I thought I would follow up yesterdays late night post with one on the ancient world and its astronomers. In today’s world, I am betting that most people could probably name possibly 3 people who are actual astronomers the late Carl Sagan, the late Edwin Hubble and Neil Degrasse Tyson. Yet the field of astronomy is quite populated and there are hundreds of astronomers out there who do not achieve name recognition.
The same for the Middle Ages as the famous ones were Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler, yet the field was very populated as well as men have always sought to study the stars. Then in the ancient world one name probably pops up more often than most and he is Ptolemy. You would have to be a real student of ancient history to come up with more names, then a great speller for those names are not easy to spell.
Some people would name Aristotle and Hawkins as astronomers but I disagree as Aristotle was more of a philosopher who used information about the universe to present his views of life and last I checked, Hawkins was a theoretical physicist not an astronomer. Physicists use the universe to study their branch of science but they are not really astronomers. But I may be wrong.
Then there are people who think that the world begins and ends with everything Greek so you cannot get much information about the Mayans, the Babylonians, the Chinese and other ancient societies that discovered everything long before the Greeks rose up and became a nation. The Babylonians had Greek math formulas 2,000 years before the Greeks ‘discovered’ them (Unearthing Atlantis by Charles Pellegrino). As a side note, the Babylonians also had social security cards long before the Americans implemented them. (Ibid)
But the skies have been studied for a very long time. It is said that Stonehenge, Gobleki Tepe, the Pyramids, many South American ruins and so on were all ancient observation posts as they were aligned to the solstice. Their mysteries and solar alignment has led me to the theory that the pre-flood people worshiped the stars and the sun which is why God was forced to punish them for their sins. That false worship led the population away from God’s rules and deep into sin and debauchery.
That fascination with the stars has not ebbed as many people today look to the stars for daily guidance and that habit leads them away from the bible and its teachings. I do not know why modern astronomers and scientists look to devalue the intellectual prowess of the ancient world for research into their work shows that the ancients were far smarter than they are given credit as they make adjustments to their observations and calculations with ideas thought only to have originated in the modern times.
One of the things that bothers me is the idea that ancient astronomers were priests. That is like saying the modern astronomer is a preacher of a Christian church. people throw that priest label around like it was candy but it sounds more like the modern historian, scientist just have an obsession with religion and think every ancient person who held a high status position like astronomy was in charge of a temple and performed religious cultic rites on the side.
That is a distortion and misrepresentation of ancient people and history. But religion sells so the ancients get promoted to positions they probably abhorred and would never hold, like their modern equivalents.
What follows is a simple posting of links to different articles that tell us about ancient astronomy and its astronomers. I may make a few comments but will prefer to just quote a blurb or two, put the link up and let you go through the pages on your own, making up your own minds. I do want to point out one thing to help you guide your thoughts. In his book, Return To Sodom And Gomorrah, Dr. Charles Pelligrino, records a discovery of the first archaeologist to excavate at Akrotiri, Thera, Spyridon Martinos. To get the exact details you will have to read the book but as Dr. Martinos was walking along the ancient city, his foot kicked something. He bent down and picked up the object. it turned out to be a polished piece of glass like you would find in a telescope.
I do not know if Dr. Martinos ever published that discovery but it looks like Galileo and others were not the first to invent the telescope and the ancients may have had more help studying the heavens than just their naked eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did invent the telescope 3,000 years before Galileo because the ancients were not dumb people and would be thinking about how to view the heavens better. Trial and error was not invented with modern science.
The science of archaeoastronomy combines the fields of astronomy and archaeology with the goal of uncovering clues to the importance of astronomy in ancient cultures. The pages below focus on a variety of early civilizations, but regardless of their differences, it is apparent that these cultures had one thing in common: astronomy was a backbone of their social, political, and religious systems. Astronomy is considered to be the most ancient science, although until recently it was not conducted as science for curiosity’s sake or for the furthering of human knowledge. Instead, the study of the sky was a vital part of the theological foundation of early civilizations. The sky’s obvious effects on Earth led to the view of an intense connection between celestial events and human affairs. The first question we must ask when we begin to study archaeoastronomy is: why did the ancients bother? The most obvious explanation derives from the fact that the sky is a dynamic and ever-changing scene. Due to the changing positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, and other astronomical objects, astronomy probably began as a natural curiosity. Eventually, over a few generations patterns were noted in the sky, and the people began to assign a mythical value to certain patterns. The cyclical occurrence of the Sun, constellations, and to a lesser extent the planets, gave the impression of a cosmic order. Everyday observations, such as the rising and setting of the Sun, and seasonal observations, such as the summer and winter solstices, were carefully noted and often coincided with festivals. Astronomical events like eclipses and supernovae were often hailed as religious signs. Archaeoastronomy is a fascinating field which gives an immense insight into the mindsets of ancient cultures. The reference page below contains a listing of some of the best books and articles on the subject, as well as a list of interesting websites dealing with archaeoastronomy.
This page has links to pre-Greek astronomers and is packed with good information. It is a breath of fresh air after seeing so many links to only Greek ‘scientists’.
Since the very dawn of humankind, our species has looked out upon the cosmos in awe of the glory of the heavens above. While the spectacular views offered by our night sky haven’t changed a great deal over the eons, our understanding of them has. Knowledge of our universe has gradually expanded over the last few thousand years thanks to the efforts of astronomers through the ages. We know what we do about the universe today thanks to the discoveries of all of these astronomers, the ten most important of whom are listed here.
A top ten list with short bios for those who are new to the field of astronomy
Before the invention of the telescope, modern mathematics, modern physics, and modern ways of science, ancient civilizations were still able to discover an amazing amount of information about astronomy. All the planets in the solar system except for Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were known to ancients. Ancient Egyptians were able to figure out how long a year was based upon the movements of the sun and the flooding of the Nile River. Greeks were able to estimate the diameter of Earth to within 32 km (20 miles) long before Europeans “knew” the Earth was flat. This page contains this and much more information on ancient astronomy.
A page with short blurbs on different cultures and their astronomical work. Good for beginners.
A very good web site to explore,just watch out for the faulty big bang, evolutionary teaching.
This one is for kids and again watch out for the big bang, evolutionary teaching.
In many older textbooks, the Ancient Greeks are often referred to as the fathers of ancient astronomy, developing elegant theories and mathematical formulae to describe the wonders of the cosmos, a word that, like so many others, came to us from the Greeks.
In fact, this assumption is incorrect and, whilst the Ancient Greek astronomers made huge contributions to astronomy, their knowledge was built upon the solid foundations laid by other great cultures. The Mesopotamian and Zoroastrian astronomers and astrologers, in the Fertile Crescent and the empty deserts of Persia, made many sophisticated observations and devised complex theories to describe cosmological phenomena.
I think that is enough to get you started. Just remember, do not let the secular thinking lead you away from God and his truth. Their conclusions and theories come from deceived and blind minds and while they look, they do not see.
Then a bonus. If you are curious about Akrotiri, Santorini, Thera here is a link to their main page