Q:

Why did the Sumerians record the positions of the stars and planets?

A:

Quick Answer

Like many ancient people, the Sumerians recorded the position of the stars and planets as part of their practice of astrology. They believed earthly events could be predicted by close examination of the heavens.

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Sumerian astronomy was also used to determine the seasons, letting farmers know about the most auspicious times for planting and harvesting. They closely observed solar and lunar eclipses. Their accurate predictions of these events were ascribed to magic by the common people.

The Sumerians and other Mesopotamian peoples also practiced numerology. They used a special numbering system to divide the dome of the sky into sectors. Their sexagesimal, or base 60, numerical system developed into the arc measurement system that is still used today.

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