The division of the ecliptic into the zodiacal signs originates in Babylonian ("Chaldean") astronomy during the first half of the 1st millennium BC. Each sign contained thirty degrees of celestial longitude, thus creating the first known celestial coordinate system.
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Horoscopic astrology first appeared in Ptolemaic Egypt (305 BC–30 BC). 50 BC, is the first known depiction of the classical zodiac of twelve signs.
The earliest extant Greek text using the Babylonian division of the zodiac into 12 signs of 30 equal degrees each is the Anaphoricus of Hypsicles of Alexandria (fl.
The zodiac was in use by the Roman era, based on concepts inherited by Hellenistic astronomy from Babylonian astronomy of the Chaldean period (mid-1st millennium BC), which, in turn, derived from an earlier system of lists of stars along the ecliptic.
The term "zodiac" may also refer to the region of the celestial sphere encompassing the paths of the planets corresponding to the band of about eight arc degrees above and below the ecliptic.
However, for most of us – even January and February babies – determining our Chinese Zodiac signs based on the Gregorian calendar is sufficient enough for our purposes.
The zodiac is an area of the sky that extends approximately 8° north or south (as measured in celestial latitude) of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year.Babylonia or Chaldea in the Hellenistic world came to be so identified with astrology that "Chaldean wisdom" became among Greeks and Romans the synonym of divination through the planets and stars.Hellenistic astrology derived in part from Babylonian and Egyptian astrology.The twelve astrological signs form a celestial coordinate system, or more specifically an ecliptic coordinate system, which takes the ecliptic as the origin of latitude and the Sun's position at vernal equinox as the origin of longitude., "animal").The name reflects the prominence of animals (and mythological hybrids) among the twelve signs.Chinese Zodiac is a chart that relates each birth year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year cycle.