Greek History, Modern Science, and Entemology of Astronomy/Astrology

Oct 2014
California, USA
I was doing some study of greek and latin root words. Astr has to do with stars, ology usually means "study of" when it ends English words (and comes from the smaller greek root "log/logos" meaning word, but also associated with thought/reason).

So, we know that the Greeks studied the stars, but their study was mixed up in their religion...thus our modern meaning of "Astrology" (having to do with the Zodiac).

So, I understand why modern scientists studying the stars choose to distance themselves from the term "astrology" and call their field "astronomers" (the "log" root being replaced by the root word "nom" which comes from the Greek word meaning "arrangement, law, order."

I was wondering if astronomy was specifically created as a way to distinguish the study of the stars NOT for religious/zodiac purposes, from the study of the stars for those purposes, or if it existed earlier and just came to be used that way.


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
I'm not sure when the split occurred, but Tycho Brahe who scientifically measured planetary motion in an attempt to determine if the universe was sun-centered or earth-centered, did so while employed as Denmark's court astrologer. He lived in the early 1600s, so at that time there was not yet any sharp division between astrology and astronomy.

The question of whether the universe/solar system was earth- or sun- centered is vitally important for purposes of making an accurate calendar. Star-based calendars have existed for thousands of years. The ancient Babylonians and Egyptians had and used them. Star gazing seems to have always had both religious and scientific applications.