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Who Invented The Star Signs?
Most people have heard of the star signs and many can name all of them. Some people take astrology very seriously, while others simply enjoy reading about their own sign from time to time. Whatever type of person you are - and whatever your sign - have you ever thought about where these signs came from and how they came to be a part of our lives?
You may have browsed our star sign designs, such as our Aquarius T-Shirts and Libra T-Shirts, but have you ever investigated the history of these signs? If not, we have done the job for you. Read on to find out who invented the star signs and why.
The history of astrology
Since the beginnings of civilization, humans have measured the planets and stars, but over time, what we now know as astrology has evolved. In basic terms, astrology is the study of the impact the movements and positioning of celestial bodies have on human beings and the world in which they live.
In the past, people used astrology to effectively determine their actions. They planted, migrated and hunted according to the positioning of the stars and followed nature’s cycles and rhythms. Without this, many civilizations would simply not have survived.
For centuries, astronomy and astrology were believed to be the same, but humans and astrology have evolved since then. Humans no longer view the stars and planets with fear-based awe, and many now believe that astrology can be an important way of understanding oneself, relationships and the surrounding world.
The 12 signs of the zodiac, or star signs as we may know them best, first emerged in ancient Greece. They were given names based on constellations in the skies and linked with dates that corresponded to their positioning in relation to the sun.
Before this, however, the Babylonians had actually divided up the Zodiac into a dozen equal signs. This happened by 1500 BC, and the names given to the signs were quite similar to those we know of today. They included The Scales, which is known as Libra today; The Lion, or Leo; and The Great Twins, which represent the star sign of Gemini in the modern world.
Who defined the modern signs of the Zodiac?
The components of the horoscope are generally attributed to mathematician Claudius Ptolemy (c90-168AD) and his book, Tetrabiblos. He was of Greek descent, but he was a Roman citizen. Tetrabiblos is thought of as the bible of astrology. It sets out the components of the horoscope, including signs of the zodiac, astrological houses, and planets - everything that we associate with star signs and horoscopes today.
The Tetrabiblos tome was first translated from Arabic in 1138 and is still used as a source today, although astrological components have increased since then. New planets were discovered as a result of technological advancements, such as Neptune during the 19th century and Uranus during the 18th century.
Astrology is a changing field
The word "zodiac" has its origins in Greek and comes from a term meaning "sculpted animal figure". The order of the star signs comes from Ancient Greece. Spring started on the day that the sun made its appearance in Aries, and all other events throughout the year were marked from this date.
Since then, however, the earth has shifted on its axis and the dates of the zodiac do not actually correspond to the constellations that they were named after.
The zodiac itself is the area of the sky that goes 8 degrees north or south of the ecliptic. This is the Sun’s apparent path over the celestial sphere during the course of the year. The zodiac belt also includes the paths of visible planets and the moon.
The signs of the zodiac each occupy 30 degrees of what is known as celestial longitude. The very first depiction of 12 signs of the zodiac is known as the Dendera zodiac. This is a relief that dates back to around 50 BC.
What star sign are you?
Today, the star signs are Aries (March 21 - April 19), Taurus (April 20 - May 20), Gemini (May 21 - June 20), Cancer (June 21 - July 22), Leo (July 21 - August 22), Virgo (August 23 - September 22), Libra (September 23 - October 22), Scorpio (October 23 - November 21), Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21), Capricorn (December 22 - January 19), Aquarius (January 20 - February 18), and Pisces (February 19 - March 20).