She can be regarded as the one of the early women in astronomy in that she had mastered the art of predicting eclipses. This ability to forecast a lunar eclipse would be possible for anyone of that time to do who was familiar with the periods of the full moon and the cycles of eclipses (the Metonic cycle). The superstitions of the time allowed a person with such knowledge to control people through their fear of the unknown.
Known as the witches of Thessaly (1st through 3rd centuries BCE), women such as Aglaonice were thought to "draw down the Moon". They knew how to predict lunar eclipses . The word "witch" is a epithet given them by later authors, although it is likely Aglaonice was regarded as a sorceress by her contemporaries for her skill in predicting eclipses. She is mentioned in the writings of Pluto as a sorceress. Her boasting gave rise to a Greek proverb used for braggarts "Yes as the Moon obeys Aglaonice". A crater on the planet Venus is named for her.
She is often listed as the first astronomer who was a woman; however, there are earlier ones. See En Hedu'anna.
Return to Homepage