Babylon is considered as the place where astronomy
originates. Ancient Mesopotamian culture placed a great emphasis on gathering
information about the stars and our solar system.
It is no wonder that Babylonians were very fond of tracking
celestial movement: they needed to know the best time to plant the seeds in
their harsh desert environment.
The Babylonians also kept written track of the stars.
The Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa for instance was a tablet that recorded the heliacal risings and
settings of Venus for 21 years. The Babylonians observed repetitions in the movements of the stars and were able to
correctly predict them in the future. They discovered that lunar eclipses had a 19 year cycle.
Every time you look at your watch, you're looking at a fragment of ancient Babylon as well. It
was the Babylonians who first instituted a counting system based on 60 when they noticed that it was divisible by
an unusually large set of numbers, and that might come in useful.
They were right: apart from a brief moment in the French Revolution when time went metric, a day
being divided into ten hours of 100 minutes each, we have counted our days in 60 minutes per hour, 60 seconds per
minute, ever since.
But it was not only astronomy that started here, but also the more dubious astrology.
Astrology was a key part of the religion of Babylon. In fact, astrology can be traced back to
ancient Babylon. The sun, moon and planets, were considered the homes of the Babylonian Gods and were named after
them. It was a form of divination by means of omens.
There is strong evidence that the Zodiac was formed at Babylon around 2100 BC, from Babylonian
mythology. They were later adopted by the Romans and passed down to our times.