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En Henduanna (fl. 2350 BC)




The earliest female known to have had a connection with astronomy. She was the daughter of Sargon of Akkad who established the Sargonian Dynasty in Babylon (see Babylonian astronomy). He appointed her the chief priestess of the moon goddess of the city – a position of great power and prestige. Only through the auspices of the high priestess could a leader achieve a legitimate claim to rule. Of her written work, translations of 48 of her poems survive. To put her in perspective, astronomy began with the priests and priestesses in Sumeria and Babylon. As early as 3000 BC, these sacred temples in Sumer were complex structures that directed every essential activity of life including trade, farming, and crafts. The priests and priestesses established a network of observatories to monitor the movements of the stars. The calendar they created is still used to date certain religious events like Easter and Passover.


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   • ASTRONOMERS AND ASTROPHYSICISTS