New publication „Focus Construction with kî ʾim in Biblical Hebrew“ by Dr. Grace Jeongyeon Park, is now available

We warmly congratulate Grace J. Park to her new monograph „Focus Construction with kî ʾim in Biblical Hebrew“ which was published by Eisenbrauns, Penn State University Press.

This study uses modern linguistic theory to analyze a frequently recurring syntactic phenomenon in the Hebrew Bible that has thus far resisted explanation: כי אם.

The combination of the two particles כי and אם produces a construction that is notoriously difficult to describe, analyze syntactically, and translate. Dictionaries of Biblical Hebrew offer a dizzying variety of translations for this construction, including “that if,” “except,” “unless,” “but,” “but only,” and “surely,” among other possibilities. In this book, Grace J. Park provides a new approach that strives for greater precision and consistency in translation. Park argues that כי אם is used in three patterns: the “full focus” pattern, the “reduced focus” pattern, and the less common “non-focus” pattern. Her syntactic analysis of all 156 occurrences of the כי אם construction in the Bible lends greater clarity to the contested passages.

Drawing on recent linguistic research into the typology of clausal nominalization as well as previous work on contrastive focus, this innovative project provides important new insight into the syntax of Biblical Hebrew. It will be especially valuable for scholars seeking to translate כי אם more consistently and accurately.

Description according to the website of Eisenbrauns

James Simon and the Founding of the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft

4. Dezember 2023, by Benjamin Scheel

The Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft (DOG) was founded on January 24, 1898 with the aim of promoting and carrying out archaeological research and archaeological excavations in the regions of ancient Mesopotamia (consequently in today’s West Asian countries). The society thus celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, including a public scientific colloquium and a commemorative publication this summer. Moreover, five years ago (2018) the James-Simon-Galerie was completed as the last and newest building on Berlin’s Museumsinsel and opened a year later (Fig. 1 and 2).

Fig. 1: Front view of the James-Simon-Galerie from Bodestraße. The associated open staircase leads visitors to the upper foyer. © Karsten Koch
Fig. 2: View of the western facade of the James-Simon-Galerie from the viewpoint of Bodestraße/Am Kupfergraben. In the background on the left: The Pergamonmuseum. In the background on the right: The Neues Museum. © Karsten Koch

The building functions as the central visitor center of the Museumsinsel and offers space in its basement for exhibitions. It is named after James Simon, an important protagonist of the Berlin art and museum world in Wilhelminian times, who was also particularly important to the DOG. In today’s blog post I would like to give a short biographical sketch of the life of James Simon, his work in founding the DOG and his contributions to ancient West Asian archaeology.

Henri James Simon was born in Berlin on September 17, 1851, into a Jewish family that moved to Berlin from Posen (now Poznań). His father was a textile entrepreneur and cotton merchant who, together with his brother (Henri James’ uncle), founded the cotton company Gebrüder Simon in Berlin. The company benefited from the shortage and increase in the price of cotton in Germany and Europe triggered by the American Civil War (1861–1865) through its extensive stockpiling. Gebrüder Simon became the most important cotton company in Germany at this time. Although James Simon had a keen interest in ancient art and history, he began a merchant apprenticeship in the family business at his father’s instigation.

After his father’s death in 1890, Simon rose to the position of chief executive (alongside his uncle, and later his cousin Eduard). The company continued to prosper, eventually becoming one of the financially strongest and economically most powerful cotton companies in Europe around 1900, and James Simon himself was one of the wealthiest residents of Berlin and Prussia. Alongside his work as a businessman and entrepreneur, James Simon was a founder and supporter of several charities, including educational and social projects (e.g., the Verein für Ferienkolonien, the Verein für Volksunterhaltungen, the Verein zum Schutz der Kinder vor Misshandlung und Ausnutzung, and the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden). In addition, however, he was also an art collector and an important patron of the Königliche Museen zu Berlin and other museum institutions. Since it was difficult for him, as a Jew in the Wilhelminian Empire, to become involved socially and politically in any other way, he made his impact on social and cultural policy by founding associations and providing financial support. In this way, he distinguished himself as a patriotic and left-liberal citizen of Berlin and Prussia (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Memorial sign for James Simon at the site of the former Simon-Family city villa at Tiergartenstraße 15a, Berlin. Today, the Landesvertretung Baden-Württemberg is located at this site. © Karsten Koch

Since the 1890s, Simon focused his cultural-political activities on Western Asia. This happened at a time when the foreign policy of the Wilhelmine Empire was determined by the global political and imperialistic ambitions of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The German Empire was to expand into a political world power and become an imperialist competitor to France and Great Britain. A critical component of this new policy was the development of new colonies. These aspirations were to be fulfilled by the political and economic development of Mesopotamia (then part of the Ottoman Empire). The colonization of Mesopotamia promised access to oil sources and the Persian Gulf. For this purpose, the Ottoman Empire was economically and militarily bound to the German Empire through the dispatch of military advisors and the treaty for the construction of the so-called Bagdadbahn. Alongside these colonialist endeavors in Mesopotamia, cultural-political considerations soon joined in. Wilhelm II and broad circles of German classical scholarship and the interested public agreed that the “Alte Orient” should also be opened up scientifically.

Simon became a member of the so-called Orient-Comité. This committee was established in 1887/1888 with the goal of exploring the “Ancient Orient” by financing archeological excavations and the resale of the found archeological objects to the Königliche Museen at net cost price. However, the museums could not permanently afford to pay the purchase prices for the archaeological objects. As a result, the committee no longer had sufficient funds to continue financing the excavations. Simon criticized the committee’s business model and finally resigned from the Orient-Comité. Subsequently, Simon began preparations to establish a new and more efficient excavation organization that would work closely with the Königliche Museen. Furthermore, in September 1897, Simon financed an expedition planned by the Preußische Akademie der Wissenschaften and the Kommission zur Erforschung der Euphrat- und Tigris-Länder, in which the architect Robert Koldewey (1855–1925) and the orientalist Eduard Sachau (1845–1930) were to identify suitable excavation sites in Mesopotamia. In October 1897, Simon, the egyptologist Adolf Erman (1854–1937) and the archaeologist Alexander Conze (1831–1914) published a circular in which they called for the founding of a new and more efficient excavation society, the DOG. Among others, the two famous and influential ancient historians Theodor Mommsen (1817–1903) and Eduard Meyer (1855–1930) joined this appeal with their signatures. Finally, the foundation of the DOG took place in the Ägyptischen Säulensaal of the Neues Museum on 24th of January, 1898.

Due to his high social standing and his good contacts in business and politics, Simon was able to win many wealthy and influential members and supporters for the DOG. Besides James Simon, who officially only held the position of one of the society’s treasurers, I would like to mention Friedrich von Hollmann (1842–1913) and Bruno Güterbock (1858–1940) as other important early members of the DOG. Friedrich von Hollmann was a former admiral and Prussian secretary of state and acted for the DOG, first as deputy chairman and later as first chairman. He was a friend and confidant of Wilhelm II, whom he often informed about the efforts of the DOG and from whom he successfully solicited financial support for the society. This culminated in 1901 when the emperor became the so-called “Protektor” of the DOG and provided financial support for the society on a regular basis. Already a year earlier, Simon and von Hollmann, through persistent “lobbying”, obtained an annual contribution from the Prussian House of Representatives for the activities of the DOG.

Bruno Güterbock came from a wealthy Jewish banking family, earned a doctorate on Latin loanwords in Irish, and was baptized a protestant in 1879. From 1901 on he acted as secretary of the DOG. In this capacity he functioned as an excavation and scientific organizer. In 1936, Güterbock resigned from his position as secretary of the DOG as a direct result of the Nazi takeover and the introduction of the Nürnberger Gesetze of 1935 with which the Nazis sought to provide a legal foundation for their racist and anti-Semitic ideology. In addition to Güterbock’s resignation, the DOG also suffered the loss or resignation of its numerous other members of Jewish origin and religion during this period.

It is also noteworthy, that Güterbock functioned as editor of the Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft and the Wissenschaftlichen Veröffentlichungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft. In addition, Güterbock also organized the famous and sometimes sensational annual lecture evenings of the DOG. These were held at the Berliner Singakademie from 1901 on and were attended by Wilhelm II from 1902 to 1914, making these events some of the most important societal occasions in imperial Berlin. Simon conceived these lectures to present the latest excavation results of DOG-funded research projects to a broad public, and in turn, to attract more members and funds to the DOG.

After the completion of the above-mentioned Mesopotamia expedition by Koldewey and Sachau in May 1898, the board of the newly founded DOG met to discuss the results of the expedition. It was agreed that Babylon would be the site of the first German excavation in Mesopotamia. The excavations in Babylon under the direction of Robert Koldewey were financed and organized by the DOG and began work already in March 1899. The excavations in Babylon lasted until 1917 and were the first to use historical and stratigraphic methods, which was to have a major impact on 20th-century archeology.

According to these scientific methods, the focus of the archaeological excavation was no longer the search for ancient works of art or other supposed archaeological “treasures”, but rather the architectural history and topographical development of ancient cities. Other vital DOG projects before World War I were the excavation in Assur from 1903 to 1914, as well as archaeological field research projects in Palestine and Egypt, which were mainly financed privately by James Simon.

World War I ended with the defeat of the German Empire and the abdication of Wilhelm II. The Weimarer Republik was the first German parliamentary democracy and became the state successor to the German Empire, ending its colonial and imperialist ambitions. At this time, James Simon was involved with the liberal Deutsche Demokratische Partei, his company, however, did not expand further since it ran into economic difficulties due to poor decisions by the company management and rising inflation. At the time of the Weimarer Republik, the DOG was also economically weak as well as scientifically, culturally, and politically isolated, so further field research was not possible. At that time, the scientific focus of the society was the publication of the wide variety of scientific discoveries that had been made in the previous decades as part of the archaeological fieldwork. James Simon died on May 23, 1932 and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Schönhauser Allee in Berlin (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: James Simon’s grave in the Schönhauser Allee Jewish Cemetery. His wife Agnes and his daughter Marie Luise rest at his side. © Karsten Koch

He died before the Nazis established their terror regime, initiated the persecution and extermination of the Jews and triggered World War II. The Nazis made Simon’s services to the collections of the Museumsinsel unrecognizable by removing Simon’s foundations as well as plaques and tributes to James Simon in the exhibition rooms of the museums, thus leaving him forgotten.

The commemoration of Simon has grown in recent decades with the publication of Olaf Matthes’ work on the patronage of James Simon and other publications dealing with Jewish patronage in the Wilhelmine Empire. By naming the visitor center of the Museumsinsel after James Simon, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (as successorof the Königliche Museen zu Berlin) has created an enduring memorial to one of their most influential and important benefactors and donors.


S. Böhme, Die Goldene Leibniz-Medaille, eine Grußblatt-Sammlung, eine „Festschrift“ sowie ein Exlibris und die „deutsche Wissenschaftstradition“. Späte Ehrungen für Bruno Güterbocks (1858-1940) „unendliche Arbeit“ als Schriftführer der DOG im Jahr 1928, in: J. Marzahn – F. Pedde (Hrsg.), Hauptsache Museum. Der Alte Orient im Fokus. Festschrift für Ralf-B. Wartke (Münster 2018), 311–329

E. Cancik-Kirschbaum, Henri James Simon zur 150. Wiederkehr seines Geburtstages, MDOG 133, 2001, 5–6

N. Crüsemann, Ein Vorläufer der DOG. Das Orient-Comité, in: G. Wilhelm (Hrsg.), Zwischen Tigris und Nil. 100 Jahre Ausgrabungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft in Vorderasien und Ägypten (Mainz 1998), 13

T. W. Gaehtgens, Die Berliner Museumsinsel im Deutschen Kaiserreich. Zur Kulturpolitik der Museen in der wilhelminischen Epoche (München 1992)

C.-M. Girardet, Jüdische Mäzene für die Preußischen Museen zu Berlin. Eine Studie zum Mäzenatentum im Deutschen Kaiserreich und in der Weimarer Republik Egelsbach 1997)

S. Hofmeister, Unter den neuen Kolonnaden. James-Simon-Galerie, in: F. Heilmeyer – S. Hofmeister (Hrsg.), Berlin. Urbane Architektur und Alltag seit 2009 (München 2022), 63–72

F. Kaltenbach, James-Simon-Galerie, Berlin, DE, in: S. Hofmeister (Hrsg.), David Chipperfield Architects3. Architektur und Baudetails (München 2022), 54–63

O. Matthes, Eduard Meyer und die Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, MDOG 128, 1996, 172–218

O. Matthes, Der Aufruf zur Gründung der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft vom November 1897, MDOG 130, 1998, 9–16

O. Matthes – J. Althoff, Die ‘Königliche Kommission zur Erforschung der Euphrat- und Tigrisländer‘, MDOG 130, 1998, 241–254

O. Matthes, Bruno Güterbock und Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, in: B. Böck – E. Cancik-Kirschbaum – T. Richter (Hrsg.), Munuscula Mesopotamica. Festschrift für Johannes Renger (Münster 1999), 277–284

O. Matthes, Friedrich von Hollmanns Bedeutung für die Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, MDOG 131, 1999, 191–208

O. Matthes, James Simon. Mäzen im Wilhelminischen Zeitalter (Berlin 2000)

E. Meyer, Fünfundzwanzig Jahre Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, MDOG 62, 1923, 1–25

E. von Schuler, Siebzig Jahre Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, MDOG 100, 1968, 6–22

A. Schwarz, Weiterbauen auf der Museumsinsel. Zum Entwurf der James-Simon-Galerie, in: E. M. Froschauer – W. Lorenz – L. Rellensmann – A. Wiesener (Hrsg.), Vom Wert des Weiterbauens. Konstruktive Lösungen und kulturgeschichtliche Zusammenhänge (Basel 2020), 249–254

Babylonian planetary calculation in Greco-Roman Egypt

October 1, 2023 by Thomas Peeters

P. 16511 V

Anybody who is eager to determine the precise position of stars or planets in the sky, can nowadays open their computer and find everything they seek with a few clicks through modern software. In antiquity, this was a little harder. Astronomical data were used in first instance to determine the fate of kings and empires, later also for the construction of horoscopes for private individuals. In the Berlin Papyrus Collection, multiple horoscopes are preserved as well (see for instance the oldest preserved, Greek horoscope on papyrus).

The philosopher Sextus Empiricus (2nd century AD) described in his work Πρὸς ἀστρολόγους “Against the Astrologers” (26-28), how the Babylonians performed the observation of planetary positions during childbirth. An astronomer sat on a mountain peak, whereas an assistant sat next to the woman in labor. When the delivery occurred, the assistant sounded a gong and the astronomer directly noted all relevant observational data. This tale is embellished by fantasy, but does not correspond to reality. Observations were often impossible: not all planets are always visible. For this reason, algorithms were employed to create astronomical tables. The positions in the horoscopes were then computed using the tables.

Part of such a table can be found on the object presented here, a papyrus from Oxyrhynchus in Greco-Roman Egypt. The fragment consists of five columns with black lining and is written in a small, rapid, cursive documentary script from the 1st century AD.[1] The table is broken on the left, bottom and right sides; the upper part however is complete. A second fragment of the same table, which consists of parts of columns 3, 4 and 5, is kept in Oxford. The reverse side, the front side of the papyrus, contains a legal proceeding. After this had lost its relevance, this astronomical table was written on the backside, until this as well had lost its importance and was thrown away. As all papyri from Oxyrhynchus, the papyrus originates from a landfill.

P. 16511 V: “Planetary Epoch Table“,

The third column consists of year numbers, which are represented by the Greek L-shaped ἔτος („year“) sign together with a number. The year numbers usually increase by 1, but sometimes also by 2. Thus, in the first four lines we find the years ιϛ, ιη, ιθ, κ: 16, 18, 19, 20. These are regnal years of Roman emperors, and in line 7 it also becomes clear of which emperors. Here column 3 does not contain a year number, but only Γαίου, which is clarified by the addition of κγ το κ(αὶ) α in column 2, which together means „23, also 1 of Gaius“. The described year is year 23 of emperor Tiberius’ reign, 37 AD, which is also year 1 of emperor Gaius’ (Caligula’s) reign. The remainder of the second column contains horizontal strokes only and, apparently, its function is to separate column 1 from the other columns.[2]

Column 4 contains Egyptian month names in Greek script, with full spellings for short names such as Θωύθ „Thouth“ (line 2), Ἁθύρ „Hathyr“ (line 4) and Τῦβι „Tybi“ (line 5); as well as abbreviated ones for longer names such as Φαῶφ „Phaoph“ for Φαῶφι „Phaophi“ (line 3), and Φαρμο „Pharmo“ for Φαρμοῦθι „Pharmouthi“ (line 8). The ο in Φαρμο is written in superscript to indicate that the word is an abbreviation.

Column 5 always starts with a number between 0 and 29, followed by one or often more numbers. These indicate the days of the month and subsequent fractions of these days in the Babylonian sexagesimal system. This notation clearly results from computation and already shows that we are not dealing with a purely Egyptian table. Another unusual characteristic is the use of day 0, instead of day 30 of the preceding month, in lines 5 and 6.

In summary, each line contains a time entry, with intervals of around 13 months each. This time period is characteristic for the planet Jupiter and analysis based on modern data shows that the denoted dates are moments in which Jupiter is located at its so called first station: the place where the planet’s motion becomes retrograde. The letter α above the table could represent the number 1 and thus refer to this; this interpretation, however, is uncertain.[3] Interestingly, for astronomical calculations the unreformed Egyptian calendar, which does not contain leap days, had been kept in use for a long time, as this calendar was easier for calculation. In everyday life, the reformed Egyptian calendar had been in use for a century and a half already at the time when this papyrus was written.

Most tables of this type did not only contain time entries, but also the related planetary positions, expressed in the zodiacal coordinate system. In this case, these positions were probably included in column 6 and the following. But what were the contents of the first column? It is evident that it contained numbers, but since the beginning is broken off and the numbers are mostly fractions, it is complicated to draw a conclusion. They could be related to another celestial phenomenon of Jupiter, or maybe represent positions of the same phenomenon, but prior to year 16 of Tiberius’ reign. The fact that the table begins arbitrarily with year number 16 without mentioning the name of Tiberius supports the hypothesis that something else may have preceded it.

It was surprising to find tables in Egypt which were created by Babylonian methods. Transferring Babylonian algorithms to Egypt is not trivial: the complicated Babylonian algorithms had to be adapted to the Egyptian calendar and local observations had to be used for the planetary positions due to the change in geographical location. This shows that there was advanced knowledge of Babylonian algorithms in Egypt. The table is also surprisingly accurate: the date never deviates from the phenomenon by more than 2 days, while Jupiter can be seen by observation up to about 10 days before or after the calculated date.[4]


Brashear, W.M. & Jones, A., 1999. An Astronomical Table Containing Jupiter’s Synodic Phenomena, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 125: 206-210.

Jones, A. (ed.), 1999. Astronomical papyri from Oxyrhynchus (P. Oxy. 4133-4300a), Volumes I, 145-148, and II, 88-91. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.

Britton, J. P., & Jones, A., 2000. A New Babylonian Planetary Model in a Greek Source, Archive for History of Exact Sciences 54/4: 349-373.

[1] Brashear & Jones (1999), 206.

[2] Britton & Jones (2000), 350.

[3] Britton & Jones (2000), 350.

[4] Britton & Jones (2000), 370.

This article was first published on the website of BerlPap – Berliner Papyrusdatenbank, „

Babylonische Planetenberechnung im griechisch-römischen Ägypten

  1. Oktober 2023 von Thomas Peeters

P. 16511 V

Wer heute die genaue Position von Sternen oder Planeten am Himmel bestimmen will, öffnet seinen Computer und findet mit ein paar Klicks in moderner Software alles, was er sucht. In der Antike war das ein wenig schwieriger. Astronomische Daten wurden zunächst genutzt um das Schicksal von Königen und Reichen zu bestimmen, später auch für die Erstellung von Horoskopen für Einzelpersonen. Auch in die Berliner Papyrussammlung sind mehrere Horoskope erhalten (siehe z.B. das älteste erhaltene, griechische Horoskop auf Papyrus).

Der Philosoph Sextus Empiricus (2. Jh. n. Chr.) hat in seinem Werk Πρὸς ἀστρολόγους „Gegen die Astrologen“ (26-28) beschrieben, wie die Babylonier die Beobachtung der Planetenpositionen bei der Geburt eines Kindes durchführten. Ein Astronom saß auf einer Bergkuppe, während ein Assistent neben der Frau in den Wehen saß. Wenn die Entbindung stattfand, läutete der Assistent einen Gong und der Astronom notierte sofort alle relevanten Beobachtungsdaten. Dies ist eine recht fantasievolle Geschichte, welche jedoch nicht der Realität entspricht. Beobachtungen waren oft nicht möglich: nicht alle Planeten sind immer sichtbar. Deswegen verwendete man Algorithmen, um astronomische Tabellen zu erstellen. Die Positionen in den Horoskopen wurden dann anhand der Tabellen berechnet.

Auf dem hier vorgestellten Objekt, einem Papyrus aus Oxyrhynchus im griechisch-römischen Ägypten, findet sich ein Teil einer solchen Tabelle. Das Fragment besteht aus fünf Spalten mit schwarzen Linien und ist in einer kleinen, schnellen, kursiven dokumentarischen Schrift aus dem 1. Jh. n. Chr. geschrieben.[1] Die Tabelle ist an der linken, unteren und rechten Seite abgebrochen; der obere Teil ist jedoch vollständig. Ein zweites Fragment der gleichen Tabelle, das aus Teilen der Spalten 3, 4 und 5 besteht, befindet sich in Oxford. Auf der anderen Seite, der Vorderseite des Papyrus, befindet sich ein Gerichtsverfahren. Nachdem dieses nicht mehr relevant war, wurde auf der Rückseite diese astronomische Tabelle geschrieben, bis auch sie nicht mehr notwendig war und weggeworfen wurde. Wie alle Papyri aus Oxyrhynchus, stammt der Papyrus von einer Mülldeponie.

P. 16511 V: Astronomische Tafel,

Die dritte Spalte besteht aus Jahreszahlen, die durch das griechische L-förmige ἔτος („Jahr“)-Zeichen zusammen mit einer Zahl dargestellt werden. Die Jahreszahlen erhöhen sich in der Regel um 1, manchmal aber auch um 2. So finden wir in den ersten vier Zeilen die Jahre ιϛ, ιη, ιθ, κ: 16, 18, 19, 20. Dies sind Regierungsjahre römischer Kaiser, und in Zeile 7 wird auch klar, welcher Kaiser. Hier steht in Spalte 3 keine Jahreszahl, sondern nur Γαίου, und in Spalte 2 noch zur Verdeutlichung κγ το κ(αὶ) α, was zusammen „23, auch 1 von Gaius“ bedeutet. Es geht hier um das Jahr 23 des Kaisers Tiberius, 37 n. Chr., was auch das Jahr 1 des Kaisers Gaius (Caligula) ist. Der Rest der zweiten Spalte besteht nur aus horizontalen Strichen und soll offenbar die Spalte 1 von den anderen Spalten trennen.[2]

Spalte 4 enthält ägyptische Monatsnamen in griechischer Schrift, mit vollständigen Schreibungen für kurze Namen wie Θωύθ „Thouth“ (Zeile 2), Ἁθύρ „Hathyr“ (Zeile 4) und Τῦβι „Tybi“ (Zeile 5); sowie abgekürzten für längere Namen wie Φαῶφ „Phaoph“ für Φαῶφι „Phaophi“ (Zeile 3), und Φαρμο „Pharmo“ für Φαρμοῦθι „Pharmouthi“ (Zeile 8). Das ο von Φαρμο ist dabei hochgestellt, um zu betonen, dass es sich um eine Abkürzung handelt.

In Spalte 5 steht immer erst eine Zahl zwischen 0 und 29, dann noch eine oder oft auch mehrere Zahlen. Diese geben die Tage des Monats an, mit anschließenden Brüchen dieser Tage im babylonischen Sexagesimalsystem. Dies ist eindeutig die Folge einer Berechnung und zeigt bereits, dass wir es nicht mit einer rein ägyptischen Tabelle zu tun haben. Ungewöhnlich ist auch die Verwendung des Tages 0, anstelle des Tages 30 des Vormonats, in den Zeilen 5 und 6.

Zusammengefasst enthält jede Zeile einen Zeitpunkt, mit Zeitsprüngen von jeweils circa 13 Monaten. Diese Zeitspanne ist charakteristisch für den Planeten Jupiter, und die Analyse anhand moderner Daten zeigt, dass es sich um Zeitpunkte handelt, in denen sich Jupiter an der so genannten ersten Station befindet: dem Ort, an dem die Bewegung des Planeten rückläufig wird. Der Buchstabe α über der Tabelle könnte für die Zahl 1 stehen und sich somit darauf beziehen, diese Interpretation ist jedoch unsicher.[3] Interessanterweise war für astronomische Berechnungen noch lange Zeit der unreformierte ägyptische Kalender in Gebrauch, d. h. ohne Schalttage, da es einfacher war mit diesem Kalender zu rechnen. Im täglichen Leben war der reformierte ägyptische Kalender bereits seit anderthalb Jahrhunderten in Gebrauch, als dieser Papyrus verfasst wurde.

Die meiste Tabellen dieser Art enthielten neben den Zeitpunkten auch die entsprechenden Positionen der Planeten, ausgedrückt im zodiakalen Koordinatensystem. Diese waren vermutlich in Spalte 6 und den folgenden enthalten. Was stand aber in der ersten Spalte? Es sind deutlich Zahlen, aber da der Anfang abgebrochen ist und es sich hauptsächlich um Bruchzahlen handelt, ist es schwierig, daraus eine Schlussfolgerung zu ziehen. Es könnte sich um Himmelspositionen eines anderen Jupiterphänomens handeln, oder vielleicht um Positionen desselben Phänomens, aber vor dem Jahr 16 des Tiberius. Dass die Tabelle willkürlich mit dem Jahr 16 beginnt, ohne den Namen Tiberius zu erwähnen, spricht für die Hypothese, dass vielleicht etwas anderes vorausging.

Es war erstaunlich, mit babylonischen Methoden erstellte Tabellen in Ägypten zu finden. Die Übertragung der babylonischen Algorithmen auf Ägypten ist nicht trivial: Die komplizierten babylonischen Algorithmen mussten an den ägyptischen Kalender angepasst werden, und für die Himmelspositionen mussten aufgrund der veränderten geographischen Lage lokale Beobachtungen herangezogen werden. Dies zeigt, dass es in Ägypten fortgeschrittene Kenntnisse von babylonischen Algorithmen gab. Die Tabelle ist außerdem erstaunlich genau: das Datum weicht nie mehr als 2 Tage vom Phänomen ab, während man Jupiter bei Beobachtung bis ungefähr 10 Tage vor oder nach dem berechneten Zeitpunkt sehen kann.[4]


Brashear, W.M. & Jones, A., 1999. An Astronomical Table Containing Jupiter’s Synodic Phenomena, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 125: 206-210.

Jones, A. (ed.), 1999. Astronomical papyri from Oxyrhynchus (P. Oxy. 4133-4300a), Volumes I, 145-148, and II, 88-91. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.

Britton, J. P., & Jones, A., 2000. A New Babylonian Planetary Model in a Greek Source, Archive for History of Exact Sciences 54/4: 349-373.

[1] Brashear & Jones (1999), 206.

[2] Britton & Jones (2000), 350.

[3] Britton & Jones (2000), 350.

[4] Britton & Jones (2000), 370.

Dieser Beitrag wurde zuerst auf der Webseite von BerlPap – Berliner Papyrusdatenbank unter „Stück des Monats“veröffentlicht.

Ein Horoskop für die Freie Universität Berlin nach antiken Verfahren

(For the English version, see previous blog entry)

17. August 2023, Mathieu Ossendrijver und das ZODIAC-Team

In diesem Jahr feiert die Freie Universität Berlin ihren 75. Geburtstag. Das Forschungsprojekt „ZODIAC – Ancient Astral Science in Transformation“ hat dies als Anlass genommen, um die folgende Frage zu stellen: wie würde ein antiker Astrologe das Geburtshoroskop der Freien Universität Berlin bestimmen und ihre Zukunft deuten? Nicht nur die Antwort auf diese Frage ist interessant, auch die Beantwortung an sich liefert interessante Ergebnisse. Denn indem wir die einzelnen Schritte der Berechnung und der Deutung eines Horoskops nach antiken Verfahren rekonstruieren, werden mögliche Lücken in unserem Verständnis dieser Verfahren erkennbar.

Die horoskopische Astrologie entstand im 5. Jh. in Babylonien. Babylonische Gelehrte führten den Tierkreis mit zwölf Zeichen von 30 Grad ein und sie entwickelten eine neue astrologische Lehre, wonach die Zukunft eines Menschen aus den Tierkreispositionen von Mond, Sonne, und der fünf Planeten (Merkur, Venus, Mars, Jupiter und Saturn), die sie zur Zeit der Geburt einnahmen, abgeleitet werden kann. Die Zusammenstellung dieser Positionen wird als Horoskop bezeichnet. Neu an der horoskopischen Astrologie war auch, dass sie von Privatleuten benutzt wurde, und nicht nur von Herrschern, wie dies in der älteren mesopotamischen Astrologie der Fall war.

Die horoskopische Astrologie verbreitete sich von Babylonien aus nach Ägypten und in die griechisch-römische Welt, wo sie sich weiter entwickelte. In griechisch-römischen Horoskopen wird zusätzlich zu den Positionen von Mond, Sonne und Planeten auch der sogenannte Aszendent aufgezeichnet. Der Aszendent ist die Position im Tierkreis, entweder als ganzes Zeichen oder genauer bis zum Grad definiert, die zur Zeit der Geburt am östlichen Horizont aufgeht.

Die Positionen von Mond, Sonne, Planeten und Aszendenten wurden nicht beobachtet, sondern berechnet. Das ist schon daran erkennbar, dass an einem beliebigen Tag nicht alle Planeten sichtbar sind. Die Erstellung eines Horoskopes erforderte also umfangreiche mathematische Berechnungen. Um so erstaunlicher ist es, dass die horoskopische Astrologie sich so erfolgreich von Babylonian aus über die antike Welt verbreiten konnte.

Grundlage für die Erstellung eines Horoskops ist das Geburtsdatum. Als Geburtsdatum der Freien Universität Berlin nehmen wir das Gründungsdatum, 4. Dezember 1948. Da ein griechisch-römisches Horoskop zusätzlich den Aszendenten erwähnt, muss auch die Zeit der Gründung bekannt sein. Die genaue Zeit konnte leider nicht ermittelt werden. Wir haben 11:00 Mitteleuropäische Zeit als hypothetische Geburtszeit angenommen, weil wir dies als eine plausible Zeit für den Gründungsakt einschätzen.

Da es in der Antike unterschiedliche Verfahren gab um ein Horoskop zu berechnen und zu deuten, mussten wir daraus eine Selektion machen. Wir haben uns entschieden für eine babylonische Variante und eine griechisch-römische Variante.

Das Horoskop der Freien Universität Berlin nach modernen astronomischen Verfahren

Im Idealfall müssten alle Positionen nach antiken Verfahren berechnet werden. Da dies sehr aufwendig wäre, haben wir uns dafür entschieden, die Positionen zuerst mit Standardverfahren der modernen Astronomie zu berechnen. Das Ergebnis ist in der folgenden Tabelle zusammengestellt:

Horoskop für die FU Berlin, 4. Dezember 1948 11:00 MEZ

Mond26º Steinbock
Sonne12º Schütze
Merkur8º Schütze
Venus10º Skorpion
Mars6º Steinbock
Jupiter4º Steinbock
Saturn6º Jungfrau
Aszendent26º Steinbock

Die folgende Abbildung zeigt eine Visualisierung des Horoskops (mit Dank an Michael Zellmann-Rohrer):

Berechnung des Horoskops nach babylonischen Verfahren am Beispiel von Jupiter

Wir zeigen jetzt zuerst, wie ein babylonischer Astrologe berechnet haben könnte, dass Jupiter sich am 4. Dezember 1948 in 4º Steinbock befand. Das wurde in zwei separaten Rechenschritten erreicht:

            (1) Berechnung der synodischen Phänomene (Datum und Tierkreisposition). Die synodischen Phänomene Jupiters, die in Babylonien beobachtet und berechnet wurden, sind die Erste Sichtbarkeit, die Erste Station, der Aufgang am Abend, die Zweite Station, und die Letzte Sichtbarkeit. Sie bilden einen Zyklus, der etwa 13 Monate dauert (Fig. 1).

           (2) Berechnung der Tierkreispositionen Jupiters von Tag zu Tag zwischen den synodischen Phänomenen.

Fig. 1 Scheinbare Bewegung Jupiters relativ zu den Sternen im Laufe eines synodischen Zyklus. Bis zur Ersten Station und nach der Zweiten Station bewegt sich Jupiter vorwärts (von rechts nach links); zwischen Erster und Zweiter Station rückwärts (von links nach rechts).

Schritt 1: Berechnung der synodischen Phänomene

Das letzte synodische Phänomen Jupiters, das sich vor dem 4. Dezember 1948 ereignete, war die Zweite Station. Wir berechnen darum, auf babylonische Art, zuerst eine Tabelle mit Zweiten Stationen, ausgehend von einer früheren Instanz dieses Phänomens. Die Babylonier rechneten in einem Zahlensystem das auf 60 basiert (sexagesimal). Zahlen werden als Sequenzen von Stellen 0–59 dargestellt, wobei jede Stelle zu einer nach rechts abnehmenden Potenz von 60 gehört. In Übersetzungen dient ein Komma als Trennzeichen zwischen den Stellen, mit einer Ausnahme: das Semikolon (;) trennt den Teil der Zahl grösser als 1 vom Teil kleiner als 1. Zum Beispiel 17;5,10 = 17 + 5/60 + 10/3600. Der babylonische Kalender der letzten Jahrhunderte v.u.Z. basiert auf der Seleukidenära, wobei Jahr 1 der Seleukidenära = 311/310 v.u.Z. Die babylonischen Monate werden als römische Ziffer abgekürzt. Der 4. Dezember 1948 entspricht dann Tag 2 von Monat IX des Jahres 2259 der Seleukidenära. Die Jahreszahl 2259 würde ein Babylonier als 37,39 schreiben (37 x 60 + 39 = 2259).

Als Anfangswerte für die Tabelle nehmen wir die Zweite Station Jupiters, die Tag 28, Monat VII, Jahr 37,29 (= 2249) der Seleukidenära in 26º Wassermann stattfand. Diese Werte hätte der babylonische Astrologe entweder einem Beobachtungsbericht oder einer existierenden Tabelle entnehmen können. Wir berechnen, ausgehend von der Zweiten Station im Jahr 2249, die darauffolgenden Instanzen der Zweiten Station mit einem babylonischen Algorithmus, der als „System A“ bekannt ist. Auf die Details des Algorithmus können wir hier nicht weiter eingehen. Wir beenden die Berechnung mit der Zweiten Station an Tag 10, Monat V des Jahres 2259 der Seleukidenära, was dem 16. August 1948 entspricht.

Jahr der SeleukidenäraMonatTagTierkreisposition
37,29 (= 2249)VII2926ºWassermann
37,36III 1;2115;50ºJungfrau
37,39 (= 2259)V10;46,3019ºSchütze
Zweite Stationen von Jupiter, berechnet mit dem babylonischen Algorithmus „System A“

Jahr der SeleukidenäraMonatTagGeschwindigkeit [º/Tag]Position im Tierkreis
37,39 (= 2259)V100;8,1019ºSchütze
und so weiter
37,39 (= 2259)IX20;8,104;14,40ºSteinbock
Tägliche Positionen von Jupiter bis zum 4. Dezember 1948, berechnet mit einem babylonischen Algorithmus.

Die Berechnung endet an Tag 2, Monat IX, Jahr 37,39 (= 2259) der Seleukidenära, was dem 4. Dezember 1948 entspricht, mit dem Ergebnis: Jupiter war in 4º Steinbock. Auf ähnliche Art und Weise hätte der babylonische Astrologe die Positionen von Mond, Sonne, und der anderen vier Planeten berechnet.

Das Horoskop der Freien Universität Berlin auf einer babylonischen Tontafel

Wie würde das Horoskop aussehen und welche Daten würde es enthalten? Die folgende Abbildung zeigt eine synthetische babylonische Tontafel mit dem Horoskop der Freien Universität Berlin, von Alessia Pilloni nach babylonischen Beispielen angefertigt und beschrieben.

Tontafel mit Horoskop der Freien Universität Berlin in babylonischer Keilschrift (Alessia Pilloni)

Hier folgt, für die Interessierten, die Transliteration der Tontafel:

MU.37.39.KAM ITI.GAN 2


a-lid ina si-ma-ni-šu

sin ina 26 MAŠ₂

šamaš₂ ina 12 PA


dil-bat ina 10 GIR₂

GU₄.UD ina 7 PA


AN ina 5 MAŠ₂

ina E₂ ni-ṣir-tu₄ ša AN

E₂.DUB.BA a-lid

Und hier folgt die Übersetzung:

Jahr 2259, Monat IX, Tag 2,

die Universität zu Berlin

wurde geboren. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt war

der Mond in 27° Steinbock,

die Sonne in 12° Schütze,

Jupiter in 4° Steinbock,

Venus in 10° Skorpion,

Merkur in 7° Schütze,

Saturn in 6° Jungfrau,

Mars in 5° Steinbock.

Im Haus des Geheimnisses des Mars

wurde die Universität geboren.

Deutung des Horoskops nach babylonischen Verfahren

Wie würde ein babylonischer Astrologe das Horoskop deuten? Die Regeln, wonach die zukunft des Neugeborenen aus dem Horoskop abgeleitet wurde sind nur fragmentarisch bekannt. Ein Grund dafür ist, dass die Vorhersagungen nur selten auf dem Horoskop geschrieben wurden. Für bestimmte Konfigurationen von Planeten und Tierkreiszeichen, aber nicht für alle, die im Horoskop der FU auftreten, gibt es Sammeltafeln mit Vorhersageregeln. Es folgen einige Zitate aus solchen Tafeln, zusammengestellt von Marvin Schreiber. Die einzelnen Vorhersagungen sind zum Teil widersprüchlich. Wie ein babylonischer Astrologe daraus eine Gesamtdeutung des Horoskops ableiten würde ist nicht wirklich klar.

Mond, Mars, Jupiter in Steinbock

„Region des Steinbocks: er wird arm, erkranken, sterben“. Diese Regel aus einer Sammlung von Todesvorhersagungen verspricht nicht viel gutes, aber sie ist günstiger als die meisten anderen, wie z.B. „Region der Zwillinge: Tod im Gefängnis“.

Jupiter ist sichtbar, Mars unsichtbar

Das Horoskop erwähnt nicht, ob ein Planet sichtbar oder unsichtbar war. Babylonischen Astrologen konnten aber auch diesen Aspekt berücksichtigen. Am 4. Dezember 1948 war Jupiter nachts sichtbar, während Mars unsichtbar war, weil dieses Datum zwischen Letzter und Erster Sichtbarkeit ist.

„Wenn ein Kind geboren wird, Jupiter aufgeht und Mars untergeht: diesem Mann wird es gut gehen, er wird den Untergang seines Gegners erleben.“ Diese Regel verspricht gutes für die Freie Universität, schlechtes für ihren „Gegner“, der noch zu identifizieren wäre.

Mars in seinem Haus des Geheimnisses

Für jeden Planeten galt ein Tierkreiszeichen als „Haus des Geheimnisses“, ein Konzept, das etwa der „Erhöhung“ (Exaltation) in der griechisch-römischen Astrologie entspricht. Es ist anzunehmen, dass die Präsenz von Mars in seinem „Haus des Geheimnisses“ Steinbock die Wirkung dieses ungünstigen Planeten verstärkt, aber wie sich das auswirken könnte ist unbekannt.

Saturn, Mond, Jupiter und Mars im Trigon (Stier – Jungfrau – Steinbock)

Der Trigonalaspekt (Trigon = Dreieck von Tierkreiszeichen) spielte eine wichtige Rolle in der babylonischer Astrologie. Drei Planeten und der Mond befinden sich im Trigon Stier – Jungfrau – Steinbock. Entsprechende Vorhersagen sind nicht überliefert, aber wahrscheinlich wären diese günstig für das Neugeborene.

Mond, Mars, Jupiter und Saturn im Trigon Stier –Jungfrau – Steinbock
Diagramm zum Trigonalaspekt auf einer babylonischen Tontafel (ca. 200 v.u.Z)

Deutung des Horoskops nach griechisch-römischen Verfahren

Die Regeln, wonach in der griechisch-römischen Welt ein Horoskop gedeutet wurde, sind vergleichsweise gut bekannt aus astrologischen Handbüchern, wie denjenigen von Vettius Valens (ca. 120–175 u.Z.), Firmicus Maternus (300–337 u.Z.), Hephaistion von Theben (5. Jh. u.Z). Die folgenden auf die Gründung der FU zutreffenden Regeln hat Michael Zellmann-Rohrer aus solchen Handbüchern entnommen:

Mars in seiner Erhöhung

Mars im Zeichen seiner Erhöhung, dem Steinbock: „Diplomatie angesichts schwieriger Umstände; Teilhabe an der Affinität des Mars zu feiner Kleidung und Wein.“


Jupiter, Mars, und Mond in Konjunktion: „kluge, mutige Staatsdiener mit vielen Freunden, die aus bescheidenen Anfängen zu großen Dingen aufsteigen, Vertrauen gewinnen und dann ihre Aufgaben übernehmen. Sie erleiden möglicherweise Verluste, erholen sich aber dank göttlicher oder unerwarteter Hilfe.“

Jupiter und Mars in Konjunktion: „Ehre wird nur durch harte Arbeit erlangt“

Jupiter und Mond in Konjunktion: „angesehene Ämter, Entdeckung von Schätzen“.

Sonne und Merkur in Konjunktion: „Flexibilität, Menschenverstand, Urteilsvermögen für Karriere im öffentlichen Leben, Liebe zur Schönheit, Wohltätigkeit, Einweihung in göttliche Lehren, Ausdauer von Widrigkeiten“

Saturn und Merkur im Quadrataspekt

Der Quadrataspekt betrifft Zeichen, die um 90 Grad voneinander getrennt sind. Er hat in der griechisch-römischen Astrologie im Allgemeinen einen negativen Charakter, in diesem Fall: „er wird mit Verwaltungspflichten und Angriffen von Neidern belastet sein.“

Aszendent in Steinbock

„Zuneigung zu Freunden, Klugheit, Glück, reichliche Ressourcen, Kenntnis der Geheimnisse heiliger Riten und fremder Lebensweisen.“

Die 12 Örter

Das Tierkreiszeichen des Aszendenten wurde als 1. Ort bezeichnet, in diesem Fall Steinbock. Von dort aus wurden die anderen 11 Ort gezählt. Damit verknüpft war eine Lehre mit eigenen Vorhersageregeln.

Mond, Mars, Jupiter im 1. Ort: „eine sehr glückliche Karriere, wohlverdiente Fortschritte vor Geschwistern, Ruhm, Tugend und gute Laune. Fortschritt durch brillante Kampagnen, Großzügigkeit, Erwerb von großem Eigentum, das später in Staatskasse übergeht.“

Merkur im 12. Ort: „Intelligenz“

Saturn im 9. Ort: „berühmte Zauberer, Wahrsager, Astrologen, berühmte Philosophen, die oft ihre Haare lang wachsen lassen, Traumdeuter.“

A horoscope for Freie Universität Berlin based on ancient methods

(For the German version, see previous blog entry.)

17. August 2023, by Mathieu Ossendrijver and the ZODIAC-Team

This year Freie Universität Berlin is celebrating its 75th birthday. The research project „ZODIAC – Ancient Astral Science in Transformation“ took this as an opportunity to ask the following question: how would an ancient astrologer determine the birth chart of Freie Universität Berlin and interpret its future? Not only is the answer itself of interest, but even more so the process of answering can yield interesting results, because by reconstructing the individual steps of the calculation and the interpretation of a horoscope according to ancient methods, possible gaps in our understanding of these methods become apparent.

Horoscopic astrology originated in Babylonia in the 5th century BCE. Babylonian scholars introduced the zodiac with twelve signs of 30 degrees and they developed a new astrological doctrine according to which a person’s future is determined from the zodiacal positions of the moon, the sun, and the five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) at the time of birth. In its barest form, an ancient horoscope is nothing more than a list of these positions. Another new feature of horoscopic astrology is that it was used by private individuals, and not just by rulers as was the case in older Mesopotamian astrology.

Horoscopic astrology spread from Babylonia to Egypt and the Graeco-Roman world, where it continued to develop. In Greco-Roman horoscopes, in addition to the positions of the moon, the sun and the planets, the so-called ascendant is also recorded. The ascendant is the position in the zodiac, defined either as a whole sign or more precisely to the degree, that rises on the eastern horizon at the time of birth.

The positions of the moon, the sun, the planets and the ascendant were not observed but calculated. This can already be seen from the fact that not all planets are visible on any given day. The creation of a horoscope therefore required extensive mathematical calculations. It is all the more astonishing that horoscopic astrology was able to spread so successfully from Babylonian to the ancient world.

The basis for creating a horoscope is the date of birth. We take the founding date, December 4, 1948, as the date of birth of Freie Universität Berlin. Since a Greco-Roman horoscope also mentions the ascendant, the time of founding must also be known. Unfortunately, the exact time could not be determined. We have assumed 11:00 am Central European Time as the hypothetical time of birth because we consider this to be a plausible time for the founding act.

Since there were different methods of calculating and interpreting a horoscope in ancient times, we had to make a selection from them. We decided on a Babylonian variant and a Greco-Roman variant.

The horoscope of Freie Universität Berlin based on modern astronomical methods

Ideally, all positions would have to be calculated using ancient methods. Since this would be very time-consuming, we decided to first calculate the positions using standard modern astronomical methods. The result is summarized in the following table:

Horoscope for FU Berlin, December 4, 1948 11:00 CET

moon26º Capricorn
sun12º Sagittarius
Mercury8º Sagittarius
Venus10º Scorpio
Mars6º Capricorn
Jupiter4º Capricorn
Saturn6º Virgo
Ascendent26º Capricorn

The following figure shows a visualization of the horoscope (thanks to Michael Zellmann-Rohrer):

Calculation of the horoscope according to Babylonian methods using Jupiter as an example

We now show first how a Babylonian astrologer might have calculated that Jupiter was in 4º Capricorn on December 4, 1948. This was achieved in two separate steps:

            (1) Calculation of synodic phenomena (date and zodiac position). The synodic phenomena of Jupiter that were observed and calculated in Babylonia are First Visibility, First Station, Evening Rising, Second Station, and Last Visibility. They form a cycle that lasts about 13 months (Fig. 1).

            (2) Calculation of the zodiacal positions of Jupiter from day to day between the synodic phenomena.

Fig. 1 Apparent motion of Jupiter relative to the stars over one synodic cycle. Up to the first station and after the second station Jupiter is moving forward (right to left); between the first and second station backwards (from left to right). Between last appearance and first appearance the planet is invisible.

Step 1: Computation of Synodic Phenomena

The last synodic phenomenon of Jupiter to occur before December 4, 1948 was the second station. We therefore, in Babylonian fashion, first calculate a table of second stations, starting from an earlier instance of this phenomenon. The Babylonians used a number system based on 60 (sexagesimal). Numbers are represented as sequences of digits 0-59, with each digit belonging to a right-decreasing power of 60. In translations, a comma is used as a separator between digits, with one exception: the semicolon (;) separates the part of the number greater than 1 from the part less than 1. For example 17;5,10 = 17 + 5/60 + 10/3600. The Babylonian calendar of the last centuries BCE. was based on the Seleucid Era, where year 1 = 311/310 BCE. The Babylonian months are abbreviated as Roman numerals. December 4, 1948 then corresponds to day 2 of month IX of year 2259 of the Seleucid Era. The year 2259 would be written by a Babylonian as 37.39 (37 x 60 + 39 = 2259).

As initial values for the table we take the second station of Jupiter that took place on Day 28, Month VII, Year 37,29 (= 2249) of the Seleucid Era in 26º Aquarius. The Babylonian astrologer could have taken these values either from an observational report or an existing table. Starting with the second station in 2249, we compute subsequent instances of the second station using a Babylonian algorithm known as „System A.“ We cannot go into the details of the algorithm here. We end the calculation with the second station on Day 10, Month V of the year 2259 of the Seleucid Era, which corresponds to August 16, 1948.

year of Seleucid Eramonthdayposition in zodiac
37,29 (= 2249)VII2926ºAquarius
37,36III 1;2115;50ºVirgo
37,39 (= 2259)V10;46,3019ºSagittarius
Second stations of Jupiter calculated using the Babylonian „System A“ algorithm

Step 2: Calculation of the daily position of Jupiter since the last synodic phenomenon

In the second step, the zodiacal position (longitude) of Jupiter is calculated from day to day from that second station up to the founding day of Freie Universität Berlin. We use a Babylonian method for this, according to which Jupiter moves at a constant speed along the ecliptic. The following table shows the first four days and the last four days of the calculation while omitting the intermediate days:

year of Seleucid Eramonthdayvelocity [º/day]Position in zodiac
37,39 (= 2259)V100;8,1019ºSagittarius
et cetera
37,39 (= 2259)IX20;8,104;14,40ºCapricorn
Daily positions of Jupiter up to December 4, 1948, calculated with a Babylonian algorithm.

The calculation ends on day 2, month IX, year 37.39 (= 2259) of the Seleucid Era, which corresponds to December 4, 1948, with the result: Jupiter was in 4º Capricorn. In a similar fashion, the Babylonian astrologer would have calculated the positions of the moon, the sun, and the other four planets.

The horoscope of Freie Universität Berlin on a Babylonian clay tablet

What would the horoscope look like and which data would it contain? The following illustration shows a synthetic Babylonian clay tablet with the horoscope of Freie Universität Berlin, made and described by Alessia Pilloni based on Babylonian examples.

Clay tablet with the horoscope of Freie Universität Berlin in Babylonian cuneiform (Alessia Pilloni)

Here follows, for those interested, the transliteration of the clay tablet:

MU.37.39.KAM ITI.GAN 2


a-lid ina si-ma-ni-šu

sin ina 26 MAŠ₂

šamaš₂ ina 12 PA


dil-bat ina 10 GIR₂

GU₄.UD ina 7 PA


AN ina 5 MAŠ₂

ina E₂ ni-ṣir-tu₄ ša AN

E₂.DUB.BA a-lid

And here is the translation:

Year 2259, Month IX, Day 2,

the University of Berlin

was born. At that time

the moon was in 27° Capricorn,

the sun in 12° Sagittarius,

Jupiter in 4° Capricorn,

Venus in 10° Scorpio,

Mercury in 7° Sagittarius,

Saturn in 6° Virgo,

Mars in 5° Capricorn.

In the House of Secrecy of Mars the university was born.

Interpretation of the horoscope according to Babylonian methods

How would a Babylonian astrologer interpret the horoscope? The rules according to which the future of the newborn was derived from the horoscope are only partially known. One reason is that the predictions were rarely written on the horoscope. For certain configurations of planets and zodiac signs, but not for all that appear in the chart of Freie Universität, there are tablets with predictive rules. Below are some quotes from such tablets, compiled by Marvin Schreiber. The individual predictions are partly contradictory. How a Babylonian astrologer would derive an overall interpretation of the horoscope from this is not really clear.

Moon, Mars, Jupiter in Capricorn

„Region of Capricorn: he becomes poor, falls ill, dies“. This rule from a collection of death predictions does not promise much good, but it is not as bad as most others, such as „Region of the Twins: Death in Prison.“

Jupiter is visible, Mars invisible

The horoscope does not mention whether a planet was visible or invisible. But Babylonian astrologers could also take this aspect into account. On December 4, 1948, Jupiter was visible at night while Mars was invisible because that date is between Last and First Visibility.

„If a child is born, Jupiter rises and Mars sets: this man will prosper, he will see his adversary’s downfall.“ This rule promises good things for Freie Universität, bad things for its „opponent,“ who has yet to be identified.

Mars in his house of secrecy

For each planet one sign of the zodiac was considered to be its „house of secrecy,“ a concept roughly analogous to the „exaltation“ in Greco-Roman astrology. It is likely that the presence of Mars in his „House of Secrecy“ Capricorn will amplify the effects of this unfavorable planet, but how that might play out is unknown.

Saturn, Moon, Jupiter and Mars in trine (Taurus – Virgo – Capricorn)

The trine aspect (= triangle of zodiac signs) played an important role in Babylonian astrology. Three planets and the moon are in the trine Taurus – Virgo – Capricorn. Corresponding predictions have not been handed down, but they would probably be favorable for the newborn.

Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in trine Taurus – Virgo – Capricorn
Diagram of the trigonal aspect on a Babylonian clay tablet (ca. 200 BCE)

Interpretation of the horoscope according to Greco-Roman methods

The rules by which a horoscope was interpreted in the Greco-Roman world are comparatively well known from astrological manuals such as those of Vettius Valens (c. 120-175 CE), Firmicus Maternus (300-337 CE), Hephaestion of Thebes (5th century CE). From such manuals, Michael Zellmann-Rohrer compiled the following predictions that apply to the horoscope of Freie Universität Berlin:

Mars in its exaltation

Mars in its exaltation, Capricorn: „Diplomacy in the face of difficult circumstances; sharing in Mars‘ affinity with fine clothing and wine.“


Jupiter, Mars, and Moon in conjunction: „clever, courageous civil servants with many friends who rise from humble beginnings to great things, gaining confidence and then taking up their duties. They may suffer losses but, thanks to divine or unexpected help, they recover.“

Jupiter and Mars in conjunction: „Honour comes only through hard work“

Jupiter and Moon in conjunction: „Prestigious offices, discovery of treasures“.

Sun and Mercury in conjunction: „Flexibility, common sense, distinction in careers in public life, love of beauty, charity, initiation into divine teachings, perseverance in the face of adversity“

Saturn and Mercury in square aspect

The square aspect connects zodiac signs separated by three signs (90 degrees). It generally leads to unfavourable predictions in Greco-Roman astrology, in this case: „he will be burdened with administrative duties and attacks from envious people.“

Ascendant in Capricorn

„Attachment to friends, prudence, good luck, ample resources, knowledge of the mysteries of sacred rites and foreign ways of life.“

The 12 places

The zodiacal sign of the ascendant was designated as the 1st place, in this case Capricorn. From there, the other 11 places were counted. Linked to this was a doctrine with its own prediction rules.

Moon, Mars, Jupiter in the 1st place: „a very fortunate career, well-deserved advances ahead of siblings, fame, virtue, and good humour. Advancement through brilliant campaigns, generosity, acquisition of great property, which later passes into the treasury.“

Mercury in the 12th place: „Intelligence“.

Saturn in the 9th place: „famous magicians, soothsayers, astrologers, famous philosophers who often let their hair grow long, interpreters of dreams.“

The „Babylonische Palmen“ at the U-Bahnhof Klosterstraße in Berlin-Mitte

21.02.2023 by Benjamin Scheel

In this blog post, I would like to look at an example of the reception of ancient Near Eastern art in twentieth-century Berlin.

In Germany at the turn from the 19th to the 20th century AD, there was a huge fascination with the history and cultures of the ancient Near East. With the excavations and finds of Heinrich Schliemann (1822–1890), a wealthy German businessman and excavator, at Troy in 1871–1873, the German public became more and more interested in the archaeology of ancient Rome and Greece, and in the course of time their interest in the archaeology of ancient Mesopotamia grew as well.

Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859–1941), who visited several places in the Near East during his famous trip in 1898, including Damascus, Jerusalem, and Constantinople, was an admirer of ancient Near Eastern archaeology and history. The Kaiser’s interest was not only research-related but also related to the imperialistic and colonialist ambitions of the German Reich, which was in competition, at the time, with the two great European imperialist powers, Great Britain and France.

In 1898, the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft (DOG) was founded by (amongst others) the Berliner art patron and cotton trader James Simon (1851–1932) and Bruno Güterbock (1858–1940), a private scholar and donor of the Königliche Museen zu Berlin. The DOG was the successor of the so-called Orient-Comité. The Comité was originally founded to investigate the „Trümmerstädte” of the Ancient Near East. The DOG was founded to finance German archaeological expeditions and excavations in the Near East and to lend the discovered and exported archaeological findings to the Vorderasiatische Abteilung of the Königliche Museen zu Berlin. The DOG was supported, financially and politically, by Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Through the efforts of James Simon, the DOG and the Königliche Museen zu Berlin (later Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), the first German archaeological expedition in the Near East began at Babylon in 1897. The two members of this survey were the architect and building researcher Robert Koldewey (1855–1925) and the orientalist Eduard Sachau (1845–1930). The survey was followed by extensive excavations, conducted by Robert Koldewey, at the same place from 1899 up to 1917. The main goal of this archaeological fieldwork was the discovery of ancient architectural remains and works of ancient art that could be brought to Berlin and presented at the Vorderasiatische Abteilung of the Königliche Museen zu Berlin.

From the very beginning of this archaeological expedition, one focus of the archaeological fieldwork at Babylon was the characteristically colorful- and beautifully glazed bricks found (amongst other findspots) at the Ishtar Gate, the Processional Way, and the throne room façade of the so-called Südburg. More than half of the archaeological finds at Babylon were fragments of glazed bricks. Most of them were dated to the reign of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (604–562 BCE).

Once the excavations at Babylon had gotten underway, the DOG published the first graphic reconstructions of the ornamented glazed-brick façades (e.g., lions, and floral adornments). Little by little, the facades of the Ishtar Gate, the Processional Way, and the throne room façade of the Südburg could be reconstructed. This publication made a huge impact on the interested public.

Around 1900 the Swedish architect Alfred Grenander (1863–1931), based in Berlin, was commissioned by the Gesellschaft für elektrische Hoch- und Untergrundbahnen in Berlin to design train stations for the Berlin U-Bahn. Famous examples for his architectural work on Berlin train stations are the U-Bahnhof Wittenbergplatz (1910–1913), the U-Bahnhof Krumme Lanke (1927/1928), and the U-Bahnhof Alexanderplatz (1927–1931). He also designed the U-Bahnhof Klosterstraße in Berlin-Mitte, which was opened in 1913. It was built in 1911–1913 and contained a mezzanine, which was necessary because of the station’s relatively deep location in the vicinity of the river Spree. For the walls of this mezzanine, Grenander designed a special polychrome decoration, consisting of glazed tiles. The glazed tiles, dominated by the colors blue and yellow, depict stylized palm trees. The walls of the southern part of the mezzanine have in total 38 palms on several walls with double volutes at their top ends (see Fig. 1), while the northern part of the mezzanine includes only seven palms on one wall (see Fig. 2). The double volutes are colored turquoise; the trunks of the stylized palms are depicted in yellow, while the background is kept in blue (see Fig. 3). The seven palms at the northern mezzanine are less decorated: the double volutes are grey and the palm trunks are executed in pale yellow. These wall decorations refer directly back to the graphic reconstructions of the ornamented glazed-brick façade of the throne room of the Babylonian Südburg, which were published by the DOG.

Fig. 1: Wall with 12 stylized palm trees in two registers at the southern part of the Mezzanine. © Katarina Šaric.

Fig. 2: Wall with the seven stylized palm trees at the northern part of the mezzanine. © Katarina Šaric.

Fig. 3: Detail of a stylized palm tree of the southern mezzanine with turquoise double volutes, a bloom in white and yellow, the yellow tree trunk, and the blue background. © Katarina Šaric.

The concrete reason why the U-Bahnhof Klosterstraße was decorated in this way is not known. Some authors have argued that the decoration of this train station was based on its relative proximity to the Museumsinsel, where the Vorderasiatische Abteilung at the Königliche Museen zu Berlin was located. Other authors argue that, as an influential founder of the DOG and important financer of the Königliche Museen zu Berlin, James Simon had his company seat at Klosterstraße 80–82, which led to the special decoration of the train station. This assumption is supported by a recent information table at the train station, on which Simon´s company seat is specified as Klosterstraße 80–82 (see Fig. 4). According to this view, the station’s decoration is a homage to Simon’s accomplishments at the Vorderasiatische Abteilung at the Königliche Museen zu Berlin.

Fig. 4: Information table at the southern mezzanine of the train station. © Katarina Šaric.

While the reconstruction of the throne room façade at the Vorderasiatisches Museum in the Pergamonmuseum was not finished and presented to the public before the grand opening of the museum in 1930, the glazed tiles with the “Babylonische Palmen” motif at the U-Bahnhof Klosterstraße was the first reconstruction attempt, presented to the train-using Berlin public, almost 20 years earlier.

Partial Bibliography:

S. Bohle-Heintzenberg, Architektur der Berliner Hoch- und Untergrundbahn. Planungen. Entwürfe. Bauten bis 1930 (Berlin 1980)

C. Brachmann – T. Steigenberger, »Svensk arkitektur och möbelkonst i Tyskland«. Das Werk Alfred Grenanders (1863–1931), in: C. Brachmann – T. Steigenberger (Hrsg.), Ein Schwede in Berlin. Der Architekt und Designer Alfred Grenander und die Berliner Architektur (1890-1914) (Korb 2010), 27–152

H. Gries, Das Ischtar-Tor von Babylon. Vom Fragment zum Monument (Regensburg 2022)

P. Güttler, Liste der U-Bahn-Bauten vor 1945, in: Architekten- und Ingenieur-Verein zu Berlin (Hrsg.), Berlin und seine Bauten. Teil X. Band B. Analgen und Bauten für den Verkehr (1). Städtischer Nahverkehr (Berlin – München – Düsseldorf 1979), 100–146

R. Koldewey, Die Königsburgen von Babylon. 1. Teil. Die Südburg (Leipzig 1931)

Landesdenkmalamt Berlin (Hrsg.), Berliner U-Bahnhöfe zwischen Krumme Lanke und Vinetastraße (Berlin 1996)

O. Matthes – J. Althoff, Die ‘Königliche Kommission zur Erforschung der Euphrat- und Tigrisländer‘, MDOG 130, 1998, 241–254

O. Pedersén, The Glazed Bricks that Ornamented Babylon. A Short Overview, in: A Fügert – H. Gries (Hrsg.), Glazed Brick Decoration in the Ancient Near East. Proceedings of a Workshop at the 11th International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Munich) in April 2018 (Oxford 2020), 96–122

J. Renger, Die Geschichte der Altorientalistik und der vorderasiatischen Archäologie in Berlin von 1875 bis 1945, in: W. Arenhövel – C. Schreiber (Hrsg.), Berlin und die Antike. Architektur. Kunstgewerbe. Malerei. Skulptur. Theater und Wissenschaft vom 16. Jahrhundert bis heute. Aufsätze (Berlin 1979), 151–192

R.-B. Wartke – M. Wartke, Mit der U-Bahn durch Babylon, AW 6, 2010, 33–36

New publication „The Excavations in the Lower Town I: Analysis of the Bronze Age Settlement on the Western Terrace“ by Dr. Néhémie Strupler, is now available

We warmly congratulate Dr. Strupler on the publication of his doctoral dissertation, „Fouilles Archéologiques de la Ville Basse I (1935-1978): Analyse de l’occupation de l’âge du Bronze de la Westterrasse.“ The book has been published as the 28th volume in the series „Boğazköy-Ḫattuša: Results of the Excavations.“

This book is dedicated to the research of the residential area in the Lower Town of Boğazköy during the 2nd millennium B.C. The area was mainly excavated between 1970 and 1977, but no comprehensive publication of the results had been made available until now. The examination and analysis of the finds and features of the residential area presented in this study reveal a new facet of the urban life of the city. The methodological approach is based on procedures of digital archaeology, and a main focus of the work is the distribution of the small finds from the 2nd millennium BC, which were interpreted as indicators of activities and contextualized by spatial analysis. To ensure that the conclusions are replicable, the research data were digitally processed and made available to the reader in a transparent form via digital archives. Thus, this work foregrounds the standards of Open Science and deploys methods of Digital Archaeology profitably

The dissertation was awarded the 2022 Dissertation Prize of the Franco-German University.

The archival data on which the work is based can be accessed via the DAI data portal IANUS. (DOI:;

A digital edition will be available at iDAI.publications two years after the printed edition has been published (DOI:

For more information on the volume and the table of contents, please visit the publisher’s website. (

Neuerscheinung „Die Ausgrabungen in der Unterstadt I. Auswertung der Bronzezeitlichen Besiedlung auf der Westterrasse“ (Néhémie Strupler)

Wir gratulieren Dr. Néhémie Strupler herzlich zur Publikation seiner Dissertationsschriftt “Fouilles Archéologiques de la Ville Basse I (1935–1978) Analyse de l’occupation de l’âge du Bronze de la Westterrasse”. Das Buch ist als 28. Band der Reihe “Boğazköy-Ḫattuša. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen” erschienen.

Dieser Band widmet sich der Erforschung des Wohnviertels in der Unterstadt von Boğazköy während des 2. Jts. v. Chr. Das Areal wurde zwischen 1970 und 1977 ausgegraben, ohne dass eine detaillierte Publikation der Ergebnisse veröffentlicht wurde. Die Aufarbeitung und Analyse der nun vorgelegten Funde und Befunde des Wohnviertels zeigen eine neue Facette des urbanen Lebens der Stadt. Das methodische Vorgehen basiert auf Verfahren der Digitalen Archäologie und ein Schwerpunkt der Arbeit liegt auf der Verteilung der Kleinfunde aus dem 2. Jts. v. Chr, die als Indikator von Aktivitäten interpretiert und durch räumliche Analyse kontextualisiert wurden. Damit die Aussagen nachprüfbar sind, wurden die Forschungsdaten digital aufbereitet und dem Leser über digitale Archive in transparenter Form zugänglich gemacht. Somit stellt diese Arbeit Standards von Open Science in den Vordergrund und setzt Verfahren der Digitalen Archäologie gewinnbringend ein.

Die Dissertation wurde mit dem Dissertationspreis 2022 der der Deutsch-Französischen Hochschule ausgezeichnet.

Die der Arbeit zu Grunde liegenden Archivdaten sind abrufbar über das DAI Datenportal IANUS.(DOI:;

Eine digitale Ausgabe des Werkes wird zwei Jahre nach Erscheinen der Druckausgabe auf iDAI.publications zur Verfügung gestellt (DOI:

Weitere Informationen zum Band sowie den Inhaltsverzeichnis finden Sie auf der Verlagsseite.

Imagining the Sky: The Zodiac and Related Astral Imagery in the Ancient World

11. Novermber 2022, by Alessia Pilloni

program of the workshop.

Like all specific topics within the study of antiquity, astronomy too is polyhedral, and each of its expressions can be analyzed from different points of view. One might focus only on a particular textual genre, whether mathematical or literary, or on one particular artistic representation, but this does not always give a satisfactory sense of unity or a complete understanding of the subject. That is why bringing together experts in individual aspects, i.e., history of science, Egyptology, Assyriology, classical philology, papyrology, archaeology, and art history, is so crucial: the intersection of the different approaches sheds light on matters that would remain unsolved, but with wider perspectives, we pave the way for resolving old research questions and posing new ones.

The workshop “Imagining the Sky: The Zodiac and Related Astral Imagery in the Ancient World” aimed to be a bridge connecting the study of ancient astronomy in different times and places, and also between texts and visual representation. In particular, how the concept of the zodiac and related topics has been adapted in images of different times and places and for different purposes, which, from a cross-cultural point of view, has not been studied in depth so far. Both the materials available and the supports are varied: from the schematic and stylised drawings on clay tablets in Mesopotamia, to the rich and colorful representations in Egyptian temples, and further, from the Greco-Roman monuments and small objects bearing cosmic elements, to their adaptation in Indian and Japanese manuscripts.

This blog post is meant to be a tribute to the success of this meeting of researchers of ancient astral sciences and a summary of the main topics that were discussed. All the presentations were connected by a common thread that motivated scholars to discuss and fascinated students and scholars from other disciplines.

Modern science at the service of ancient astronomy

A picture of the dome of the „Planetarium am Insulaner“, Berlin

There is nothing better than a projection of the sky at the planetarium to visualize and imagine the sky as seen in antiquity. Indeed, Susanne Hoffmann’s presentation at the Planetarium am Insulaner opened the workshop. The purpose was to show how the heavens and their moving bodies looked 3000 years ago in Babylon, when expert observers divided the sky into twelve segments identified by twelve constellations, the zodiac.

It is a great advantage to use modern instruments in order to visualize the data from ancient texts and images. On a virtual sky one can project the data from texts and images at different times and places in ancient history: the Babylonian lists of stars and constellations in the MUL.APIN compendium, Ptolemy’s coordinates, the uranology of Hipparchus and Aratus, the Zodiac depicted on the Farnese globe and so forth.

Images of the ancient sky and the texts referring to them extend beyond Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. For this reason, a group of researchers at the Max-Planck-Institut is working on a database on the materiality of the heavens in different cultures. The zodiac, for example, is transmitted and represented with characters from the transmitting culture but also adapted to the culture of the receiver, and patterns of transmission and influence can be traced as far as India and the Far East (China and Japan), as shown in the presentation by Sonja Brentjes.

Mesopotamian diagrams and drawings

Speakers: Jeanette Fincke, Wayne Horowitz, Willis Monroe, Marvin Schreiber, John Steele, John Wee

While there is an abundance of cuneiform tablets providing evidence of astronomical scientific activity in Mesopotamia, only a few also bear traces of graphic representations. The contributions of Assyriologists have in fact focused on this: the interaction between what is written and what is drawn on the tablet, meaning drawings and diagrams. Some drawings carved on the tablets are clearly depictions of constellations, like the ones in the famous astrological tablet VAT 7847.Assumptions about the diagrams, however, such as the ones that appear on the Neo Assyrian circular tablet K 8538, which were interpreted as stylised constellations during the time of the pioneers of Assyriology, such as Archibald Henri Sayce and Ernst Weidner, are to be re-examined. There is still no firm understanding: it is not even certain that the representations refer to astral elements. What is truly important is to reconsider the sources and the previous interpretative positions, in light of the new sources, and adapt them to advances in modern knowledge of Mesopotamian culture. 

detail of the diagrams in the Neo-Assirian circular tablet BM 8538, British Museum, London.
detail of the Seleucid calendar text for the zodiacal sign Leo VAT 7847, Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin

Maps of the sky in ancient Egypt

Speakers: Victoria Altmann-Wendling, John Baines, Yossra Ibrahim, Christian Leitz, Daniela Mendel-Leitz, Rune Nyord.

The first example that springs to mind is certainly the spectacular representation of the zodiac in the ceiling of the temple of Hathor in Dendera. There are certainly others: representations of the sky are very well attested in sarcophagi, pyramid ceilings and temples. The central theme is the presence of the personifications of the cosmic elements, such as planets and constellations, for example, the decans, the hours of the day, the winds, and so forth. Such representations aim to be sorts of “maps” of the heavens and are populated by deities and creatures. For instance, a pig swallowing celestial bodies might represent eclipses, and certain animals (scarab and falcon) are often shown carrying the sunthe actions that they perform represent the myth behind the astronomical event.

These images contain elements that confirm stylistic and cultural influences from outside Egypt, but also strong Egyptian features. Once again, the perfect example is the zodiac: a concept originating from Babylonia, but whose elements are represented with the Egyptian iconographic repertoire.

Scarab carrying the sun
detail of the Hathor temple in Dendera, Egypt.

Images of the cosmos in Greco-Roman art and beyond

Speakers: Benjamin Anderson, Nicola Barbagli, Ilaria Bultrighini, Fabio Guidetti, Wolfgang Hübner, Stamatina Mastorakou, Fabio Spadini

In Greco-Roman art, representations of cosmic elements are found on coins, on monuments, mosaics, gems, and other objects. Much has already been said about such artifacts from an artistic point of view, but during the workshop the focus was on the interpretation and meaning of the schemes in which the astral elements are arranged.

From the point of view of written sources, Hellenistic astrology presents a highly sophisticated way of reading the signs, based on geometrical schemes.

On the other hand, in certain artifacts the disposition of the zodiac can assume different dispositions, with the signs oriented differently, for decorative reasons. This brings certain artistic objects far from an astrological purpose.

Upper left: Reverse of a medallion of Antoninus Pius (RPC IV.1 5867), minted in Nicaea, Bithynia, Turkey.
Bottom left: Pavement mosaic, Landesmuseum, Bonn.
Right: Farnese Globe, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples.

Some concluding thoughts

The attendance was plentiful both online, with more than a hundred virtual participants, and in person, with sixty participants in the conference room, some of them from overseas institutions: an excellent example of the resumption of in-person research activities, after two arduous years of pandemic.

For a glimpse into the future: the papers will be part of the proceedings volume, which will be curated by Mathieu Ossendrijver and Andreas Winkler and available in open access by winter 2023.

To conclude with a thought of gratitude, all that has been presented and discussed was enriched by a pleasant atmosphere of unity, sharing, and openness to dialogue on the part of the participants, perceptible not only during the presentations, but also during breaks and convivial moments.

It has been an intense dive into the world of ancient astronomy: “imagining the sky”, through pictures and texts, how the ancient people saw and perceived the heavens above their heads, tried to glean signs, and unlock its secrets by creating methods to calculate its motion in order to predict the future.