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Astrologer's Board & Future Sights
Researchers have discovered what may be the earliest known astrologer's board, dating to more than 2,000 years ago, a time in which astrology was just beginning to take off in the western world. However, as history shows, the idea of using supernatural powers to predict the future is one that goes far back into antiquity. LiveScience explores how world leaders, from ancient times to the 20th century, were often a focal point of these predictions. [Read full story]
Wu Ding / 'There will be calamities'Slide 2 of 21
Wu Ding / 'There will be calamities'
Some 3,200 years ago an early Chinese king named Wu Ding analyzed cracks that appeared on animal bone and predicted that his own kingdom would suffer "calamities." When this prediction came true he had the results engraved on a piece of cattle scapula (pictured here). Today this scapula is one of roughly 150,000 examples of what we call oracle bones.
At the time it was expected in Shang Dynasty China that rulers should be able to predict the future by analyzing cracks that appear when you apply heat to a cattle scapula or turtle plastron. A record of their divination would then be inscribed on it.
In the case of Wu Ding he claimed to predict that "there will be calamities; There will be (someone) bringing alarming news." It goes on to say that this royal divination came true with an officer reporting that two enemy groups had attacked them, "the Tufang have attacked in our eastern borders and have seized two settlements. The Gongfang likewise invaded the fields of our western borders." (Translation from book "Sources of Chinese Tradition volume one," 1999)Slide 3 of 21
Antiochus VIII / Star of DestinySlide 4 of 21
Antiochus VIII / Star of Destiny
In 121 B.C. Antiochus VIII became sole ruler of the Seleucid Empire by having his own mother, Cleopatra Thea, put to death. She was a domineering figure who shared the throne with the king and had previously murdered his brother. The Seleucid Empire was based in Antioch, in southeast Turkey, and had been in decline for some time. [Top 12 Warrior Moms in History]
Near the beginning of the king's rule he minted an enigmatic coin with Zeus holding a scepter in his left hand and a starlike figure hovering above his right. Recent research by Robert Weir, a professor at the University of Windsor in Canada, suggests that this star was actually Jupiter and the coin represents a time on Jan. 17, 121 B.C. when the planet was blocked out by the moon. This event happened shortly before Antiochus made the decision to kill his mother and take control of the throne.
Weir's research suggests that this occultation may have been interpreted as a good omen for Antiochus. "This means that there might be a great king coming, or being born — in Syria, because Cancer governs that part of the world the ancient astrologers believed," he said in an interview a year ago with the website Unreported Heritage News.Slide 5 of 21
Croesus / 'He will destroy a great empire'Slide 6 of 21
Croesus / 'He will destroy a great empire'
Ruling more than 2,500 years ago, Croesus was a king of Lydia, a wealthy empire located in modern-day Turkey that was the first in the world to mint coins. [10 Rare US Coins]
But while Croesus had lots of gold, his political situation was precarious. To the east, the Persians under Cyrus the Great were growing in power, capturing territory throughout the Middle East. Croesus decided to seize the initiative and attack the Persians first. According to legend he consulted the Oracle at Delphi (Pythia) and asked whether this was a good idea; the oracle replied that if the king went to war, "he will destroy a great empire."
The war ended in disaster. A battle fought at the Halys River ended in stalemate and winter set in. Croesus decided to disband his armies, expecting the Persians to do the same. Cyrus, however, did not. Instead he pursued the Lydian King, capturing him at Sardis. A great empire had been destroyed — that of Croesus.Slide 7 of 21
Daniel / Rise of Alexander the GreatSlide 8 of 21