The ancient Babylonians by the time of Hammurapi (1792-1760 BC) knew a great deal about astrology. This was, however, mainly because they believed that by looking at the planets and stars they could tell what the gods were doing. Due to this belief the Babylonians carefully observed the movements of the planets and their relation to other planets and stars. A millennium later the Babylonians were doing systematic recordings of the planets, which lasted several centuries. According to some sources the ancient Babylonians understood how an eclipse was to do with the earths and moon's shadow but the Babylonians thought the gods had caused it.

As in other areas the Babylonians have left their mark. The Sumerians, the former inhabitants of Mesopotamia, named three of the signs of the zodiac and the Babylonians named the others, which are still in use today. There is also a belief among the Hebrews that the signs and their constellation, in their purest form, foretold of the coming of the Messiah, and later became corrupted within pagan cultures.