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We have all, in some way or another, knowingly or unknowingly, been affected by astrology. Whether it’s your mom who refers to your local astrologer for every move you make in life, or the zodiac signs section of your daily newspaper that you’re skeptical about but still can’t help but to glance through. So how did this all-encompassing theory originate? Where did it come from? When was Astrology first used?
This blog is not going to go over the origin story of astrology, instead, it’ll focus on the first time it was used and who used it. Exciting discoveries have been made on this topic, and we’re here to share them with you!
A research team uncovered what is possibly the oldest astrologer’s board in existence. And where do you think this discovery was made? Croatia! It was found in a cave there in front of the Adriatic Sea, and it has been estimated to be at least 2000 years old. Whatever was recovered of it consisted of 30 fragments made of ivory, and carved in them were some of the 12 signs of the zodiac. Some more of the signs were later found with further digging, and when they were pieced together, they formed the symbols of Cancer, Gemini, and Pisces.
Next to the board was a phallic stalagmite sitting among tens of thousands of ancient Greek glasses, or, a more appropriate term for them would be tumblers.
Scientists have tried to imagine the scenario of this setting around 2000 years back, and they have painted a picture of an astrologer, probably one of the first of his kind, analyzing the horoscope board and trying to predict a person’s life outcomes. He probably used the board to show the person, possibly a customer, the positions of the 9 planets, sun, and moon at the time of the person’s birth.
This discovery is the oldest of any other ones we’ve had! It was a life-changing experience for the team of researchers that made this discovery because they hadn’t expected to make it as the cave had been sealed off around 2000 years back. So imagine their shock when they found a broad, short pathway that went on for almost 10 meters through the pitch darkness that led to the cave! One of the researchers on this expedition described it as “one of a kind, a King Tut experience- going to a place approached by nobody for thousands of years.”
When they first entered the cave, the archaeologists described there to be a fragile layer of limestone on the surface of the ground, and it cracked under their feet with every step. This led to the conclusion that no one had stepped into that cave for ages.
They also found out later on that the reason for the cave’s main entrance being closed was because, in the first century B.C., the Romans sealed it off as a result of a war that was fought against the local people.
Lying in wait for them inside the cave was the aforementioned fragments of the astrologer’s board, along a rod-shaped structure made of stalagmite, and about a thousand tumblers. They then lay eyes upon small pieces of ivory, and even though they were confused at first, they immediately got to work putting these ivory pieces together. With every ivory piece that was added, the more they found themselves looking at a familiar structure, which by the end of it they had determined to be the remains of the oldest astrologer’s board we know of.
Researchers are not sure of where the board was assembled, but they’ve stated that there’s a high chance of it being made in Egypt. The ivory used in the board was studied, and the elephants killed to get it were found to be alive 2,200 years back, which dates the board back for that amount of time too.
From Egypt, the Greek colonies must have transported the ivory by the Adriatic Sea, which flows in front of the cave, to Croatia. The cave must have been visited by one of the Greeks to make a prediction. The dimly lit cave with dangling stalagmite must have been a great setting to make a horoscopic prediction in. Once all this was done, the board must have been left there for the Greek Colonies to pay a visit to their Croatian hosts, and it was later forgotten about.
Another hypothesis is that the Croatians, or Illyrians as they were called in those days, must have stolen the board thinking it was of great value. They were probably at a loss on what to do with it, so they placed it as an offering to the Gods of the cave.
Whatever it was, we must consider ourselves lucky to be able to experience events that happened centuries before we were born through these tidbits. And for that, we thank you, modern technology!
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