Past societies viewed tied differently across the world. Some saw tides of 6 inches, like the Greeks, while others saw tides of over 20 feed, like in India. As cultures started to mix, The only thing that seemed to tie all the tides together was the moon.
The societies with small tides credited only the moon for influencing them. They thought that there were the daily cycle tied to the rising of the moon, and the spring cycles during the full and waning moon.
Other cultures knew better. With larger tides, they noticed the changes in the tide cycle throughout the year. Many of these societies had extensive knowledge of the cycle of the tide, but they did not understand why the cycles occurred. Like many early cultures, they attributed this to mythical forces.
It took Newton to suggest gravity to finally bring understanding to the forces effecting the tide. However, his discovery did not make the problem easier. The moon could no longer be the only thing acting on oceans, the sun had a major part as well. Due to the elliptical of the moon around the earth and the earth around the sun, the problem became increasingly hard to figure out.
People quickly realize that the 2 or 4 cycles they previously though existed was a gross underestimate. With careful calculation and observation, cycles were found ranging from only hours to thousands of year. In total, over 400 lunar cycles were discovered and documented.