrew Bible." (Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, Band 103, Pages 86-99).

Lowery, Richard. (1991). The Reforming Kings: Cults and Society in First Temple Judah.

Taylor, J[?]. (1993). Yahweh and the Sun. Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel.

Jeffers, Ann. (1996). Magic and Divination in Ancient Palestine and Syria.

Dijkstra, Meindert. (1998). "Astral Myth of the Birth of Shahar and Shalim (KTU 1.23)." In: Dietrich, Manfred. and Kottsieper, Ingo. (Editors). "Und Moses shrieb dieses Lied auf" Studien zum Alten Testament und zum Alten Orient. (Pages 265-287).

Theuer, G[?]. (2000). Der Mondgott in der Relionen Syrien-Palästinas unterbesonderer Berücksichtigung von KTU 1.24.

Smith, Mark. (2003). "Astral Religion and the Representation of Divinity: The Cases of Ugarit and Judah." In: Noegel, S., Walker, J., and Wheeler, B. (Editors). Prayer, Magic and the Stars in the Ancient and Late Antique World. (Pages 187-206).

Smith, Mark. (2003). "When the Heavens Darkened: Yahweh, El and the Divine Astral Family in Iron Age II Judah." In: Dever, William. and Gitin, Seymour. (Editors). Symbiosis, Symbolism, and the Power of the Past. (Pages 265-277).

Seitz, Charmaine. (2007). "Jerusalem and its Gods: A Review of Ancient Astral Worship and 'Jerusalem'." (Jerusalem Quarterly, Issue 32, Autumn, Pages 88-93). [Note: Jerusalem Quarterly is published by the Institute of Jerusalem Studies.]

Jeffers, Ann. (2007). "Magic and Divination in Ancient Israel." (Religion Compass, Volume 1, Number 6, November, Pages 628-642).

van der Veen, Peter. (2008). "The Seven Dots on Mesopotamian and Southern Levantine Seals - An Overview." In: Reinhold, Gotthard. (Editor). Die Zahl Sieben in Alten Orient: The Number Seven in the Ancient Near East. (Pages 11-22). [Note: Discusses archaeological evidence for the practice of astral worship in the Levant and Mesopotamia.]

Cooley, Jeffrey. (2011). "Astral Religion in Ugarit and Ancient Israel." (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 70, Number 2, October, Pages 281-287).

Cooley, Jeffrey. (2012). "Celestial Divination in Ugarit and Ancient Israel: A Reassessment." (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 71, Number 1, April, Pages 21-30).

(iii) Mediterranean Region (and Near East):

Milani, Luigi. (1909). "Sardorum sacra et sacrorum sigma de I’epogue des nouraghes et leurs rapports avec la religion astrale et astronomique de I’Asie et de la Mediterranee." In: Hilprecht Anniversary Volume. (Pages 311-341). [Note: Remains interesting.]

(iv) Egyptian:

Fowden, Garth. (1993). The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind.

Krauss, Rolf. (1997). Astronomische Konzepte und Jenseitsvorstellungen in den Pyramidentexten. [Note: To be used with care.]

Kákosy, László. (2001). "Astral Mythology in Egypt." (Acta Antiqua, Volume 40, Numbers 1-4, January, Pages 213-216). [Note: Journal published by [Hungarian] Akadémiai Kiadó.]

Assmann, Jan. (2012). Egyptian Solar Religion in the New Kingdom (Revised and expanded 1995 edition. This volume deals with the religious traditions of ancient Egypt, which have come down to us in a state which is both extremely fragmentary and complex. In this volume - a revised and expanded version of the original German text - solar religion and the sun hymns of the New Kingdom are studied in the greatest possible detail, with 5 different traditions distinguished and analysed.)

(v) Hellenistic/Hellenistic Period:

Cumont, Franz. (1912). Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans.

Angus, Samuel. (1929). The Religious Quests of the Graeco-Roman World. [Notes: See the section: Astralism or the Religion of Astrology, Pages 254-320. Life dates 1881-1943.]

Boyancé, Pierre (1952). "La religion astrale de Platon à Cicéron." (Revue des Études Grecques, tome 65, fascicule 306-308, Juillet-décembre, Pages 312-350).

Sarton, George. (1955, Reprinted 1960; 2 Volumes). "The Astral Religion of Antiquity and the "Thinking Machine" of Today." In: Beer, Arthur. (Editor). Vistas in Astronomy. (Volume 1, Pages 51-60).

McMinn, J. B. (1956). "Fusion of the Gods: A Religio-Astrological Study of the Interpenetration of the East and the West in Asia Minor." (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Volume 15, Number 4, October, Pages 201-213).

Reiner, Erica. (1995). Astral Magic.

Masri, Larisa Rana. (1998). Astral Religion and Christian Symbolism in Late Antiquity. [Note: A little known short study that appears to focus on sun worship. It was perhaps a PhD thesis for the University of Arkansas, Fayettville.]

Hegedus, Timothy. (2000). "Astral Motifs in Revelation 12." (Consensus, Volume 26, Number 2, Pages 13-27).

Lancellotti, Maria Grazia. (2002). Attis. Between Myth and History: King, P:riest and God. [Note: See "3.7. The astralisation of Attis" Pages 115-118.]

Beck, Roger. (2002). "Mithraism." In: Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 1996- . [Note: Not available in print publication, 1982- .]

Dieleman, Jacco. (2003). "Stars and the Egyptian Priesthood in the Graeco-Roman Period." In: Noegel, S., Walker, J., and Wheeler, B. (Editors). Prayer, Magic, and the Stars in the Ancient and Late Antique World. (Pages 137-153).

Bedard, Stephen. (2008). "Hellenistic Influence on the Idea of Resurrection in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature." (Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism [JGRChJ], Volume 5, Pages 174-189, see pages 180–6).

Hijmans, Steven. (2009). Sol: The Sun in the art and religions of Rome. [Note: Excellent. The book is based on the author's 2009 (English-language) PhD thesis at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, which was a continuation of his 1989 (Dutch-language) thesis, Sol Invictus: een Iconografische Studie.]

Mladenović, Dragana. (2009). "Astral Path to Soul Salvation in Late Antiquity? The Orientation of Two Late Roman Imperial Mausolea from Eastern Serbia." (American Journal of Archaeology, Volume 113, Number 1, 2009, Pages 81-97). [Note: Topics: Mausoleums, Constellations, Women, Archaeoastronomy, Astrology, Azimuth, Stars, Palaces, Julian calendar, Soul.]

Steyn, Danielle. (2012-2013). Chasing the Sun: Using Coinage to Document the Spread of Solar Worship in the Roman Empire in the 3rd Century CE. [Note: MA thesis, Classics Department, University of Canterbury.]

Grimes, Shannon. (2016). "Under a Star-Spangled Banner: Politics and Astral Religion in the Roman Empire." In: Campion, Nicholas. (Editor). Heavenly Discourses. (Pages ?-?).

A modern treatment of solar mythology is The Land of the Solstices: Myth, Geography and Astronomy in ancient Greece by Tomislav Bilić (2021). Note: "Following the recent upsurge of interest in ancient geography and astronomy, together with the ever-present fascination with myth, this book offers a fresh study of what is commonly but erroneously known as 'solar myth'. This subject has been at the margins of scholarly interest, mainly due to the now-outdated theories of myth that used solar phenomena as an interpretative key to explain the majority of traditional narratives. This book offers a more rigorous methodology and more selective interpretation applicable to a group of particular myths, those referencing solar phenomena. The class of 'solar myths' discussed in this book is thus formed out of traditional narratives that either explicitly include references to solar movement or the recognition of such references does not require strained interpretations."]

 (vi) Early Christianity/Gnosticism:

Ferguson, Everett. (2003). Backgrounds of Early Christianity. [Note: See page 239.]

Brent, Allen. (2009). A Political History of Early Christianity. [Note: Useful even though basically focused on apocalyptic themes.]

Lewis, Nicola. (2013). Cosmology and Fate in Gnosticism and Graeco-Roman Antiquity. [Note: An excellent study. Heavily focused on astral fatalism.]

(vii) Ancient Iran:

Malandra, William. (1983). An Introduction to Ancient Iranian Religion: Readings from the Avesta and Achaemenid Inscriptions. [Note: See the discussion: Tishtrya, Pages 140-149.]

Panaino, Antonio. (2004). "Astral characters of kingship in the Sasanian and the Byzantine worlds." In: La Persia e Bisanzio, Atti dei Convegni Lincei 2001, Roma. (Pages 555-594).

(viii) Moon Cults:

Price, Maurice. (1910). "The Cult of the Moon-God, Sin." [Brief book review essay.] (The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Volume 26, Number 4, July, Pages 309-311).

Morris Jastrow Jnr wrote: "The antiquity of the moon-cult [in Mesopotamia] is attested by very ancient Sumerian hymns that have come down to us, in which he is frequently described as sailing along the heavens in a ship. It is a reasonable supposition that the moon's crescent suggested this picture of a sailing bark. The association between Sin and the city of Ur is particularly close, as is seen in the common designation of this centre as the "city of Nan-nar.""

Walker, John. (1952). “The Moon-God on Coins of the Hadramaut.” (Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 14, Issue 3, Pages 623-626). [Note: Hadhramaut is a region in southern Arabia.]

(ix) Sun Cults:

The late antique solar cult was closely associated with astrology.

Halsberghe, Gaston. (1972). The Cult of Sol Invictus.

Hansen, Ralf. (2005). "Antike Sonnenkulte." ["Ancient cults of the sun."] (Acta Historica Astronomiae, Volume 25, Pages 66-91). [Note: Abstract: "In ancient astronomy, the heliocentric system of Aristarchus of Samos did not meet universal approval. Contrary to that, the cult of the sun gained immense importance in the Roman Empire. Relics of this significance we still find e.g. in the meaning of the Sunday in the week and in the date of Christmas. The rise of the sun cults is characterised by the merging of different gods from various cultures. Already in classical Greece the god of the sun, Helios, almagated (sic) with the god of light, Apollo. The resulting entity was regarded as the harmonic guide of the visible universe, symbolized by Apoll [Apollo]. As well as he plays the lyre, he conducts the cosmos harmonically as the sun. Plato recommends to politicians to study musical harmonics and astronomy in order to get a feeling of the right way to rule the state. In consequence to the conquests of Alexander the Great, the Babylonian star religion was mingled with Greek cosmology and the concept of transmigration of souls. The astrology resulting therefrom spread out over the whole Hellenistic world and was very common in the Roman Empire. The calendar with its religious division of time as the days of the week, following the principle of the gods of the planets governing the hour, was well known. The god of the sun was graded up by the adoption of the calendar of the sun from Egypt by Caesar. Augustus chose Apoll as his guardian god and built with "his" sundial a symbol of the god of the sun, which was visible from a long distance. Augustus used more astral symbols as propaganda of leadership. During the competition with the Parthians, another large empire, for world domination the focus fell on an Iranian god: the Iranian god of light and contract - Mithras. Shortly before 100 A.D., a new cult of mysteries arose in the Roman Empire, called cult of Mithras, and spread quickly. It combined the attributes of a classical sun-god with a religion of salvation, guaranteed by baptism, communion and seven degrees to be passed. The introduction of the sun-god Elagabal from the Syrian town Emesa as the highest god of the empire, tried about 220 A.D. by the young emperor bearing the same name, failed. The introduction of sol invictus, however, the invincible god of the sun, by the emperor Aurelian in 274 A.D. succeeded. It was the begin of a development that led to the submission of the Roman pantheon to the sun-god. In the imperial propaganda, the emperor likened his own government to the ruling of the cosmos by Apoll. The cosmocrator, a symbol of the emperor as the sovereign of the world, turned into Christus in iconography. The cult of the sun, shaped by Helios - Apollo - Mithras sol invictus was very popular. For this reason, in the fourth century the christians (sic) took over the most important religious festival, the winter solstice, which was the birthday of Mithras, as Christmas and Christ became the "Sun of Justice""]

Hargrove, Erin. (2015). The Roman Sun: Symbolic Variation in Ancient Solar Worship. [Note: MA Thesis, Universiteit van Amsterdam. Worth reading. Approximately 80 pages.]

Mörner, Nils-Axel., and Lind, Robert. (2018). "Astronomy and Sun Cult in the Swedish Bronze Age." (International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 8, Number 2. Pages ?-?). [Note: "Abstract. The Scandinavian Bronze Age started quite rapidly at around 1750 BC, and is marked by three simultaneous events: 1) importation of bronze from the east Mediterranean region, 2) export of amber from southeast Sweden to the east Mediterranean region, and 3) the carving of pictures of big ships on bedrock and boulders in southern Scandinavia. We take this as evidence of travel and trading by people coming from the east Mediterranean region on big ships via Gibraltar and the North Sea to Scandinavia. At the same time, the Sun cult flourished in southern Sweden and Denmark, as evidenced by monuments perfectly oriented with respect to the Sun’s daily and annual motions over the sky (e.g. Ales Stones), rock carvings of solar symbols and in solar alignment, and a number of ritual objects related to the Sun Cult (e.g. The Golden Sky Dome). In this paper, we summarize and update available data, especially the data from Southern Sweden."]

(ix) Miscellaneous:

Eisler, Robert. (1910, 2 Volumes). Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt; religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zur Urgeschichte des antiken Weltbildes. [Note: A survey of ancient astral beliefs. Needs to be used with caution.]

Drews, Arthur. (1923). Der sternhimmel in der Dichtung und Religion der Alten Völker und des Christentums, eine Einführung in die Astralmythologie. [The Celestial Sky in the Poetry and Religion of the Ancients and Christianity: an Introduction to Astral Mythology]

Rühle, Otto. (1925). Sonne und Mond im primitiven Mythus.

Gundel, Wilhelm. (1933; 2nd edition 1959). Sternglaube, Sternreligion und Sternorakel. [Note: An excellent survey of ancient astral beliefs. A brief but important study.]

A discussion of "Die Astralmythologie" appears in Åke Ohlmarks, Heimdalls Horn und Odins Auge: Erstes Buch (1-11), Heimdalle und das Horn (1937), Pages 3-22.

Walker, John. (1952). "The Moon-God on Coins of the Hadramaut." (Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 14, Issue 3, Pages 623-626). [Note: Hadhramaut (also Hadramaut) is a region in southern Arabia.]

Sullivan, Lawrence. (1983). "Astral Myths Rise Again: Interpreting Religious Astronomy." (Criterion, Volume 22, Number 1, Winter, Pages 12-21). [Note: Well researched article. Unfortunately the author does not reference his sources.]

Sheehan, William. (2002). "Astronomer's Scrapbook: Religion and the Stars." (Mercury, Volume 31, Number 3, Page 14).

Mladenović, Dragana. (2009). "Astral Path to Soul Salvation in Late Antiquity? The Orientation of Two Late Roman Imperial Mausolea from Eastern Serbia." (American Journal of Archaeology, Volume 113, Number 1, January 2009, Pages 81-97). [Note: Topics: Mausoleums, Constellations, Women, Archaeoastronomy, Astrology, Azimuth, Stars, Palaces, Julian calendar, Soul.]

Schneider, Tammi. (2011). An Introduction to Ancient Mesopotamian Religion.

Patrick, Daniel. (2017). Astral Sciences in Early Imperial China, Observation, Sagehood and the Individual/ [Note: Examines the astral sciences in China circa 221 BCE-750 CE. Highly recommended.]

Moga, I. (2019). Religious excitement in ancient Anatolia: cult and devotional forms for solar and lunar gods.

Also worth a look for his comments on astral myths is: Archaeological History of Iran, by Ernst E. Herzfeld (1934).

Astral religion is not indicated for Africa or Polynesia. In Africa significant knowledge of the stars is possessed by the African steppe dwellers. Knowledge of the stars is relatively limited amongst forest people. Knowledge of the stars is strongest in the Sudan, northeast Africa,, and Zimbabwe. In Polynesia considerable knowledge of the stars was learned by fishermen and seafarers, in established schools of astronomy. However, nothing has led to worship of the stars. Simply star/constellation stories.

In the Southern Hemisphere (especially in Australia) knowledge of the stars is connected with economic considerations. This surpasses their mythological significance. (In Australian Aboriginal astronomy/lore animals are linked with the stars.) Economic considerations include animals to be hunted and fruits to be collected. In South America hunting culture astral beliefs have been preserved: the concepts of stars and constellations as lords of the animals,‭ ‬as helpers of the hunter,‭ ‬or as animals themselves.

The Beginning of Modern Theories of Astral Religion

The theory that religion and astronomy shared common origins was developed by the French writer François Delaunaye in his, L'Histoire générale et particulière des religions et du Culte (1791). Delaunaye attempted to establish the foundation of religion in astral worship. Delaunaye followed the ideas of Jean Bailly and Charles Dupuis in linking the evolution of religious forms to the precession of zodiac signs over the vernal point and, as a direct consequence, the sun's position against the background of the stars at the spring equinox. He set out for the first time a complete theory of history in which astronomical, and so too religious, iconography, developed with the precession of the equinoxes.

Delaunaye was a radical scholar who developed the work of Bailly. Delaunaye's historical cosmology offered an account of social and religious development. The chronological framework is based on division into 2160 (or 2000) year periods, the main characteristics are derived from the astrological associations of each sign or constellation. Parallels are drawn between the animal ruler of the Age in question and the animals featured in the corresponding religious imagery. As example, the Age of Taurus of the 3rd and 4th millennia BCE is said to be demonstrated in the widespread worship of the Bull. The Age of Aries saw the worship of the Ram in Egypt and Palestine, while the Age of Pisces brought the fish symbolism of Christianity.

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