Zodiac signs and dating compatibility

The Hindu zodiac signs and corresponding Greek signs sound very different, being in Sanskrit and Greek respectively, but their symbols are nearly identical.

Thus, Virgo takes up five times as much ecliptic longitude as Scorpius.

The zodiacal signs are an abstraction from the physical constellations, and each represent exactly one twelfth of the full circle, or the longitude traversed by the Sun in about 30.4 days. Because the Babylonians had a 12-month lunar calendar, they chose twelve and divided the year up evenly.

The term "zodiac" may also refer to the region of the celestial sphere encompassing the paths of the planets corresponding to the band of about eight arc degrees above and below the ecliptic.

The zodiac of a given planet is the band that contains the path of that particular body; e.g., the "zodiac of the Moon" is the band of five degrees above and below the ecliptic.

Such connections were taken up by Thomas Mann, who in his novel Joseph and His Brothers attributes characteristics of a sign of the zodiac to each tribe in his rendition of the Blessing of Jacob.

Babylonia or Chaldea in the Hellenistic world came to be so identified with astrology that "Chaldean wisdom" became among Greeks and Romans the synonym of divination through the planets and stars.

The name reflects the prominence of animals (and mythological hybrids) among the twelve signs.

The zodiac was in use by the Roman era, based on concepts inherited by Hellenistic astronomy from Babylonian astronomy of the Chaldean period (mid-1st millennium BC), which, in turn, derived from an earlier system of lists of stars along the ecliptic.

The earliest extant Greek text using the Babylonian division of the zodiac into 12 signs of 30 equal degrees each is the Anaphoricus of Hypsicles of Alexandria (fl.

Ptolemy lived in the 2nd century AD, three centuries after the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes by Hipparchus around 130 BC.

The zodiac draws on stars in earlier Babylonian star catalogues, such as the MUL. Some of the constellations can be traced even further back, to Bronze Age (Old Babylonian) sources, including Gemini "The Twins", from MAŠ. Unlike modern astronomers, who place the beginning of the sign of Aries at the place of the Sun at the vernal equinox; Babylonian astronomers fixed the zodiac in relation to stars, placing the beginning of Cancer at the "Rear Twin Star" (β Geminorum) and the beginning of Aquarius at the "Rear Star of the Goat-Fish" (δ Capricorni).

Tags: , ,