According to Asger Aaboe, the origins of Western astronomy can be found in Mesopotamia, and all Western efforts in the exact sciences are descendants in direct line from the work of the late Babylonian astronomers. Our knowledge of Sumerian astronomy is indirect, via the earliest Babylonian star catalogues dating from about 1200 BCE. The fact that many star names appear in Sumerian suggests a continuity reaching into the Early Bronze Age.
The history of astronomy in Mesopotamia, and the world, begins with the Sumerians who developed the earliest writing system—known as cuneiform—around 3500–3200 BC. The Sumerians developed a form of astronomy that had an important influence on the sophisticated astronomy of the Babylonians. Astrolatry, which gave planetary gods an important role in Mesopotamian mythology and religion, began with the Sumerians. They also used a sexagesimal (base 60) place-value number system, which simplified the task of recording very great and very small numbers. The modern practice of dividing a circle into 360 degrees, of 60 minutes each hour, began with the Sumerians.
During the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, Babylonian astronomers developed a new empirical approach to astronomy. They began studying philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of the universe and began employing an internal logic within their predictive planetary systems. This was an important contribution to astronomy and the philosophy of science, and some scholars have thus referred to this new approach as the first scientific revolution. This new approach to astronomy was adopted and further developed in Greek and Hellenistic astronomy. Classical Greek and Latin sources frequently use the term Chaldeans for the astronomers of Mesopotamia, who were, in reality, priest-scribes specializing in astrology and other forms of divination.
Only fragments of Babylonian astronomy have survived, consisting largely of contemporary clay tablets with ephemerides and procedure texts, hence current knowledge of Babylonian planetary theory is in a fragmentary state. Nevertheless, the surviving fragments show that, according to the historian A. Aaboe, Babylonian astronomy was "the first and highly successful attempt at giving a refined mathematical description of astronomical phenomena" and that "all subsequent varieties of scientific astronomy, in the Hellenistic world, in India, in Islam, and in the West—if not indeed all subsequent endeavour in the exact sciences—depend upon Babylonian astronomy in decisive and fundamental ways."
Other articles related to "babylonian astronomy, astronomy, babylonian":
... Astronomy was also studied in Basra and other Iraqi cities ... make numerous contributions to the field of astronomy, up until the 1258 sack of Baghdad, when many libraries were destroyed and scientific activity in Iraq ... survive had an impact on the subsequent development of astronomy, through the medieval Arabic-Latin translation movement in Europe and Maragheh observatory in ...
... See also Babylonian astronomy The second limitation was that the astronomical knowledge presupposed and accompanying early Babylonian astrology was, though essentially of ... twelve constellations with a measurement of 30° to each division, is of Babylonian origin, as has now been definitely proved but it does not appear to have been perfected until ... Similarly, the other accomplishments of Babylonian astronomers, such as their system or rather systems of moon calculations and the drawing up of planetary tablets ...
... According to Asger Aaboe, the origins of Western astronomy can be found in Mesopotamia, and all Western efforts in the exact sciences are descendants in direct line from the work of the late ... Our knowledge of Sumerian astronomy is indirect, via the earliest Babylonian star catalogues dating from about 1200 BCE ... The history of astronomy in Mesopotamia, and the world, begins with the Sumerians who developed the earliest writing system—known as cuneiform—around 3500–3200 BC ...
... Neo-Babylonian astronomy refers to the astronomy developed by Chaldean astronomers during the Neo-Babylonian, Achaemenid, Seleucid, and Parthian periods of ... increase in the quality and frequency of Babylonian observations appeared during the reign of Nabonassar (747–734 BC), who founded the Neo-Babylonian Empire ... The systematic records of ominous phenomena in Babylonian astronomical diaries that began at this time allowed for the discovery of a repeating 18-year Saros cycle of lunar eclipses, for example ...
Famous quotes containing the words astronomy and/or babylonian:
“Awareness of the stars and their light pervades the Koran, which reflects the brightness of the heavenly bodies in many verses. The blossoming of mathematics and astronomy was a natural consequence of this awareness. Understanding the cosmos and the movements of the stars means understanding the marvels created by Allah. There would be no persecuted Galileo in Islam, because Islam, unlike Christianity, did not force people to believe in a fixed heaven.”
—Fatima Mernissi, Moroccan sociologist. Islam and Democracy, ch. 9, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. (Trans. 1992)
“Their martyred blood and ashes sow
Oer all the Italian fields where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundredfold, who, having learnt thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.”
—John Milton (16081674)