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Time and the Calendar in Babylonian Astrology

Start Date and Time:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 7:00PM

End Date and Time:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 8:00PM


Prof. John M. Steele (Department Of Egyptology & Assyriology, Brown University)

It is no surprise that time played a central role in Babylonian astronomy: the beginning of the new month was determined by the visibility of the new moon crescent; schemes were developed for the length of a shadow cast by a gnomon at different times of day; and eclipses and other celestial events were times by means of water clocks or observations of the stars. But time also played a major role in Babylonian astrology. For example, the date and time of birth of an individual formed the basis of a horoscope which could be used to predict his or her life and, perhaps more surprisingly, the day in the year could be used to determine the medical remedy given to a sick patient. In this talk I will examine some of the ways that time was used to interpret the present and predict the future in Babylonia.

For more information on this event, visit the Jackman Humanities Institute website.


  • Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
  • Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
  • The Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies


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Tablet dealing with Babylonian astrology