This essay aims at telling the story of the rediscovery of Babylonian astronomy and of the wrestling of the early pioneers with the astronomical cuneiform texts in trying to understand the ingenious Babylonian numerical schemes for the computation of the celestial positions of the Sun, Moon and planets. When Otto Neugebauer entered the stage in the early 1930s, this pioneering phase had already come to an end. While at that time the field of Babylonian mathematical astronomy had been created, it needed Neugebauer to develop it into a well-established discipline in the history of science. This he accomplished almost single-handedly by systematically analyzing all texts available to him at the time in great depth and detail, eventually resulting in the publication of his magnum opus Astronomical Cuneiform Texts (Neugebauer 1955; here often referred to as ACT). In this essay I will strictly limit myself to the period 1880–1950, but most of what is in ACT is previewed in papers published before 1950.

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Book Alexander Jones; Christine Proust; John M. Steele (2016) A Mathematician's Journeys: Otto Neugebauer and Modern Transformations of Ancient Science.

Citation URI

Chapter
John M. Steele;
(2016)

The Circulation of Astronomical Knowledge between Babylon and Uruk
(/isis/citation/CBB739825106/)

Article
Mathieu Ossendrijver;
(2018)

Bisecting the Trapezoid: Tracing the Origins of a Babylonian Computation of Jupiter’s Motion
(/isis/citation/CBB820929403/)

Chapter
Mathieu Ossendrijver;
(2016)

Translating Babylonian Mathematical Astronomy: Neugebauer and Beyond
(/isis/citation/CBB245236710/)

Chapter
John M. Steele;
(2016)

Neugebauer’s *Astronomical Cuneiform Texts* and Its Reception
(/isis/citation/CBB264607707/)

Chapter
Matthew T. Rutz;
(2016)

Astral Knowledge in an International Age: Transmission of the Cuneiform Tradition, ca. 1500–1000 B.C.
(/isis/citation/CBB538385149/)

Article
Yasuyuki Mitsuma;
(2015)

From Preliminary Diaries to Short Diaries: The First and Second Steps in the Compilation Process of the Late Babylonian Astronomical Diaries
(/isis/citation/CBB206124503/)

Book
Ossendrijver, Mathieu;
(2012)

Babylonian Mathematical Astronomy: Procedure Texts
(/isis/citation/CBB001200940/)

Chapter
Christine Proust;
(2016)

Mathematical and Philological Insights on Cuneiform Texts. Neugebauer’s Correspondence with Fellow Assyriologists
(/isis/citation/CBB123537839/)

Chapter
John Z. Wee;
(2016)

Virtual Moons over Babylonia: The Calendar Text System, Its Micro-Zodiac of 13, and the Making of Medical Zodiology
(/isis/citation/CBB650420164/)

Chapter
Jens Høyrup;
(2016)

As the Outsider Walked in the Historiography of Mesopotamian Mathematics Until Neugebauer
(/isis/citation/CBB460924593/)

Chapter
M. Willis Monroe;
(2016)

The Micro-Zodiac in Babylon and Uruk: Seleucid Zodiacal Astrology
(/isis/citation/CBB318135605/)

Chapter
Duncan J. Melville;
(2016)

After Neugebauer: Recent Developments in Mesopotamian Mathematics
(/isis/citation/CBB913237179/)

Chapter
Béatrice André-Salvini;
(2016)

François Thureau-Dangin and Cuneiform Mathematics
(/isis/citation/CBB293839597/)

Book
Frances Reynolds;
(2020)

A Babylon Calendar Treatise: Scholars and Invaders in the Late First Millennium BC: Edited with Introduction, Commentary, and Cuneiform Texts
(/isis/citation/CBB027091149/)

Chapter
Damerow, Peter;
(2012)

The Origins of Writing and Arithmetic
(/isis/citation/CBB001422687/)

Article
Christine Proust;
(2022)

The sexagesimal place-value notation and abstract numbers in mathematical cuneiform texts
(/isis/citation/CBB388966363/)

Article
Marcella Giulia Lorenzi;
Mauro Francaviglia;
(2010)

Dal cosmo al numero e alla geometria euclidea
(/isis/citation/CBB384645759/)

Chapter
Zackary Wainer;
(2016)

Traditions of Mesopotamian Celestial-Divinatory Schemes and the 4th Tablet of *Šumma Sin ina Tāmartišu*
(/isis/citation/CBB533144245/)

Chapter
Clemency Montelle;
(2016)

The Anaphoricus of Hypsicles of Alexandria
(/isis/citation/CBB171708628/)

Article
Steven Shnider;
(2017)

Britton’s Theory of the Creation of Column Φ in Babylonian System a Lunar Theory
(/isis/citation/CBB491643173/)

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