I need help

Well, you knew that.

But I also have a specific problem:

Years ago, probably when I was around 12 years old, but possibly as late as my college years, I read an essay or possibly a chapter in a book about the Zodiac, and how it can be interpreted as a sort of travelers’ map of the ancient Near East. I remember that everything depended on which direction following each constellation would take you at a certain time of year, but the gist was that Sagittarius (the centaur archer) pointed you towards the steppe domains of horse-archer nomads; Aries the ram pointed toward mountains or something like that, Pisces points to the sea and so on. It would be a way for merchants to tell which way to go on land, as I recall it.

The essay probably had an image of the zodiac in a circle superimposed over a map of the Mediterranean or the fertile crescent.

Does anyone know what I’m talking about, and more importantly do you know where I can find this again? Could have been in a science magazine, a history book, an miscellany, or something else. I want to say Isaac Asimov wrote it but I’m not really sure he did. It is certainly the sort of thing he’d write about…

Who cares? Well, this has nagged me frequently (usually when I’m away from a computer or library) and it seems like a clever thing to throw into your world-building. Any help is appreciated.

No, before you ask, it’s not this, although that is interesting too.

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Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Not sure if these are on the right track:
    http://www.theosophical.org.uk/11SacredGeog.htm
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/17748061/Astrology-Cosmology-Geosophy
    Neither gives the specifics I think your looking for, but perhaps they might have references to something on the trail.

    Also, I know Agrippa pings up a lot for Zodiac material, perhaps more ‘cartographic’ terms in the searches might help.

    The word ‘zodiac’ really makes it hard to use Google.

    • That looks a lot more scholarly than the thing I am remembering but is probably on the right track. I have requested a copy from my library and will look it over.
      The Scribd document was looking funky at work (some kind of font issue?); I’ll check from home.

  2. It’s an Isaac Asimov essay, which isn’t any help at all, because he wrote a billion essays. However, my recollection is that it’s specifically from Isaac Asimov’s Guide the the Bible. I remember how weird it was to have a sudden explanation of astrology in a book that wasn’t about astrology.

    • Thanks, man! I’ll check it out!


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