The zodiac (Greek: ζoδιακός, zōdiakos) is the term used to describe the circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude that are centered upon the ecliptic – the path of the sun. The term zodiac derives from Latin zōdiacus, which in its turn comes from the Greek ζoδιακoς κύκλος (zōdiakos kuklos), meaning “circle of animals”.
From the earliest of times, the zodiac has been universally used to predict or reflect characteristics of personality, whether from the Chinese, Mesopotamian, Indus Valley, Egyptian or any other culture, echoing the ancient philosophy ‘As above – so below‘… what we today call astrology.
Astrology, in its broadest sense, is the search for purpose in the heavens.
We know from ancient records that the Greeks inherited their knowledge of the heavens primarily from the Mesopotamians, who in turn inherited their knowledge from the Sumerians. But is there any evidence of the heavenly constellations in art or culture from before this time.
The Armenian Zodiac:
While it is traditionally claimed that the earliest reference to the zodiac originates with the Babylonians, the discovery of an observatory in Metsamor, Armenia, predating the Babylonian kingdom by almost 2,000 years has changed our perception of events as the observatory at Metsamor apparently contains the first recorded example of dividing the year into 12 sections. Using an early form of geometry, the inhabitants of Metsamor were able to create both a calendar and envision the curve of the earth.
The discovery of the astronomical “observatory” at Metsamor and the presence of engravings which have been speculatively called ‘zodiac creatures’ has given credence to the assertion that the ancient figures of the constellations were probably created by ancient peoples living in the Euphrates valley and near Mount Ararat in eastern Anatolia and Armenia.
Author: Anna Amiryan