Ancient Metaphysics, "The Foundations of Philosophy"
 

Ancient
Babylonia

Ancient BabylonAncient Babylonia is the term used to describe an ancient state in the southern part of Mesopotamia. (Inside modern Iraq).

 Named for its capital city, Babylon, it combined the territories of Sumer and Akkad. The earliest mention of Babylon can be found in a tablet of the reign of Sargon of Akkad, dating back to the 2300 BCE.

Historically, two ethnic groups, the Sumerians and Akkadians, had dominated the region. Babylonia emerged when Hammurabi, 1728 – 1686 BCE created an empire out of the territories of the former kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad.

Being a Semitic people, Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use, and retained the Sumerian language for religious use, which by that time was no longer a spoken language.

The Akkadian and Sumerian cultures played a major role in later Babylonian culture, and the area, rich in natural resources, and strategically located for trade routes and commerce, was under threat from outsiders throughout its history.

Babylonian Beginnings  

The Babylonians are generally credited with the birth of Astrology. Their astrological charts enabled them to predict the recurrence of seasons and certain celestial events. So, in the beginning, and for more than 2,000 years, Astrology and Astronomy were the same science.

Babylonian astrologers believed that The Sun, The Moon, and the five planets known at that time (Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, and Venus) possessed distinct powers. Mars, for example, appeared to be red and was thus associated with aggression and war.

Babylonian Astrology was introduced to the Greeks early in the 4th century BCE and, through the studies of Plato, Aristotle, and others, Astrology came to be highly regarded as a science. It was soon embraced by the Romans,(the Roman names for the Zodiacal Signs are still used today), and the Arabs and later spread throughout the entire world.

While earliest Astrology was used to bring a sense of order out of apparent chaos, it was soon utilized to predict weather patterns, primarily for agricultural purposes. It was eventually broadened to include forecasts of natural disasters, war, and other events in the course of human affairs. Amassing successes in these fields, it was a natural progression for Astrology to be used as counsel for kings and emperors and, through time, for us all.

The New Approach

The origins of Babylonian philosophy can be traced back to early Mesopotamian wisdom, which embodied certain philosophies of life, particularly ethics. These are reflected in Mesopotamian religion and in a variety of Babylonian literature in the forms of dialectic, dialogs, epic poetry, folklore, hymns, lyrics, prose, and proverbs.

During the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, Babylonian Astrologers/Astronomers developed a new empirical approach. They began studying Philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of the universe and began employing an internal logic within their predictive planetary systems. This was an important contribution to Astrology, Astronomy and the philosophy of science. In fact, some scholars refer to this new approach as the first scientific revolution. This new approach was adopted and further developed in Greek and Hellenistic studies of the subjects.

Classical Greek and Latin sources frequently use the term Chaldeans for the astronomers of Mesopotamia, who were, in reality, priests and scribes specializing in Astrology and other forms of divination.

  • Babylonian Astrology
    In Babylonia, as well as in Assyria, Astrology takes its place as one of the two chief means for ascertaining the will and intention of the gods.

 

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