Superstition, Astrology, Prognostication, Imposture, History of Science, Astronomy, Observatories, Mechanics, Engineering
Relates of the ancient Babylonians that the 'superstitious worship of the heavenly hosts led to the profession of astrology, and the priests were the sole observers of the heavenly bodies'. Describes the imposture of the priests in exploiting the prevailing superstitious terror of solar or lunar eclipses. Observes that the 'learning of the Chaldeans seems to have been considerably exaggerated', but that the sciences with which they were chiefly acquainted were 'astronomy and mechanics'. Describes some of their astronomical discoveries. (364) Observes: 'If what is said concerning their speculations regarding comets be true, we have reason to think they had attained considerable progress in astronomical science' (364–65). Considers that the buildings of ancient Babylon convey a very high impression of the mechanical skill of the people.
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Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]