Astrology and astronomy meaning

The Zodiac
  1. Astronomy vs. Astrology: How Are They Different?
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Astronomy vs. Astrology: How Are They Different?

If you're interested in the solar system and the planets, other celestial objects like asteroids and comets, other galaxies and the rest of the universe, what makes up space, and the possibility of alien life or space travel, astronomy is the field you're considering. Looking to submit a paper to the AJ or ApJ?

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Skip to main content. Education - General Astronomy. On the other hand, the work of Ptolemy 85— A.


Between the ninth and eleventh centuries, Islamic astronomers focused on criticizing and improving the geometrical models of Ptolemy. It was written in Arabic, the language in which most scientists of the Islamic world worked, and was based on a series of new observations made by al-Sufi at Isfahan , the city in central Iran. The Study of Astrology Astrology seeks to predict the influence of the heavenly bodies on events on earth, relying on understanding the movement of the planets and the ability to calculate their positions in the future.

The number of medieval theologians, jurists, and philosophers who wrote anti-astrology tracts, however, indicates that it was controversial and not universally accepted as a scientific or ethical practice. Many believed it was against the tenets of Islam to suggest that forces other than God could determine human events. This did not stop the practice of astrology—in fact, astrologers offered their services in bazaars, where anyone could pay for horoscope readings and predictions; and they were employed at royal courts, to help rulers decide such matters as when to announce an heir or launch a military campaign, or to predict the future state of their kingdoms. Horoscopes were also devised at the foundation of capital cities, such as Baghdad, capital of the Abbasids , and al-Mahdiyya, capital of the Fatimids , to foretell their futures.

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The three tools of the astrologer were the astrolabe, used to determine the time by measuring the altitude of the sun or any visible stellar object Most astrologers learned their practice by studying with a master, acquiring a basic knowledge of astronomy and mathematics and the ability to use astronomical instruments.

These interpretations were based on the large body of literature associated with astrology, from manuals for interpreting signs to treatises that ascribed certain personality traits to those born under each zodiac sign. The Zodiac in Art Because of the popularity of astrology in the medieval period, it became common to decorate objects with personifications of the planets and the Zodiac constellations.

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This reflected the belief that objects with astrological decoration had talismanic powers —that is, they were capable of influencing the occult power of the planets and stars, and thus protected the owner from sickness, bad luck, or defeat. The symbols the Arab and Iranian astronomers used to represent each Zodiac constellation were derived from the images ancient Greek astronomers had used to describe them. These were a ram known as the sign Aries, Objects such as these were especially popular from the late twelfth to the fourteenth century in Egypt, Syria , and Iran.

Several are inscribed with the names and titles of rulers , and it is believed that on objects so closely associated with a particular ruler, representations of the sun, planets, and stars also symbolized the power of that patron In representing the Zodiac constellations, artists of this period mostly copied Greek models.

The personifications of the planets, on the other hand, had few iconographic precedents, and so imagery for each evolved from the characteristics each was attributed in the Islamic astrological writings, including a color, an occupation, and a day of the week.

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Thus Mercury was a scribe, depicted as a young man writing on a scroll of paper; Venus was a female musician, shown playing an instrument; Saturn was a dark-skinned old man holding a pickax; Jupiter was a sage or a judge, wearing a turban; Mars was a warrior, holding a sword and a severed head; and the sun and the moon were human figures holding a sun disk and a crescent, respectively Depicted as a figure flanked by snakes with dragon heads, Jauzahr appears on objects alone and with the signs of the Zodiac Sardar, Marika.

Carboni, Stefano. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, See on MetPublications. King, David A. Young et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,