|Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1900)
A friend recently asked me if the Wise Men might have been astrologers; perhaps Zoroastrians from Persia. This notion has been circulating for some time, but it does not fit the evidence.
The Wise Men were astronomers. Astrology, as we think of it, didn't exist in the first century AD. It developed later. They knew Sidereal astronomy. It is real science, based on observation of the arrangement and movement of the fixed stars and planets. This science originated among Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors who had recorded information about the fixed stars and clock-like motion of the planets and constellations for thousands of years. By 4245 BC, the priests of the Upper Nile had established a calendar based on the appearance of the star Sirius that becomes visible to the naked eye once every 1,461 years. Apparently, they had been tracking this star and connecting it to seasonal changes and agriculture for thousands of years. The priest Manetho reported in his history (241 BC) that Nilotic Africans had been “star-gazing” as early as 40,000 years ago. They shared this knowledge with the kings of Egypt.
The ancient Egyptians shared the knowledge with the ancient Greeks. Plato claimed that the Africans had been tracking the heavens for 10,000 years. Plato studied with an Egyptian priest for 13 years and knew about Earth's Great Year, also called the "Platonic Year." This is the time of between 25,000 and 28,000 years that it takes for Earth to complete the cycle of axial precession. This precession was known to Plato who defined the "perfect year" as the return of the celestial bodies (planets) and the diurnal rotation of the fixed stars to their original positions. They understood much more than we moderns give them credit for!
The Wise Men also were descendants of people from Judah who has chosen to remain in Babylon after Cyrus' decree. In other words, they were Babylonian Jews of the Tribe of Judah and therefore were watching for fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the King of the Jews who they expected to come from Judah. That is why they recognized the sign they saw. Using Starry Night, a software program that can track celestial events at any time in history, we now know that the star of Bethlehem was the result of an astronomical singularity: the conjunction of the king star Regulus and the king planet Jupiter. Regulus is in the constellation of Leo, the totem of the tribe of Judah, and one of the brightest stars in the night sky. Jupiter was associated with Horus, the son of the Creator Ra. Read more about the Bethlehem Star here.
For the ancient Egyptians the stars in the constellation of Leo were especially important because the Nile rose when the Sun passes through the constellation of Leo. Therefore, the Lion and the rising strength of the water were associated. In the Church, the Wise Men and the Blessing of Waters are the main themes of Epiphany which is celebrated on January 6th.
Related reading: Ancient Wisdom, Science and Technology; Which Bethlehem is Jesus' Birthplace?; Ancient Seats of Wisdom; David's Bloodline; The Ark Rested in Bethlehem; David's Royal City; The Eyes of Horus Speak of Jesus; Totems and Tracing the Horites in History; The Celestial Dance Observed by the Magi; Ancient African Astronomers; Astronomical Monuments in Africa