Detail of Alexandre Cabanel’s ‘The Birth Of Venus.’

Linking the Planets and Human Life: Venus Calendars Helped Track Pregnancy in Neolithic Greece

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Back in 4000 BC women of the ancient Aegean civilization may have used a calendar tracking the movement of the planet Venus to follow their pregnancy milestones.

This is an intriguing explanation for the use of the so-called ‘frying pans’ left by people who lived in Neolithic Greece. These objects have decorations of concentric circles, spirals, radial patterns, and sometimes rowing vessels. It has been suggested that the ‘frying pan’ shape was symbolic.

Early Cycladic II "Frying Pan" - Spiral decoration with incised pubic triangle. National Museum, Athens.

Early Cycladic II "Frying Pan" - Spiral decoration with incised pubic triangle. National Museum, Athens. ( Dan Diffendale / CC BY NC SA 2.0 )

Minas Tsikritsis, a professor of space physics, believes the artifacts were used as calendars and show astronomical calculations of the orbits of Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun. This would have allowed the ancient people to link life events and human activity with their environment and astronomical occurrences.

Professor Tsikritsis’ research also suggests that the Neolithic people living in what is now Greece realized that the Earth takes 365 days to make a complete circuit around the Sun, Venus needs 584 days, and Jupiter 399.

The clear starry night and the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter provide the best background for this photogenic severe storm going off Samos Island in Greece on 10/21/2015.

The clear starry night and the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter provide the best background for this photogenic severe storm going off Samos Island in Greece on 10/21/2015. (Manolis Thravalos/ CC BY SA 4.0 )

Moreover, it appears that the planet Venus was associated with the biological cycle of pregnancy. This planet appears before sunrise for 263 days (approximately 9 moon months) and after sunset another 265 days. This means that half of Venus’ cycle is approximately 9 months – the length of time for a human pregnancy.

The relationship between the ‘frying pans’ and pregnancy is strengthened by the appearance of symbols such as the female pubic triangle and uterus engraved on the artifacts. Women could have used the calendars to check if they were pregnant and also track important moments in their pregnancy.

Clay frying-pan vessel with incised decoration of a ship. Found at Chalandriani on Syros island. Early Cycladic II period (Keros-Syros culture, 2800-2300 BC). (CC BY 3.0) and Cycladic 'frying pan' with decoration of impressed and incised star and stamped concentric circles, and an incised female pubic triangle above the handle. National Museum, Athens. (Dan Diffendale/ CC BY NC SA 2.0)

Clay frying-pan vessel with incised decoration of a ship. Found at Chalandriani on Syros island. Early Cycladic II period (Keros-Syros culture, 2800-2300 BC). (CC BY 3.0 ) and Cycladic 'frying pan' with decoration of impressed and incised star and stamped concentric circles, and an incised female pubic triangle above the handle. National Museum, Athens. ( Dan Diffendale / CC BY NC SA 2.0 )

This is not the only evidence of people having had advanced astronomical knowledge in the area at that time – the famous Antikythera Mechanism  demonstrates this information as well.

Top Image: Detail of Alexandre Cabanel’s The Birth Of Venus.’ Source: Joe Shlabotnik/ CC BY NC SA 2.0

By John Black

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