Egyptians, Greeks, and Hebrews

Egyptians and Osiris

Perhaps one of the best-known of the Egyptian Constellations is Osiris, god of the dead, underworld, and rebirth. This prominent star grouping, the brightest and most-recognized on the celestial sphere, is today known as Orion. (1)

Ancient Egyptian star map and decanal clock on the ceiling from the tomb of Senenmut at Deir el Bahari in Luxor is shown.
Ancient Egyptian star map and decanal clock on the ceiling from the tomb of Senenmut at Deir el Bahari in Luxor, an architect from the 18 th Dynasty [ “Senenmut” by SenemmTSR is in the Public Domain ]
Nut, Egyptian goddess of the sky, with the star map found in the tomb of Ramses VI is shown.
Nut, Egyptian goddess of the sky, with the star map found in the tomb of Ramses VI [ “Goddess Nut 1” byHans Bernhard (Schnobby) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 ]

Greeks and Hebrews

The Greeks appeared to have been influenced by a number of the Babylonian and Egyptian constellations. Homer notes in the Iliad and the Odyssey , written in the 8 th century BC, the constellations Boötes, Orion, and Ursa Major, as well as a number of bright stars and the Pleiades. Some of the best constellation records are included in Claudius Ptolemy’s 2 ndcentury Almagest . The oldest known representation of the Zodiac is said to come from Greece, and includes the familiar modern zodiacal constellations.

The Hebrews noted numerous constellations in the Tanakh , the Hebrew Bible, which is the source of the Christian Bible’s Old Testament. A number of constellations are noted in the book of Job, in particular Orion and the Big Bear, along with the Pleiades. Job is considered one of the oldest books in the Bible, and many estimates date it to the 6 th century BC, with some estimates as early as the 7 th century BC. (1)

The Farnese Atlas, in Naples is shown as a globe sitting on the shoulders of Atlas.
The Farnese Atlas, in Naples, a celestial sphere believed to be from Hipparchus’ 2 nd century BC star map and catalog [ “Atlas (Farnese Globe)” by Gabriel Seah is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 ]