22 Why Egyptologists Avoid Astronomical Dating of Egyptian Zodiacs

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We have already explained that if on an old zodiac there are shown planets among the zodiac constellations, or in other words, if there is a horoscope contained in the zodiac, then there is sufficient evidence to consider this zodiac as an astronomical record of a certain date. Today, with help of modern astronomy and computers, we are able to decipher these dates, or at least, suggest possible variants for such dates. This is, in general, the basic idea of the astronomical dating of old zodiacs. This idea is not new. On the turn of the 18th century, when European scientists, following the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt, gained for the first time an access to Egypt, they discovered a number of ancient zodiacs. When these zodiacs became known in Europe, they immediately attracted a lot of attention by European historians and astronomers, who recognized their definite astronomical character. The scientists realized that this was a unique opportunity to calculate some of the exact dates from ancient Egyptian history. For this purpose there was undertaken an effort to decode the exact astronomical meaning of the zodiacs and calculate their dates. However, all these attempts were conducted under the assumption that the dates hidden inside the zodiacs, should be restricted to the time interval imposed by Scaliger's chronology of ancient Egypt. It seems that the belief in Scaliger's chronology was stronger than the objectivity expected from a proper scientific investigation and the results, which did not satisfy the expectations of historians, were not even considered as an option. Unfortunately, all the work done did not produce any result. There was not even one date which was satisfactory from the astronomical point of view and could agree with Scaliger's chronology of ancient Egypt!

Let us dwell on this subject. First of all, the Egyptian zodiacs displaying typical zodiac constellations, according to the prevailing opinion of historians, are related to time of the Roman influence in Egypt, i.e. the epoch around the first century A.D. Nevertheless, Egyptologists attempted even to date these zodiacs in much earlier times. For example, the Denderah zodiacs were initially claimed

Figure 2.24: Old portrait of Ptolemy with simple astronomical instrument in his hand similar to the instruments shown on the Libyan Palette. (Taken from [21], page 8)

to be made around the year 15 000 B.C.5. However, there were too many evident contradictions resulting from such dating. It was incomprehensible why the symbols of the zodiac constellations on ancient Egyptian zodiacs are exactly the same as in medieval European book. The European astrology is considered to have Roman, not Egyptian, origin! The Roman influence expressed in Egyptian zodiacs could not be ignored and forced historians to shift the epoch of probable creation of these zodiacs to the time not earlier than the first century B.C. On the other hand, as the zodiacs were associated with the ancient Egyptian remains, historians could not accept their dates later than the third century without revising Scaliger's chronology of ancient Egypt. Consequently, dates of the ancient Egyptian zodiacs, which were acceptable to historians, turned out to be limited to a relatively small interval of few hundred years. Any significant deviation from the dates in this time interval would create serious contradictions with the whole concept of ancient Egyptian chronology and history. Unfortunately, for historians, the obtained dates of zodiacs did not fall into this interval. It is very difficult to "stretch" the symbolic interpretation of a zodiac in order to "adjust" the results in such a way that they would fit into the "expected" time interval. The problem is related to the fact that the same horoscope repeats itself usually very rarely — one or two times in thousand years. Many horoscopes repeat only after several thousands of years. Nobody before Morozov had the idea that the time interval considered for the dating of Egyptian zodiacs could be wrong. Actually, accurate and precise astronomical dating of the ancient Egyptian zodiacs can be the best way to determine what should be the correct time interval for Egyptian chronology. Indeed, our computations suggest that the dates of ancient Egyptian horoscopes appear consistently in a specific epoch.

Dissatisfied with the "negative" results of the astronomical dating, Egyptologists practically abandoned the idea of their further dating and declared that these zodiacs were simply astronomical fantasies of ancient artists. Often, they did not make even a simplest attempt to decode such zodiacs and find their dates. A striking example of such a typical approach can be found in the already mentioned paper of O. Neugebauer, R.A. Parker and D. Pingree, where the authors discuss the Petosiris zodiacs: "The position of the planets seems to be inspired by Mithraism6." As another example, we should mention the book by S. Cauville7, where the astronomical dating of the Denderah Round zodiac was simply fabricated to create appearances of scientific justification for made up by historian dates. The method applied by S. Cauville is absolutely unacceptable from the scientific point of view. We leave a detailed discussion of this book for later.

Not every arbitrary configuration of the planets on a zodiac represents a real horoscope. Planetary configurations on the sky are restricted by some laws. For example, Mercury and Venus are always located not too far from the Sun and consequently in proximity of each other. Clearly an artist creating an imaginary horoscope would most likely violate some of those rules. Some knowledge of astronomy is definitely required to design a "realistic" horoscope, but even in such a case, an inventive artist would most probably produce a horoscope, with the date belonging to a very distant past or future. But all the Egyptian zodiacs, that we studied, always contained flawless horoscopes for which solutions exist in a reasonable period of time. So, it is strange that the authors of [5] instead of analyzing the astronomical content of the Egyptian zodiacs indulge into obscure analysis of would-be mystic meaning of their symbols. Maybe, they realized that there are no astronomical solutions complying with Scaliger's chronology. Indeed, such solutions for the Petosiris zodiacs as well as for all other Egyptian zodiacs do not exist!

As another example, let us examine what is written about the astronomical dating of ancient Egyptian zodiacs in the guide to the Egyptian collection of the British Museum8. It appears that there is nothing written about it! When speaking about the dates of the ancient sarcophagi the authors strangely ignore anything related to the astronomical dating of zodiacs painted on these sarcophagi, as it was something with no importance. In all these cases the dating of the Egyptian relics was made without any relation to the available astronomical information. For instance, when

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