What Planets Were in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, people had a fascination with the stars and planets. They believed that the movements of celestial bodies could affect human lives and destinies. Let’s explore what planets were known in ancient times through the lens of history and mythology.


Mercury is the closest planet to the sun and is named after the Roman messenger god. It was known to ancient civilizations such as the Babylonians, who called it Nabu after their god of wisdom. The Greeks associated it with Hermes, their messenger god, while in Hindu mythology, it was called Budha.


Venus is the second planet from the sun and is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. In ancient times, it was known as both the Morning Star and Evening Star since it appears at dawn or dusk. The Babylonians called it Ishtar after their goddess of fertility, while for Greeks, it was Aphrodite.


Mars is also known as the Red Planet because of its reddish appearance in the night sky. It was named after Mars, the Roman god of war. The Babylonians associated Mars with Nergal, their god of destruction and fire.


Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and is named after Jupiter or Jove, king of all gods in Roman mythology. In ancient times, Jupiter was associated with many gods such as Marduk by Babylonians and Zeus by Greeks.


Saturn is known for its distinctive rings that make it easily recognizable in our solar system. It was named after Saturnus, a Roman agricultural deity who presided over sowing and harvesting crops. The Babylonians identified Saturn with Ninurta, their god of agriculture.


Uranus is the first planet discovered by modern astronomers and is named after the Greek god of the sky. It was not known in ancient times since it is barely visible to the naked eye.


Neptune is named after Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. It was not known in ancient times either since it is not visible without a telescope.


In conclusion, ancient people had a deep reverence for celestial bodies, particularly planets. They believed that they could influence human lives and destinies.

The names of the planets we use today were derived from mythology and history that spanned across different cultures and civilizations. Understanding their significance provides us with a glimpse into our collective past and helps us appreciate our place in the cosmos.