Babylonian astronomy

Babylonian Astronomy

Babylonian astronomy

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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.Aaboe, Asger. "The culture of Babylonia: Babylonian mathematics, astrology, and astronomy." The Assyrian and Babylonian Empires and other States of the Near East, from the Eighth to the Sixth Centuries B.C.E Eds. John Boardman, I. E. S. Edwards, N. G. L. Hammond, E. Sollberger and C. B. F. Walker. Cambridge University Press, (1991) 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, began with the...
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