The 12 signs of the zodiac are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. The signs were named after 12 constellations that early astrologers linked to the progression of lunar cycles.
The ancient Egyptians are credited with creating the 12 signs of the zodiac. Astrology was later adopted by the Babylonians as a means to predict the changing of the seasons and certain events among the stars. Beginning in the 4th century B.C., the Greeks, Romans and Arabs all embraced astrology as a science. The Roman names for the 12 signs are still used in modern times.
The 12 signs are divided among the four elements. Aries, Sagittarius and Leo are fire signs, while Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are water signs. Libra, Aquarius and Gemini are air signs, and Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo are Earth signs. Because the division of the zodiac is associated with Earth's rotation and the position of the solar system, each sign is associated with either a planet, the sun or the moon.
The 12 signs of the zodiac are used to form astrological charts. These can theoretically help an individual understand his personality and life path based on the position of the planets at his time of birth.
Interest in astrology has persisted throughout history. Because there is no modern scientific basis for the zodiac, many associate it with superstition. Others insist that certain forms of astrology are valid.