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Paper: The Discovery of the Regular Movements of Celestial Bodies and the Development of Monotheism in the Ancient Near East
Volume: 441, The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena VI
Page: 353
Authors: Lanfranchi, G. B.
Abstract: For Ancient Mesopotamians, astronomical phenomena were signs signifying the gods' judgment on human behaviour. Mesopotamian scholars studied celestial phenomena for understanding the gods' will, and strongly developed astrology. From the 8th to the 6th century BC Assyrian and Babylonian astronomers achieved the ability to predict solar and lunar eclipses, and the planets' movements through mathematical calculations. Predictability of astral phenomena solicited the awareness that they are all regular, and that the universe is governed by an eternal, immutable order fixed at its very beginning. This finally favoured the idea that the cosmic order depended on the will of one god only, displacing polytheism in favour of monotheism; and astrology lost its religious importance as a mean to know the divine will.
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