(ORDO NEWS) — “Astrology is an exact science: Thursday has come – wait for Friday.” Contemporaries make fun of horoscopes, but the ancients saw in astrology both a manifestation of a higher mind, and advice for all occasions, and a timeline to scatter and collect stones.
Our ancestors paid no less attention to time than we do, therefore they created numerous calendars. We tell how the calendar is connected with the signs of the zodiac, and it’s summer here for a woman, why Aries is actually Pisces, and in connection with which dividing the year into 12 months is convenient, but wrong.
We immediately answer the last question: because the stars are scattered across the sky at random. If the Sun is in the constellation Virgo for 45 days, then in Scorpio – only seven.
Despite such an obvious fact, astrologers around the world continue to enthusiastically say that “while Saturn is in Gemini, it is better for Aquarius not to make large purchases, and for Capricorns to refrain from business negotiations.”
Book of books
There are a great many archaeological complexes that claim to be calendar and astronomical systems. The most famous of them is Stonehenge. But the system of the Menologions itself , of course, appeared long before him.
Some scientists believe that some kind of chronology scheme could have originated in the era of the Mousterian culture – 120-140 thousand years ago.
Farming then, however, was not in sight, but there were animal migrations. So our distant ancestors certainly had to determine the time of migration of some bison – their life depended on it.
But the prototype of the real calendar appeared, probably, only with the beginning of agriculture. It is clear why: even modern gardeners compare their planting schedule with the lunar calendar, to say nothing of the ancients.
The calendar became for them the Catechism, the Bible, the Book of books. Its content is unchanged, like the change of seasons, and sacred, like the word of God.
True, there were no signs of the zodiac that we know today in such calendars, but there were their predecessors, whose history is confused, like quantum states.
One of the first calendars known since ancient Egypt. Its age is 7 thousand years. And it was created by semi-nomadic tribes of pastoralists. It was an annual calendar circle, in which the beginning of the year was marked by the appearance of Sirius in the sky.
By this star, the tribes living here could recognize the beginning of the rainy season, when the Nile banks turned into a fertile valley suitable for grazing.
Around the same time, by the way, the famous Goseck Circle appeared on the territory of modern Germany – a Neolithic structure consisting of several concentric ditches with a diameter of 75 meters and two palisade rings with gates. The Goseck circle was probably an astronomical complex.
The center of the world
But hardly for someone the calendar was as important as for the Sumerians. When their ancestors came to the territory of the southern Mesopotamia, a rather dull picture appeared before them: reddish hills covered with lifeless clay and rare thorns, in which snakes swarmed.
Add to this the monstrous heat, the endless floods of the Tigris and Euphrates, and, as a result, clouds of midges.
The local population struggled to survive. And difficulties, as you know, are a good factor in personal (read: cultural) growth. It is not surprising that in just a few centuries, semi-wild local tribes made, one might say, a scientific and technological revolution.
For example, they invented writing and improved the calendar. After all, the floods of two great rivers depended on the latter, which claimed thousands of lives every year, washing away entire settlements. Agree, the exact forecast of the rainy season and floods was archival, and hence the calendar.
True, each city in Mesopotamia had its own (after all, as you know, there was no centralized state here, as in the same Egypt).
The small Sumerian settlement of Nippur, which appeared in the 3rd millennium BC, had its own calendar. e. – it is he who will become the main calendar in the entire Mesopotamia, and later will be the basis for the calendars of Babylon and Ancient Greece.
And from the Hellenistic tradition, in turn, the modern names of the signs of the zodiac will come to us. But everyone knows about this, but about their background – no. We will try to trace its origins.
So why did the small city of Nippur set the basis for the calendar and zodiac signs? In his book The Nippur Calendar and the Early History of the Zodiac, the well-known orientalist and Sumerologist Vladimir Emelyanov explains it this way: the Sumerians reveredtiny Nippur as a sacred center, because he really was just in the center of Mesopotamia.
Therefore, its inhabitants, who, like all the ancients, thought literally, believed that Nippur was the first city of mankind. It was created by Enlil himself, “Mr. Breath”, the supreme Sumerian god, who separated the sky from the earthly vale and tied the space between them into a knot – “the navel of the Earth.”
At this place, Nippur arose, and in it – a calendar created by the gods themselves. It was typical and not much different from other menologions, dividing the year into 360 days, 12 months, and the seasons into two periods with simple names – Heat and Cold.
Interestingly, the same tendency – to associate the name of the months with field work – was also among other peoples living in various parts of the world.
Take at least the Maya with their famous calendar. “Almost every name of the Mayan months contains some allusion to a particular agricultural season, to this or that work that should be done in this season.
So, in the Mayan calendar there were months Pop – “ruler’s mat”, Vo – “frog”, Sip – “sin (to shed blood on the hunt)” … Sec – “bending the cobs (corn)” … Moth – “harvesting” “, – Ivan Klimishin, a well-known researcher of the calendar systems of the world, astronomer and teacher, writes in his book “Calendar and Chronology”.
In each month, various forces of nature came into their own, which, in fact, were at the same time deities. The prediction for this period of time depended on them. The scheme of such forecasts was simple: “If in month N he (a person, a king) does something, then the result will be such and such.
The outcome of the case depends here on the correctly chosen month or the position of the planets in a given month,” Vladimir Yemelyanov writes in his book. However, at first, predictions were intended exclusively for high-ranking persons and only later spread to mere mortals.
Signs of fate
They are the future signs of the zodiac. The origin of some of them is too mysterious even for experienced Sumerologists, but the history of others can be fairly confidently traced back to the most ancient times. Each of these signs was dedicated to a particular month of the year.
The latter began with the Sumerians in March-April, as in many traditional calendars. First of all, in the Egyptian, where the beginning of the year was timed to coincide with the flood of the Nile.
It can be assumed that in Mesopotamia, where the rivers also overflow at the end of March, the year also began with this event. This is understandable – the life of ancient civilizations in such a hot climate was completely dependent on their full-flowing rivers.
Like many other peoples, the symbolism of the beginning of the year among the Sumerians was associated with victory over the forces of chaos, floods and the creation of a new firmament, and also with the election of a new ruler.
The first month of the new year in Mesopotamia began at the end of March (probably on the day of the vernal equinox), and ended in mid-April. It was called ornately – barag-zag-gar-ra (in translation: “updating the thrones in the sanctuaries”).
It is not surprising that the predictions for this month were associated with the renewal of everything and everything (by the way, traces of this tradition can be seen today – just look at the astrological forecast for January).
The symbol of barag-zag-gar-ra was “bara” – the axis and the sacred support of the world. It is she who, in some ingenious way, will later turn into the sign of Aries. How exactly is unknown.
However, in one of the famous Sumerian treatises MUL.APIN of the 8th century BC. e. there is a hint – in connection with the first month of the year , a certain sheep shepherd named Dumuzi is mentioned , who is depicted with a ram’s head.
And it was also during this period that the Babylonians sacrificed white lambs and, as mentioned above, chose a ruler.
There is an opinion that in ancient times a change of power for the ex-leader meant inevitable death, but later the death of the real ruler probably became symbolic – instead of the king, animals were sacrificed to the gods.
By the way, it was in the first month of the Jewish year – Nissan – that, as you know, they sacrificed another “God’s lamb”, Jesus Christ. And before that, the ancient Jews regularly put animals on the altar. “After all, the Bible prescribed on the full moon of the 1st spring month to celebrate the feast of Easter.
On this day, the ancient Jewish cattle breeders made cleansing sacrifices (lambs and doves) to the gods, and later Easter was timed to coincide with the beginning of the barley harvest and the first sheaf was dedicated to God, ”writes Ivan Klimishin.
The second month of the Sumerians corresponds to our April-May, and its name – gud-si-sa – translates as “directing oxen to plow plowing.” During this period, on the territory of modern Iraq (former Mesopotamia) it is already quite hot, the peak of the flood falls on the same month.
The Sumerians were harvesting winter wheat and flax at that time, they were taking cows out of the barn. By the way, in Greece, at the same time, the feast of the shepherds of Artemis was held, and among the Slavic tribes on April 23, according to the old style, a shepherd’s feast of cattle pasture on the Yuryevskaya Spit was held.
“It was believed that the creative power of the bull and the life-giving juices of the earth affect the fertility of all things from the earth itself to mating couples…
The cosmic marriage of Heaven and Earth (…) is the ritual and calendar meaning of the second Nippur month,” writes Vladimir Yemelyanov. It is not surprising that the symbol of this month is the Ox, he is the Ox,
Gemini, Trinity and Indian Summer
Sig-u-shub-ba-gar – this is how the Sumerians called May-June, which was associated with the beginning of construction work. Therefore, the name of the month is translated as “putting a brick into a mold”. What could be the symbol here? Brick?
But no – the myth associated with this month does not tell at all about bricks, but about the twin gods: Sina – the deity of light, and Nergal – darkness. The origins of this connection are not entirely clear – scientists derive it from the intricacies of Sumerian myths and the relationship of some deities with others.
“In general, the symbolism of the third month is quite transparent: there is a manifestation and its prototype (brick and form), which are related to each other and have an external resemblance, and the prototype is understood as hidden and taking possession of it means not only a material increment, but also an expansion of the intellect.
The combination of brick and form, revealed and hidden, contributes to the prosperity of man (the image of prosperity among many peoples is a new house (which, for obvious reasons, is associated with bricks.
Thus, the ritual-calendar meaning of the third Nippur month is the cult of kinship-binary, symbolizing the unity of the obvious and the secret, image and form, and underlying the idea of the house as a place for storing treasures, ”writes Emelyanov.
The same cult of duality exists in the myths of other peoples, including the Slavic holiday of the Trinity, which is celebrated on the 50th day of Easter, that is, in May-June. Let us explain: myths about twins are often associated with a certain tree, near which the brothers part, leaving for wanderings around the world.
The Trinity is also associated with the sacred tree, near which young girls gather – they call each other kuma and curl the branches of the tree, which should intertwine, like the fates of two brothers.
The month of iti-su-numun or “hand-seed month” is June-July. During this period they plowed, harrowed and sowed. And the connection of all this with the symbol of the zodiacal Cancer is difficult to trace. It probably appeared later.
So, in ancient Greek mythology, this zodiac sign is identified with cancer from the second feat of Hercules: during the fight against the Lernean Hydra, all animals were on the side of the main strong man of Hellas, and only a malicious arthropod dared to jump out of the swamp and bite Hercules on the leg, for which he was immediately crushed by the mighty heel of Hercules.
But the goddess Hera, who hates the ancient Greek bodybuilder, turned cancer into a constellation. According to Emelyanov, the original symbol of cancer can mean the movement of the Sun back (after all, cancer moves back) – to the underworld, when after the summer solstice the days become shorter and the nights longer.
The symbol of August-September, as you know, Virgo. In the Nippur calendar, this period was called kin-Inanna, that is, “the month of the rite of the goddess Inanna.” Inanna is the Sumerian goddess of fertility and bountiful harvest.
This month, Inanna returns from the underworld to the earth cleansed of sins. In the dungeon, from now on, work will be done to reproduce abundance in the next season. And now compare the holiday of Persephone, the daughter of the ancient Greek goddess of fertility Demeter (and among the Romans – Diana), which the inhabitants of Hellas also celebrated in late summer – early autumn.
The Slavic brothers also did not waste their time and organized a Dozhinka harvest festival in August-September with the veneration of the pagan deity – the Mother of Raw Earth, who later probably migrated to the Assumption of the Virgin and… Indian summer.
Yes, yes, this mysterious part of the year is associated with the female image of fertility, hence the characteristic name. Not surprisingly, the symbol of this month is the Virgin, who is depicted with an ear in her hands – a sign of the harvest.
Lost in the ages
The history of the other signs of the zodiac is vague, as the second half of the Sumerian year following September is Cold.
Its first month, October, symbolized the return to the beginning of the world order, the preparation of nature for winter and new crops. Its name Dul-Kug is translated as “the month of the Sacred Hill”, that is, the first hill in the endless ocean, from which, according to the beliefs of the Sumerians, life began.
Nature begins to freeze this month, and local mythology claims that at this time there is a balance between the world of the living and the dead. It is possible that this is precisely what connects October with the zodiac sign Libra.
There is no information about this in the Nippur calendar – Libra as a zodiac symbol comes to light only in the texts of the Persian and Seleucid periods.
The mention of the “man with an arrow” (a reference to Scorpio) and the “fish-goat” (Capricorn), associated with November and December, is at a time when the Neo-Babylonian kingdom was partially influenced by mountain tribes – the Kassites.
However, the origin of these symbols is still unclear, it is not so easy to draw them out with all unambiguity from the complex intricacies of various local myths and the game of Sumero-Akkadian words. Nothing is known about Aquarius either, although Vladimir Yemelyanov cautiously suggests that this sign could symbolize the rainy season that begins in Iraq in January-February.
The same can be said about the symbol of the Lion, that is … to say nothing. It is known, however, that in July-August, according to Sumerian myths, this period is associated with the semi-mythical king Gilgamesh,
But with Pisces everything is easier. The month corresponding to February-March in the Nippur calendar was called se-gur-ku – “the month of harvest” or, according to another translation, “when the early barley is reaped.”
“The semantics of the harvest and fish tails (or the fish themselves) indicate the end of a new cycle and the readiness to move on to the next one.
Everything is absorbed by water and dissolved in it. On the other hand, the grains in the fields are reaped, and the barren land, keeping nothing inside, empty after the harvest, remains just as empty and naked outside. Absolute emptiness,” writes Yemelyanov.
But why did the heroes of the Sumerian myths suddenly fly up to the heavens and turn into constellations? Partly they were placed there by the Sumerians themselves, and partly by the Jews, who borrowed them from the heirs of the Sumerians – the Babylonians.
Like modern people who do not use the scientific picture of the world, the ancients loved to navigate by all sorts of “signs of fate” and saw them literally everywhere.
Fortunately, along the way, they noticed real patterns in nature. For example, the fact that a certain combination of stars – a constellation – at one time or another appears on the horizon of the night sky, while another such constellation disappears.
So the months began to be associated with heavenly bodies and, of course, with predictions. Astrologers and those who sympathize with them do the same thing to this day.
But there is one problem – since the time of the Sumerians and Babylonians, the constellations have long since shifted (after all, the earth’s axis, under the influence of the Moon and the Sun, as you know, slowly but surely changes its direction; this is called precession).
So Aries is actually Pisces and Libra is actually Virgo. But Sagittarius may well turn out to be Ophiuchus. Indeed, more accurate astronomical instruments showed – not 12 constellations, but 13 – the ancients did not know about the constellation Ophiuchus, which is located between Sagittarius and Capricorn, which finally undermines the “authority” of astrological “science”.
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