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Sumerian Clay Tablets

Antoniadi

The earliest form of writing dates back to 3300 B.C. The Sumerians drew "word-pictures" on clay tablets using a pointed instrument called a stylus. These word-pictures developed into wedge-shaped signs, forming a type of script called cuneiform (from the Latin word cuneus, meaning wedge). Writing was the responsibility of trained scribes, who were chosen for this role at an early age.

 

Goal Year Text from the Enuma Anu Enili Series

Tablet picture

A portion of this tablet records the location and time of appearance of different stars and planets. Dated the 148th year of the Seleucid Era (164 AD), on the 26th of the month Nisannu (April/May), it states that Mercury appeared in the west in the constellation of the Bull, and also gives a detailed predictions of when and where the planet Mercury would be in the sky in relation to fixed constellations.

 

Ptolemy’s Almagest

image of Ptolemy’s Almagest

Ptolemy’s Handy Tables was a revision of his earlier work, the Almagest, written in 200 AD. It was used for practical computations, as well as astronomical tables. It allowed for the calculation of solar, lunar, and planetary positions and eclipses of the Sun and moon far more rapidly than the tables included in the Almagest.

 

These pages of the Almagest (below), translated into Latin in 1482, contain a large figure of a model for the motion of the planet Mercury, shown at its least distance from the earth, with a list of Mercury’s parameters and distances.

image of the almagest

 

Odin

Odin is often shown as an old man with white hair, wearing a cloak and either a winged helmet or floppy hat. He travels the skies on a horse with eight legs. His two ravens, Huginn and Munin, represent thought and memory. As the god of wisdom and learning, Odin sacrificed an eye at the well of Mimir to gain inner wisdom.

Thoth

image of Thoth

Thoth is the wise god often shown holding scrolls and a pen with which he recorded all things. He was depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or baboon, though at times he appears as a dog-headed ape - most often when attending the judgment of a soul.