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Iharka Szücs-Csillik*, Zoia Maxim**

* Romanian Academy, Astronomical Institute, Astronomical Observatory, Cluj-Napoca;
** National Historical Museum of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca;

Rezumat. Neoliticul a început prin revoluția agriculturii. Oamenii au devenit sedentari și au

început să cultive plante, să crească animale. Ei au observat că anul agrar este în concordanță
cu mișcarea anuală a unor stele strălucitoare de pe latitudinea noastră. Înainte de a exista calen-
dare adecvate, oamenii nu aveau cum să determine când să semene sau să recolteze decât după
stele, schimbările climatice și repere ecosistemice. Prin forma constelațiilor pozițiile stelelor
era mai ușor de reținut. Stelele strălucitoare le-au permis oamenilor să planifice din timp, iar
constelațiile au făcut ca să recunoască mai ușor aceste stele pe cer. Observarea riguroasă a miș-
cării anuale ale acestor așa numite constelații agricole, precum a stelelor de marcare era cruci-
ală, pentru a prevesti momentul apariției lor (de exemplu, înainte de răsăritul Soarelui - răsărit
heliacal), care a fost în coincidență cu momentele importante ale calendarul agricol. Aceste
observații regulate în timp au dus la evoluarea astronomie. Această lucrare detaliază obiceiu-
rile agrare ale țăraniilor români strâns legate de mișcarea anuală a constelațiilor agrare pe cer,
subliniind moștenirea tradițiilor populare, care dovedesc legătura strânsă și timpurie dintre agri-
cultură și astronomie.

Cuvinte cheie: Neolithic, constellations, heliacal rising, agrarian year - neolitic, constelații,
răsărit heliacal, anul agrar.

1. Introduction
The term Neolithic Revolution or Agricultural Revolution describe the radical
and significant period of change in which humans began cultivating plants, breeding
animals for food and forming permanent settlements. The advent of agriculture sepa-
rated Neolithic people from their Paleolithic ancestors.
As we all know, during the Neolithic Age, man became more sedentary. We
can also observe that "sedentism" means a settlement pattern that involves year-round
occupation by an entire community over a number of years, at least two to three gen-
erations1. Humans settled in fixed places, began cultivating the ground, and breeding
animals also. Accordingly, Neolithic people from hunter-gatherers became rancher-
farmers. By changing their way of life, they changed their social rituals, and also their

Voytek, 2013.

religious beliefs2. The culture of Old Europe, which had progressed from the precar-
ious life of hunting and gathering into one of settled agriculture, was advanced with
new knowledge about the secrets of the Earth.
As we go back into the past, the connection between man and Earth becomes
stronger. This strong dependence manifested itself in rituals with gratitudes and in the
deification of the Earth as Mother3.

Fig. 1. Neolithic Revolution World Cloud.

Eliade, 1961; Eliade, 1971.
Related to Mother Goddess, fertility - Gimbutas, 1974.

Moreover, agrarian lifestyles in our Neolithic region are made to increase the
diversity of cultural symbols and signs4. The transition from an appropriating to a
producing economy is one of the greatest economic revolutions in the history of hu-
manity, also called the Neolithic or Agricultural Revolution (Fig. 1). This transition
covered a long period in the course of which Neolithic people passed through the stage
of active and purposeful gathering to reach the stage of cultivation and conscious se-
lection of cereals. This development necessitated the long-term use of animal power
in settlement and housing construction, as well as the purposeful use of the first arti-
ficial material, pottery5.
The progress of agriculture also meant the development of settlements: the
essence of hunting and gathering as an economic system consisted of using the numer-
ous sources at disposal within their territory, at which people adapted to the conditions
they found and seasonal migration from place to place was typical of them because that
was how the hunters and gatherers used the various sources of food in the best way.
Otherwise, agriculture means a sedentary lifestyle, constantly settling in one place.
Suffice it to state that once harvested, grain had to be stored and protected from mois-
ture, insects, mould and others6.
Furthermore, the topography of the Neolithic and Enolithic settlements clearly
shows that the accommodations were chosen carefully, taking into account the suit-
ability of the surrounding terrain for farming, and well-watered, rich soil areas that could
be easily worked with agricultural hand tools were selected. Floodwater farming on
alluvial fans, which used spring floods, was probably leading in locations near river
flooded terrains. Fire and logging were possibly used to clear new fields for planting.
All activities involving agriculture were closely related to rituals aimed at ensuring
The transformations generated by agriculture were reflected in other crucial
fields of life: non-portable tools, pottery, decorations, textile production, cemetery etc.
The Neolithic period introduced the potential for modern societies, civilizations char-
acterized by large population centres, improved technology and advancements in knowl-
edge, arts, and trade.
Southeastern Europe is a region with an uncommonly rich heritage of cultural
symbolism. The variety of visual motifs ranges from rock engravings, paintings and
ornamental designs on pottery utensils and architectural forms, to the use of signs and
symbols with notational functions. The cultural roots of symbolism in the regional Ne-
olithic cultures are associated with the Mesolithic in the Danube valley7.
In summary, with the rise and spread of agrarian lifestyles in the Southeastern
Europe region, the repertory of cultural symbols and signs increases rapidly. On top of
that, the development of writing as a communication tool is necessary to shed light on
the cultural conditions in human communities that motivated inventive minds to encode

Koch, 1955; Guénon, 2004; Lazarovici, 2009a, 2009b; Szücs-Csillik et alii, 2020.
Merlini, Velichov, 2020.
Merlini, Velichov, 2020.
Danube script, Vinča signs.

ideas in signs and symbols8.
Ever since man has known himself, he has been looking at the sky. He realizes
that during the day the Sun rises and sets, that at night the stars rise and set (ancient
astronomers9). In prehistoric times, when hunting was the main occupation, when peo-
ple migrated to find a source of food, they marked some bright stars in their annual
movement as being in accordance with the annual cycle of nature (of food, of hunting),
of the seasons. These bright marker stars were noted by their position relative to neigh-
boring stars. To facilitate their identification, people marked groups of bright stars,
naming them after the beings in the environment they resembled (bear - Ursa Major,
Ursa Minor; hunter, men - Orion, Hercules, Perseus; dog - Canis Major, Canis Minor;
bull - Taurus; snake10 - Serpens, Draco, Hydra; bird - Aquila, Cygnus, Lyra etc.).
The forms of these constellations were drawn on stones, on the walls of caves,
and on ritual objects to memorize them and remain for future generations. After they
settled in their house during the Neolithic, they had time to observe throughout the
years the same sky, as well as to know and follow the movement of the stars better.
Moreover, the annual movement of these bright stars, as the star groups belonging to
them11, was linked to the timing of new agricultural works, i.e. the agrarian year. Thus,
agricultural tools (i.e. little plough, rake, sickle - asterism in Orion; scythe - Cepheus
etc.), household (i.e. The House with a Courtyard - Corona Borealis; The Hatching
Hen with Her Chicks - Pleiades etc.), shepherding (i.e. The Shepherd with his sheep
- Lyra, The Herdsman - Bootes etc.) appear in the sky.
The author I. Szücs-Csillik mentions that these agrarian constellations were
named from the existing ones, some were renamed or even regrouped. We point out
that between the agrarian constellation, which rises and sets in agreement with the agrar-
ian year, birds’ and snakes’ constellations show up. These animals are good weather
predictors. In addition, birds and snakes mythologically help the cycle of life by ap-
pearing in rituals (birth (baptism), adult (wedding), death (burial)), symbolizing life
and death in the continuum of life12.
To keep up with agricultural work, and to have a rich harvest, the first appear-
ance of marker stars such as Sirius, Aldebaran, Vega, Deneb, Altair, Regulus, Antares
etc. needed to be predicted in advance. These predictions could only be made by sys-
tematically watching the sky to detect the heavenly rules. According to Szücs-Csillik,
these systematic and regular sky observations evolved astronomy into science.
2. Rising, culminating and setting of stars
Following up, let us present some astronomical background of the ancient astro-
nomical observations. The Sun and the Moon were the base of calendar making, and
Neolithic people worshipped the Sun and the Moon as a deity on which their harvest
and provision depended. Observing and understanding their motion on the celestial

Haarmann, Marler, 2008; Szücs-Csillik et alii, 2019; Szücs-Csillik et alii, 2020.
Aveni, 1993.
Csillik, Maxim, 2005.
Erickson, 2018.
Szücs-Csillik et alii, 2022.

vault was crucial for establishing crucial moments in the agrarian calendar13.
As we all know, celestial objects rise in the east and set in the west14. All ob-
servable stars from a given place may rise and set every day, but they are not visible
if the Sun is below the horizon. The period of star visibility depends on the apparent
position of the Sun on the ecliptic15. The heliacal risings16 and settings are related to
the Sun, so to the solar calendars, to seasons and to the knowledge of the dates. The
observation of these phenomena allowed us to recognize the arrival of the different
seasons. For example: “When the Pleiades Atlagenes (Born of Atlas) are rising [early
May], begin your harvest, and your ploughing when they are going to set [in Novem-
ber]. Forty nights and days they are hidden and appear again as the year moves round
when first you sharpen your sickle”17.
Further, let us define few astronomical definitions regarding to rising and set-
ting. The heliacal rising (morning first) is the first day of the year when the star (after
a period when it was invisible) rises in the morning before the Sun. However, the Sun
is still far enough below the eastern horizon to make it briefly visible in the morning
twilight18. Besides, the acronychal rising is the last day of the year when the star (after
a period when it was visible at night) rises in the evening after sunset, and the Sun is
already far enough below the eastern horizon to make it visible in the evening twilight.
The heliacal setting (evening last) is the last day when the star (after a period
when it was visible) sets after sunset, and the Sun is far enough below the western ho-
rizon to make the star briefly visible in the evening twilight. Yet, the cosmic setting
is the first day when the star (after a period when it was visible) sets before sunrise,
and the Sun is still far enough below the eastern horizon to make the star briefly visible
in the morning twilight19.
In the solar calendars, the dates of heliacal, achronic and cosmic risings and
settings of the stars move slightly because of the precession of the equinoxes20. When
a star is crossing the meridian it is at the highest altitude it reaches in the sky, and there-
fore at its farthest from dust and horizon haze. That is called its meridian transit or cul-
mination. The best time to see a star would be around its culmination21.
After the date of the star’ midnight culmination it will transit the meridian at
an earlier time each evening, until eventually it will already be in the western sky when

Rappenglück. 2012; Szücs-Csillik et alii, 2022.
Excluding circumpolar stars, which never sets below the horizon.
Zodical constellations; Gurstein, 1993.
Schaefer, 2000.
Hesiod, Works and Days, 383; Evelyn-White, 1917.
Twilight is the period of approximately one hour’s duration before the Sun rises in the morn-
ing and the period of approximately one hour’s duration after the Sun sets in the evening. Civil
twilight (the Sun is 6° below the horizon), nautical twilight (the Sun is 12° below the horizon),
astronomical twilight (the Sun is 18° below the horizon).
De Jong, 2006.
Evans, 1998; Hughes, 2005; Kilbourne, Matossian, 2013.
A star will do culmination (transit) twice each day at upper (at its the highest point) and lower
culminations (at its the lowest point).

it first appears at sunset. Finally, it will set with the Sun and enter the daylight sky.
The ancient Egyptians noticed that the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, the
brightest in the night sky, would occur a short time before the annual flooding of the
Nile22. In one period of Egyptian history, the heliacal rising of Sirius occurred at the
same time as the summer solstice and by coincidence at the same time as the Nile in-
undation. From this time on Sirius star became extremely important to Egyptians. Its
heliacal rising has been watched and the time interval between two heliacal rises was
measured. The calendar was calibrated and the year began with the heliacal rising of
Sirius, although heliacal rising and summer solstice has slowly got out of step23 (see
Table 1).
Table 1. Julian dates of the heliacal rising of Sirius and summer solstice using
the Stellarium program, arcus visionis24 of 10° (El-Saf, Giza, Egypt, latitude =
29°34′12″ N, longitude = 31°16′48″ E, altitude= 23 m).
Epoch Heliacal rising Summer
(Julian dates) of Sirius solstice
4400 BC 15-July 29-July
3500 BC 15-July 21-July
3000 BC 15-July 17-July
2500 BC 15-July 14-July
2000 BC 15-July 10-July
1500 BC 15-July 6-July
1000 BC 16-July 2-July
500 BC 16-July 29-June
1 AD 17-July 24-June
500 AD 17-July 21-June
1000 AD 18-July 16-June
1582 AD/ Julian 19-July 12-June
1583 AD/ Gregorian 29-July 22-June
2000 AD/ Gregorian 1-August 21-June
The data in Table 1 indicate that in the course of around 6000 years the date of
the heliacal rising of Sirius moves forward concerning the summer solstice. Further-
more, from ancient Chinese documents, it appears the existence of a very early peasant
calendar based on the heliacal rising of the Fire Star (Antares) at the spring equinox.
The regular appearance and disappearance of the central three stars of the Scorpion and
the middle three stars of Orion were recorded in mythic Chinese agricultural tradition25.

Brosch, 2008.
Danby, 1988; Barlai, Ecsedy, 1990, Laoupi, 2006.
Arcus visionis is the distance between a star and the Sun, measured in degrees perpendicular
to the horizon when it becomes visible again for the first time in the morning twilight sky.

In the Northern Hemisphere26, at the Spring Equinox, the Pleiades rises during
the day and can be seen only briefly at night. Each day the Sun gets a little closer in
alignment with the Pleiades so that during the Summer Solstice, the Pleiades rises just
before the light of dawn. During the Fall Equinox, the Pleiades rises at midnight.

Fig. 2. Pleiades (Tau) heliacal rising, 4500 BC, spring equinox.

At the Winter Solstice, the Pleiades is visible in the east just after dark. This is
because every day it rises some four minutes earlier in the celestial sphere. For agri-
cultural societies in the northern hemisphere, the course of the Pleiades indicated the
beginning and end of the growing seasons. As can be observed in Fig. 2, the Sun is
slightly below the horizon, until the Pleiades has already risen. Besides that, the posi-
tion of Pleiades’ open cluster near the ecliptic is very useful. The Sun runs under the
Pleiades with few degrees and the Moon sometimes passes them, occulting its stars.
Thus the star phases of the open cluster depending on the epoch and the Moon related
to it, permit us to determine of the starting points of the lunar and solar years, and the
division of these periods into shorter units27.
Table 2. Julian dates of solstices and equinoxes and the heliacal rising of some
stars using the Stellarium program, arcus visionis around 10° (Cluj-Napoca,
Romania, latitude=46°46′48″ N, longitude=23°35′24″ E, altitude=336 m).
Period Season Constellation
Heliacal rising
25-Jan-4500 BC Winter Solstice Alpheratz Andromeda
27-Apr-4500 BC Spring Equinox Pleiades Taurus
30-Jul-4500 BC Summer Solstice Regulus Leo
27-Oct-4500 BC Autumn Equinox Antares Scorpion
As we have seen from these examples, the heliacal rising of some bright stars
was in accordance with the beginning of some seasons, with the agrarian year of Neo-
lithic societies (Table 2). Comparing both tables, one can realize that the day and the

Ecsedy et alii, 1988.
Bilić, 2006; Kelley, Milone, 2011; Szücs-Csillik, Maxim, 2016b; Kerod, 2020.
Rappenglück, 2016; Szücs-Csillik, Maxim, 2017.

moment at which heliacal rising events occur depend mainly on the geographical lati-
tude of the observer, but also on observer’s visual perception, on the apparent magni-
tude of the star sighted, on its position on the celestial vault at the historical period
considered, as well as on the local atmospheric conditions (temperature and humidity).
Further, we will investigate the agrarian calendars from the perspective of Neolithic
data and Romanian folk tradition.
3. Neolithic versus Romanian Traditional Agrarian Calendar
Agriculture is an occupation with a multi-millenary tradition on the territory of
Romania. The Romanian agrarian year until today preserves ancient traditional knowl-
edge. The agrarian calendar is tied to the Sun, and therefore tells you the right times of
the year to plant and harvest crops. Most calendars are agrarian, but lunar calendars28
are not suitable for agrarian use.
Parallel to the official calendar, recognized by the state and the church, an unof-
ficial calendar, called by ethnologists the Popular Calendar, survived in Romania until
the beginning of the 20th century (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3. Popular Calendar: The calendar of the Ploughmen.

O’Neil, 1976.

Social life is excluded without the existence of the calendar, a time-mea-
suring tool that reconciles the variety of human activities with the repeatable phe-
nomena of the terrestrial and cosmic environment. In relation to the climatic condi-
tions, to the geographical latitude and longitude, to the level of material and spiritual
development of the society, people invented lunar, solar and lunisolar calendars in which
they marked both the beginning and the end of the year, as well as the most important
activities related to seasonal holidays29.
Cosmic and terrestrial rhythms were grouped in easily noticeable oppositions:
the north, the cardinal point that signified darkness, cold, winter and death, formed an
opposition with the south, the cardinal point that meant light, heat, summer; the sun-
rise, imagined as the moment of awakening after the overnight sleep, formed an oppo-
sition to the sunset, which marked the end of the day and the beginning of the Sun’s
rest. In the middle of the distance between the sunrise and the sunset was the power
of the day and in the middle between the sunset and the sunrise the power of the night.
Throughout a cycle of 365 days, there are four unique days: the spring and au-
tumn equinoxes, the summer and winter solstice. These are critical times of sunrise and
sunset for its apparent journey around the Earth. The points where the Sun appeared
and disappeared from the sky at the equinoxes and solstices were landmarks not only
for the appreciation of daytime time but also for the calculation of annual and season-
al time, which is why the equinox and solstice days were celebrated everywhere with
great ceremony.
The physical time that flows without stopping and without turning towards
infinity has been tamed by dividing it into repeatable units: days, weeks, months, sea-
sons, year. The ingenuity and accuracy of calendars, tools with which people recon-
ciled their daily lives with the great rhythms of nature, are, from the Neolithic to recent
times, impartial criteria for appreciating the historical creativity of human societies
and communities. The cyclicity of calendar time, easier to notice than the cyclicity of
holidays and rituals, is suggested by the repetability and duration of time measuring
units: the sequence of days and nights, the seasons30.
The beginning of the Romanian traditional agricultural year stands under the
sign of the struggle between the old time, of freezing and the new time, of the rebirth
of nature, dictated by cosmic events, reflected in the astronomical seasons and the evo-
lution of biological cycles, determining factors in the creation and improvement of a
calendar of agricultural activities.
The agrarian year includes two basic seasons: the agrarian summer and the
agrarian winter. The agrarian summer begins on March 9 (Mucenici), the day of the
spring equinox in the old Julian calendar and ends between September 8‒14, with the
autumnal equinox on September 8 in the old style31. In Romanian folk tradition, on

Szücs-Csillik, Maxim, 2021d.
Ginoiu, 2003, p. 8.
The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in Oc-
tober 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a modification of, and replacement for, the Julian calendar
(Coyne et alii, 1983).

March 17 - the Alexis day is the Serpent’s day, and September 14 - the Cross Day is
considered to mark the withdrawal of snakes to hibernate32.
The middle of the warm season is marked by the summer solstice (around June
12 in the old Julian calendar, in Romanian folks tradition: Sânziene), when the cuckoo
bird (Cuculus canorus) stops singing, a moment also popularly known as The Silence
of the Cuckoo33. The song of the cuckoo (migratory bird) is a veritable biological clock,
and has a great importance for the farmer, as it can be heard only three months a year,
between the dates of the spring equinox and the summer solstice, a period of maximum
concentration of agricultural activities (ploughing, sowing, maintenance crops, and
sometimes harvesting and grinding).
The birth of the calendar time was linked to the winter solstice celebrations.
During the spring equinox, the youth of time would be fulfilled. The ripening of time
began with Sânziene (summer solstice), and continued with Sânpetru in the summer,
when the Fairs of girls (Târgul de Fete) took place, then followed up by Pentecost and
Călușarii customs.
The autumnal equinox signifies the aging of calendar time, an aging that had
its end in the hora of the seasons after Sântandrei. And this because “Romanian holi-
days belong to a lunisolar calendar, structured at first on two and then on four seasons.
They gather like the grains on the bunches of grapes around the equinoxes and sol-
Cultivation of plants acquires a cosmic and sacred character, which is handled
in a perfect order by the two holy stars, creatures of God: the Sun and the Moon35. Basi-
cally, their evolution on the celestial vault is characterized by repeatability and rhyth-
micity, a fact that led to the careful observation of biological cycles and the creation
of the calendars.
The agrarian summer concentrates most of the activities, structured according
to the evolution of temperatures and the biological cycles of plants: ploughing, with
customs that ensure the fertility of the field and designate the first householder of the
community; sowing, depending on the phases and position of the main stars on the sky;
maintenance of crops and preservation of some celebrations and customs for the pro-
tection of crops; the harvest, with the bringing of offerings to the fields, to ensure wealth
for the future fruits.
The annual cycle of germination, growth, and harvest held both mystery and
material sustenance for early farmers36. These ancient agriculturalists must have recog-
nized the analogy between grain seeds germinating in the field and new life growing in
the womb, for the representation of this analogy is found in many Old European sites.

For calculations between Gregorian and Julian calendars use Danby, 1988, p. 207.
Szücs-Csillik, Maxim, 2016a, p. 440.
In Romanian: amuțitul cucului.
Ginoiu, 2003, p. 382.
Krupp, 1991.
Bowden, 2010.

The pregnant vegetation goddess37 was one of the most-represented female figures
depicted in Neolithic Old Europe. Hundreds of pregnant goddess figurines have been
unearthed from Old European settlement excavations38.
4. Neolithic and Romanian Traditional Agricultural Constellations
The names of some groups of stars - constellations given by the Romanian
peasant39 are related to agriculture, farmers try to influence the nature they live close
to40. This can be seen by the presence of given names as:
● householders (house with yard or hut41 - Corona Borealis; pit42 - Pegasus; the foun-
tain or the fountain from the crossroad43 - Cygnus; gutter pits44 - Andromeda; back-
yard45 - Auriga; The grove of Heaven46 - Milky Way);
● occupations (cowboy47 - Canis Major; coachman, driver48 - Auriga; swineherd49 -
Taurus; shepherd50 - Lyra; carrier51 - Ursa Major; archer52 - Sagittarius; fiddler53 - Co-
rona Borealis);
● agricultural and craft tools (plough, plow, sickle, rake54 - Orion; scythe, scythe tail,
axe55 - Cepheus; plow, harrow, pillar, post56 Ursa Minor; harrow57 Ursa Major; drill
bit, drill of the Earth58 - Auriga; big drill, big borer59 - Orion; Small drill, auger60 - Canis
Minor; drill of Pentecost61 - Taurus; axe, hatchet62 - Perseus);
● measuring and illumination instruments (scale, balance, libra63 - Libra; awaken-

She is universally known as the Earth Goddess or Mother Earth.
Gimbutas, 1989.
Chevalier, Gheerbrant, 1995; Olteanu, 2000; Otescu, 2002; Brill, 2021.
Maxim, Szücs-Csillik, 2003, 2009, 2010.
In Romanian: Casa cu ograda sau Coliba (CrB).
In Romanian: Puțul (Peg).
In Romanian: Fântâna sau Fântâna din Răscruci (Cyg).
In Romanian: Jgheabul puțului (And).
In Romanian: Ocol, Țarc (Aur).
In Romanian: Crângul cerului (Calea Lactee).
In Romanian: Văcar (CMa).
In Romanian: Vizitiu, Surugiu (Aur).
In Romanian: Porcar (Tau, Pleiadele).
In Romanian: Cioban (Lyr).
In Romanian: Cărăușul (UMa).
In Romanian: Arcaș (Sag).
In Romanian: Lăutar (CrB).
In Romanian: Plug, Rarița, Secera, Grebla (asterism Ori).
In Romanian: Coasa, Coporașca, Coporaia (Cep).
In Romanian: Plugușorul, Grapa, Steajăr, Stâlp (Steaua Polară, UMi).
In Romanian: Grapa (UMa).
In Romanian: Burghiu, Sfredelul Pământului (Aur).
In Romanian: Sfredelul Mare, Spițelnicul Mare (Ori).
In Romanian: Spițelnic Mic, Sfredel (CMi).
In Romanian: Sfredelul Rusaliilor (Tau).
In Romanian: Barda, Toporul (Per).
In Romanian: Balanță, Cântar, Cumpănă (Lib).

ing64 - Taurus, Pleiades; the candle of heaven65 - Polaris, Ursa Minor);
● domestic animals (oxen, the Seven Oxen66 - Ursa Major; ox head67 - Taurus; sheep
- Lyra; ram68 - Aries; goat69 - Capricornus; goat, the goat with kids70 - Auriga; dog,
hound71 - Canis Major; puppy, doggy72 - Canis Minor; horse, wolf, the wolf pack, lion
- Leo; bear - Ursa Major; fish - Pisces; cancer - Cancer; shrew - Scorpion; hen, fowl,
the hen with chicken, ladybug73 - Pleiades; Eagle of the Lord74 - Aquila; Raven - Cor-
vus; Noah's dove75 - Columba);
● means of transport (The great chariot, drawbar, shaft, drawbar, Chariot’s drawbar,
Chariot wheels76 - Ursa Major; The little chariot77 - Ursa Minor; The carriage, The
chariot of God78 - Auriga; The devil’s chariot79 - Perseus; The road, The way of the
lost80 - Serpens, Sheep Road, Milky Way, Gypsy Way, Lame Way, Gypsy’s Straw81
- Milky Way);
● other representations (The monastery, the seat of God, the throne - Cassiopeia;
Grand Cross, Midnight Cross - Cygnus; Hand Cross, Small Cross, Companion’s Cross82
- Delphinus; The King, The Shepherd's Star, The Pillar - Canis Minor, Polaris; The
Queen of the Stars, the Beauty Star, the Great Midnight Star83 - Lyra, Vega; The Girl
of the Emperor with the Hut, girl with hut84 - Aquila; Prince Charming85 - Hercules;
The Three Kingdoms, Rods, King's Belts86 - Orion; The Light of Dawn, the Morning
Light87 - Canis Minor, Sirius; Pig star88 - Taurus, Aldebaran; kite, dragon89 - Draco;

In Romanian: Deșteptător (Tau, Pleiadele).
In Romanian: Candela Cerului (Steaua Polară, UMi).
In Romanian: Boi, Cei șapte boi (UMa).
In Romanian: Cap de bou (Tau).
In Romanian: Berbecul (Ari).
In Romanian: Țap (Cap).
In Romanian: Capra, Capra și iezii (Aur).
In Romanian: Câine, Dulău (CMa).
In Romanian: Cățelușa, Poloschița (CMi).
In Romanian: Găina, Găinușa, Cloța, Cloșca cu pui, Buburuza (Pleiadele).
In Romanian: Vulturul Domnului (Aql).
In Romanian: Porumbița lui Noe (Col).
In Romanian: Caru Mare, Proțapul, Oiștea, Tânjala, Tânjaua Carului, Roțile Carului (UMa).
In Romanian: Caru Mic (UMi).
In Romanian: Trăsura, Carul lui Dumnezeu (Aur).
In Romanian: Caru Dracului (Per).
In Romanian: Calea, Calea Rătăciților (Ser).
In Romanian: Drumul oilor, Calea Laptelui, Calea Țiganului, Calea Șchiopilor, Paiele Țiga-
nului (Calea Lactee).
In Romanian: Crucea de Mână, Crucea Mică, Crucea Fărtatului (Del).
In Romanian: Regina stelelor, Luceafărul cel Frumos, Luceafărul cel Mare de la Miezul Nop-
ții (Lyr, Vega).
In Romanian: Fata de împărat cu colibița, Fata cu coromâslă (Aql).
In Romanian: Făt Frumos (Her).
In Romanian: Cei Trei Crai, Toiegele, Cingătoarea Regelui (Ori).
In Romanian: Luceafărul din Zori, Luceafărul de dimineță, Luțiafăr, Zorilă (UMa, Sirius).

kill the bell board, kill the cross, bell board90 - Pegasus; crown, hora dance91 - Corona
Borealis; The Belt, the Bright Belt of Heaven92 - Milky Way; twins, Romulus and Re-
mus, treasure, Job’s treasure93 - Gemini, Pollux; Madonna, Virgin Mary, Virgin, The
pure Heart of the Mother of God94 - Virgo) etc.
As we have seen above, among the popular names of the constellations95, we find tools
for cultivating and harvesting grains such as plough, rake, sickle, scythe, threshing
pole, harrow etc., or agricultural work as a spike, great chariot, little chariot etc., or
the peasant household as pig, goat, seven oxen, dog, puppy etc., or the village surround-
ings as a shepherd with sheep, the hen with chickens etc., or even fun as hora (dance),
the maiden in the hora (dance). Depending on the locality, the same constellation or
star can have different names. The grouping of stars in a constellation can also vary.
Counting the Romanian traditional agricultural constellation names regarded
as agriculture, more than half of the 48 constellations96 given by Ptolemy are among
the agricultural constellations. Moreover, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Ro-
manian peasant had divided the sky only into 38 main constellations97.
The emergence of symbolism, abstract thought and spiritual consciousness has
always intrigued modern scientists. The bio-anatomical toolkit was the triggering mech-
anism which gave humans the ability to observe, understand and partially predict the
phenomena of Cosmos. For example, the ancient symbol of cross98, representing the
four seasons, the solstices and the equinoxes, as well as the constellations of Virgo,
Taurus, Orion, the Pleiades99, and the star Sirius were the first symbolic framework
of humankind, traced in Paleolithic art, archaeology and archaeoastronomy.
The Neolithic Agrarian Calendars100 preceded the traditional Romanian agri-
cultural calendar by many thousands of years, but the connection between the reappear-
ance of stars in the sky and agricultural activities remained. Examining the sky from
Cluj-Napoca in 4500 BC and the constellation names used in Romanian traditional ag-
riculture, the following Neolithic agricultural constellations101 emerged for heliacal
● at the Spring Equinox (near ecliptic: Taurus; near the equator: Perseus; near Milky
Way: Auriga);

In Romanian: Luceafărul porcesc (Tau, Aldebaran).
In Romanian: zmeu, balaur (Dra).
In Romanian: Ucigă-l Toaca, Ucigă-l Crucea, Toaca, Gavădu Mic (Peg).
In Romanian: cununa, hora (CrB).
In Romanian: Brâul, Brâul Luminos al Cerului (Caleea Lactee).
In Romanian: gemeni, Romul și Remul, comoara, comoara lui Iov (Gem, Pollux).
In Romanian: Fecioara Maria, Virgina, Inima curată a Maicii Domnului (Vir).
Pop, 1989; Niculiță-Voronca, 1998; Pamfile, 2008.
Allen, 1963; Szücs-Csillik, Maxim, 2013; Szücs-Csillik, Maxim, 2015b.
Ghinoiu, 1997, p. 51.
Drösller, 1976; Rappenglück, 2016; Szücs-Csillik, 2021c.
Szücs-Csillik et alii, 2021a; 2021b: The round tablet from Tărtăria: Gem-Sag, Cnc-Cap.
Origin of the ancient constellations: Roy, 1984; Rogers, 1998.
Maxim, Szücs-Csillik, 2003; Szücs-Csillik et alii, 2022.

● at the Summer Solstice (near ecliptic: Leo, Cancer; near the equator: Draco, Canis
Minor, Gemini; near Milky Way: Orion);
● at the Autumn Equinox (near ecliptic: Scorpion, Ophiucus, Serpens; near the equa-
tor: Scorpion, Lupus; near Milky Way: Centaurus);
● at the Winter Solstice (near ecliptic:
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricornus; near the
equator: Andromeda, Pegasus; Cepheus
near Milky Way).
Let us mention, that the star groups on the
Neolithic conical, black spindle whorl
from Turdaș (Fig. 4), which contain the
constellations near the vernal point (Ori-
on, Auriga, Taurus, Perseus, Ursa Major,
Leo, Cancer, Canis Major, Canis Minor
- Hydra) and near the autumnal point (Aq-
uila, Capricornus, Indus - Pavo, Ara, Lu-
pus, Scorpius, Ophiuchus - Serpens) are
also Neolithic agrarian constellations102.
Certainly these agricultural con-
stellations could have been grouped in a
different format, the point is the position
of the constellations known today in the
Fig. 4. The black cultic disc from
sky at that time103.
Turdaș with the spindle’s axle.
5. Conclusion
Humanity main preoccupation and oldest activity is agriculture, one of mankind
sources of survival through the centuries. In other respects, astronomy is the earliest
natural science, with origins in the cosmological, mythological, religious, calendrical
and other beliefs and practices in prehistory. Observing and following the motions of
stars and planets in the sky was used to mark the passing of time, which was essential
for agriculture, religious rituals and navigation.
The rise of early agrarian communities in the valley of the rivers on the Roma-
nian and nearby territory produced innovations like agricultural inventions (plant do-
mestication, livestock, hand tools, grinding, etc.), pottery (kiln, art etc.), writing (signs
– symbols - organized form of notation – writing marks), astronomy (spirituality, per-
ception of the stars and planets apparent motion on the sky, systematic, regular obser-
vations) etc.
During the Neolithic Age, by changing their way of life, people also changed
their social rituals and gradually their religious beliefs. These Neolithic people focused
on the importance of fertility, productivity and reproductivity. The fertility of the land

Szücs-Csillik et alii, 2019; 2020.
As a result of the precession of the equinoxes, the rising and setting points of the constella-
tions also changed; Hughes, 2005.

required to grow crops, the domestic animals that fed the people and also the reproduc-
tive abilities of women. Neolithic individuals worshipped the Mother Goddess104 of
Earth fertility, who also represented the life cycle of plants and animals. She died and
disappeared when the weather turned cold only to be reborn in the spring. The Mother
Goddess was the householder of nature and the protector of animals and crops.
Agrarian Neolithic societies needed to know what time was the opportune mo-
ment to plant or harvest crops, thereso, the first calendars were developed, which were
lunar calendars105. Later solar calendars began to appear106. In ancient communities, the
Sun was the natural time marker in the daytime and the base for the calendar. At night,
however, the stars, their movements, risings and settings, disappearance and reappear-
ance served quite obviously as time-keepers107. During the Neolithic Age, there were
numerous religious rites related to the climate and crops. Neolithic people performed
rituals, for example when they wanted rain and sunny weather, and that pests would not
affect their crops. During this period, the first sanctuaries or places of worship and the
first priests appeared108.
According to this research, the signs and symbols used by Neolithic commu-
nities contain meanings associated with rituals related to agriculture and, consequently,
to astronomy, and express an intimate connection with the cycles of the natural world.
Therefore, we can state that the agricultural preoccupations brought with it the
regular, systematic and widespread observations of the sky, which was the beginning
of Astronomy as a science. Moreover, agriculture has helpers such as birds, snakes etc.,
which were placed in the sky as agricultural constellations, their apparent movement
in the sky concerning agrarian year and show the deep connection between agricul-
ture and astronomy.

Mother Goddess linked with celestial objects: Earth, Moon and Sun; See Sun-cult, Moon-cult
(Gillmann, 1996; Pinch, 2004; Szücs-Csillik et alii, 2018; 2021).
Merlini, 2009; Szücs-Csillik, Maxim, 2015a; Mailland, Magnotta, 2016.
Lazarovici et alii, 2002.
Barlai, Ecsedy, 1990.
See Parța Neolithic sanctuary in Romania; Csillik et alii, 2001; Lazarovici et alii, 2002.


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