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Rochberg, Francesca 1952–

Rochberg, Francesca 1952–

(Francesca Halton, Francesca Rochberg-Halton)

PERSONAL: Born 1952. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1974; University of Chicago, Ph.D., 1980.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of History, 1212 HMNSS Bldg., University of California, Riverside, 900 University Ave., Riverside, CA 92521. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Historian, educator, and writer. University of California, Riverside, professor of history; previously taught at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN. Also served as a fellow at the Altorientalisches Seminar, Universität Tübingen, and a fellow in history of science at Yale University; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Michael Polanyi Visiting Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Natural Science, 1996; Committee on Mesopotamian Civilization (Baghdad), American School of Oriental Research, member, 1996–99.

AWARDS, HONORS: John D. and Catherine T. Mac-Arthur fellow, 1982–87; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellow, 1993–94; John Frederick Lewis Award, American Philosophical Society, 1999, for Babylonian Horoscopes.


(As Francesca Rochberg-Halton) Aspects of Babylonian Celestial Divination: The Lunar Eclipse Tablets of Enüma Anu Enlil, (microfilm; Ph.D. thesis), University of Chicago (Chicago, IL), 1980.

(As Francesca Halton; with Christopher Fagg), Atlas of the Ancient World, edited by Frances M. Clapham, Warwick Press (New York, NY), 1981.

(As Francesca Rochberg-Halton; translator) George Rochberg, Songs of Inanna and Dumuzi, for Contralto and Piano (based on ancient Sumerian texts), drawings by Fritz Janschka, Presser (Bryn Mawr, PA), 1983.

(As Francesca Rochberg-Halton; editor) Language, Literature, and History: Philological and Historical Studies Presented to Erica Reiner, American Oriental Society (New Haven, CT), 1987.

Babylonian Horoscopes, American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia, PA), 1998.

The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to Atlas of World History, Warwick Press (New York, NY), 1982; editor, with Alan C. Bowen, of Sources and Studies in the History and Philosophy of Classical Science; contributor to numerous journals and academic publications, including the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie, Orientalia, Centarus, and Isis.

SIDELIGHTS: Francesca Rochberg is a historian whose primary interests are ancient Near Eastern history and the history of science with a focus on ancient astronomy and astrology. She is also the author or editor of several books pertaining to her fields of interest, including Babylonian Horoscopes, for which the author provides translations of all known Babylonian texts that are considered horoscopes. In addition, the author provides an overview of Babylonian horoscopes and their characteristics. J.M. Steele, writing in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, noted that the book "should … be of interest to those whose main concern is in ancient astronomy, both for the considerable amount of astronomical data the horoscopes contain, and for the insights they provide into the relation between astronomy and divination in the ancient world."

In The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture, Rochberg focuses on "the interrelation of astronomical observation, astronomical theory, astrology, and society in Mesopotamia during the second and first millennia B.C.," as noted by J.M. Steele in Isis. The author writes about the misunderstandings concerning Mesopotamian astrology and its place in helping to establish science as a part of culture, which has largely been ignored by most historians of science in favor of the Greeks' efforts. Isis contributor Steele called the book "a significant contribution to the history of Mesopotamian astral science that will undoubtedly have a major impact on the field." In a review on the Skyscript Web site, Sue Toohey wrote: "This book legitimises Babylonian astrological contributions in a way that advances our understanding of this period, fitting it into the context into which it belongs."



Isis, June, 2005, J.M. Steele, review of The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture, p. 267.

Journal of Near Eastern Studies, January, 2001, Johannes Koch, review of Babylonian Horoscopes, p. 62.

Journal of the American Oriental Society, July-September, 1999, J.M. Steele, review of Babylonian Horoscopes, p. 524.


Department of History, University of California, Riverside Web site, (March 24, 2006), faculty profile of author.

Skyscript, (March 24, 2006), Sue Toohey, review of The Heavenly Writing.

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