776 words - 4 pages

Astronomy in Babylonia was one of the first moments in history which gave evidence to the strong use of mathematical theory, before this it was believed that the earth was surrounded by a great mass on to which the stars were attached. Magic, mysticism and the heavens was a huge influence on astronomy of those times. However, around 400BC mathematics began to play a crucial role in determining lunar and solar theories as well as planetary movement. Epping and Kugler were two scholars who having discovered ancient tablets dating back to Babylonian times in the British museum, dedicated their lives to deciphering the tablets and without their commitment thousands of tablets containing ...view middle of the document...

The results achieved and the methods used to achieve them became stepping stones into the progression of lunar astronomy.

Historical setting

With Babylonian astronomy being the earliest known form of mathematical astronomy there is not a great deal of information on the history of its primary stages. The majority of the tablets which contained significant text on their theory of astronomy were between the dates 320 BC and 50 BC, before this at around 400 BC the zodiac was introduced which then subsequently was used as the coordinate system of mathematical astronomy. Through the zodiac system, horoscopes developed and these played a significant role in deciding the fate of new born babies as Babylonians believed strongly in determining destiny through the heavenly bodies. Lunar and planetary theories progressed at varying lengths and a number of methods of computation were used. The text on the planets were suggested to have reached their final phases of development around 380 BC, compared to the lunar theory which took longer in its advancement to its final form, around 318 BC. This is likely to be because of the complexity of the theory however, after this time there was not much evidence of further changes to the systems created.

The discovery of Babylonian mathematical astronomy was made public by Joseph Epping (1835-1894) and Johann N. Strassmaier (1846-1920), German...

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