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Subjects (abstracts): The Exact Sciences in Antiquity;The First Stargazers; The Birth of Astronomy; Stairways to the Stars; Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia; The Origin of all Religious Worship; Star Names Their Lore and Meaning; The Dawn of Astronomy

from: The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, O. Neugebauer, Second Edition, Dover, "[1969]" (1952) (1951 Copenhagen [English]).

'"And when he reaches early adolescence he must become possessed with an ardent love for truth, like one inspired, neither day nor night may he cease to urge and strain himself in order to learn thoroughly all that has been said by the most illustrious of the Ancients. And when he has learnt this, then for a prolonged period he must test and prove it, observe what part is in agreement, and what in disagreement with obvious facts; thus he will choose this and turn away from that. To such a person my hope has been that my treatise would prove of the very greatest assistance. Still, such people may be expected to be quite few in number, while, as for the others, this book will be as superfluous to them as a tale told to an ass."

Galen [129 - c. 199], On the natural faculties, III, 10.

[Translation by Arthur John Brock, M.D.

The Loeb Classical Library p. 279/281.]' [xv].

Excursus: from: "The Noontide Press" [see #23, 484] Catalog—1997.


These are the masters who instruct us without rods and ferrules, without hard words and anger, without clothes and money. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if investigating you interrogate them, they conceal nothing; if you mistake them, they never grumble; if you are ignorant, they cannot laugh at you. The library, therefore, is wisdom more precious than all riches, and nothing that can be wished for is worthy to be compared with it. Whosoever therefore acknowledges himself to be a zealous follower of truth, of happiness, of wisdom, or science, or even of the faith, must of necessity make himself a lover of books.

Richard deBury [Richard Aungerville 1287 - 1345 (Bishop of Durham)], 1344

[from: Philobiblon, "finished in 1345" [E.B.], a classic, in the genre: "Books on Books"]. End of Excursus.

• • •

PAGE 733

Excursus: from: Creative Malady, Illness in the Lives and Minds of Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud, Marcel Proust, Elizabeth Barrett Browning; by George Pickering, George Allen & Unwin, 1974.

["Author's Preface"] "I [Sir George Pickering] have had a pair of osteo-arthritic hips. When they get intolerably painful I put them to bed. In bed I cannot attend committees or see patients or entertain visitors. But I can read or write or dictate. My wife and family are attentive, thoughtful and kind, my secretaries most accommodating. These are the ideal conditions for creative work; FREEDOM FROM INTRUSION, FREEDOM FROM THE ORDINARY CHORES OF LIFE, READY ACCESSIBILITY OF THE TOOLS NEEDED FOR THE JOB.*" [8]. End of Excursus.

"In summary, from the almost three millenia of Egyptian writing, the only texts which have come down to us and deal with a numerical prediction of astronomical phenomena belong to the Hellenistic or Roman period. None of the earlier astronomical documents contains mathematical elements; they are crude observational schemes, partly religious, partly practical in purpose. Ancient science was the product of a very few men; and these few happened not to be Egyptians." [91].

["Notes"] "The history of the zodiacal and planetary symbols is virtually unknown. To my knowledge no study has been made which was based on the evidence from manuscripts or epigraphic representation. No symbols appear in the Greek papyri. It is a widespread but wrong belief that the Egyptian hieroglyph for the sun was used in ancient astronomical texts to denote the sun." [67].

["Notes and References"] 'In recent years, it has become commonplace (e.g., the first edition of this book or van der Waerden [see 737] in Archiv für Orientforschung 16, 1953, p. 22) to consider 419 B.C. as the earliest attested date for the mention of the real zodiacal signs in Babylonia. A copy of the text in question, an astronomical diary for the year—418/417, has been published by E.F. Weidner in Archiv für Orientforschung 16 (Pl. XVIII) and shows, on the contrary, that ZODIACAL SIGNS HAD NOT YET BEEN INTRODUCED. Four passages occur (obv. 7, 11, rev. 8, 11 f.) where planets are said to be "behind" or "in front of" the alleged zodiacal signs. From this it is clear that ecliptical constellations, not zodiacal signs, are referred to [A. Sachs].' [140].

[Note: the history of the Zodiac (and related antecedents) is complex, and varies].

["Notes and References"] "An important argument for the comparatively late introduction of astrology seems to me the frequent use of Aries 8° as vernal point in astrological texts, i.e. the vernal point of System B of the Babylonian lunar theory, which seems to have reached the Greeks only at the time of Hipparchus [fl 160 - 125 B.C.E.]. Eudoxus [408 - 353 B.C.E.], however, uses Aries 15° as vernal point and the same holds for several astronomical and calendaric papyri of the Ptolemaic period in Egypt. This earlier, Eudoxian norm [Aries 15°] reappears nowhere in astrological literature." [188].

PAGE 734

• • •

from: Egyptian Astronomical Texts, III. Decans, Planets, Constellations and Zodiacs,

O. Neugebauer, Richard A. Parker, Text [Part I], Brown University Press, 1969.

"Chapter V

The Zodiacs

When the existence of zodiacs in Egyptian temples became widely known through the Napoleonic expedition, A FLOOD OF ASTRONOMICAL SPECULATIONS ABOUT THEIR GREAT ANTIQUITY SWEPT OVER EUROPEAN LEARNED PUBLICATIONS. In particular the round zodiac from Dendera, transported to Paris, excited the imagination [of Charles François Dupuis, et al.]. These theories received, however, a severe shock when Champollion was able to read on the same monuments the names of Roman emperors. But it was in particular A.-J. Letronne who in two monographs, published in 1824 and 1846,1 demonstrated that neither the round zodiac from Dendera nor any other known Egyptian zodiac could be taken as an astronomically accurate representation of the sky at any particular time and that only archaeological and historical considerations could lead to a reasonably secure date for these monuments.

Today it is no longer necessary to repeat Letronne's arguments. All our source material confirms the conclusion that the Egyptian zodiacs belong to the Hellenistic-Roman period and that the corresponding astrological concepts are of Hellenistic, hence, in part, ultimately Babylonian origin.

This does not exclude, of course, combinations of these Hellenistic concepts with traditional Egyptian elements, in particular with representations of the decans and of the northern and southern constellations and with names and iconographic peculiarities of the planets, sun and moon. The basic pictorial elements for the zodiacal signs are, however, undoubtedly of Babylonian origin as is evident, e.g., from the figure of the goat-fish (Capricorn), the double-headed archer on a winged, scorpion-tailed horse (Sagittarius), the ear of corn (in Virgo), etc.2

How far the underlying astrological doctrines are Babylonian or only of Hellenistic origin is far more difficult to say." [203].

• • •

PAGE 735

from: The First Stargazers, An Introduction to the Origins of Astronomy, James Cornell, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981.

'On the whole, Egyptian astronomy is disappointing: perhaps because we expect so much from it. As E.C. Krupp has pointed out in In Search of Ancient Astronomies:

There was no systematic and comprehensive observation of the sun, moon, planets and stars, or at least no evidence of such observation remains. Nor is there any distinctly Egyptian technical knowledge for astronomical phenomena. Despite these shortcomings, Egyptian astronomers must have existed, for their contributions to modern civilization—the tropical [solar] calendar and the twenty-four-hour day—continue to remind us of the ideas they developed more than five thousand years ago.

The interweaving of astronomical imagery into the myths, legends, and poetry of the Egyptians also underlines the close interrelationship they felt existed between the terrestrial and celestial worlds. Even the simple geographical distribution of tombs and temples in ancient Egypt had a relationship to heaven and earth. Temples, symbolizing rebirth and life and associated with the sunrise, were located on the east bank of the Nile; tombs, symbolizing death and afterlife and associated with the sunset, were located on the west bank.' [95].

'Neugebauer, in his Exact Sciences in Antiquity [see 733], called the Egyptian system

...the only intelligent calendar which ever existed in human history. Though this calendar originated on purely practical grounds, with no relation to astronomical problems, its value for astronomical calculations was fully recognized by the Hellenistic astronomers. Indeed, a fixed time scale without intercalation was exactly what was needed for astronomical calculations. The strictly lunar calendar of the Babylonians with its dependence on all the complicated variations of the lunar motion, as well as the chaotic Greek calendar, depending not only on the moon but also local politics for its intercalation, were obviously inferior to the invariable Egyptian calendar. It is a serious problem to determine the number of days between two given Babylonian or Greek New Year's Days, say 50 years apart. In Egypt, this interval is simply 50 times 365. No wonder the Egyptian calendar became the standard astronomical system of reference which was kept alive through the Middle Ages and was still used by Copernicus in lunar and planetary tables.' [93].

• • •

PAGE 736

from: Science Awakening II The Birth of Astronomy, Bartel L. van der Waerden, with contributions by Peter Huber, Noordhoff/Oxford, 1974 (1961) (1954) (1950 Dutch).

"Chapter V

Cosmic Religion, Astrology and Astronomy

Summary of this Chapter

In the evolution of Babylonian astronomy we may distinguish three major stages:

1. Astronomy ofmu1APIN, late Assyrian reign (1000-612 B.C.). The main achievements of this period are:

a) Detailed study of the fixed stars, their risings, culminations, and settings.

b) Calculation of the duration of daylight and the rising and setting of the moon by 'linear methods'.

c) Recognition of the zodiac as path of the Moon, the Sun and the planets. Zodiacal constellations. Position of the zodiac with respect to the zones of Enlil, Anu and Ea. The seasons of the year.

d) Systematic observation and prediction of eclipses.

2. Zodiacal Astronomy, Chaldaean reign (612-539 B.C.). Main features:

a) Division of the Zodiac into 12 signs of 30 degrees each.

b) Systematic observation of the Moon and the planets, their positions with respect to the fixed stars, their first and last visibility, stationary points, conjunctions, etc.

3. Mathematical Astronomy, Persian reign (539-331 B.C.). The most important achievements of this period are

a) Determination of accurate periods for the Sun, the Moon and the planets (see Chapter 4).

b) Calculation of the motion of the Sun, the Moon and the planets, of eclipse magnitudes and other lunar and planetary phenomena. These calculations were based upon an admirable mathematical theory, which will be explained in Chapters 6 and 7." ["127"].

"The Cult of Mithras and Solar Theology

Mithras as Sun-god

The god Mithras belongs, as we have seen, to the general pantheon of the Aryans in the Mittani kingdom, in Iran and India.

In a text from Assurbanipal's Library 'Mitra' is given as one of the many names of the sun-god Shamash2). Thus as early as the Assyrian period Mithras was regarded a sun-god.

In later times Mithras was always treated as a sun-god. On a monument of Antiochos I of Commagene (see Plate 19, 20 and 22), one of the four gods portrayed is identified as

PAGE 737

'Apollon Mithras Helios Hermes'3).

In inscriptions of the Roman period Mithras is called 'Deus Sol invictus' (Plate 23). In middle Persian 'Mihr u Mâh' (Mihr = Mithra) is a common expression for 'sun and moon'.

The Mithras cult with its animal sacrifice and emphasis on blood was violently rejected by Zarathustra. Later, however, Mithras was taken up into the Zoroastrian pantheon. In Yasht 10, the 'Mithra-Yasht' of the Avesta, Ahura Mazda expressly confirms that he had given Mithras the same titles to offering and worship as he had himself4)." [150].

"The sun as highest god

It is known that the sun was greatly honoured in late antiquity as Sol invictus. In the hymn quoted above, the emperor Julianus glorifies the sun as King of the universe [see #13, 267]. Several centuries earlier Cicero wrote (Somnium Scipionis 4): 'The sun resides in the middle, being Leader, King and Governor of the other lights, the Reason and Ordering Principle of the universe'. Cumont2) has collected numerous passages from Greek and Roman authors where the Sun is celebrated as king or as 'Director in the dance of the planets'.

Some of these authors give a learned justification of the great importance assigned to the sun. There are three principal arguments which are continually advanced, namely:

1) The sun gives us not only, as everybody knows, the day-light, but also by its course in the zodiac it causes the change of the seasons.

2) The planets conform to the sun in their motions. Venus and Mercury never go far from the sun and always return to it again. The superior planets stand still and turn retrograde, as soon as they have reached a certain elongation from the sun. In this sense the sun indeed directs the dance of the planets.

3) The moon obtains its light from the sun.

What is the origin of these arguments?

1) Whereas the dependence of the seasons on the position of the sun is regarded as self-evident to-day, in antiquity it was not so. Many believed that the warmth of the 'dog days' was caused by Sirius, the principal star of the 'Great Dog', whose morning rising takes place at the end of July. That seasonal warmth derives from the position of the sun is a scientific discovery, made in Babylon: as we have seen, it is clearly expressed in mu1APIN.

2) The Babylonians also knew that the planets appear and disappear, turn retrograde and forwards again, all at certain definite elongations from the sun. This 'sun-distance principle' is, as we shall see in Chapter 7, the basis of the calculation of all time intervals in Babylonian planetary calculations.

PAGE 738

3) The fact that the moon has its light from the sun is a Greek discovery. The Babylonians had a different theory. Their doctrine, as we know from a fragment of Berossos, was that the moon is a ball with a bright and a dark half, the bright half always being turned towards the sun1). This theory explains the phases of the moon just as well as the Greek theory and can be used equally well as an argument for the superiority of the sun.

It thus appears that the learned solar theology which we find in Greek and Latin authors goes back to the Babylonians." [160-161].

"The development of cosmic religion

The religious trends which we have considered individually above can be put together in groups in the following temporal sequence:

First group: Babylonian-Assyrian astral religion

Second group: Mithras cult



Third group: Zoroastrianism

Worship of the Heaven (as highest god)

Monotheistic tendencies

Spiritualization of the concept of God

The dating of the Babylonian-Assyrian astral religion presents no difficulty. We have an old Babylonian 'Prayer to the Gods of the Night' and other evidence from the time of Hammurabi.

The continued vitality of this astral religion even in late Assyrian times is attested by a passage in the Bible. In the Second Book of Kings (Ch. 21, v. 5-6), we have the following report of Manasse, who was King of Judah around–670:

And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, and he observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards...

PAGE 739

'Observing times' is just what astronomers and astrologers do. Astrology was flourishing at the Assyrian court at just this time. [? (see 736, 746)]

In the second group only Orphism can be dated with certainty: it flourished in Greece in the sixth century B.C.

In the case of Zervanism we have given reasons for supposing that it was also already in existence in the sixth century. Further, we have seen that Zervanism and Orphism are closely connected. In Plate 27 we show a picture of a god who combines certain attributes of the time-god (human body with a snake twined around it) with those of the Orphic god Phanes, who sprang from the egg.

Mithras, as we have seen, was an Aryan god, who was worshipped in Aryan countries long before the sixth century. By chance we can demonstrate his worship in Persia just around the middle of the sixth century. According to the Bible (Ezrah 1, 8) the treasurer of the king Kores = Cyrus was called Mithredath." [175].

"we come to the conclusion that horoscopy originated in Babylon before450 and was already known in Greece before440." [182].

"Greek and Latin names of planets

The history of the Greek names of the planets was investigated by Franz Cumont in a fundamental paper in l'Antiquité classique 4 (1935). I shall give a summary of his results.

Homeros [8th century] has names only for Venus, not for the other planets. Venus as Morning Star was called Eosphoros, and as Evening Star Hesperos.

Demokritos, who lived about–430, does not give the planets names: he even says that he does not know how many planets there are. However, at about the same time or even earlier, the Pythagoreans asserted that there are exactly seven planets, including Sun and Moon, and they established a definite order of the planets according to their distances, as we know from Eudemos1).

After–430 the following names were in use:

Time of Platon (after 430 B.C.)


(after 330 B.C.)

Late Antiquity

(after 200 B.C.)

Latin name

(after 100 B.C.)

Star of Kronos




Star of Zeus




Star of Ares




Star of Aphrodite




Star of Hermes



Mercurius" [186].

PAGE 740

"Babylonian names of planets

In Babylonia just as in Greece, two sets of names were in use, one scientific and one divine. In astronomical cuneiform texts we find the scientific names, mostly in abbreviated form. The divine names were names of gods whose characters were similar to those of the Greek and Roman planetary gods. Thus, the highest god Marduk corresponds to Zeus or Jupiter. Ishtar, the goddess of love, was identified with Aphrodite or Venus. Nergal was a warrier [sic] god, like Ares or Mars, etc.

The divine names are very old. All scholars agree that the custom to associate planets with gods originated in Babylonia and was subsequently adopted by other nations. The names were:

Scientific name

Name of God

Latin name















Mercurius" [187].

"The sun

In Roman texts Mithras is called 'Sol invictus'. In an inscription of Antiochos of Commagene, dated 62 B.C. (see Plate 19 and 20) Mithras is identified with Helios. In a text [date of origin?] from the library of Assurbanipal [King of Assyria 668 - 627 B.C.E.] 'Mithra' is mentioned as one of the many names of the Sun-God. Hence the identification Mithra = Sun is very old." [189].

• • •

PAGE 741

from: Stairways to the Stars Skywatching in Three Great Ancient Cultures, Anthony Aveni, John Wiley & Sons, 1997.

"There is irony in the humbling course of events that followed science out of the scientific Renaissance, for by practicing science we have become accustomed to placing our worldview on an unreachable pedestal of progress, a plateau we view as unattainable by all the other cultures of the world, whom we tend to regard as less advanced than ourselves. Those "other," from Bronze Age to Babylon, have something to offer us, though; their brains were no less advanced than our own, their minds no less inquiring, their ways of categorizing knowledge no less systematic even if directed toward broader goals. Most importantly, the object of study for astronomer past and present—the sky—was very much the same. We need to get in touch with what we have forgotten lest we fall irretrievably deep into the chasm of cultural self-centeredness. Dare we really believe we are somehow more worthy, more special than all those who have passed before us in the great cosmic scheme? Can it really be true that ONLY WHAT WE DO IS LEGITIMATE AND WHAT EVERYONE ELSE DID WAS PRETENDING?" [viii].

"The Lakota Sioux say that when the constellation of the Chief's Hand (the lower portion of our Orion) disappears from the sky, the earth will become infertile....

For the Lakota sky watcher, the return of the hand to the sky signals the beginning of a new year to replace the old one that was interrupted by the chief's self-centeredness. the newborn son [the usual, convoluted, dramatic, story] is proof of the continuation of the god-given power of fertility. In summer, just before Orion returns to the sky, the Lakotas conducted a ceremony of blood sacrifice." [1].

PAGE 742

' knew nothing of the vast dimensions of time that persist in this indifferent, unreachable sea of space—of either a beginning of the universe as we know it, a dozen billion years ago, or a possible end to its billions of years in the future. Imagine going out under a pristine, star-studded sky, far away from all the lights of the city, neither knowing nor caring about such incomprehensible spatial and temporal dimensions. My guess is that you would probably feel so close to the stars that you could reach out and touch them. Once you began to discern their behavior and saw that they present themselves as perfect role models—steady, dependable, predictable, and all functioning together like a well-ordered state or empire—you might actually think about talking to the bright lights that move about the sky and inquire into their animate wills in order to understand their personalities, their range of powers.

You might even plead to the forces of nature to intercede on your behalf:

Scorching Fire, warlike son of Heaven,

Thou, the fiercest of thy brethren,

Who like Moon and Sun decidest lawsuits—

Judge thou my case, hand down thy verdict1

reads an old Mesopotamian incantation. This is why all developing civilizations paid attention to the sky. The cyclic movement of the sun, moon, planets, and stars represented a kind of perfection mere mortals could strive after. What happens in the sky mirrors what happens in daily life. The regular occurrence of sunrise and moonset provided our ancestors with a concept of order, a stable pillar to which they could anchor their minds and souls.' [2].

• • •

PAGE 743

from: Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, An Illustrated Dictionary, Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, Illustrations by Tessa Rickards, U. Texas, 1997 (c1992 British Museum).


'The association of certain constellations with the months of the year was first made by the Babylonians. By about 1000 BC they recognised eighteen zodiacal [?] constellations (constellations through whose path the moon and planets appeared to move): the Hired Man (corresponding to our Aries), the Stars (the Pleiades, see seven dots; Seven (gods)), the Bull of Heaven (Taurus), the True Shepherd of Anu (An) Orion), the Old Man (Perseus), the Crook (Auriga), the Great Twins (Gemini, see Lugal-irra and Meslamta-ea), the Crab (Cancer), the Lion (Leo), the Furrow (Virgo, see Šala), the Scales (Libra), the Scorpion (Scorpius), Pabilsag (Sagittarius), the Goat-fish (Capricornus), the Great One (Aquarius), the Tail, the Swallow and Anun_tu (these last three forming together Pisces). Later the constellation the Field (Pegasus) was added.

By 600-500 BC these were systematised in such a way that they were distributed among the twelve months, singly or sometimes in pairs. For instance, the second month of the Babylonian year (corresponding to mid-April to mid-May) had both Taurus and the Pleiades; the third month Gemini and Orion; and the twelfth month Pisces and Pegasus. By about 400 BC the number of zodiacal constellations was reduced to the twelve that we are familiar with today, each covering 30° of the sky, and beginning with Aries for the first month (corresponding to mid-March to mid-April).

All these constellations are illustrated on astronomical tablets and on stamp-seals of the Hellenistic Period. Some of them may also be depicted on earlier kudurrus ["large polished stones carrying inscriptions concerning land grants"]. See astrology and astronomy.' [190].

"astrology and astronomy"

"It was only from the fifth century BC that Babylonian astrologers began to cast horoscopes to foretell the fortunes of ordinary individuals. However, although many ancient astronomical texts are expressed in a form which allows for their astrological application (for example, they include associations of deities with the constellations where appropriate), the basic facts and procedures are of astronomical or chronological interest, and there is some evidence that the main reason for the development of astronomy was the wish to be able to control the calendar, rather than to interpret celestial events astrologically. Although some deities have connections with stars or planets, many do not, and the idea that Mesopotamian religion was astral in origin is untenable [?]." [36].

• • •

PAGE 744

from: The Origin of All Religious Worship, Charles François Dupuis [1742 - 1809], Introduction by Robert D. Richardson, Garland, 1984 (1872 New Orleans) (1795 [Origine de tous les cultes, 7 volumes in 12]) (antecedents: 1782; 1778).


'Dupuis denies the euhemerist explanation of myth. Men were not elevated into gods, he argues; rather, the power of Nature was brought down to the level of man. Myth then arises because "man, not being able to paint or represent the power of Nature, except by images as feeble as himself, endeavored to find in that of the lion or in that of a robust man the figurative expression, with which he designed to awaken the idea of the force of the World." Myth, allegory, and symbol are therefore veils, personifications of reifications intended to stand for hard-to-express or abstract ideas about Nature itself. Dupuis undertakes to reduce all major aspects of all the world's known religions to one or another aspect of Nature worship, and it is this detailed survey that gives his work its weight. Hercules' labors are allegories of the signs of the Zodiac, so is the account of Jesus' twelve disciples, while Jesus himselfand all other intercessor godsare shown to be allegorical and mythical veils for the sun. CHRISTIANITY, ALONG WITH MOST OTHER MAJOR RELIGIONS, IS, IN DUPUIS'S FINAL ANALYSIS, MERE CORRUPT SUN WORSHIP.' [vi].

• • •

from: Star Names Their Lore and Meaning (formerly titled: Star-Names and Their Meaning), Richard Hinckley Allen, Dover, 1963 (1899). [a Classic!].

'It may be thought that too much attention has been paid to stellar [astral; cosmic] mythology, now almost a hackneyed subject; but it serves to elucidate the literary history of the stars, and the age of its stories commands at least our interest. Indeed, we should remember that the stars were largely the source of these stories,—Eusebius, early in our 4th century, asserting in his Praeparatio Evangelica:

The ancients believed that the legends about Osiris and Isis, and all other mythological fables [of a kindred sort], have reference either to the Stars, their configuration, their risings and their settings, etc.' [ix].

"The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus [37 - c. 95], followed by Saint Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 200, surmised that the twelve stones in the breastplate of the high priest might refer to the twelve zodiacal constellations." [2].

"Aristotle, the Humboldt of the 4th century before our era, called it [ZODIAC]... [4 Greek words],2 ["2This is the first mention of the Zodiac by an extant writer."] THE CIRCLE OF LITTLE ANIMALS, the signs before Libra was introduced being all of living creatures." [3].

PAGE 745

"In England the Venerable Bede, 673–735, substituted the eleven apostles for eleven of the early signs [of the Zodiac], as the Corona seu Circulus sanctorum Apostolorum, John the Baptist fitly taking the place of Aquarius to complete the circle." [6].

"Probably every nation on earth has had a solar zodiac in some form, generally one of animals." [6].

PAGE 746

As Found in the Revised Version of the Bible.
The Old Testament.

Genesis i, 14: let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 9. 16:he made the stars also, vii.
Leviticus xvii, 7:he-goats, 125. The 2nd Book of the Kings, xxiii, 5:them also that burned incense unto...the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven, I.
The Book of Job ix, 9:the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south, 308, 309, 362, 389, 393, 422.
13:Rahab, 309.
xxv, 5:the stars are not pure in his sight, 27.
xxvi, 13:By his spirit the heavens are garnished; His hand hath pierced the swift serpent, 203, 375, 475.
xxxviii, 31, 32:Canst thou bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
Or loose the bands of Orion?
Canst thou lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season? Or canst thou guide the Bear with her train?
98, 125, 306, 308, 309, 394, 396, 422, 451.
36:(in Cheyne's translation): Who hath put wisdom into the Lance-star?
Or given understanding to the Bow- star? 366.
The Psalms civ, 19:He appointed the moon for seasons, 9.
cxlvii, 4:He telleth the number of the stars;
He giveth them all their names, xiv.
The Book of the
Prophet Isaiah
xiii, 10:the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof, 71, 309.
xiv, 12:O day star, son of the morning! 468.
13:the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north, 451.
xl, 26:he calleth them all by name, xiv.
The Book of the
Prophet Jeremiah
xliv, 17, 19: the queen of heaven, 463.

PAGE 747

Amos v, 8:seek him that maketh Pleiades and Orion, 101, 308, 309, 393.
The New Testament.
The Gospel according to
S. Matthew
ii, 2: his star in the east, 8.
xiii, 43:Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, 27.
The Revelation of S. John the Divinexii, 4: And his tail draweth the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth, 203." [554].

• • •

from: The Dawn of Astronomy, A Study of the Temple Worship and Mythology of the Ancient Egyptians, [Sir] J. Norman Lockyer, Preface by Giorgio de Santillana, The M.I.T. Press, 1964 (1894). [a Classic!].

"All our churches are more or less oriented, which is A REMNANT OF OLD SUN-WORSHIP.1 [see footnote, below] Any church that is properly built to-day will have its axis pointing to the rising sun on the Saint's Day, i.e., a church dedicated to St. John ought not to be parallel to a church dedicated to St. Peter [June 29]. It is true that there are sometimes local conditions which prevent this; but if the architect knows his business properly he is unhappy unless he can carry out this old-world tradition." [95-96].

[footnote] '1On this point I gather the following information form the article "Orientation" in the "Grand Dictionnaire Universel du 19 Siècle," by M. Pierre Larousse:—"From the fifth century to the time of the Renaissance, the orientation of churches was generally carried out. The mystical reasons furnished by the sacred writers—according to St. John of Damascus and Cassiodorus—were that Jesus on the Cross had His face turned towards the West, hence Christians during prayer must turn to the East to see it. Further, in the sacred writings Jesus is called the East (Oriens ex alto). Again, Christians hope to see Christ descending in the East on the last day. Finally, the faithful when turning to the East during prayer establish a difference between themselves and the Jews and heretics, for the Jews when praying turn West, and certain heretics South, and others North, hence the brethren said they were sun-worshippers." In the ninth century there was a strong protest against orientation. Catholic churches were built any way, and it was said, "Nunc oremus ad omnem partem quia Deus ubique est."' [95].

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[Illustration] "Plan of St. Peter's at Rome, showing the door facing the sunrise." [96].

'In regard to old St. Peter's at Rome,1 we read that "so exactly due east and west was the Basilica that, on the vernal equinox, the great doors of the porch of the quadriporticus were thrown open at sunrise, and also the eastern doors of the church itself, and as the sun rose, its rays passed through the outer doors, then through the inner doors, and, penetrating straight through the nave, illuminated the High Altar."

The present church fulfils the same conditions.

But we have between our own churches and the Egyptian temples a link in the chain which has just been magnificently completed by Mr. Penrose by his study of the Greek temples. These interesting results will occupy us in a later chapter.' [96-98].

[Illustration] "St. Peter's at Rome; facade facing the East (true)." ["97"].

"There seems little doubt that the country in which the sun was definitely accepted as the most accurate measurer of time was Egypt.

Ra, the sun, was the chief god of ancient Egypt. He was worshipped throughout the various nomes ["provinces of ancient Egypt"]. Even the oldest texts (cf. that of Menkaura in the British Museum) tell of the brilliant course of Ra across the celestial vault and his daily struggle with darkness." [227].

Excursus: from: Guide to the Gods, Marjorie Leach, ABC-CLIO, 1992.

"Ra The Egyptian sun god was also considered the creator of the heavens and the earth, including the underworld, and of all visible things." [61].

"Ra, Re The sun god, who is usually represented as hawk-headed, is considered the sun at the zenith. He has numerous manifestations and his female counterpart is Rat. In dynastic times he was considered the creator of all things. He is claimed as the father of the pharoahs." [118].

"Ra, 'Ra In Polynesia the sun god on the Hervey Islands. Among the Maori a shortened form of the sun's full name Tama-nui-te-ra." [118].

"Ra The goddess of thunder and lightning of the Maguzawa. Wife of Gajimari. Nigeria." [215].

Additional References

In Search of Ancient Astronomies, Edited by E.C. Krupp, McGraw-Hill, 1978.

Astronomy of the Ancients, Edited by Kenneth Brecher and Michael Feirtag, MIT, 1980.

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