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The Primeval Zodiac: its Social, Religious, and Mythological Background
Lorenzo Verderame


The zodiac first appeared in Babylonian texts of the beginning of the 2nd millenium BC from Mesopotamia, modern Iraq. Its origin probably dates back to the Sumerian culture of the 3rd millenium BC, as it is suggested by different elements. When the sources became homogeneous in form, content and geographical distribution, the zodiac had already been arranged in the shape of the one that modern culture has inherited from the Greeks. But, far from being homogeneous, this zodiac appears to be the canonization of different stratified traditions. A great part of these traditions clearly link up to the agricultural panorama described in the earlier mythical cycle, as well as to the social structure of the earlier Sumerian community.