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Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia$
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Jean Bottero

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780748613878

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613878.001.0001

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The Birth of Astrology

The Birth of Astrology

(p.183) Chapter 11 The Birth of Astrology
Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Jean Bottéro


The astrology of Mesopotamia is fairly far removed from what those Greeks did with it. The first known cuneiform texts that give information about Mesopotamian astrology belong in the region of the eighteenth century BC. The ancient Mesopotamians saw the universe as an immense hollow ball, in two linked hemispheres: the ‘on-high’, the sky and the ‘down-below’, ‘Hell’, cut across its diameter by the vast layer of the sea, in the middle of which emerged the Earth. The gods were concealed within them. To this end the gods resorted to other supernatural entities, of lesser calibre, who had been given to them as executioners and ‘police’; on the order of the gods, these ‘demons’ inflicted on the culprits the illnesses, misfortunes, calamities and upsets of every kind that cast a shadow over life.

Keywords:   astrology, Mesopotamia, cuneiform, universe, sky, Hell, Earth, gods, police, demons

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