Who Invented the Zodiac Signs? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Without a doubt, just about all of us have taken certain aspects of life for granted in one way or another. For example, we know there’s an outlet we can use to plug in various appliances, but we never really take the time to figure out how outlets work or where they come from. Of course, the history of the outlet might be a little too mundane, so how about we look into the history of something a little more fascinating — something like the zodiac signs perhaps?

Most people know about how zodiac signs work because of how deeply embedded it is in our modern society. While not everyone is aware of all the zodiac signs, most people are aware of their own sign — and what such a sign entails. Let’s look into the overall history of zodiac signs, and see if we can develop a little timeline to act as a guide.

Who invented the zodiac signs?

Such a distinction goes to the ancient Mesopotamians, specifically the Babylonians. The Babylonians were known to be an enlightened civilization, which led to the invention of various concepts, including the 12 zodiac signs. Considering they followed a 12-month calendar, similar to today, they assigned each month a zodiac sign.

The zodiac signs’ key contributors (and evolution)

  • Babylonians
    Invented the concept of the zodiac signs

    The beliefs and observations of modern astrology mostly stems from the system of the Babylonians. They utilized a system with 12 zodiac signs. There are even constellations that can be traced back to the 1st Babylonian Dynasty.

  • Ancient Egyptians
    Utilize their own form of the zodiac system

    Similar to the Babylonians, the ancient Egyptians were also quite interested in stars and constellations, and used information from the Babylonians to develop their form of the zodiac system. Their zodiac signs were based on the Egyptian pantheon.

  • Hebrews
    Utilized a system similar to the 12 zodiac signs

    There’s no denying that the Hebrews made an impact that is part of the foundation of the modern world. That said, did you know the 12 tribes of Israel potentially point to the 12 zodiac signs, or the Hebrew calendar using the same 12-month lunar years?

  • Greeks and Romans
    Babylonian influences in Greek and Roman astronomy

    The system of the Romans is quite similar to that of the Greeks, even going so far as adopting their gods and goddesses under different names. They also deferred to the constellations, with many Babylonian influences in Greek and Roman astronomy.

  • Medieval Islam
    Further delved into astrology and the zodiac

    It was widely believed during the time of medieval Islam that the zodiacs and the planets influenced not only people, but the destiny of nations. The field of astrology grew even further, before eventually being simplified in the early modern renditions of zodiac signs.

When were the zodiac signs invented?

It’s said that the 12 zodiac signs were invented in Babylon around 1500 BC, though knowledge of the zodiac existed before then.

A brief history of zodiac signs

These days, most people know all about the 12 signs of the zodiac, as well as what each sign entails. Whether or not you believe it, there’s no denying the influence of the zodiac signs in modern society. Such is the reason why it’s so interesting to look into the origin of the zodiac signs. Simply put, the Babylonians were the first to start the concept of the zodiac signs, based on their observations and beliefs regarding the stars and constellations.

So thorough was their system that just about every other civilization that tackled astrology used the system provided by the Babylonians and sought to improve it. For example, the ancient Egyptians used a similar system based on the observations of the Babylonians, replacing the signs with their gods and goddesses. The Hebrews were known to adopt Babylonian systems — some would even argue that the 12 tribes of Israel came from the 12 zodiacs. The same thing goes for their 12-month lunar years.

The Greeks and Romans adopted the system as well, adopting Babylonian influences. Medieval Islam also took from the Babylonians, though they sought to perfect the system provided by the people who came before. These days, the zodiac signs are interpreted similarly compared to the way it was before, though much more streamlined. 

The zodiac signs timeline

  1. 1800-1500 BC
    The creation of the zodiac signs

    With the dawn of the first Babylonian Dynasty, the Babylonians already had their sights set at the stars. Thanks to their observations and beliefs, the zodiac system was formed.

  2. 305 BC
    Ptolemaic Egyptian influences

    Taking from the history and astrology of ancient Babylonians, the last dynasty of the Egyptians developed a similar zodiac system. The Romans followed suit.

  3. 622-1258 AD
    Medieval Islam influences

    Medieval Islam also took from the Babylonians, though they sought to perfect the system provided by the people who came before. These days, the zodiac signs are interpreted similarly compared to the way it was before, though much more streamlined. 

  4. Present day
    The modern interpretation of the 12 zodiac signs

    These days, just about everyone knows about zodiac signs, even if they might not know every detail about each sign. Its connections to the constellations has been streamlined for the masses, though anyone interested in the zodiac and the constellations will still find plenty to learn thanks to the influence of the Babylonians.

Where were zodiac signs invented?

Zodiac signs were invented in ancient Babylon.

The importance of zodiac signs

  • Influencing civilization for thousands of years

    Whether or not you believe in the constellations and the planets influencing actions and destiny, there’s no denying that the zodiac signs have influenced civilization for thousands of years. From the Egyptians and the Greeks to the Romans and the Hebrews, just about every civilization uses the zodiac in one way or another.

  • An interesting way to see the cosmos

    It seems so strange that the alignment of the planets and the placement of the constellations could possibly influence the way people act. However, there are some surprising similarities when you compare the behavior of specific people based on their zodiac signs.

  • The gateway to the stars

    Just because everything might seem a little too convenient — at least the aspects pertaining to destiny and influence — it doesn’t change the fact that zodiac signs offer a gateway to learning all about the stars. After all, the zodiac comes from the constellation, which is only the beginning of what astrology offers.

  • A fascinating way to look at history

    Did you know that the Incas had a surprising amount of knowledge when it came to the stars? It’s the reason the Mayan calendar was so complex. Most ancient civilizations had a relationship with the stars, turning the zodiac into a gateway not only to astrology, but to the civilizations that studied the stars.

Zodiac signs by the numbers

  • 410Did you know that the oldest horoscope — insight into human lives through the stars — was dated to be from 410 BC?
  • 27When it comes to the star sign that seems to have the highest number of billionaires, that would be Libra. In the Forbes list of billionaires, 27 of them are Librans.
  • 13Did you know that there was a 13th sign of the zodiac? Ophiucus would have been the 13th zodiac sign, had the Babylonians not decided that 12 was a much better number compared to 13. Can you imagine a 13th sign? Would’ve been pretty fascinating.
  • 2They say that the Taurus sign is much more susceptible to being ticklish than the other signs. What a strange little fact for the 2nd astrological sign!

Five facts about zodiac signs

  • The signs most likely to be indecisive

    If you’re wondering which sign is known to be the most indecisive, Gemini takes the cake. That said, Pisces, Libra and Sagittarius are also zodiac signs that have trouble coming to a decision.

  • Belief in astrology

    It’s understandable to be on the fence when it comes to the belief in astrology, but you’d be surprised just how many people believe in zodiac signs. ⅓ of Americans believe in astrology, which is a surprising number when you think about it.

  • The most common birth date

    Typically, if you want to figure out the most uncommon birthday, you just have to look into the time when people are busiest. As such, Capricorns are the most uncommon as it’s during Christmas and the New Year. The most common sign on the other hand, is the Virgo, with Sept 9 being the most common birth date.

  • The sun and moon

    The sun sign is what people tend to look into the most, but recent studies have shown that the moon sign is just as important. Compared to the sun sign, which is your primary sign, the moon sign pertains to your deepest thoughts.

  • The sign of world leaders

    The most common sign for world leaders is Scorpio, which actually makes a lot of sense if you study the traits of the star sign.

FAQ about zodiac signs

  • Is astrology real?

    That’s a loaded question. If you want an honest answer, who knows if it’s real? It’s just amazing that so many people have utilized such a fascinating system to figure out how the planets and stars influence our destiny.

  • Should I take horoscopes to heart?

    If you want my advice, it’s important to take everything with a grain of salt. There’s always a chance that things might not pan out, but it never hurts to be wary based on your horoscope. The best way to tackle horoscopes is not to take it too seriously.

  • Which zodiac sign earns the most money?

    Funny enough, there’s a study showcasing the different astrological signs that earn the most money. They say that the Leo, Cancer, and Taurus signs are the most likely to earn more money. Capricorns on the other hand, are the least likely to earn.

  • Do you think zodiac signs will ever fizzle out and die?

    There’s no telling what the future holds, but I very much doubt that astrology will ever die out. There’s just something incredibly fascinating about the alignments of the planets and constellations in relation to our personal destiny.

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