Some curious memorials of the superstition have survived in rings and amulets, engraven with the various signs, and worn as a kind of astral defensive armour.
An important factor which thus served to maintain the rites in a more or less stable condition was the predominance of what may be called the astral theology as the theoretical substratum of the Babylonian religion, and which is equally pronounced in the religious system of Assyria.
The persistent prominence which astrology continued to enjoy down to the border-line of the scientific movement of our own days, and which is directly traceable to the divination methods perfected in the Euphrates valley, is a tribute to the scope and influence attained by the astral theology of the Babylonian and Assyrian priests.
Totemism, astral religion, jurisprudence).
It is significant that in the royal collection of cuneiform literature made by King Assur-bani-pal of Assyria (668-626 B.C.) and deposited in his palace at Nineveh, the omen collections connected with the astral theology of Babylonia and Assyria form the largest class.
The idea which has long prevailed that Baal was properly a sky-god affords no explanation of the local character of the many baals; on the other hand, on the theory of a higher development where the gods become heavenly or astral beings, the fact that ruder conceptions of nature were still retained (often in the unofficial but more popular forms of cult) is more intelligible.
Anathoth, a few miles to the north-east, points to the cult of the goddess Anath, the near-lying Nob has suggested the name of the Babylonian Nebo, and the neighbouring, though unidentified, Beth-Ninib of the Amarna tablets may indicate the worship of a Babylonian war and astral god (cf.
All the gods, great and small, had their places assigned to them in the heavens, and facts, including such as fell within the domain of political history, were interpreted in terms of astral theology.
This interpretation of the popular tales, according to which the career of the hero can be followed in its entirety and in detail in the movements in the heavens, in time, with the growing predominance of the astral-mythological system, overshadowed the other factors involved, and it is in this form, as an astral myth, that it passes through the ancient world and leaves its traces in the folk-tales and myths of Hebrews, Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks and Romans throughout Asia Minor and even in India.
The mean place of the moon in them, published in all Hindu almanacs, is found to serve unexceptionally the ends of astral vaticination.6 The system upon which it is founded is of great antiquity.