Celestial Farming Time Markers Prior to Roman Era

From Antonello, Elio (2012)


(April 24, 2024) In Hesiod’s book (500 BCE) the harvest time of cereals in Greece was indicated by the heliacal rising (when it first becomes visible above the eastern horizon at dawn just before sunrise) of the constellation Pleiades. After the grain stalks were cut and dried the grain was shaken off the stalks (threshing) at a time indicated by the rising of the constellation Orion. 

Trying to extend this pattern further back in time Ello Antonio did some computer simulations to suggest that the rising and setting of the star Spica (Alpha Virginis) in constellation Virgo could have been used to indicate both the harvest time and threshing time during the Neolithic. Harvest time was indicated by its setting while threshing was indicated by its once again rising.

The name "Spica" comes from the Latin phrase spīca virginis, meaning “Virgo’s spear (of grain).” This phrase does not use the Latin word aurus meaning "ear." In Greek and Roman mythology, the constellation and the star were associated with Demeter (Ceres), the goddess of the harvest.


Antonello, Elio (2012) Hesiod’s Calendar and the Star Spica https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1304/1304.2176.pdf