This project traces the evolution of 18 constellations along the ecliptic which around 400 BCE formed the 12 zodiac signs we know today.


Information about this evolution originates from cuneiform texts dating to the second half of the 2nd and first half of the 1st millennium BCE. While analysing the texts, it became evident that not all constellations began their life-cycle in the same text genre/tradition or even at the same time, despite some names being well-established in Babylonian culture, either in text or in iconography. After their establishment, the constellations underwent further modifications gaining detail in structure and divinatory and astronomical use or conversely becoming less detailed. The project will end with a detailed curriculum vitae of each constellation showing the changes that took place and offering explanations as to why they might have happened.

The project is part of the program History of Ancient Scince (HistAS) of the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS).