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Ancient Astronomy and Celestial Divination

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Overview

In the ancient world, the collection and study of celestial phenomena and the intepretation of their prophetic significance, especially as applied to kings and nations, were closely related sciences carried out by the same scholars. Both ancient sources and modern research agree that astronomy and celestial divination arose in Babylon. Only in the late nineteenth century, however, did scholars begin to identify and decipher the original Babylonian sources, and the process of understanding those sources has been long and difficult.This volume presents recent work on Babylonian celestial divination and on the Greek inheritors of the Babylonian tradition. Both philological and mathematical work are included. The essays shed new light on all of the known textual sources, including the omen series Enuma Anu Enlil, which contains omens from as far back as the early second or even third millennium, and the earliest personal horoscopes, from about 400 B.C., as well as the Astronomical Diaries, ephemerides, and other observational and mathematical texts. One essay concerns astronomical papyri that confirm the extensive transmission of Babylonian methods into Greek; a study of Ptolemy's lunar theory suggests that Ptolemy relied more on his own observations than previously thought; and an analysis of Theon's commentary on Ptolemy's Handy Tables shows that Theon explicated their meaning both conscientiously and competently.Contributors : Asger Aaboe, Alan C. Bowen, Lis Brack-Bernsen, John P. Britton, Bernard R. Goldstein, Gerd GraƟhoff, Hermann Hunger, Alexander Jones, Erica Reiner, F. Rochberg, N. M.

Swerdlow, Anne Tihon, C. B. F. Walker.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Bibliographical and Other Standard Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Babylonian Celestial Divination 21
2 Babylonian Horoscopy: The Texts and Their Relations 39
3 Babylonian Observations of Saturn during the Reign of Kandalanu 61
4 Non-mathematical Astronomical Texts and Their Relationships 77
5 Normal Star Observations in Late Babylonian Astronomical Diaries 97
6 Goal-Year Tablets: Lunar Data and Predictions 149
7 A New Mathematical Text from the Astronomical Archive in Babylon: BM 36849 179
8 Lunar Anomaly in Babylonian Astronomy: Portrait of an Original Theory 187
9 The Derivation of the Parameters of Babylonian Planetary Theory with Time as the Principal Independent Variable 255
10 A Classification of Astronomical Tables on Papyrus 299
11 The Role of Observations in Ptolemy's Lunar Theories 341
12 Theon of Alexandria and Ptolemy's Handy Tables 357
Notes on Contributors 371
Index 373
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