• Otto Neugebauer
Part of the Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences book series (HISTORY, volume 1)


Egypt has no place in a work on the history of mathematical astronomy. Nevertheless I devote a separate “Book” on this subject in order to draw the reader’s attention to its insignificance which cannot be too strongly emphasized in comparison with the Babylonian and the Greek contribution to the development of scientific astronomy.


Roman Period Hellenistic Period Middle Kingdom Temple Service Zodiacal Sign 
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  1. 1.
    As far as I can see only China has developed a theoretical astronomy totally independent of Mesopotamian influences.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cf. Neugebauer [1939].Google Scholar
  3. 2a.
    These names are derived from divinities or their festivals associated with the month in question; cf. Černý [1943].Google Scholar
  4. 2b.
    The customary pronounciation of the Egyptian names of the seasons is akhet, peret, shemu, respectively.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    Cf. Neugebauer-Parker, EAT I, p. 97ff.Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Cf. Neugebauer-Parker, EAT II.Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Cf. Borchardt, Zeitm.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Neugebauer-Parker, EAT I, p. 116ff. Cf. also below p. 706.Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    Cf. Neugebauer-Parker, EAT I, p. 28 (Pl. 4, 6, 8, etc.); EAT III, p. 183ff.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    Cf. H. Idris Bell, Egypt from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest (Oxford 1948 ), p. 70.Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    Cf. Servius, in Vergilii carmina commentarii, ed. Thilo-Hagen, Vol. 3, 2 (1902), p. 330, 10. For Conon cf. also below p. 572.Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    Suidas, ed. Adler I, 2, p. 702, 10.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    Mathes. II, 2 ed. Kroll-Skutsch, p. 42, 8–14.Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    Weather Signs 57 (Loeb, Plants II, p. 432/433).Google Scholar
  15. 13.
    Cf. below p.695.Google Scholar
  16. 14.
    Ptolemy refers nowhere to Egyptians for astronomical observations or theories (cf. the index in Ptol. Opera I, 2, p. 271 f.), only to calendaric concepts and to some astrological doctrines which he traditionally accepts as of Egyptian origin (cf. the index in Ptol., Opera III, 2, p. 71, edition of 1952 ).Google Scholar
  17. 15.
    Cf. below p. 929.Google Scholar
  18. 16.
    Rehm, Parap., p. 35, p. 101–104; RE Par., col. 1351f.Google Scholar
  19. 17.
    Pliny NH XVIII, 57 (Loeb V, p. 325/327); cf. below p.612.Google Scholar
  20. 18.
    Rehm, RE Par., col. 1351, 35.Google Scholar
  21. 19.
    Almagest XIII, 10 (Manitius II, p. 383); cf. above p.234.Google Scholar
  22. 20.
    Cf. below p.588.Google Scholar
  23. 1.
    Above p. 119.Google Scholar
  24. 2.
    Parker, Cal., p. 15–23.Google Scholar
  25. 3.
    The reckoning of the lunar months from the day of last visibility (or of invisibility) is in all probability caused by the Egyptian reckoning of the day from sunrise, a procedure which in itself is most natural and does not require any astronomical motivation. Cf. Sethe, Zeitr., p. 130 to 138 for the evidence for the morning epoch of the day from the different periods of Egyptian history; that the same norm is still valid during the Roman period follows from the dates given in the Almagest (cf. below p. 1068 and Fig. 2, p. 1433 ).Google Scholar
  26. 4.
    Parker, Cal., p. 24ff. reconstructed, on the basis of actually attested lunar dates, rules for the length of intermediate months. I do not see, however, why P. Carlsberg 9 omitted the intermediate dates if they had to follow definite rules.Google Scholar
  27. 5.
    Neugebauer-Van Hoesen, Gr. Hor., p. 10.Google Scholar
  28. 6.
    Cf. above p. 554.Google Scholar
  29. 1.
    Cf. Neugebauer-Parker, EAT I, p. 36.Google Scholar
  30. 2.
    Published by Parker, Vienna Pap. (1959).Google Scholar
  31. 3.
    Cf. for these texts below p. 787f.Google Scholar
  32. 4.
    Thoth, Phaophi, ... etc. (cf. above p. 560).Google Scholar
  33. 5.
    For the characterization of Macnaughton’s astronomy it may suffice to mention that he finds (p. 250) for a demotic (!) horoscope on a coffin lid the date −879 Sept. 25/27. Actually it belongs to a person who died in A.D. 125 and who was born A.D. 93, about October 16 (Neugebauer [1943], p. 115).Google Scholar
  34. 1.
    Strasbourg D 521; cf. Neugebauer [1943], p. 121 f.Google Scholar
  35. 2.
    Borchardt, Zeitm., p. 55, note 1.Google Scholar
  36. 3.
    Neugebauer-Parker [ 1968 ]. Correct in the commentary on p. 233 the solar longitude to 4 and change the subsequent data accordingly, in particular 25 as longitude of the moon.Google Scholar
  37. 4.
    Cf. Neugebauer [ 1943 ] and Neugebauer-Van Hoesen, Gr. Hor.Google Scholar
  38. 5.
    Cf. below IV D 2, 1 A.Google Scholar
  39. 6.
    Cf. below p. 742.Google Scholar
  40. 7.
    Published by Georgy Sobhy [1942]; cf. below p. 743.Google Scholar
  41. 8.
    Cf. Cod. Aeth. Vat. No. 119 (p. 484, 10); unpublished. Demetrius is also known for an Easter cycle which was transmitted to Hippolytus in Rome (cf. below p. 944). This cycle was based on an octaeteris, in Roman usage expanded to a 16-year cycle and to a 112-year cycle (=7. 16). Cf. Richard [1966] and [1974]. Cf. also Georgy Sobhy [ 1942 ].Google Scholar
  42. 9.
    From P. Lond. 98; cf. Neugebauer-Van Hoesen, Gr. Hor., p. 32ff.Google Scholar
  43. 10.
    Cf. EAT III, p. 218.Google Scholar
  44. 11.
    Published by P. Bouriant [1904].Google Scholar
  45. 12.
    Cf. Stegemann [1935].Google Scholar
  46. 13.
    From an ostracon from the west side of Thebes; cf. Ginzel [1883] and Allen [1947].Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Otto Neugebauer
    • 1
  1. 1.Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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