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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book titled In the Path of the Moon, which investigates features of Babylonian celestial divination with special focus on those aspects that influenced later Greco-Roman astronomy, astrology, and theories of signs. The exaggerated Greco-Roman attributions of ancient scientific knowledge to Babylonians came to the attention of the 16th century historian and classicist Joseph Scaliger, whose historical reach extended beyond Greece and Rome to the ancient Near East. Babylonian celestial sciences continuing influence on Greek, Indian, Arabic, Jewish, Byzantine, and mediaeval European astronomy, astrology, and celestial divinatory traditions, made it one of the more long-lasting elements of Mesopotamian civilization. The dating of the Greek reception of the Babylonian zodiac was certainly sometime in the Hellenistic period.

Keywords: Babylonian celestial divination; Greco-Roman astronomy; Mesopotamian civilization



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