history and philosophy of astrology Video

Egyptian Astrology and The Naos of the Decades

Egyptian NaosA couple of months ago my friend went to this exhibit at a museum in Paris that had what is called the Naos of the Decades on display. She took some pics and video clips of it for me because I was totally amazed and surprised to hear that it was on display. The Naos of the Decades is this stone structure which lists the Egyptian decans on it and provides information about their astrological meaning. The decans are these 10 degree asterisms that lie just off the ecliptic and were initially used by the Egyptians for time-keeping purposes, although they eventually came to be used astrologically. The importance of the Naos of the Decades is that it appears to provide evidence for a much older tradition of Egyptian astrology than scholars previously assumed existed. Until recently it appeared that the Egyptians didn’t develop an advanced tradition of decanic astrology until the 1st or 2nd century BCE, but The Naos of the Decades is now being dated to the 5th century BCE.[1]

Hellenistic astrology was created as a result of a synthesis of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian traditions of astrology sometime around the 1st or 2nd century BCE, and while the origins of the Mesopotamian or Babylonian tradition of astrology have been established as reaching as far back as the 2nd millennium BCE, it is quite interesting to see that the Egyptians were providing the Mesopotamian astrologers with some competition at least by the 5th century.

While it is true that the ancient Egyptians never developed any terribly complex forms of astrology because they lacked an advanced mathematical astronomy, some scholars such as Jim Tester have pointed out that the decans may have spurred the development of the “houses” in horoscopic astrology because of the emphasis on the diurnal motion of the stars around the Earth.

So, here is a clip of the Naos along with some links to other clips. It was recovered from the ocean floor in three difference pieces over the course of the past century or so, so it isn’t in very good shape, but still…

5 replies on “Egyptian Astrology and The Naos of the Decades”

Thank you so so much for sharing this Blog with me.
I wrote a detailed book In 2005, about the ancient Egyptians constellations, and how things might have been divided through time. I have only visited Egypt (A lot) but I have not been to Paris and seen things there. And especially not the Naos exhibition (I wish that I could see it in person). But having your clips is as good! Actually you might make me able to make the 2 edition (which I have intended all along – a deep detailed book, but very easy to read).
Another funny thought, here the other night I was writing in the blog ‘the history of astrology blog’, when I suddenly realized that I had forgotten a book which I had bought, it dates from 1888 and gives a detailed description of the Hellenistic legends/old myths/ and other stories. It is a German document which has been translated to Danish back in the 18’century. – So I am going to update some things. But I thought it would be funny to see if I notice something on the Naos shrine (takes time to study and analyze – but I love it).
I’ve written a lot about ancient Egypt and their ways, which if you are interested, you can find at under ‘Egypt’.
I am so grateful that you shared you blog with me!

WindBlower – Karima

I’m incredibly envious of the fact that you have visited Egypt, and I love your blog. I would be very interested to see more of your work. I found something else here in Paris the other night that you might be interested in. I went to the Louve and I saw the Zodiac of Denderah. I took some pics and some video that I will upload soon. I think that you will find it interesting. I think that the Naos exibit is actually in Germany right now, so if you are able to make it I would totally recommend it. Keep up the good work!


Thanks for your report, I would like to make an observation.

There is a tendency in academia to assume that because something has not been found, that it therefore does not exist. I know from my own field of study (music) that this is not necessarily so.

We have to be very careful when we mention thing as if they are a fact when the statements are far from fact. A case in point:

“While it is true that the ancient Egyptians never developed any terribly complex forms of astrology because they lacked an advanced mathematical astronomy…”

This statement is based only on what has been found, particularly the so-called Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. It is also a common viewpoint that has been established by scholars since the time of Otto Neugebauer (maybe , Richard Parker falls into this category also). Statements that Neugebauer made (the Egyptian civilization was a hindrance to the development of mankind – never managed to produce any significant work of benefit for humanity) clearly show that he was hostile to the idea of an advanced Egyptian civilization, and in favor of an advanced Babylonian civilization, so of course his analysis are bias.

However more recent work seems to indicate that there is more even in those found papyrus than meet the eye. Further evidence is taken from other more practical use of mathematics, not to mention that in order to build what they did there must have been some serious math at work.

Also the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus contains sections that suggest precursors to integral calculus.

In fact the find of the Naos of the Decades itself shows the error of assuming that just because something has not been ‘found’ does not mean that it does ot exist. Scholars have been very quick to disregard the ancient Greeks own writings and instead attribute their astrological knowledge to the Babylonians, despite what Vittius Valens and others have stated themselves.

I would rather believe contemporary authors who had access to much more material, than people who are making assumptions more than 2000 years later based on fragmentary evidence, and then calling this ‘fact’.


Point taken.

Some of the work done on the Naos recently has really opened my eyes to some of the possible Egyptian contributions to Hellenistic astrology, and I feel much more open to entertaining arguments about greater Egyptian influence then I did a few years ago when I wrote this article.

Hi, just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate post. I was in Miwaukee and went to see this exhibit. It is fantastic and it seems they have found a few more pieces and have been able to assemble the Naos more to its original form. Awesome.
Thanks so much for your effort with this.
Sue from Canada