They exhibit in an exaggerated form the irregularities of distribution visible in our zodiacal constellations, and present the further anomaly of being frequently reckoned as twenty-eight in number, while the ecliptical arcs they characterize are invariably twenty-seven.
The modern nakshatras are twenty-seven equal ecliptical divisions, the origin of which shifts, like that of the solar signs, with the vernal equinox.
12 The essential difference, however, between the nakshatras and the sieu is that the latter were equatorial, not ecliptical, divisions.
are between insignificant and, for the purposes of ecliptical division, inconveniently situated objects.
They were accordingly able to fix in advance the approximate positions of these objects with reference to ecliptical stars which served as fiducial points for their determination.
Euphratean exploration has so far brought to light no traces of ecliptical partition by the moon's diurnal motion, unless, indeed, zodiacal associations be claimed for a set of twenty-eight deprecatory formulae against evil spirits inscribed on a Ninevite tablet.4 The safest general conclusions regarding this disputed subject appear to be that the sieu, distinctively and unvaryingly Chinese, cannot properly be described as divisions of a lunar zodiac, that the nakshatras, though of purely Indian origin, became modified by the successive adoption of Greek and Chinese rectifications and supposed improvements; while the manazil constituted a frankly eclectic system, in which elements from all quarters were combined.
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