What Were Stars Called in Ancient Times?

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what those twinkling objects are called? The stars have fascinated humans for centuries and ancient civilizations had their own names for these celestial bodies. Let’s take a look at what stars were called in ancient times.

Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, stars were believed to be the souls of the dead. They were called “asteres” which means “star” in Greek.

The Greeks also named some of the brightest stars after their gods and goddesses. For example, Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, was named after the Greek goddess of hunting.

Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians had a deep understanding of astronomy and they named some stars after their gods and goddesses as well. They believed that each star was a god or goddess watching over them. The North Star, for example, was called “Nebkheperure” which means “Lord of Forms” because it guided boats on the Nile River.

Native American Tribes

Native American tribes had their own names for stars based on their cultural beliefs. The Lakota tribe called the Pleiades constellation “The Seven Sisters” because they believed that seven sisters were responsible for creating humans. The Navajo tribe called Orion’s belt “The Sacred Flint Boys” because they believed that Orion was a hunter who used flint-tipped arrows.

Chinese Civilization

The Chinese civilization has one of the oldest recorded histories of astronomy. They believed that the stars were connected to human fate and destiny.

The brightest star in the sky, Sirius, was called “Tianlang” which means “celestial wolf”. They also named constellations after animals such as Dragon, Phoenix, and White Tiger.


As we can see, different cultures around the world had their own unique names and beliefs about stars. These names were often based on their religious and cultural beliefs. Today, we still use some of these ancient star names such as Sirius, but we also have our own scientific names for stars based on their positions in the sky.

So next time you look up at the night sky, remember that those twinkling objects have been admired and named for thousands of years by different civilizations around the world.