Ancient Zodiacs, Star Names, and Constellations: Essays and Critiques
Biographies of Modern Historians of Ancient Occidental Astral Sciences by Gary D. Thompson
Copyright © 2005-2018 by Gary D. Thompson
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Biographies of Modern Historians of Ancient Occidental Astral Sciences
The biographical list is separated into past and current scholars, and each part is in alphabetic order per last name.
Part 1: Past
Asger Aaboe. (1922-2007). Danish mathematician and historian. Born in Copenhagen. He was educated at the University of Copenhagen in mathematics, astronomy, physics, and chemistry. His Master's thesis supervisor at the University of Copenhagen was Olaf Schmidt who had been Otto Neugebauer's assistant in Copenhagen and then his PhD student at Brown University. (Olaf Schmidt was continuing the tradition of Otto Neugebauer's approach to the history of mathematics.) In 1952 Asger Aaboe came to the USA to stay (he had taught there from 1947 to 1948 as a Visiting Lecturer in Mathematics) and joined the Mathematics Department at Tufts University as an Instructor. At Olaf Schmidt's suggestion he studied under Otto Neugebauer at Brown University from 1955 to 1956 as a President's Fellow. He obtained a PhD from Brown University (1957). His PhD was supervised by Otto Neugebauer at Brown University and his dissertation title was: On Babylonian Planetary Theories. From 1952 to 1962 he taught at Tufts University, and in 1962 joined Yale University as an Associate Professor of the History of Mathematics and the History of Science. For over 25 years he was Associate Professor/Professor of Mathematics and the History of Science at Yale University. In 1967 he was promoted to full professorship in the departments of Mathematics and the History of Science. Asger Aaboe was a specialist in the mathematics and astronomy of ancient Mesopotamia and a major contributor to the study of such. He specialised in the arithmetical astronomy of the Late-Babylonian period. He deciphered cuneiform texts (dating from circa 700 to 150 BCE) relating to Babylonian lunar and planetary theories. He published some two dozen technical papers in the USA and Europe. He also published four important booklets on Babylonian lunar theory. One of his major contributions was his recognition of the elegant mathematical rule that determines the distribution of the synodic phenomena on the ecliptic according to System A of Babylonian astronomy. He was a noted teacher and a considerable part of his career was spent training graduate students. Asger Aaboe was a member of the International Academy of the History of Science, (a Foreign Member of) the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters, the Institute for Research in Classical Philosophy and Science, the History of Science Society, and the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1987 a Festschrift in his honour was published in Copenhagen (From Ancient Omens to Statistical Mechanics). He retired in 1992. During his latter years he was Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, History of Science, and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. From 1968 to 1971 he chaired the Department of the history of Science and Medicine at Yale University. From 1970 to 1980 he was President of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. He authored two textbooks for students: Episodes from the Early History of Mathematics (1964); and Episodes from the Early History of Astronomy (2001). Relevant key publications: Episodes from the Early History of Astronomy (2001).
Carl Bezold (1859-1922) (Germany) Assyriologist. The German assyriologist Carl Bezold was born at Donauwörth in Bavaria in 1859 and died in Heidelberg (Germany) in 1922. Carl Bezold studied Semitic languages at Munich, Strassburg, and Leipzig. He graduated (under Friedrich Delitzsch) with work on epigraphy at Leipzig in 1880 and received his Habilitation for Semitic languages at Munich in 1883. In 1883 Bezold was a Privatdozent at the Universität München. (In the 1888 Amtliches Verzeichnis for the Sommer-Semester of Königlich Bayerischen Ludwig-Maximilians Universität zu München, Karl [Carl] Bezold is listed as Privatdozent, and his address given is Briennerstrasse 34/1 (likely destroyed during WWII, now the site of the NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, Innenansicht). Also, "Privatdozent, ord. Mitglied der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft und der Society of Biblical Archaeology in London.") After Bezold had worked at the British Museum (1888-1893) he returned to Germany and was appointed to the chair for Semitic languages at Heidelberg in 1894. He actually lived in London (England) from 1888 to 1895 whilst engaged in preparing a catalogue of the British Museum tablet collections (Kouyunjik Collection). Bezold became the editor for the journal Zeitschrift für Assyriologie (a major journal for Assyriology) in 1886, and held the position until 1922 (some source state 1915). In 1894 he was appointed Professor of Semitic Philology and Director of Oriental Seminars at the University of Heidelberg. He held this prestigious academic position until his death. At the time of his employment at Heidelberg the employment policy at some German universities caused formally delineated as dealing with "Semitic languages," to focus on Assyrian studies. Bezold's appointment at Heidelberg, as ordinarius in 1894 was part of the beginning of this process. Bezold also joined the German association for Islamic studies. (See: German Orientalism: The Study of the Middle East and Islam from 1800 to 1945 by Ursula Wokoeck (2009). He lived in London (England) from 1888 to 1895 whilst engaged in preparing a catalogue of the British Museum tablet collections (Kouyunjik Collection). The 1891 England Census gives the following information: Name: Charles Bezold; Spouse Abele Bezold; Birth: about 1860 - Germany; Residence: 1891 - St Pancreas, London, England. The end result of his work at the British Museum was the Catalogue of the Cuneiform Tablets of the Kouyunjik Collection of the British Museum (5 Volumes, 1889-1899). This catalogue contains descriptions of approximately 14,500 tablets and fragments. His knowledge of assyriology was considered encyclopedic. He was proficient in numerous ancient and modern languages including Chinese, Assyrian, Arabic, Syriac, English, French, and Italian. Bezold was initially interest in the Chinese language and script. He also translated Syriac material. In 1888 he edited and published the Syriac and Arabic edition of the text of the Book of the Cave of Treasures. In 1909 he edited/collated (and translated) and published (with critical notes) the entire text of the Ge’ez (Ethiopic) epic Kebra Nagast. (But did not engage in the task of disentangling the literary sources. He left this as a challenge to future scholars.) In 1912, to satisfy the needs for an Assyrian dictionary that incorporated the tremendous body of new materials, Bezold initiated a new multi-volume dictionary/theasaurus project under the sponsorship of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences. However, Bezold's advanced age and the size of the undertaking and forced him to relinquish the ambitious project and to prepare instead a brief glossary based on his copious collection of material. The manuscript of the glossary, completed by Bezold just before his death in 1922, was edited by a student of his, Albrecht Gotze (Goetze), and published as Babylonisch-assyrisches Glossar (1926). Though without references and bibliographical discussions, the Babylonisch-assyrisches Glossa served for many years as a useful tool for students of Assyriology. Bezold's 1911 pamphlet Astronomie, Himmelsschau und Astrallehre bei den Babylonier strongly defended Franz Kugler's chronology of Babylonian scientific astronomy and also his critique of Panbabylonism. Relevant key publications: Zenit- und Aequartorialgestirne am babylonischen Fixsternhimmel (1913, in collaboration with August Kopff and Franz Boll).
André le Boeuffle. (1924-2006). French classicist and historian. He was a specialist in Greco-Roman astral-lore. His PhD thesis, Le vocabulaire latin de l'astronomie (Université de Paris, 1970) was published in 3 volumes. It was also rewritten (abridged) as a single volume, Les noms latins d'astres et de constellations (1977). It is basically concerned with Latin astronomical terminology of classical times and late Roman times. Later in his career he published studies on the theme of cosmic religion and astral mysticism in Roman civilisation (Le ciel des Romains (1989), which had mixed reviews). His academic focus lay in understanding the importance and influence of Roman astral beliefs on ancient and medieval civilizations. This still remains little known, despite the studies of André le Boeuffle (and others such as Henri Stern, Le Calendrier de 354 (1953; the standard study)). His PhD thesis covers the large amount of important important Latin vocabulary related to astronomical matters and the problems of suitably understanding it (i.e., problems of definition). Critics pointed out there is not, strictly speaking Roman astronomy, and the only astronomer known in Rome (C. Sulpicius Galus, circa. 170 BCE) can not claim to be a scientist. The Romans were debtors of Greek science in both theory and in practice e.g., such inventions as dials, clocks, etc. It is more accurate to speak of "literary" astronomy (Hyginus, some passages of Virgil, translations of Greek texts such as the Phainomena of'Aratos by Germanicus) and "philosophical" astronomy (Lucretius, Martianus Capella). The popularity of the elite and the Roman people for contributions to practical applications of astronomy were numerous and include: Establishing a civil calendar, identification of sunrises and sunsets for the stellar agriculture, construction of sundials. For much of his academic career he was at Université d'Amiens. Other publications included: Astronomie - Astrologie. Lexique Latin (1987); translating and editing, Germanicus: Les Phénomènes d'Aratos (1975); Le Ciel et la mer: l'utilisation de l'astronomie dans la navigation ancienne (1997). Upon his retirement he was Professeur émérite de latin et de grec à l'Université d'Amiens. Membre de l'Académie d'Amiens. Relevant key publications: Le vocabulaire latin de l'astronomie (3 Volumes, 1970).
Franz Boll. (1867-1924). German philologist. Franz Boll was a renowned German classical philologist who specialized in ancient astronomy and astrology. He had the ability to combine astronomy, religion, and literature with great originality. Boll was born in 1867 in Rothenburg on the Tauber river and he died unexpectedly in Heidelberg in 1924. (See the obituary by Albert Rehm, Biographisches Jahrbuch für Altertumskunde 47 (1927) 13- 43.) His early death in 1924 at the age of 57 put an end to his further masterly contributions to elucidating little-known traditions. Boll was also very much interested in the history of mathematics, and had a deep interest in Plato. Boll devoted much of his early work to studying Ptolemy. He is still highly regarded for his editorial and biographical work on Claudius Ptolemy. Later, Boll devoted his research activities almost exclusively to the early history of astrology. His doctoral dissertation was on Ptolemy. He had the ability to combine astronomy, religion, and literature with great originality. His sudden early death in 1924 at the age of 57 put an end to his further masterly contributions to elucidating little-known traditions. His last academic position was Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Heidelberg. In 1908 he succeeded Albrecht [Albert] Dieterich (1866-1908) as Professor at the University of Heidelberg. (Studying ancient forms of magic and magic papyri was so suspect (circa 19th-century and early 20th-century) in the eyes of German traditionalistic philology that Albert Dieterich felt obliged to conceal the object of his Summer seminar in 1905 on magic papyri under under the tame (non provocative) title of "Selection of Greek Papyri." Such texts and interest in them were deemed to rob antiquity of the distinguished luster of classicism.) Franz Boll was one of a number of early 20th-century philologists who contributed fundamental new insights into the theory, history, and European development of the Greek and Roman languages, literatures, and cultures. Gustav Müller who lived for a time at Franz Boll's house described him as a kind and jovial Bavarian, great teacher and impeccable scholar. Müller describes student life in Heidelberg as being under the shadow of poverty, gloom, and desperation. Students had few clothes and stood in long soup lines. Franz Boll’s Studien über Claudius Ptolemäus: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie und Astrologie (1894) is still considered to be the most comprehensive study to date of Ptolemy’s philosophical commitments. It examines the philosophy in several of Ptolemy’s texts, including the Almagest, On the Kritêrion, Harmonics, and, especially, the Tetrabiblos. Boll takes a philological approach and traces the philosophical concepts of Ptolemy’s texts to their predecessors and emphasizes the influence of Aristotle and Posidonius in particular. The inherent fault's in Boll's study are rectified in the 2009 doctoral dissertation by Jacqueline Feke, Ptolemy in Philosophical Context: A Study of the Relationships Between Physics, Mathematics, and Theology. There had been some controversy in the early 199th-century whether Ptolemy authored the astrological work Tetrabiblos (comprised of 4 books). Franz Boll sufficiently demonstrated that the book in its general philosophic views, its language, and its astronomy, is entirely in accord with the works of Ptolemy (especially through textual comparison with Ptolemy's Almagest) whose genuineness has been unquestioned. Franz Boll had begun work upon a new edition of the Tetrabiblos prior to his death in 1924. His pupil, Emilie Boer, continued Boll's work but their completed text did not meet with critical approval. In some 75 instances Boll altered the text by outright emendation. Also, some 40 key mistakes are contained in the 2nd edition. Towards the end of the 19th-century the Belgian scholar Franz Cumont organized and led a group of European scholars to collect, catalogue and edit all of the existing manuscripts on astrology that were written in ancient Greek during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. During the first half of the 20th-century Franz Cumont and Franz Boll, and others (including Wilhelm Kroll), systematically collected and edited a huge quantity of texts and fragments of ancient Greek astrological material. The project took over 50 years to complete. It involved scouring the world’s libraries and private collections for ancient texts and manuscripts that had been copied and preserved since their original composition. Initially the project culminated in the publication of a massive 12 volume compendium, Corpus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum (= Catalogue of the Codices of the Greek Astrologers) (1898-1953). It is most commonly known simply by its acronym as the CCAG. It is a catalogue of Greek astrological manuscripts that contains in its large appendices critical editions of many previously unknown texts. Although this massive compendium of astrological material has been available in print since the beginning of the 20th-century has has been somewhat neglected and unused due to the challenges involved in studying the material in the original Greek language. Alexander Jones has commented: "Scholars like Hermann Usener (1834–1905), Auguste Bouché-Leclercq (1842–1923), Franz Boll (1867–1924), and Franz Cumont (1868–1947) laid the foundations of all subsequent research into the history of ancient astrology." It was Franz Boll who discovered and reconstructed the history of the passage of the Sphaera Barbarica. Boll's most important and most outstanding work is perhaps Sphaera (1903). (The title is plural because 2 sky maps existed in Graeco-Roman antiquity - the Greek and the Barbarian.) The first major modern work devoted to elucidating the Sphaera Barbarica was the classic book-length study Sphaera by the German philologist Franz Boll (1903). The masterly work Sphaera was Franz Boll's ingenious recovery of the Sphaera Barbarica, based on the discovery of new manuscripts. It is still an important work on ancient and Arabic astrology. Boll became aware of the Sphaera Barbarica through the discovery of excerpta (brief segments of writing taken from longer works) from the Byzantine period. He ingeniously reconstructed the Sphaera Barbarica and also traced the major stages of its journey to the Islamic Persian Empire and back to Europe. In Sphaera Boll published and annotated the texts of then newly discovered Classical and Byzantine astronomical/astrological manuscripts by Teukros the Babylonian, Antiochus of Athens, Vettius Valens, and Johannes Kamateros, a 12th-century Byzantium astrologer. Boll recognised the contributions of Teukros the Babylonian to constellation lore ahead of his contemporaries. The first part of the book is a critical discussion of the newly discovered texts, the second part describes the constellations in them, and the third part deals with the history of the "Sphaera Barbarica" as described by Nigidius Figulus and others. In Sphaera Boll first described the genre of paranatellonta writing and edited much of the material. His last academic position was Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Heidelberg. Relevant key publications: Sphaera (1903).
Auguste Bouché-Leclercq. (30 June 1842-17 July 1923). Distinguished French historian and classicist. (Born at Francières, Oise (northern France), died at Nogent-sur-Marne.) (According to some (mistaken) sources he was born in 1841 and in Belgium.) His knowledge was described as profound. He was also described as a master of the Hellenistic period. Francis Bowman wrote (1951): "... Bouché-Leclercq wrote brilliantly on Greek history emphasising its cultural content and its Hellenistic time-phase." He was Professor of Literature and History at the University of Montpellier and Paris. Bouché-Leclercq was more or less self-taught. At age 13 he was studying in the small Séminaire de Nyon (Oise). After quitting his seminary studies/life because of philosophical doubts he traveled in Italy and Germany, and also gave private tuition. He travelled throughout Italy during 1864-1865 and travelled throughout Allemagne (Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark) during 1865-1869. In 1871 his lengthy thesis Les Pontifes de l'ancienne Rome brought him to the attention of the distinguished French historian Auguste Geffroy. (He was awarded a Doctor of Letters (Docteur ès-Lettres) for it in 1872.) On the recommendation of Auguste Geffroy he was offered a lectureship in Montpellier in 1873 (Chargé de cours, puis professeur à la Faculté des Lettres de Montpellier 1873-1878) followed by a professorship in 1875. (Professeur, suppleant a la Faculté des Lettres de Montpellier.) In 1878 Auguste Geffroy, who was the director of the Ecole française de Rome, made Bouché-Leclercq his substitute in Paris. For 31 years, from 1887 to 1918, he was a professor at the University of Paris (Various titles are: membre de l'Institut; Professseur d'Histoire Ancienne a l'Universite de Paris; Professeur, suppléant puis titulaire à la Faculté des Lettres de Paris (since 1879), and Professeur à la faculté de Montpellier, puis à la Sorbonne (1887).) In 1898 he was became a Membre de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, and president in 1909. He was also officier de la légion d'Honneur; officier de SS. Maurizio e Lazzaro. He was one of the first collaborators for the appearance in 1880 of the specialised review journal Revue de l'histoire des religions. Bouché-Leclercq was considered an important professor of ancient history, and a most original ancient historian. 1921-1923 he was a member of Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques. He was described as lacking charm and finesse and in a report of 1876 the (school) inspector stated he was an insipid lecturer. (It was said that only old people, in particular very old women, attended his lectures.) Auguste Geffroy described him as "self-doubting, sometimes downright gloomy." Another source describes his teaching style as patient and treating students as his equal. He wrote numerous important works in the field of ancient history. Bouché-Leclercq devoted himself mainly to themes within Greek and Roman history. Similar to other classical scholars of his time astrological source material (and astrology) was considered somewhat offensive. His pioneering L'Astrologie grecque (1899) was described as a groundbreaking work. He treated astrology as a historical topic worthy of scholarly interest and his book established him as the first modern historian of astrology. Relevant key publications: L'Astrologie grecque (1899).
John Britton. (1939?-2010). Distinguished American scholar of Babylonian astronomy and the history of science. He obtained a PhD in the history of astronomy from Yale University but worked as an investment manager in Wilson, Wyoming. He was one of ISAW's first appointments as Research Associate. He was born in Hartford, CT. He attended St. Paul's School and spent 10 years at Yale University where he received a BA and a PhD in the History of Science and Medicine for his work studying ancient mathematics and astronomy. After completing his PhD he moved to West Hartford, where he lived for more than 20 years with his first wife Kathryn Lines Britton, and family. He worked in a variety of roles in the investment management business. He joined Conning & Company in 1966, became partner and later left to found CF Management, an asset management firm. In his last two decades, he returned his focus to the study of ancient astronomy, and made a number of notable contributions to the field. His early study of the precision of the models in Ptolemy's Almagest was followed by numerous works that formed a comprehensive exploration of the origins of exact science. He specialized in the history of Mesopotamian astronomy and authored many studies, among them "An Early Function for Eclipse Magnitudes in Babylonian Astronomy" Centaurus, Volume 32 (1989), "Scientific Astronomy in Pre-Seleucid Babylon" in Hannes Galter, (Editor), Die Rolle der Astronomy in den Kulteren Mesopotamiens (1993), and "A Table of 4th Power and Related Texts from Seleucid Babylon", Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Pages 43-45 (1991-1993). In 1995 he married Claudine Vincente Britton and in 1997 they moved to Wilson, WY. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Wadsworth Athenaeum and a number of corporate boards and worked with St. Paul's School to improve mathematics education.
Frederick Cramer. (1906-1954). Historian. Born in Germany but moved to USA in 1938 to join the Mount Holyoke College as an associate professor of history. His PhD was from the University of Zurich. Cramer was a contributing editor to the journal, Current History. He was killed in 1954 whilst competing in the Tour de France automobile race. An archive of his papers is held in the Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College. Biographical note (Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections): "Frederick Henry Cramer was born on March 2, 1906 in Berlin, Germany. His father was Hans Cramer, a wealthy ship line owner in Germany. He attended the Arndt Gymnasium in Berlin and did graduate work at Erlangen University, Columbia University, the University of Berlin, and the Universität Zurich from which he received his Ph.D. Before joining Mount Holyoke faculty as an associate professor of history in 1938, he served as a visiting lecturer at Zurich and during the 1938-1939 academic year was a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. Along with his professorship at Mount Holyoke College, Cramer also taught at Hartford College and Holyoke Junior College, was a visiting lecturer at Smith College, and taught at the Harvard and Boston University summer schools as well as at the Universität Zurich. Cramer and his wife Elizabeth Zeigler Cramer were married twenty six years and were the parents of five children. The Cramers were avid automobile racers and were the only American entrants in the Rally Monte Carlo, Europe's biggest auto competition, in January 1954. Frederick Cramer died September 5, 1954 at the age of forty-eight while taking part in the Tour de France automobile race." His first book, The Caesar and the Stars (1951), dealt with the influence of astrology on Roman life. An unpublished manuscript, effectively a second part to his later book Astrology in Roman Law and Politics, also exists. His Astrology in Roman Law and Politics is a clear and elaborate study of the astrological background of Roman life until the murder of Alexander Severus in 235 CE. Relevant key publications: Astrology in Roman Law and Politics (1954).
Franz Cumont. (1868-1947). Belgian archaeologist, historian, and philologist. (Franz Cumont can also be classes as an astral-diffusionist.) He obtained his PhD from the University of Ghent in 1887. Between 1887 and 1906 he was actively involved in a number of archaeological excavations in Pontus (the region of northeast Asia Minor bordering on the Black Sea) and Armenia. From 1906 he was a Professor at the University of Ghent, Belgium. His research into the neglected Roman cult of Mithraism established his reputation as an historian of religions. The theory that Roman Mithraism had its origins in Persian Zoroastrianism (i.e., the Persian sun-god Mithra) was first proposed by Franz Cumont in his two-volume study Textes et monuments figurés relatifs aux mystères de Mithra (1896 and 1899). At least during 1910 Cumont corresponded with Franz Kugler who was then attending the International Congress of Orientalists in Copenhagen. (Cumont also corresponded with Carl Bezold in Germany.) He resigned his position at the University of Ghent when, in spite of faculty recommendation and student support, Édouard Descamps (Baron Descamps), Belgium's Minister of Arts and Sciences from 1907 to 1910, refused to approve his appointment to the chair of Roman History and another candidate was named in 1912. He then divided his time between Rome and Paris and also conducted an archaeological excavation of Dura-Europas on the Euphrates River in eastern Syria. Relevant key publications: Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum (12 Parts, 1898-1909, Part 1 by Franz Cumont and Franz Boll).
Robert Eisler (born 1882, Vienna, Austria – died 1949, Oxted (Oxford?), Surrey) was an Austrian Jewish cultural historian, art historian and Biblical scholar. He was married to Lili von Pausinger. He was a follower of the psychology of Carl Jung. (He is also (mistakenly) identified as a Jungian psychologist.) His writings cover a great range of topics, from cosmic kingship and astrology to werewolves. His books included: Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt, (2 volumes, 1910), in which he explores ideas early ideas in diverse cultures about the shape of the universe); The Royal Art of Astrology (1946, containing numerous blunders); Comparative Studies in Ancient Cosmology (unpublished). His books and essays are not wholly reliable and need to be used with care. Eisler had a vast knowledge of diverse subjects but critics regard him as an overly imaginative historian (i.e., proposed eccentric theories). He was described by the Jewish scholar Gershom Scholem as 'an astonishing figure in the world of scholarship.' Scholem also stated: "For all unsolved problems he had in readiness brilliantly false solutions of the most surprising kind. He was a man of unbridled ambition, ceaseless diligence, but rather unstable character." A critic was the American classical scholar Erwin Goodenough, who implied Eisler lacked in self-critical acumen. Goodenough (Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman World, abridged edition by Jacob Neusner, Page 128) described Eisler's various works, especially Weltenmantel und Himmelszelt (1910), as "highly valuable as phantasmagorias of uncritically used material." He had a position at the Austrian Historical Institute at the Vienna University. From 1925 to 1931 he served as Assistant Director of the League of Nations Universities Interrelation Office in Paris. At that time he wrote on economics. He survived internment in Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps before the outbreak of World War II, moving to the United Kingdom, where he died. According to one source Eisler spent most of World War II imprisoned in the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps. His literary estate is housed in the Warburg Institute Archives. His lengthy typeset manuscript of a monograph on the constellations of the Babylonian and Egyptian spheres, and their modifications by the Greeks of the Achæan period, is held in the Archives of the Griffith Institute at the Ashmolean Museum.
Joseph Epping SJ. (1835-1894). German mathematician and astronomer. He was born at Neuenkirchen near Rhine in Westphalia and died at the Jesuit College at Exaeten Castle, Holland. He is acknowledged as the founder of the study of cuneiform mathematical astronomical texts. Epping entered the Jesuit Order in 1859 and in 1863 he was appointed Professor of Mathematic and Astronomy at Maria Laach. In 1872 he went with the Jesuit mission to Ecuador and was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the newly formed Escuela Politécnica Nacional (National Polytechnic School) (established/converted in 1869 from the former Central University of Quito). When the Jesuits were forced to leave Ecuador in 1876 he went to Blijenbeeck Castle, Holland (because of the Jesuitengezetz in Germany). He met again with Johann Strassmaier, a past colleague from Maria Laach, when Strassmaier came to Blijenbeeck Castle in 1881 to work on his cuneiform syllabary (Alphabetisches Verzeichniss). Epping was requested by Strassmaier to assist in establishing the nature of the astronomical content of numerous late astronomical cuneiform tablets. Epping agreed to take up the study of such - which involved numerous laborious calculations. In September 1881 they described the nature of the problems they faced in a joint article in the Jesuit journal Stimmen aus Maria Laach. Also, perhaps in 1881, but more likely in 1885, Epping was moved to Exaeten as part of the intention of the German Province of the Jesuit Order to gather together at Exaeten most of its Jesuits involved in writing. The collaboration between Epping and Strassmaier continued to remain in place even after Strassmaier returned to London in 1884. The first detailed results of their efforts were published in 1889 in book form (as supplement number 44 to the journal Stimmen aus Maria Laach). Relevant key publications: Astronomisches aus Babylon (1889, in collaboration with Johann Strassmaier).
Wilhelm Gundel. (1880-1945). German philologist. Wilhelm Gundel was a renowned German classical philologist who specialized in the history of ancient astronomy and astrology (and alchemy). He was a specialist in Greco-Roman and Egyptian astral-lore and wrote prolifically on these topics. He was born in Strassburg and at the time of his early death he was a Professor at the University of Giessen (sometimes spelled Gissen). (He had received his PhD in 1903 from the University of Giessen.) He also taught at the High School in Giessen. His academic career was spent studying ancient astronomy and astrology. During his career he published over 100 papers and (encyclopedia) articles, and a number of pamphlets. Many of his articles appeared in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. He prepared the 3rd edition (1931) of Sternglaube und Sterndeutung by Franz Boll and Carl Bezold (an uneven but excellent short introduction to ancient Western astrology). Gundel was criticised for over-emphasising the Egyptian influence on the development of astrological beliefs. Sometime in the 1930s (1934?) he came into conflict with the Nazis and his teaching position was revoked by them. Though forced into early retirement he continued to study and publish material. Towards the end of World War II he was detained and mistreated by the Gestapo. A small memorial volume was printed. It contains 3 of Wilhelm Gundel's articles from Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (i.e., "Paranatellonta."), an evaluation of his scientific work by Albert Rehm, a biography by his son Hans Gundel, and a list of his publications. His small personal library (or what remained of it) was sold by a German antiquarian bookseller in 2009. Relevant key publications: Sterne und Sternbilder im Glauben des Altertums und der Neuzeit (1922); Dekane und Dekansternbilder (1936); and Neue Astrologische Texte des Hermes Trismegistos (1936).
Hans Gundel. (1912-1999). German historian (ancient history) and papyrologist (an expert in Egyptian hieroglyphics); Dr Philologie (1937). Perhaps best described as a specialist in antique astrology and epigraphy. Son of the German Philologist Wilhelm Gundel. They 'jointly' authored a history of ancient astrological writing, Astrologumena: Die astrologische Literatur in der Antike und ihre Geschichte (1966). The work was begun by Wilhelm Gundel in 1928 but left unfinished at his death in 1945. Hans Gundel revised and published the monumental compilation. As a history of early Western astrology it is quite unsatisfactory. It is a heavily footnoted compendium of brief discussions of various astrologers in the classical world and of their works, partly arranged in chronological sequence. Hans Gundel, following the ideas of his father, gave exaggerated importance to Egyptian astrology. It remains the most complete (though woefully inadequate) bibliographical guide to the Greek and Latin material on astrology. Hans Gundel was Professur für Alte Geschichte, Justus-Liebig-Universität, Giessen [Gissen]. During World War II it appears he served with the military in some capacity. From 1948 to 1968 he taught at the Landgraf-Ludwigs-Gymnasium in Gießen. After the departure of William Hoffman in 1968 in Tübingen, he was appointed to the Chair of Ancient History at the University of Giessen (Lehrstuhl für Alte Geschichte an der Universität Gießen berufen). This position he held until his retirement in 1978 (Emeritierung). Part of the focus of his research and publications were to do with ancient astronomy. His research and publications also deal with the history of the Universität Gießen. From 1950 to 1987 his academic career was largely involved with the restoration of papyri that had been damaged by water during World War II. During this period he supervised the Giessen papyrus collection. He worked occasionally with the thesaurus Linguae Latinae and wrote numerous articles for Pauly's Realencyclopädie and also the Little Pauly. Gundel was awarded numerous honors, including: election as a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute (Mitglied des Deutschen Archäologischen Institutes), 1982, election as a member of the Historical Commission for Hesse (Mitglied der Historischen Kommission für Hessen), and appointment as an honorary member (and participant) of the Upper Hessian Historical Association (Berufung zum Ehrenmitglied des Oberhessischen Geschichtsvereins zu teil). Relevant key publications: Zodiakos: Tierkreisbilder im Altertum (1992).
Morris Jastrow Junior. (1861-1921). Naturalised American citizen. Considered himself to be an assyriologist. Born in Warsaw, Poland and came to Philadelphia, USA, in the autumn of 1866 when his father Rabbi Marcus Jastrow agreed to be the Rabbi for the then Orthodox Rodeph Shalom Congregation (Rodef Shalom) there. (In 1866 the long established Rodeph Shalom Congregation in Philadelphia had just completed construction of a large synagogue. Marcus Jastrow was an eminent Rabbi (and had been in charge of a congregation in Warsaw, and then Worms) and Talmudic lexicographer.) Morris Jastrow Junior initially studied for the ministry, and for a short time assisted his father, but preferred scholastic work. He studied Oriental languages at the universities of Breslau, Leipzig, Strassburg, and Paris, and received his PhD from the University of Leipzig in 1884. (His doctoral dissertation concerned the unpublished grammatical works of a Jewish Arabic Grammarian.) In 1885 he started teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. Originally the university appointed him to a professorship in Arabic and Rabbinics. In 1887 he became Lecturer in Semitics. In 1891 the university changed his title to Professor of Semitics (or Professor of Semitic Languages and Literature?). Morris Jastrow Junior was the founder of University of Pennsylvania's Semitic languages program. He was also a pioneering figure in the critical study of religion. His appointment at the University of Pennsylvania was unpaid. His income came from his service as rabbi at a synagogue in Philadelphia. Many of his publications were on Babylonian and Assyrian religion. In 1888 he became Assistant Librarian of the University. From 1898 to 1919 (or until his death in 1921?) he was Librarian of the University (or Director of the university's library?). In 1914 his alma mater honoured him by conferring on him the Degree of Doctor of Laws. In 1915 he became president of the American Oriental Society. Relevant key publications: Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens (2 Volumes in 3 Parts, 1905-1912).
Peter Jensen (1861-1936) (Germany) Semitist, Assyriologist. Professor für semitische Sprachen; Professor für orientalische Geschichte (at the University of Marburg). Peter Jensen was born at Bordeaux, France. He was the son of Conrad Jensen, the Friesian pastor of the German-Danish Evangelical community in Bordeaux. From 1863 he grew up in Holstein (the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider in northern Germany), In 1871 the family moved to Nustrup (Nordschleswig, the Danish-German border region = South Jutland county), part of Denmark. Until 1879 he attended the Stadtgymnasium Schleswig. In 1880 he commenced studies at the Theologische Fakultät Universität Leipzig. However, he soon changed to Oriental Studies with a focus on Assyriology. Jensen obtained his Assyriological training at the University of Leipzig under Friedrich Delitzsch. One of the greatest authorities of his time on Assyriology. In 1883 he continued his studies in Berlin. He studied Hittite archaeology and Semitic archaeology at the universities of Leipzig and Berlin. He worked as a librarian in Kiel and Strasbourg. His Habilitation was completed in Strasbourg in 1888. Subsequently he became professor of Semitic philology at Marburg University (in 1892). (Professor für semitische Sprachen; Professor für orientalische Geschichte (at the University of Marburg).) He remarried in 1897 to Martha Luise Behn, and they had 3 children. (One source states he was only married once.) His senior academic qualifications were PhD in Berlin (15-December-1884) and Habilitation in Strasbourg (25-April-1888). His PhD thesis appears to be: De incantamentorum sumerico-assyriorum seriei quae dicitur šurbu tabula sexta. His book, Die Kosmologie der Babylonier: Studien und Materialen (1890) was basically a philological study of some Babylonian literature. His book, Assyrisch-babylonische Mythen und Epen (1900) was well received. His main academic post was Associate Professor, Semitic Philology and Oriental History, Marburg University, 1892 (außerordentlicher (extraordinary) Professor) and 1895 to 1928 (ordentlicher (ordinary) Professor). His places of residence were: Bordeaux; Holstein, Nustrup, Leipzig; Berlin; Kiel; Straßburg; and Marburg. He did valuable early work with the translation of cuneiform texts. At the turn of the 20th-century he was a well-known Hittite scholar. In 1898 he published a book entitled (title in English) Hittites and Armenians, in which he claimed that the Hittite hieroglyphic (Hittite hieroglyph) was related to the Christian Armenian alphabet. This view was supported at the time by Harry Raphaelian. He also helped to bring the Gilgamesch epic to prominence. He became a firm supporter of Panbabylonist views and had an independent approach to the topic through the Gilgamesh epic. His 2 massive tomes on this theme (Das Gilgamesche-Epos in der Weltliteratur (Erster band 1906 - Zweiter band 1928)) helped the final demise of Panbabylonism. He died 16-August-1936 in Marburg, after much suffering due to a stroke he suffered in January 1932. (According to one source he taught until his stroke.) See the detailed biography and bibliography in the entry for Peter Jensen by Reinhard Lehmann in Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexicon [BBKL], Band III, 1992 (Verlag Traugott Bautz GmbH).
Johannes Koch. (1926-2011). Dr. Johannes Koch was perhaps born in northern Bavaria. Johannes Koch was a Lutheran pastor (?) (Pfr. i. R. = Pfarrer im Ruhestand = (literally) Pastor in retirement) and deputy headmaster (StD = Studiendirektor). Std (a senior position) = Studiendirektor = deputy headmaster. "Title of teaching post (entry office) for teachers in the senior civil service grade (teachers at Gymnasien (= Grammar School/Secondary School) and vocational schools). Senior positions are Oberstudienrat and Studiendirektor." Johannes Koch may have been at Reichsstadt-Gymnasium Rothenburg od T (Rothenburg ob der Tauber). He obtained his PhD in 1950 from the University of Erlangen. His published (?) PhD ("Zur Beziehung von Vernunft und Wirklichkeit in der Philosophie Hegels." = "On the Relationship Between Reason and Reality in the Philosophy of Hegel.") had connections with theology. His degree/MA was likely to be Staatexamen (also spelled Staatsexemen/Staatsexeman). To obtain a professional career at a gymnasium a person has to complete a Staatsexemen. (The "Staatsexeman" is a German degree awarded for studies leading to an academic qualification in state supervised professions such as law, medicine, teaching, pharmacy.) Dr. Johannes Koch (who resided in Rothenburg od T) was a distinguished German scholar and student of assyriology; and an expert on historical and astronomical chronology. After obtaining his PhD he became a High School teacher ("Gymnasium"). One of his fields was teaching Protestant Religion. His first teaching position was in northern Bavaria, then for many years until his retirement in 1991 in Rothenburg od T. His interest in Babylonian astronomy was a personal one unconnected with his teaching duties. Whilst Johannes Koch was not a trained assyriologist his many contributions to Mesopotamian astronomy and astrology were certainly professional and widely welcomed by assyriologists. He attended the Ernst Weidner Colloquium in Graz in 1991. His Neue Untersuchungen zur Topographie des babylonischen Fixsternhimmels (1989) was an important study. In this book Koch attempts to identify a number of Mesopotamian constellations mentioned in the Mul.Apin series. In Chapters 1-3 Koch offers a critical re-evaluation of Waerden (1949) and Reiner and Pingree (1981). In chapters 7-16 Koch deals in elaborate detail with the "planisphere" K 8538 from Niniveh. In a series of articles, Johannes Koch (1996, 1997, 1998) challenged Wayne Horowitz's interpretation of Mul.Apin II ii 11–12 and stressed that Mul.Apin uses a 360-day year, while the cuneiform tradition did not know a 364-day calendar. In 2007 Koch wrote a 17-page critical analysis of claims linking the Nebra disk with the astronomy of the Babylonian Mul.Apin series: Bedenkenswerts zur Himmelsscheibe von Nebra. Relevant key publications: Neue Untersuchungen zur Topographie des babylonischen Fixsternhimmels (1989). [Most of the biographical details for Johannes Koch were obtained/able to be obtained through the kind assistance given by Dr Hermann Hunger and Dr Joachim Oelsner.]
Franz Kugler SJ. (1862-1929). German chemist, mathematician, astronomer, assyriologist, chronologist, and historian. He was born in Königsbach, Germany and died in a Catholic nursing home in Lucerne, Switzerland. In 1885 he received a PhD in chemistry. (During 1884-1885 he was an assistant in the chemical laboratory at the Technischen Hochschule München whilst undertaking his doctoral studies.) In 1886 he entered the Jesuit Order and in 1893 he was ordained a priest. In 1894 the Jesuit Order appointed him Professor of Astronomy and Mathematics at the newly built Ignatius-College, Valkenburg (in Holland). In 1897, at the age of 35, he was appointed Professor of Higher Mathematics there. For most of his career he resided in Holland at the Jesuit theologate at Valkenburg. After the death of Joseph Epping in 1894 Kugler expressed his interest in taking over and continuing Epping's work. Kugler's monumental work on the Babylonian theory of the moon appeared in 1900 (Die Babylonische Mondrechnung) and that of the planets in 1907 (Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel, Volume 1). Volume 2 and supplements of SSB basically contain essays on a variety of topics relating to Babylonian astronomy. He was brilliant at decoding Babylonian mathematical astronomical texts. The great bulk of Kugler's work on the rediscovery of Babylonian mathematical astronomy was almost exclusively based on the copies of astronomical texts in the British Museum that were made by the pioneer assyriologist and prolific copyist Johann Strassmaier SJ. On several occasions, basically between 1900 and 1910, after Strassmaier's work at the British Museum came to a premature end, he visited the British Museum to access the actual tablets he was engaged in decoding. World War 1 and the hardships it imposed on the Valkenburg klooster (reliant for its finances on German funds) seems to have effectively ended his studies on Babylonian astronomy and thereafter he focused his attention on chronological matters (but produced only 2 volumes). (His middle name Xaver is sometimes misspelled Xavier.) Relevant key publications: Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel (2 Volumes and 2 Supplements in 6 Parts, 1907-1924).
Otto Neugebauer. (1899-1990). Austrian mathematician and historian of early mathematics and early astronomy. He was born in Innsbruck, Austria and died in the USA. His PhD was obtained in 1926 from the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. His doctoral dissertation title was Die Grundlagen de agyptischen Bruchrechnung. His academic career was dominated by the study of the early history of mathematics. Whilst studying mathematics at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen he made the decision to specialise in the early history of mathematics. He was generally rated as the most brilliant mathematical student at the University of Göttingen in the 1920s. Neugebauer's PhD at the University of Göttingen was completed in 1926. It dealt with the history of Egyptian unit fractions. In 1927 he was appointed to the staff of the University of Göttingen and a student at his first lecture course on the history of ancient mathematics was Bartel van der Waerden. (Bartel van der Waerden had arrived at the University of Göttingen in 1924, when he was 22 years old.) Neugebauer had studied Egyptian and then to facilitate his study of Babylonian mathematics he learned Akkadian. An early major study was his three-volume Mathematische Keilschrift-Texte (1935-1937). Neugebauer had begun, in 1931, whilst a professor of mathematics at the University of Gottingen, to edit the newly created mathematical review journal (of which he was founding editor) Zentralblatt für Matematik. (Zentralblatt f¨ur Mathematik und ihre Grenzgebiete (Zbl) had been established in 1931 by the publishing house of Julius Springer.) In 1934, due to the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, he took the editorial office of the journal with him to his new appointment at the University of Copenhagen. This appointment was arranged through his friend Harald Bohr. Neugebauer then began, in 1937 whilst at the University of Copenhagen, to publish a series of papers on Babylonian mathematical astronomy. In his first paper of this series he set out his plan to achieve the publication of all classes of Babylonian astronomical texts. This plan was initially inhibited by the advent of World War II and has not yet been fully realised. In 1939, due to his clashes with the Nazi regime (and the expansive movements of Hitler's Germany towards Denmark), he accepted an academic posting at Brown University, Rhode Island (in the USA), as Professor of Mathematics (full professorship) in the Department of Mathematics. This posting was arranged through the efforts of the American mathematician Oswald Veblen. Neugebauer brought with him the journal Zentralblatt für Matematik and the first issue appeared in January, 1940, as (the transformed American-based) Mathematical Reviews which he continued to edit until a full-time executive editor was appointed in 1945. (He continued to serve as editor until 1948?) In 1940 Neugebauer also toured the USA examining collections of cuneiform tablets. In 1947 he became the head of the newly created Department of the History of Mathematics at Brown University. This department, established on January 7, 1947, became the world leader in the study of the exact sciences to the Renaissance period. With the death of David Pingree in 2005 the department continued for some years as a "ghost department" and was closed in 2008. Neugebauer had an early association with Cornell University: "Cornell University Faculty, University and Messenger Lectures (1924-1960), 1949-1950: Otto Neugebauer, History of Mathematics, Brown University." He retired from Brown University in 1969 but still remained incredibly active. Neugebauer's prolific scholarship has revolutionised our understanding of the history of the exact sciences in antiquity. Relevant key publications: Astronomical Cuneiform Texts (3 Volumes, 1955); Egyptian Astronomical Texts (3 Volumes (in 4)), 1960-1969, in collaboration with Richard Parker); A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy (3 Parts, 1975).
Anton Pannekoek. (1873-1960). Dutch astronomer and Marxist theorist. [His first given name is sometimes given as Antonie.] He was a director of the Astronomical Institute at the University of Amsterdam. He was interested in the history of astronomy and in a paper published in 1916 and another paper published in 1917 made two pioneering contributions to the recovery of Babylonian astronomy. In 1891 Pannekoek began studying mathematics and physics in Leiden. His interest in astronomy began even before he went to college. While still a student he published his first article, On the Necessity of Further Researches on the Milky Way. Some years after he had finished his study he started work at the Leidse Sterrewacht (Leiden Observatory, where he wrote his thesis. After reading Edward Bellamy's (American socialist; 1850-1898) 2nd utopian novel Equality (1897), he became a convinced socialist and started studying the theories of Karl Marx. Pannekoek quickly became a well-known Marxist writer, writing for both Dutch and German magazines. Dissatisfaction with his job at the observatory led him to move to Berlin, where he became a lecturer at the school funded by the Social Democratic Party of Germany. His radical opinions soon created difficulties for hime with both the German government and the unions. He was on holiday in the Netherlands when World War I began. Unable to return to Germany, Pannekoek started work as a chemistry and science teacher. Though the Leidse Sterrewacht wanted to re-employ him, government opposition because of his Marxist sympathies caused this fall through. The Amsterdam city council got him an appointment at the University of Amsterdam in 1925, first as a part time professor, and in 1932 also as a full professor. In his scientific work, Pannekoek started studying the distribution of stars through the Milky Way, as well as the structure of our galaxy. Later he became interested in the nature and evolution of stars. It is because of these studies that he is considered to be the founder of astrophysics as a separate discipline in the Netherlands. Apart from his theoretical work, Pannekoek also went on several foreign expeditions to observe solar eclipses and take spectra of stars. In 1926 he undertook an expedition to Java in order to chart the Southern Constellations. He was also interested in the history of astronomy and his book, A History of Astronomy (1961; considered a well-balanced and carefully reasoned survey), is considered a standard reference on the subject. Pannekoek's work in galactic structure, astrophysics and the history of astronomy was of international renown and won him an honorary degree from Harvard University in 1936, as well as the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1951. The crater Pannekoek on the Moon and the asteroid 2378-Pannekoek are named after him. The Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek at the University of Amsterdam, of which he had been a director, continues to carry his name.
Richard Parker. (1905-1993). American Egyptologist. His PhD was gained in 1938 from the University of Chicago. The title of his doctoral dissertation was Medinet Habu Demotic Ostracon 4038. He then joined the ranks of the Oriental Institute Research Assistants in the same year. In 1946, following the end of World War 2, he returned to Luxor, Egypt to resume his pre-war work as a staff member of the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute. In the same year, on July 1, he was also appointed Assistant Professor of Egyptology and Assistant Field Director of the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute. In 1947 he was appointed the Field Director of the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute. In 1948 Parker was offered the newly-created Charles Edwin Wilbour Professorship in Egyptology at Brown University, Rhode Island. Parker left Luxor, to come to Brown University to become the first Wilbour Professor of Egyptology at Brown University. He initially took up the appointment on a part-time basis on July 1, 1948, and continued as Field Director of the Epigraphic Survey until December 31 the same year. He then continued to work as a Consultant Field Director for the Epigraphic Survey until June 30, 1949. His contributions to Egyptology include the areas of language (both Egyptian and Demotic) and astronomy and chronology. He was an expert on Egyptian calendrical systems. Relevant key publications: Egyptian Astronomical Texts (3 Volumes (in 4), 1960-1969, in collaboration with Otto Neugebauer).
David Pingree. (1933-2005). American classicist and sanskritist and historian of early astronomy. He was born with very limited vision, being blind in one eye and having only 20% vision in the other. (The distance of his vision was only 40 centimetres.) In 1950 he graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He began to teach himself Sanskrit whilst at Phillips Academy. In 1958 he made his first visit to India to study Sanskrit and returned to the USA in 1960. His PhD (in classics and Sanskrit) was obtained from Harvard University (1960). (His doctoral dissertation was jointly supervised by Daniel Ingalls (an outstanding Sankritist) and Otto Neugebauer.) His dissertation title was: Materials for the Study of the Transmission of Greek Astrology to India. Shortly after completing his doctoral dissertation he worked at Harvard University and also assumed a professorship at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. (In 1992 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Chicago.) He learned Arabic whilst at Harvard University, and also began to compile lists of manuscripts in Sanskrit relating to the exact sciences. David Pingree first began working with Neugebauer while a graduate student and then a junior fellow in Sanskrit and classics at Harvard. David Pingree, encouraged by Otto Neugebauer, spent eight years at the Oriental Institute in Chicago and became familiar with Mesopotamian astral omens. Otto Neugebauer then encouraged Pingree to join him at Brown University. By 1971 Neugebauer's persuasions were successful. In 1971 Pingree joined the History of Mathematics Department at Brown University and succeeded Neugebauer who had retired in 1969 aged seventy. He became chairman of the department in 1986. He was very productive and authored 43 books and monographs and 240 articles. Pingree's work focused on the history of the exact sciences (including astrology and divination in the ancient world) from the ancient Near East through to the Renaissance. (Included are numerous scientific texts in Arabic, Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit.) He specifically concentrated on the study of relevant texts in the original languages, and on the transmission of scientific ideas between cultures. (In his fundamentally important 1963 paper in the scientific journal Isis he again supported his thesis that Greek (and Greco-Babylonian) mathematical astronomy (and astrology) entered India between the 2nd and 4th centuries CE through a series of direct translations from Greek to Sanskrit.) He also devoted time to cataloguing Sanskrit manuscripts in numerous libraries throughout the world. His monumental Census of the Exact Sciences in Sanskrit (5 Volumes, 1970-1994) was a catalog of unpublished Sanskrit MSS in various libraries. Another example is his Catalogue of Jyotisa Manuscripts in the Wellcome Library (2004) which contains his comprehensive descriptions of over 1000 manuscripts on astronomy, mathematics, divination, and astrology. His personal library collection of approximately 22,000 items is ranked as one of the best in the world for the study of mathematical science in the ancient world. It is now housed in the Brown University Library (David E. Pingree Collection). (In 2007, his widow Isabelle Pingree sold his private library of 22,000 books, pamphlets and manuscripts to the Brown University libraries. Pingree had kept his collection in the 4 to 5 offices he had on the first floor of Wilbour Hall.) Pingree received numerous scholarly awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur Fellowship, and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Chicago. He was also Chair, American Committee for Asian Manuscripts. From circa the late 1970s he collaborated with assyriologists in publishing cuneiform texts on astronomy and astral omens. With his death the very unique Department of the History of Mathematics (established in 1947) at Brown University came to a close. (For nearly 20 years he was the sole permanent faculty member of his department. From January 2009 it was partially reestablished with the appointment of John Steele as Professor of Egyptology and the Ancient Western World at Brown University, Rhode Island.) Relevant key publications: MUL.APIN (1989, in collaboration with Hermann Hunger); Astral Sciences in Mesopotamia (1999, in collaboration with Hermann Hunger).
Erica Reiner. (1924-2005). Hungarian-born American assyriologist. Reiner was born in Budapest and received an undergraduate degree in linguistics there in 1948. She then studied Elamite, Sumerian, and Akkadian at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (a university in Paris that is part of the University of Paris) and received a Diploma (= Master's Degree?). (At the time of her death she was one of the few persons proficient in Elamite.) Reiner received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1955. She began working on the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary project when she first came to the University of Chicago in 1952 as a research assistant. During this early period she also worked closely with the distinguished assyriologist Adolf Oppenheim. She became an associate editor in 1956 and an editor in 1962. From 1973 to her retirement in 1996 she was editor-in-charge of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary project. After her retirement in 1996 she continued to work on the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary project. Her role with the project included writing, editing, and reviewing entries. At the time of her death she was the John A. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Oriental Institute and editor of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. (The publication is more an encyclopedia.) Reiner is the only scholar to have contributed to every one of its 26 volumes. The first volume was published in 1956 and the last was published in 2006. Reiner collaborated with David Pingree on four facsimiles of Babylonian Planetary Omens (1975-2005). They comprise studies of the celestial omens and astronomy of a number of tablets forming part of the Babylonian omen series Enuma Anu Enlil. Two volumes deal with Venus omens, one dealt with omens about stars, and the last with Jupiter omens. Reiner took on the challenging task of dealing with the omen series Enuma Anu Enlil to fulfill the wish of Adolf Oppenheim to have all of this major omen series properly published. Relevant key publications: Babylonian Planetary Omens: Part Two (1981, in collaboration with David Pingree); and Astral Magic in Babylonia (1995).
Abraham Sachs. (1915-1983). American assyriologist. He received his PhD in Assyriology in 1939 from John Hopkins University and at the time of his death was Professor Emeritus of the History of Mathematics at Brown University. Sachs was regarded as a brilliant assyriologist. He spent his life giving careful attention to all late Babylonian astronomical texts, particularly the nonACT class. Abraham Sachs met Otto Neugebauer by chance in 1941 when the latter visited the Oriental Institute in Chicago to give a lecture. Sachs was then working on the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary project. Neugebauer quickly concluded that Sachs was the person to assist him in his plan, announced in the 1930s, to publish all available classes of astronomical cuneiform texts (i.e., a "corpus"). Sachs accepted the invitation that Neugebauer extended to him to come to Brown University to collaborate with him on the publication of Babylonian astronomical texts. In 1941 Neugebauer arranged for Sachs to initially come to Brown University as a Rockefeller Foundation fellow. When the Department of Mathematics at Brown University showed reluctance to promote an assyriologist to a professional rank Henry Wilson, the University President, created, in 1947, the Department of the History of Mathematics. Sachs joined such, becoming associate professor in 1949 and professor in 1953. This new department was created for Otto Neugebauer and Abraham Sachs primarily as a research unit - but it was also given the responsibility to train highly qualified graduate students. In 1948 Sachs, still with the title of research assistant, was offered, and declined, the Chair in Assyriology at John Hopkins University in succession to the eminent Near Eastern scholar William Albright. Both Sachs and Neugebauer had become both close colleagues and close friends. In 1949, through the recommendation of the assyriologist Anton Deimel SJ, in Rome, Otto Neugebauer was given full access to all of Johann Strassmaier's relevant notebooks. In application this meant that in 1949 Sachs worked at the Pontificio Instituto Biblico. (Following Strassmaier's death in 1920 these notebooks had been sent to Rome and were in the care of Anton Deimel at the Pontificio Istituto Biblico. (It is not clear whether Deimel obtained all or most of Strassmaier's notebooks.) In the early 1900s Deimel had studied assyriology in London under Strassmaier and on Strassmaier's death had arranged for his notebooks to be sent to Rome.) In 1949 Sachs worked through Strassmaier's notebooks at the Pontificio Instituto Biblico and identified 100 new ACT class fragments. (I presently cannot establish whether the large number of Strassmaier's drawings that Anton Deimel loaned to Schaumberger at Gars am Inn in 1923 ever came to the notice of Otto Neugebauer and Abraham Sachs. Some of these drawings were lost in 1955 and the rest were never returned to Rome until 1981.) In 1952 Sachs received a Rockefeller Foundation travel grant to study astronomical cuneiform tablets in the British Museum. This work was (apparently) carried out during 1953 and 1954. (Note: There is lack of clarity regarding the time spent by Sachs at the British Museum. Sachs was at the BM in the summer of 1952 and then again from at least September 1953.) His work there assisted Otto Neugebauer to complete his protracted project Astronomical Cuneiform Texts (3 Volumes, 1955). The masterly copies of cuneiform astronomical and astrological texts that the pioneer British assyriologist Theophilus Pinches had made during his employment there between 1895 and 1900, and which had been kept locked in a cupboard for some 50 years, were made available to Sachs. Approximately 60 new ACT class fragments were included in Pinches' drawings. Sachs published Pinches' drawings, comprising approximately 1350 sheets (approximately 1600 texts), (including, in cooperation with Johann Schaumberger, some texts copied by Johann Strassmaier), in Late Babylonian Astronomical and Related Texts (1955). These included both mathematical, observational, and omen, texts. However, no translations were published. (A discussion of autographs made by Pinches appeared in Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Volume 70, 1938.) Until 1955 very few late Babylonian astronomical tablets had been published. Extensive translations of texts in Late Babylonian Astronomical and Related Texts have only become available since circa the mid-1980s. The last major project begun by Sachs was the editing and translation of the "astronomical diaries" and related texts. However, due to declining health, he only managed to focus on the material for Volume 1 of the "astronomical diaries" prior to his death. The material for this volume was completed by Hermann Hunger and published in 1988. Sachs' death at a relatively young age was due to cancer. His wish that the Austrian assyriologist Hermann Hunger continue the completion of the "astronomical diaries" project has been realised. Relevant key publications: Late Babylonian Astronomical and Related Texts (1955).
Friedrich Saxl. (1890-1948). Austrian art historian. Born in Vienna, Austria. He studied art history and archaeology at the Institüt für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, in Vienna. His PhD was completed in 1912 when he was 22 years old. The topic of his doctoral dissertation was Rembrandt. He first met Aby Warburg, a private scholar and art historian, in 1911. In 1913 he joined the Warburg library in Hamburg (Warburg's library was held in a house in Hamburg) as the librarian. He served as a first lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War 1 and returned to the Warburg library in 1919. From 1918 to 1923 Aby Warburg suffered from severe mental illness and was hospitalised. (From 1921-1923 Warburg was treated by the psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966).) During the time Warburg was committed to a metal asylum Saxl developed the library into the Warburg Institute (basically accomplished in 1921) and aligned it with the University of Hamburg (established in 1921). Warburg had initially discussed with Saxl in 1914 the idea turning his vast personal library into a research institute. However, the advent of World War 1 delayed the idea. When Warburg died in 1929 Saxl became the director of the Warburg Institute. The existence of the Jewish-named library was made difficult when the Nazis came to political power in 1933. In 1933 Saxl succeeded transferring the Warburg Institute to England. This involved the shipping of some 60,000 books alone. Aby Warburg had begun collecting such in 1886 and the collection had come to include many rare books on astrology. In 1934 Saxl moved to England permanently with the successful relocation of the Warburg Institute from Hamburg to London (and became a British citizen in 1940). Initially he had hoped to moved the Warburg Institute to Holland but the negotiations were unsuccessful. The University of Leiden had suitable quarters to house the Warburg Institute but had no funds to support it. He had then entered into a contract (1933) to move the Warburg Institute library "on loan" to the Courtauld Institute at the University of London. In 1944 the Warburg Institute officially became part of the University of London. Saxl, due to the influence of Warburg, viewed the history of art as the history of the transmission of pagan mythology. He frequently traced the history of many medieval iconographic themes to ultimate origins in Babylonian traditions. Saxl's Verzeichnis astrologischer und mythologischer illustrierter Handschriften des lateinischen Mittelalters had a protracted publishing history. Volume 1 sub-titled Handschriften in römischen Bibliotheken was published in 1915. Volume 2 sub-titled Die Handschriften der National-bibliothek in Wien was published in 1927. The remaining volumes were renamed Catalogue of astrological and mythological illuminated manuscripts of the Latin Middle Ages. (Volume 3 simply had an aditional title page in English.) Volume 3, in collaboration with Hans Meier, and edited by Harry Bober, sub-titled Handschriften in englischen Bibliotheken was published in 2 Volumes in 1953. Volume 4 by Patrick McGurk sub-titled Astrological manuscripts in Italian libraries (other than Rome) was published in 1966. Relevant key publications: Verzeichnis astrologischer und mythologischer illustrierter Handschriften des lateinischen Mittelalters (3 Volumes in 4, 1915-1953; Volume 3 posthumously published in collaboration with Hans Meier, and Volume 4 published in 1966 by Patrick McGurk).
Archibald Sayce. (1846-1933). British assyriologist. One of the pioneers of Assyriology in Britain. Born at Shirehampton (near Bristol), England. When only 10 years old he began reading the Greek classics, in the Greek language. In 1869 he was elected a fellow and lecturer at Oxford University (where he remained for the rest of his career). In 1870 he was ordained as an Anglican minister. In 1891 he was elected Professor of Assyriology and remained in that position until 1919. He took lengthy sabbaticals. From 1908 to 1910 he studied in the Sudan, and from 1911 to 1912 he studied (and travelled extensively) in the Far East. Later in life he took annual trips up the Nile river in Egypt. His primary interests were languages and philology (including the cuneiform languages such as Assyrian and Hittite, and old Hebrew), and the history of the Hebrews. In the 1900s he also became interested in Egyptology. Whilst at Oxford University he was involved in archaeological excavations in Egypt (with the British architect Somers Clarke (1841-1926)) at Meroe and El Kab. His lectures usually formed the basis for his publications. He is considered a "generalist" more than a "specialist", and also by 1900 had an established reputation as a gross popularizer. However, his work on the Assyrian language had considerable importance. Also, he was instrumental in the decipherment of the Hittite language. His lengthy article "Astronomy and Astrology of the Babylonians." published in 1874 in Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology was one of the earliest to recognise and translate astronomical cuneiform texts. Relevant key publications: "Astronomy and Astrology of the Babylonians." In: Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Volume 3, Part 1, 1874, Pages 145-339.
Johann Schaumberger. (1885-1955). German assyriologist. Member of the Redemptorist Order. His theological studies in Rome resulted in him obtaining his PhD in Theology there in 1913. He taught Biblical Exegesis at the Redemptorist Order College at Gars am Inn. He remained there until his death. He had wide interests and was universally acknowledged as a gifted scholar in the areas of theology, astronomy, and cuneiform languages. He was also somewhat erratic. Schaumberger announced at the 18th International Congress of Orientalists in Leiden in 1931 that he intended to continue Franz Kugler's unfinished studies on Babylonian astronomy. During the 1930s Schaumberger visited the USA and identified unpublished astronomical texts from Uruk at the Oriental Institute in Chicago. He brought these to the attention of Otto Neugebauer. In 1935 he completed a third supplement to volumes 1 and 2 of Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel. However, after 1935 Schaumberger proceeded very slowly with his studies of Babylonian astronomy. This supplement included further studies on the identification of constellations and star names. The planned fourth supplement, which was also to include a comprehensive index, remained uncompleted at the time of his death. Between 1935 and 1955 he produced only 10 journal papers on aspects of Babylonian astronomy. In 1923 Anton Deimel at the Pontificio Istituto Biblico in Rome loaned to Schaumberger in Gars am Inn a large number of Strassmaier's astronomical drawings. (These were possibly "observational texts" (i.e., astronomical diaries, lunar and planetary texts, eclipse texts, and reports to the kings) closely related to Kugler's work. It is reasonable to assume that any ACT class texts (i.e., mathematical astronomical texts such as the tables of ephemerides) were brought to the attention of Otto Neugebauer.) The small number of these drawings that were returned to Rome on Schaumberger's death in 1955 became lost during the process. Following Deimel's death in 1954 the assyriologist Werner Mayer SJ was put in charge of Strassmaier's material at the Pontificio Istituto Biblico in Rome. In 1981 Mayer successfully arranged the return of the remaining collection of drawings that had been loaned to Schaumberger. All papers comprising Schaumberger's written estate remain stored at Gars am Inn. Relevant key publications: Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel. 3. Ergänzungsheft zum ersten und zweiten Buch (1935).
Giovanni Schiaparelli. (1835-1910). Leading Italian astronomer and historian of astronomy. He was born in Savigliano, Piedmont. He graduated in hydraulic engineering in 1854 from the University of Turin. He taught mathematics and studied astronomy at the Royal Observatory in Berlin under Johann Encke. He also spent a year learning observational techniques at the Pulkova Observatory in Russia under Otto Struve. When he returned to Italy in 1860 he joined the Brera Observatory in Milan as second astronomer. He became the director of the Brera Observatory two years later and held this post until he retired in 1900. After his retirement he spent considerable time researching the history of astronomy. A key interest was the history of Babylonian astronomy and at least from 1907 till his death in 1910 he corresponded with Franz Kugler in Holland on the topic. Seminar papers by Salvo de Meis and Hermann Hunger examining Schiaparelli's investigations into Babylonian astronomy are contained in Giovanni Schiaparelli: Storico della astronomia e uomo di cultura edited by Antonio Panaino and Guido Pellegrini (1999). (Il Planetarium Babylonicum di G.V. Schiaparelli: Problematiche astronomiche by Salvo de Meis (Pages 63-80); and Schiaparellis Notebook of Babylonian Star Names by Hermann Hunger (Pages 81-90).) Relevant key publications: Scritti Sulla Storia della Astronomia Antica (3 Volumes, 1925-1926).
Johann Strassmaier SJ. (1846-1920). German assyriologist. Johann Strassmaier was born in Hagenburg (Böhmerwald), Bavaria in 1846. (His named also appears as Strassmayer.) He died in 1920 at the Jesuit residence, Mount Street in London West. Strassmaier was one of the leading pioneer assyriologists of Europe. At the time of his death he was a distinguished scholar of international reputation and recognised as one of the leading assyriologists in Europe. He entered the Jesuit Order in 1865 and his early Jesuit studies were at the Maria Laach monastery. In 1872, shortly after the beginning of Bismarck's Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church in Germany, Strassmaier came to England. He largely remained in England for the rest of his life. In 1878, after completing his Jesuit training, he move to the Jesuit residence in Mount Street, London and began his long career of basically copying cuneiform inscriptions in the British Museum. (He was accessing British Museum publications on Assyriology as early as 1869.) The initial intention of his copying work was preparation for his projected comprehensive history of the Semitic languages (which never materialised). He made his chief contribution to the new field of Assyriology by publishing his massive Alphabetisches Verzeichniss (6 parts, 1882-1886). His first period of copying British Museum tablets was from 1878 to 1881. During 1881 to 1884 he was at Blijenbeeck Castle (a Jesuit college in Holland) working on his Alphabetisches Verzeichniss. (This particular work is full of errors but at the time of publication was considered to be the most trustworthy vocabulary of Assyrian and Akkadian words. It is based on the vocabularies published in the second volume of Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia (1866). It contains 9,072 entries (and includes both Assyrian and Akkadian words).) Some Babylonian astronomical and astrological texts (and texts containing astronomical references) were included in the second volume of Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia. This may have initiated Strassmaier's interest in such. His second period of copying tablets was from 1884 to 1897. (During his final years of training at the Jesuit theologate at Ditton Hall, Ditton (near Widnes) his long vacations of two months each year for three years were spent copying cuneiform tablets in the British Museum.) Up till circa 1900 Strassmaier had copied and published the greatest number of cuneiform texts. Strassmaier's work in Assyriology came to a premature end in December 1897 when a serious kidney disorder forced him to return to Germany for a major operation. Even after convalescing for approximately one year he never fully recovered from the operation. It would appear he suffered from a post-operative infection and the surgical incision never healed. His Babylonische Texte (1889-1897) consists mostly of his autographs of tablets comprising the archive of the Neo-Babylonian Ebabbar Temple at Sippar. These were largely commercial (economic) texts. The tablets had been excavated, for the British Museum, by Hormuzd Rassam during the last quarter of the 19th-century. During his extensive years of copying cuneiform tablets in the British Museum he also identified and copied numerous mathematical astronomical texts. (It was in 1881 that he first came across several astronomical tablets that were dated and so could be scientifically valuable.) Many of these were made available by him first to the mathematician and astronomer Joseph Epping SJ at Exaeten and then, after Epping's death, to the mathematician and astronomer Franz Kugler SJ at Valkenburg. During Strassmaier's lifetime his copies of astronomical texts were never made generally available to any other persons. From Strassmaier's death in 1920 through to 1949 they were only made available to Johann Schaumberger. Later they were made available to Otto Neugebauer and Abraham Sachs and later still to the Jesuit assyriologist Alfred Pohl during his time at the British Museum. (Though Strassmaier copied many types of texts that had been recovered from various Mesopotamian sites he mainly only published some 3500 of his autographs of tablets recovered from the Ebabbar Temple archive. Some of these had an astronomical content.) Though Strassmaier had an excellent knowledge of cuneiform languages he seldom actually translated any texts. Some of his autographs in his notebooks do, however, contain full technical annotations. His massive Alphabetisches Verzeichniss did not contain any translations of words. It was more a glossary of word occurrences than a real dictionary. The entries were alphabetically arranged, transliterated to assist pronunciation, synonyms included, and illustrative Assyrian texts quoted chronologically. Relevant key publications: Astronomisches aus Babylon (1889, in collaboration with Joseph Epping).
Bartel van der Waerden. (1903-1996). Dutch mathematician and historian of early mathematics and early astronomy. He obtained a PhD in 1926 from the Universiteit van Amsterdam. The title of his doctoral dissertation was De algebraiese grondslagen der meetkunde van het aantal. His book Moderne Algebra (2 Volumes, 1930) revolutionised 20th-century algebra. As a student at the Universiteit van Amsterdam he attended a course that Hendrik de Vries gave on the history of mathematics. Later, at the University of Göttingen, he attended the courses that Otto Neugebauer gave on Greek mathematics and Egyptian mathematics. He also later visited Otto Neugebauer in Copenhagen where Neugebauer discussed Babylonian astronomy with him. In 1928 he obtained his first academic appointment. This was at the University of Groningen and it was one of five universities he held a professorship at during the course of his career. From 1951 to 1962 he held an appointment to a chair of mathematics in Zurich. He remained there until his death. Throughout his career he published numerous papers on aspects of the early history of Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, and Persian astronomy. Some were controversial and attracted severe criticism but many remain important. Relevant key publications: Anfänge der Astronomie (1966, in collaboration with Peter Huber).
Ernst Weidner. (1891-1976). German assyriologist. He began publishing books and articles on Babylonian astronomy whilst still in his teens. He was a student of Felix Peiser. As a young Assyriologist Ernst Weidner was strongly influenced by the Assyriologist and Panbabylonist Felix Peiser (who was editor of the journal Orientalistische Literaturzeitung). The very young Weidner was a convinced Panbabylonist and an active supporter of the Panbabylonist ideas of Hugo Winckler and Alfred Jeremias. In 1923 he began his own periodical Archiv für Keilschriftforschung. With the issue of Volume 3 in 1926 the name of the periodical was changed to Archive für Orientforschung. (The periodical was published direct by Ernst Weidner as the editor.) Weidner remained its editor until his death. Weidner graduated in 1922 from the University of Leipzig. (It appears his doctoral thesis was on the Babylonian constellations; especially the constellations of the zodiac: Der babylonische Fixsternhimmel. I. Die Gestirne des Tierkreisgürtels.) His Habilitation (Die Reliefs der assyrischen Könige) was completed in 1942. Until 1942 he lived in Berlin (apparently relying on journalism as a principal means of income). At the beginning of 1943, Weidner gained the position of Professor in the Department of Oriental Research at the Karl-Franzens-Universität, Graz. During his early career he focused on Babylonian astronomy. Later, he focused on Babylonian chronology and did excellent work in this area. Both Ernst Weidner and Franz Kugler, the trenchant scholarly critic of Panbabylonism and the leading expert on Babylonian astronomy, were mutually combative and when Kugler died Weidner made only a brief mention of such in his periodical. Unlike Peiser's approach as editor of Orientalistische Literaturzeitung Weidner did not make Archive für Orientforschung a platform for Panbabylonist views. The journal published scholarly papers encompassing a wide outlook. Weidner's early announced plan to publish a comprehensive 3-volume study of Babylonian astronomy was abandoned after publication of Volume 1 in 1915. In his periodical Archive für Orientforschung Weidner published, in the 1940s and 1950s, a series of valuable papers on the first 50 tablets comprising the omen series Enuma Anu Enlil. Relevant key publications: Handbuch der Babylonischen Astronomie (1915, reprinted 1976 but now thoroughly dated and unreliable).
Part 2: Current
Lis Brack-Bernsen. Assyriologist. Her PhD dissertation was entitled Astronomy of the Mayas. Lis Brack-Bernsen currently (2011) teaches history of science at the University of Regensburg. Her research interests include the history of astronomy and mathematics with special emphasis on Babylonian astronomy and its development. She is a mathematician by training, with physics and astronomy as subsidiary subjects, she was trained in history of ancient astronomy and mathematics by Olaf Schmidt during her studies at the University of Copenhagen. She switched to the history of Mayan Astronomy for her PhD studies at the University of Basel, whereby she was sponsored by the Swiss National Foundation. After a few years as a lecturer at the Mathematical Institute of Copenhagen University, she went to the USA. Following a time with upbringing of her three children, she got back to full-time research of Babylonian Astronomy through a grant from the DFG. After few years as a lecturer (Privatdozentin) at the University of Frankfurt and a stay as Visiting Fellow at the Dibner Institute, she became lecturer at Regensburg University in 1999. Three consecutive DFG research projects have enabled her to investigate the development of Babylonian Astronomy and to understand and reconstruct many empirical prediction rules written in Babylonian procedure texts. In 2006, she became a Professor at the University of Regensburg. Lis Brack-Bernsen is a member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (2009). She is also a member of the editorial board of Centaurus (Copenhagen). Relevant key publications: Zue Entstehung der babylonischen Mondtheorie (1997).
David Brown. (1968- ). British assyriologist. Degrees: 1990 B.A. (Cantab) Natural Sciences (Pt.II Physics); 1992 M.Phil. (Cantab) Assyriology (Thesis: "Case Studies in Early Mesopotamian Mathematical Procedures," 08/92); 1994 M.A. (Cantab); 1996 Ph.D. (Cantab) Assyriology (Thesis: "Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology (747-612 BC)" – submitted 15/12/95. Viva 7/3/96. Passed by examiners Professor F.R. Stephenson (Durham) and Dr. W. Van Soldt (Leiden). Degree taken 20/7/96); 1996 M.A. (Oxon, incorporated). David Brown obtained his PhD on cuneiform astronomy and astrology, published in 2000 as Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology. 1996-2000 Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford (four year postdoc). 1996-9 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. He was then a British Academy Research Fellow at the Department of Oriental Studies in Oxford until 2001. From 2001-2002 he was an Alexander von Humboldt Guest Researcher in the Department of Indology at the Free University, Berlin (funded by the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung). From 2002-2004 he was a full-time temporary lecturer in Ancient Near Eastern History at University College, London (Sept 2002-Oct 2004 Lecturer (replacement for Professor Amélie Kuhrt) in Ancient Near Eastern History and Women in Antiquity at University College, London). He then returned to Berlin to work for a further 2 years on a German Research Council-funded project to study the interactions of ancient astral science in collaboration with 9 experts of international repute. From January 2004 to January 2006 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinshaft Researcher (2 years’ salary funded for research into the transmission of astral science from culture to culture in the period up to circa 600 CE, in a project led by Prof. Dr. Harry Falk at the Freie Universität, Berlin). He currently (2011) teaches mathematics and philosophy at the Nelson Mandela state international school in Berlin. Relevant key publications: Mesopotamian Planetary Astronomy-Astrology (2000) and The Interactions of Ancient Astral Science (2011).
Wayne Horowitz. Assyriologist. (? - ). Wayne Horowitz is Professor of Assyriology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Department of Assyriology). He was born in New York City, he attended Brandeis University (he completed his BA at Brandeis University) and the University of California at Berkeley, before completing his Ph.D. at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom in 1986. Since then he has been a member of the faculty of The Hebrew University (originally a Lecturer), teaching in English in The Rothberg International School (Rothberg School for Overseas Students), and in Hebrew in the Institute for Archaeology. His main academic areas of interest are Ancient Mesopotamian Astronomy, Cosmic Geography, and Cuneiform Texts from Canaan. He lives with his wife and three children in the Judean Desert near Jerusalem. Relevant key publications: Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography (1998). (Corrected edition due May, 2011.)
Peter Huber. (1934- ). Swiss statistician. Peter Huber, PhD, is a world-renowned mathematical statistician who has published four books and more than seventy journal articles in the areas of statistics and probability. He has served as professor of statistics at ETH Zurich. Huber was born in Wohlen, Switzerland. His mathematical abilities were evident at an early age. His life-long interest in cuneiform astronomy began when he accessed donated books on assyriology in the cantonal library. As a graduate student he helped Bartel van der Waerden write Anfänge der Astronomie. After completing High School he studied mathematics and physics at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH), and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. In 1961 he obtained his Ph.D. in topology. He then spent several years at the University of California, Berkerley. Relevant key publications: Babylonian Eclipse Observations from 750 BC to 1 BC (2004, in collaboration with Salvo de Meis).
Hermann Hunger. (1942- ). Austrian assyriologist. PhD (1966, Philology) in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of Münster (Germany). Professor of Assyriology at the University of Vienna until his retirement in 2007. A leading authority on Babylonian astronomy and Babylonian celestial omens. Hermann Hunger has published widely on Babylonian astronomy/astral sciences (e.g., Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings (1992). At the 220th meeting of the American Oriental Society on March 12-15, 2010, the membership unanimously elected Hermann Hunger, emeritus professor at the University of Vienna to honorary membership in the America Oriental Society. Among the many paragraphs of praise in the nominating letter is the following: "Professor Hunger’s career trajectory seems uneventful. He earned a doctorate in Assyriology and Semitic philology earlier than most (24), a sign of his competence. His dissertation about colophons was a meticulous assembling of an enormous number of such notices with an imaginative reconstruction about their use. But early on he began collaborative works with Otto E. Neugebauer, the great historian of science in antiquity, and with Abe Sachs who, much earlier, had followed a similar path in working with Neugebauer. The research arrangements moved Professor Hunger into the areas of scholarship for which he is best known now." Within the nominating letter there were also notices about Dr. Hunger’s scholarship ("accurate, reliable, durable"), his wide collaborative efforts, and his crucial role in formulating and finalizing the most basic and indispensable tool of Assyriology, the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (CAD). Currently (2011), Chairman: Commission for Mycenaean Studies; Chaiman: Commission for the History of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Medicine. Hunger is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Relevant key publications: Mul.Apin (1989, in collaboration with David Pingree).
Alexander Jones. Canadian classicist and recognised as a foremost world expert on the history of ancient astronomy. Was, 1997-2008, the Professor of Classics and History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Toronto. (Professor, Department of Classics and Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto. Full member of School of Graduate Studies.) Currently (2008-present (2011)), based at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University (USA); Professor of the History of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University. Professor of Mathematics (Associated Faculty), Courant Institute, New York University. Also, Director of Graduate Studies. Education and Degrees: Ph.D., 1985, Brown University. (History of Mathematics) Dissertation: Book 7 of Pappus's Collection: Edition, translation, and commentary. (Supervisor: G. J. Toomer). B.A., 1981: University of British Columbia. (Honours Classics). His studies focus on the exact sciences in Greco-Roman antiquity. Research interests and work in progress: Mathematical and physical sciences and pseudo-sciences in antiquity, Middle Ages, and early modern Europe. Current work concerns astronomy and astrology in the ancient Near East and the Greek world, the scientific work of Ptolemy, and Greek mathematical sciences in general. Papyrology, manuscript traditions and textual criticism. Honours include: Francis Bacon Award, California Institute of Technology, 2006; Guggenheim Fellow, 2005-2006; Fellow, Royal Society of Canada (elected 2000, inducted 2001); Member, American Philosophical Society (elected 1998); Corresponding Member, Académie internationale d'histoire des sciences (elected 1993), Relevant key publications: Astronomical Papyri from Oxyrhynchus (2 Volumes, 1999).
Simo Parpola. (1943- ). Finnish archaeologist and assyriologist. Currently (2011) Professor of Assyriology at the University of Helsinki. He has specialized in the epigraphy of the Akkadian language, and has been working on the Neo-Assyrian Corpus Project since 1987. He is also an Honorary Member of the American Oriental Society. Parpola is also the chairman of The Finland Assyria Association (Suomi-Assyria Yhdistys). He has shown himself to be sympathetic to the ideas of Panbabylonism. (He has revived the Panbabylonian theory with his particular version.) His brother, Asko Parpola, is a specialist on the Indus script. Relevant key publications: Letters from Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars (1993).
Francesca Rochberg. (1952- ). American assyriologist. She has been Professor of History at the University of California Riverside. Currently (2009) Francesca Rochberg is Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Studies, University of Califirnia at Berkeley. Her research interests are: Assyriology, with a focus on Akkadian scholastic texts of the second and first millennia BCE. History of science, with a focus on Babylonian astronomy and astrology. Philology, cultural history, and the impact of the philosophy of science on the historiography of ancient science, with a focus on the reception of Babylonian astronomy and astrology into the wider field of history of science. Rochberg lectures on Akkadian, Mesopotamian history, history of science and religion, ancient astronomy. Fellowships and honours: 2010 Research Professorship Ludwig-Maximilian Universität, München; 2008 Member, American Philosophical Society; 2007 Member, Princeton, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies; 2006 Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford; 2004 Fellow, Center for Ideas and Society, University of California, Riverside; 1999 John Frederick Lewis Award for Babylonian Horoscopes (American Philosophical Society, 1998); 1993-94 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; 1982-1987 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. Rochberg has a PhD in near eastern languages from the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago (1980). The title of her doctoral dissertation was Aspects of Babylonian Celestial Divination: The Lunar Eclipse Tablets of Enuma Anu Enlil. She has a profound understanding of aspects of Mesopotamian celestial divination and astronomy. Relevant key publications: Aspects of Babylonian Celestial Divination: The Lunar Eclipse Tablets of Enuma Anu Enlil (1988).
Ulla Koch-Westenholz [Ulla Koch]. Danish assyriologist. She is a member of the International Association for Assyriology. Amongst her qualifications she has a PhD from the University of Copenhagen (1999); an MA in Assyriology, University of Copenhagen (1990; and a BA in Assyriology, University of Copenhagen (1985). She received research fellowships and post doctoral scholarships from the Danish Research Council for the Humanities and the Carlsberg Foundation and was affiliated the Carsten Niebuhr Institute at the University of Copenhagen between 1992-2003. Between 1991-2001, Research Fellow, University of Copenhagen. Assyriology. Four research projects funded by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities (1991-96) and the Carlsberg Foundation (1998-2001). She has been a senior lecturer at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute, University of Copenhagen. She remains affiliated with the University of Copenhagen. Her main interests are Babylonian science, divination, religion, and literature. She is currently (2011) continues her assyriological studies as an independent scholar. Currently (2011) she specialises in SAP, project and program management. Since 2004 she has been employed in the Ministry of Defence, since 2007 at the Defence Command Denmark as special advisor in the ERP-planning branch. She is married to the assyriologist Walther Sallaberger (Professur für Assyriologie, Institut für Assyriologie und Hethitologi, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München). Ulla Koch has carried out pioneering research into Babylonian liver omens. Her 1995 book on Mesopotamian Astrology (planned to reprinted shortly) is intended to serve as a general introduction to Mesopotamian astrology, both its outward phenomena and its inner structure. Her 2000 book on Babylonian Liver Omens is primarily a scholarly translation and presentation of cuneiform texts devoted to hepatoscopy, or divination by means of the liver, the favored organ for extispicy (divination from sheep entrails). Relevant key publications: Mesopotamian Astrology (1995).
Lester Ness. American historian (of early (Jewish) astrology). Began his career in the US Navy as a technician. He has a PhD from the University of Miami (1990). During the early 1990s he began working on an English translation of Auguste Bouché-Leclercq's L'Astrologie grecque (1899). He completed this task in 2006. However, the publication of the translation by Pennsylvania State University Press (Penn State Press) has (April, 2011) still not appeared. (In part the delay is due to difficulties unearthing suitable biographical details about Bouché-Leclercq to be included with the book.) In 1997 he took up a teaching appointment in China and has held teaching positions (teaching English) at several Chinese universities, including Tsinghua University (in Beijing) (regarded as one of the best universities in China), Northeast Normal University (in Changchun city, Jilin Province) (one of the top ten universities in China), and Changchun University of Technology (Changchun city, Jilin Province). For 12 months during 2006/2007 he worked at Southwest Forestry College. Presently he lives in Kunming, Yunnan Province, a somewhat remote area in southwest China. In 2007 he was teaching English at Kunming Teacher's College. Currently (2011) he is teaching English at Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming, Yunnan Province (and has the title English Expert). Relevant key publications: Written in the Stars (1999).
John Steele. British historian of the exact sciences in antiquity. He specializes in the history of astronomy, with a particular focus on Mesopotamian astronomy. He has a BSc (Physics), and a PhD (Historical Astronomy). He taught at the University of Texas before taking up a position (for 4 years) at the University of Durham (United Kingdom), as a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Physics. He was Kenneth May Fellow for 2002-2003, Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto. He has also been a Dibner Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology. He is a member of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East. His research interests include the history of early astronomy. He is the author of Observations and Predictions of Eclipse Times by Early Astronomers (2000), and A Brief Introduction to Astronomy in the Middle East (2008), and editor of Calendars and Years: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient Near East (2007), and (jointly with Annette Imhausen) Under One Sky: Astronomy and Mathematics in the Ancient Near East (2002). His Observations and Predictions of Eclipse Times by Early Astronomers (2000) is the first book to collect together all presently known records of timed eclipse observations and predictions from antiquity to the time of the invention of the telescope. From January 2009 he is Professor of Egyptology and the Ancient Western World at Brown University, Rhode Island.
Henri Stierlin. (1928- ). Comparative historian of ancient (world-wide) art and architecture, and a journalist and photographer. Mostly writes popular works. Born in Alexandria, Egypt. (Holds Swiss nationality.) Henri Stierlin is a specialist in Islamic culture. He studied classical philology (Greek and Latin) with law at the Universities of Lausanne and Zurich. He gained a Bachelor of Arts (Law) whilst in Lausanne during 1954. He then studied art and art history. He studied Theory of Art History on the Symbolic nature of the Persian mosque, at Grenoble University in 1977-1978. He was a columnist in art-history, and editor at the Swiss newspaper Tribune de Geneve from 1955 to 1962, and a radio journalist at Radio Suisse in 1957 (cultural programs). Then an editor for Rizzoli (a publishing company (Rizzoli International Publications) and bookstore (focusing on books on visual topics)). In 1963 he became editor of the weekly Swiss Radio-TV and documentary editor of the monthly Work-Werk architecture in 1972. Stierlin was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 2004. He has authored numerous illustrated books on art and architecture. His books explore both the astronomical and astrological aspects of architecture and art. In his 1986 French-language book L'astrologie et le pouvoir de Platon à Newton he explores the astrological aspects of kingship. Most of his books on ancient architecture are published in English by Macmillan, Rissoli, and Facts on File. He currently resides in Geneva, Switzerland. Stierlin claims that the painted limestone and plaster sculpture of Queen Nefertiti - wife of the Sun King Akhenaten - is a copy, created a century back by artist Gerardt Marks who was commissioned by the German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt (1863-1938) to test ancient pigments. According to conventional history Ludwig Borchardt led the German archeological team that discovered the Nefertiti bust in 1912, buried in the sand in Thutmose's workshop in Amarna, Egypt. According to Stierlin the French archaeologists present at the site never mentioned the finding, not even a description of the piece. The bust was kept a secret when a German prince thought it was original and the archaeologist did not want to embarrass the prince by stating otherwise. Relevant key publications: L'astrologie et le pouvoir de Platon à Newton (1986, German-language republication in 1988 Astrologie und Herrschaft von Platon bis Newton).
Noel Swerdlow. (1941- ). American medievalist and historian of Renaissance astronomy. His specialities include: History of the Exact Sciences, Antiquity through the Seventeenth Century; History of Astronomy. He has a PhD from Yale University (1968). He is currently (2011) Professor Emeritus, History and of Astronomy and Astrophysics, at the University of Chicago. He is also currently (2011) a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology. In 1998 he published his completed project on Babylonian planetary theory. In his book The Babylonian Theory of the Planets, Swerdlow attemps to show how the fundamental parameters of the Babylonian planetary theory could have been derived from the observations that were available to the Babylonian astronomers, as represented by the records in the astronomical diaries. In his book review John Steele (The Journal of the American Oriental Society, October-December, 1999) states: "Swerdlow claims that his method, based upon manipulating observations of the length of time between two successive rising or setting phenomena--known as synodic time--"was the way the Babylonians derived the parameters of their mathematical astronomy," or that he "at any rate, can see no plausible alternative" (page xiii)." Presently (2011) he is working on a study (book) of astronomy in the Renaissance concentrating on Regiomontanus, Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler, and Galileo. His teaching covers the history of the physical sciences in general. In 1988 Swerdlow received the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, often referred to as the "genius grant." In 1988 he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. Relevant key publications: The Babylonian Theory of the Planets (1998).
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