Babylonian astronomy

The heavenly phenomena were of great importance to the Babylonians, as they were perceived as omens and just about every possible astronomical event had some significance. For example, when it came to the retrograde motion of the planets it was not simply the retrograde motion itself, but also where it took place with respect to the stars, that was important:

When Mars comes out of the constellation Scorpius, turns and reenters Scorpius, its interpretation is this: ... do not neglect your guard: the king should not go outdoors on an evil day.

In order to improve their abilities to predict such phenomena, the Babylonians developed a tradition of observing and recording celestial events; examples of Babylonian astronomical observations exist which date back as far as 1600 BC. These are not particularly accurate, but show that the practice of observing and then recording the results has a long history in Babylonian culture. Scribes systematically began documenting celestial phenomena (e.g. eclipses) in about the eighth century BC, and over the next 700 or 800 years produced a large quantity of data that would later prove invaluable to Greek

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