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Edited by John M. Steele

Astronomical and astrological knowledge circulated in many ways in the ancient world: in the form of written texts and through oral communication; by the conscious assimilation of sought-after knowledge and the unconscious absorption of ideas to which scholars were exposed.
The Circulation of Astronomical Knowledge in the Ancient World explores the ways in which astronomical knowledge circulated between different communities of scholars over time and space, and what was done with that knowledge when it was received. Examples are discussed from Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Greco-Roman world, India, and China.


John M. Steele


A variety of cuneiform tablets from Babylonia and Assyria present astrological associations between celestial events and geographical locations on the Earth. These associations fall into two main groups: those dealing with four broad geographical regions (corresponding roughly to the north, south, east, and west) and those which associate constellations or signs of the zodiac with Babylonian (and occasionally Assyrian) cities. This chapter reviews the evidence for astrological geography in Mesopotamia and argues that, although there were some common associations which are found in several different texts, there was no unified system of astrological geography with a one-to-one correspondence between a celestial location or phenomenon and a terrestrial region or city.