Astrology In Ancient Times

Source: http://www.astronomyclub.xyz/geocentric-orientation/astrology-in-ancient-times.html

Last Updated on Mon, 09 Jan 2017 | Geocentric Orientation

Although existing clay tablets tell us that the Sumerians were the first to record the names of constellations, regular observations of the Moon and planets began with the Babylonians. For example, the Venus tablet, which was made around 1600 bc, contains 59 omens grouped into 8-year cycles based on the first and last appearances of Venus in the sky. Thus, by this time the Babylonians were observing and recording events in the sky, recognizing the periodicity of some of these events and using this information to make predictions about the future. These predictions generally related to issues involving society at large, such as the weather, agricultural productivity, and politics, rather than to specific individuals (excepting, of course, the king and his court). Thus, there was a fusion between what we now call astronomy and astrology, representing a worldview that events in the sky resonated with events on Earth and that knowledge of these events could affect man’s future. This preoccupation with knowing and influencing one’s future occurred in other areas as well, such as the omens made from reading the entrails (especially the livers) of animals and from abnormal births.

Astrological issues continued into the Assyrian period. For example, clay tablets record that the 8th-Century emperor Sargon II used the advice of court astrologers in planning his military campaigns. In addition, the Enuma Anu Enlil is a comprehensive compendium of astronomical observations and some 7,000 astrological omens. Most of the material dealt with the appearances and movement of the Moon and Sun, although the planets and weather issues also were included. By now, the planets had taken on special meanings associated with personifications of gods. For example, Mars was the “star” of Nergal, the god of pestilence, and was seen as an evil body, whereas Jupiter was associated with Marduk and was seen as being lucky.

Indian Astronomy Constellation

Figure 2.9. Indian constellations, from the 1894 American edition of Flammarion’s Popular Astronomy. 23.2 x 15.5 cm (page size). Note that the figures are stylized using an Indian perspective. The outer constellations represent the zodiac, and the inner ones represent the Sun, planets, and the Moon and its ascending and descending nodes.

Figure 2.9. Indian constellations, from the 1894 American edition of Flammarion’s Popular Astronomy. 23.2 x 15.5 cm (page size). Note that the figures are stylized using an Indian perspective. The outer constellations represent the zodiac, and the inner ones represent the Sun, planets, and the Moon and its ascending and descending nodes.

After the fall of the Assyrian empire, there was a shift in astrological emphasis, particularly during the Persian occupation. Although astronomical observations continued to be made, the role of astrology in making political decisions declined, and a new form developed that related to predicting one’s individual destiny based on the positions of the heavenly bodies in the sky at the time of conception or (more practically) at birth: natal astrology. The idea was that the configuration of heavenly bodies when one came into the world would influence a person’s subsequent personality and destiny. Once again, the link between the heavens and the Earth was presupposed, but this time the effects of this relationship were personal and potentially available to everyone, although astronomy historian Nicholas Campion states that the small number of surviving birth charts compared with the large number of astronomical tables suggests that the former were mainly used by the social elite. Campion gives an example of a birth chart for a nameless child born on April 29, 410 bc, that gives the date, the names of its father and grandfather, astronomical details at the time of birth, and astrological predictions.

This change in favor of birth charts may have reflected the increased information on planetary periodicities and the meanings of birth defects that had been acquired over the previous centuries. Alternatively, it may have reflected the discomfort of the Persian rulers for making political decisions based on earlier Babylonian ideas. In addition, the main religion of Persia, Zoroastrianism, viewed a person’s soul as coming from and being influenced by the heavens, particularly the planets, and this idea supported the value of having a personal horoscope. Finally, the shaping of the birth chart was influenced by ideas involving the zodiac, a Mesopotamian invention.

The Mesopotamian zodiac and constellation system were imported into Greece midway through the 1st Millennium bc, as were many astrological concepts. But, once in Greece, natal astrology became more rational and precise. In earlier times the heavens and Earth were unified and mutually affected each other. Thus, events on Earth could affect those in the heavens, and vice versa. In the Greek system, however, the celestial regions were seen as being purer and metaphysically superior to the sub-lunar regions. Consequently, events in the heavens could bring changes on Earth, but the reverse did not occur. In addition, astrology developed a more scientific emphasis, in keeping with cosmological developments that encouraged mathematics and geometrical model building. According to astronomy historian James Evans, the area of the sky and its relationship to the horizon became important, being divided into four centers: ascendant or horoscopic point, mid-heaven, setting point, and under-earth. Pairs of zodiac signs were designated as the solar and lunar houses of a planet. The precise location of heavenly bodies in the zodiac at different points in time became part of the astrological forecast. As Campion puts it, Babylonian astrology relied on what was observed, whereas Greek astrology depended on accurate predictions that could be made of planetary positions.

According to Evans (2004), the Greek system of horoscopic astrology really began to grow in the 1st Century bc and continued into the Roman period. It was during this time that it also picked up elements of eastern mysticism. This was especially true in Greco-Roman Egypt, where there was a syncretic fusion of Western concepts involving the constellations, especially those of the zodiac, with

Figure 2.10. “Planisphere Egyptien” representing the Egyptian sky according to Athanasius Kircher, from Charles-Francois Dupuis’ L’Origine de tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle, ca. 1795.18.1 cmdia. Note the syncretic mixture of western and eastern zodiacal images around the periphery and the more traditional western constellations in the center. See also Color Section 1.

Figure 2.10. “Planisphere Egyptien” representing the Egyptian sky according to Athanasius Kircher, from Charles-Francois Dupuis’ L’Origine de tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle, ca. 1795.18.1 cmdia. Note the syncretic mixture of western and eastern zodiacal images around the periphery and the more traditional western constellations in the center. See also Color Section 1.

native Egyptian elements (Figure 2.10). Not only were the constellation images altered to conform to both systems, but the use of the decans was included. Each of the zodiac signs was divided into three 10-degree areas, which were named and associated with a decan (Figure 2.11). Furthermore, each Egyptian constellation was linked to one of the zodiac signs. Based on archeological evidence, Evans has given us a picture of astrological practice in Greco-Roman Egypt. This included the use of papyrus horoscopes as well as marble or ivory astrologer’s boards engraved with numbers and figures of zodiac signs and decans, on which were placed colored stones with images of planetary gods. By setting the stones on the board, the

sve-e les noms des Becaiis et la distribution tics Planètes.

■¡»m) \ \ û”. —–V^ Ouwsumiu. CW-eïmoumeii v ual. Sitat, ^ioii, El’^bion .

cerc/e. intérieur contient la disùiinù’ondes jP/iuietes dans ¿eiuxtli- domiciiea ■ Me-2′

/es ntunj des 12. Signes, fui y répondant* “” dessus sont ¿es 5 b’. divisions, où sontplacée les 7, Planetes, repeJees â./ôis . Mn&e/fys dett.v derniers cerc/es sont /es noms des Jfecaiu , sjwant-Fwmicui et suivant/e* Grecsj (a. Série in/èriewt est teffe de i’irmicKs .

Figure 2.11. A figure from Charles-Francois Dupuis’ L’Origine de tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle, ca. 1795, which summarizes important astrological information and is reminiscent of a Greco-Roman astrological board from Egypt (see text). 16.2 cm dia. Note the concentric rings that represent (from the outside in) the names of the 36 decans and the symbols for their planetary associations, and the names of the 12 zodiac constellations and the names of their planetary associations. See also Color Section 1.

astrologer could illustrate for his client the basis for a prediction. Much of this astrological work occurred in temples dedicated to the cult of Serapis, who himself was a Hellenized fusion of Egyptian (e.g., Osiris and Apis) and Greek (e.g., Helios or Zeus) gods.

The principles of ancient astrology were written down in texts, such as Marcus Manilius’ Astronomica and Dorotheus of Sidon’s Carmen, both from the 1st Century ad. However, the definitive text of astrology was Claudius Ptolemy’s 2nd-Century-AD Tetrabiblos. We shall meet this famous scholar from Alexandria, Egypt, in Section 3.1.12 in the context of his astronomical works. But his well-known astrological treatise summed up the state of this subject to that time and became the foundation for modern astrology as it was to be practiced in the West. Originally known as the Mathematical Treatise in Four Books, it did indeed consist of four parts. Book 1 dealt with the basic principles of astrology, such as the characteristics of the heavenly bodies and signs of the zodiac (e.g., favorable/unfavorable, masculine/ feminine), and the various alignments of the Sun, Moon, and planets. Book 2 dealt with astrological issues related to society at large, such as which planets ruled over which countries and the impact of the heavenly bodies on the weather. Book 3 dealt with the individual, such as the importance of the phase of the Moon or the sign that was rising in the sky at the time of conception in predicting future events in a person’s life, and the astrological influences of issues antecedent to conception, such as those related to his or her parents and siblings. Book 4 dealt with additional astrological issues that Ptolemy considered as being more external, such as later occupation, marriage, children, and travel. In the Tetrabiblos, Ptolemy defended astrology as being scientific because it operated according to natural laws. This treatise was a textbook rather than a how-to-do-it manual, focusing more on a systematic presentation of general themes than on specific details of practice. For over 1,200 years, Islamic and European scholars regarded this book as the definitive reference in astrology (much as Ptolemy’s other books on astronomy and geography were considered in their areas of specialty).

When the Roman Empire broke up, astrology in the West began to lose its influence, as Greek mathematical astronomy went into hibernation and as the Catholic Church began to condemn its practices. But as we shall see in Section 3.6, astrology continued on in the East and became even more complex and mystical during the Middle Ages.

Astrology In Ancient Times

Although existing clay tablets tell us that the Sumerians were the first to record the names of constellations, regular observations of the Moon and planets began with the Babylonians. For example, the Venus tablet, which was made around 1600 bc, contains 59 omens grouped into 8-year cycles based on the first and last appearances of Venus in the sky. Thus, by this time the Babylonians were observing and recording events in the sky, recognizing the periodicity of some of these events and using this information to make predictions about the future. These predictions generally related to issues involving society at large, such as the weather, agricultural productivity, and politics, rather than to specific individuals (excepting, of course, the king and his court). Thus, there was a fusion between what we now call astronomy and astrology, representing a worldview that events in the sky resonated with events on Earth and that knowledge of these events could affect man’s future. This preoccupation with knowing and influencing one’s future occurred in other areas as well, such as the omens made from reading the entrails (especially the livers) of animals and from abnormal births.

Astrological issues continued into the Assyrian period. For example, clay tablets record that the 8th-Century emperor Sargon II used the advice of court astrologers in planning his military campaigns. In addition, the Enuma Anu Enlil is a comprehensive compendium of astronomical observations and some 7,000 astrological omens. Most of the material dealt with the appearances and movement of the Moon and Sun, although the planets and weather issues also were included. By now, the planets had taken on special meanings associated with personifications of gods. For example, Mars was the “star” of Nergal, the god of pestilence, and was seen as an evil body, whereas Jupiter was associated with Marduk and was seen as being lucky.

Indian Astronomy Constellation

Figure 2.9. Indian constellations, from the 1894 American edition of Flammarion’s Popular Astronomy. 23.2 x 15.5 cm (page size). Note that the figures are stylized using an Indian perspective. The outer constellations represent the zodiac, and the inner ones represent the Sun, planets, and the Moon and its ascending and descending nodes.

Figure 2.9. Indian constellations, from the 1894 American edition of Flammarion’s Popular Astronomy. 23.2 x 15.5 cm (page size). Note that the figures are stylized using an Indian perspective. The outer constellations represent the zodiac, and the inner ones represent the Sun, planets, and the Moon and its ascending and descending nodes.

After the fall of the Assyrian empire, there was a shift in astrological emphasis, particularly during the Persian occupation. Although astronomical observations continued to be made, the role of astrology in making political decisions declined, and a new form developed that related to predicting one’s individual destiny based on the positions of the heavenly bodies in the sky at the time of conception or (more practically) at birth: natal astrology. The idea was that the configuration of heavenly bodies when one came into the world would influence a person’s subsequent personality and destiny. Once again, the link between the heavens and the Earth was presupposed, but this time the effects of this relationship were personal and potentially available to everyone, although astronomy historian Nicholas Campion states that the small number of surviving birth charts compared with the large number of astronomical tables suggests that the former were mainly used by the social elite. Campion gives an example of a birth chart for a nameless child born on April 29, 410 bc, that gives the date, the names of its father and grandfather, astronomical details at the time of birth, and astrological predictions.

This change in favor of birth charts may have reflected the increased information on planetary periodicities and the meanings of birth defects that had been acquired over the previous centuries. Alternatively, it may have reflected the discomfort of the Persian rulers for making political decisions based on earlier Babylonian ideas. In addition, the main religion of Persia, Zoroastrianism, viewed a person’s soul as coming from and being influenced by the heavens, particularly the planets, and this idea supported the value of having a personal horoscope. Finally, the shaping of the birth chart was influenced by ideas involving the zodiac, a Mesopotamian invention.

The Mesopotamian zodiac and constellation system were imported into Greece midway through the 1st Millennium bc, as were many astrological concepts. But, once in Greece, natal astrology became more rational and precise. In earlier times the heavens and Earth were unified and mutually affected each other. Thus, events on Earth could affect those in the heavens, and vice versa. In the Greek system, however, the celestial regions were seen as being purer and metaphysically superior to the sub-lunar regions. Consequently, events in the heavens could bring changes on Earth, but the reverse did not occur. In addition, astrology developed a more scientific emphasis, in keeping with cosmological developments that encouraged mathematics and geometrical model building. According to astronomy historian James Evans, the area of the sky and its relationship to the horizon became important, being divided into four centers: ascendant or horoscopic point, mid-heaven, setting point, and under-earth. Pairs of zodiac signs were designated as the solar and lunar houses of a planet. The precise location of heavenly bodies in the zodiac at different points in time became part of the astrological forecast. As Campion puts it, Babylonian astrology relied on what was observed, whereas Greek astrology depended on accurate predictions that could be made of planetary positions.

According to Evans (2004), the Greek system of horoscopic astrology really began to grow in the 1st Century bc and continued into the Roman period. It was during this time that it also picked up elements of eastern mysticism. This was especially true in Greco-Roman Egypt, where there was a syncretic fusion of Western concepts involving the constellations, especially those of the zodiac, with

Figure 2.10. “Planisphere Egyptien” representing the Egyptian sky according to Athanasius Kircher, from Charles-Francois Dupuis’ L’Origine de tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle, ca. 1795.18.1 cmdia. Note the syncretic mixture of western and eastern zodiacal images around the periphery and the more traditional western constellations in the center. See also Color Section 1.

Figure 2.10. “Planisphere Egyptien” representing the Egyptian sky according to Athanasius Kircher, from Charles-Francois Dupuis’ L’Origine de tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle, ca. 1795.18.1 cmdia. Note the syncretic mixture of western and eastern zodiacal images around the periphery and the more traditional western constellations in the center. See also Color Section 1.

native Egyptian elements (Figure 2.10). Not only were the constellation images altered to conform to both systems, but the use of the decans was included. Each of the zodiac signs was divided into three 10-degree areas, which were named and associated with a decan (Figure 2.11). Furthermore, each Egyptian constellation was linked to one of the zodiac signs. Based on archeological evidence, Evans has given us a picture of astrological practice in Greco-Roman Egypt. This

Astrology In Ancient Times

Although existing clay tablets tell us that the Sumerians were the first to record the names of constellations, regular observations of the Moon and planets began with the Babylonians. For example, the Venus tablet, which was made around 1600 bc, contains 59 omens grouped into 8-year cycles based on the first and last appearances of Venus in the sky. Thus, by this time the Babylonians were observing and recording events in the sky, recognizing the periodicity of some of these events and using this information to make predictions about the future. These predictions generally related to issues involving society at large, such as the weather, agricultural productivity, and politics, rather than to specific individuals (excepting, of course, the king and his court). Thus, there was a fusion between what we now call astronomy and astrology, representing a worldview that events in the sky resonated with events on Earth and that knowledge of these events could affect man’s future. This preoccupation with knowing and influencing one’s future occurred in other areas as well, such as the omens made from reading the entrails (especially the livers) of animals and from abnormal births.

Astrological issues continued into the Assyrian period. For example, clay tablets record that the 8th-Century emperor Sargon II used the advice of court astrologers in planning his military campaigns. In addition, the Enuma Anu Enlil is a comprehensive compendium of astronomical observations and some 7,000 astrological omens. Most of the material dealt with the appearances and movement of the Moon and Sun, although the planets and weather issues also were included. By now, the planets had taken on special meanings associated with personifications of gods. For example, Mars was the “star” of Nergal, the god of pestilence, and was seen as an evil body, whereas Jupiter was associated with Marduk and was seen as being lucky.

Indian Astronomy Constellation

Figure 2.9. Indian constellations, from the 1894 American edition of Flammarion’s Popular Astronomy. 23.2 x 15.5 cm (page size). Note that the figures are stylized using an Indian perspective. The outer constellations represent the zodiac, and the inner ones represent the Sun, planets, and the Moon and its ascending and descending nodes.

Figure 2.9. Indian constellations, from the 1894 American edition of Flammarion’s Popular Astronomy. 23.2 x 15.5 cm (page size). Note that the figures are stylized using an Indian perspective. The outer constellations represent the zodiac, and the inner ones represent the Sun, planets, and the Moon and its ascending and descending nodes.

After the fall of the Assyrian empire, there was a shift in astrological emphasis, particularly during the Persian occupation. Although astronomical observations continued to be made, the role of astrology in making political decisions declined, and a new form developed that related to predicting one’s individual destiny based on the positions of the heavenly bodies in the sky at the time of conception or (more practically) at birth: natal astrology. The idea was that the configuration of heavenly bodies when one came into the world would influence a person’s subsequent personality and destiny. Once again, the link between the heavens and the Earth was presupposed, but this time the effects of this relationship were personal and potentially available to everyone, although astronomy historian Nicholas Campion states that the small number of surviving birth charts compared with the large number of astronomical tables suggests that the former were mainly used by the social elite. Campion gives an example of a birth chart for a nameless child born on April 29, 410 bc, that gives the date, the names of its father and grandfather, astronomical details at the time of birth, and astrological predictions.

This change in favor of birth charts may have reflected the increased information on planetary periodicities and the meanings of birth defects that had been acquired over the previous centuries. Alternatively, it may have reflected the discomfort of the Persian rulers for making political decisions based on earlier Babylonian ideas. In addition, the main religion of Persia, Zoroastrianism, viewed a person’s soul as coming from and being influenced by the heavens, particularly the planets, and this idea supported the value of having a personal horoscope. Finally, the shaping of the birth chart was influenced by ideas involving the zodiac, a Mesopotamian invention.

The Mesopotamian zodiac and constellation system were imported into Greece midway through the 1st Millennium bc, as were many astrological concepts. But, once in Greece, natal astrology became more rational and precise. In earlier times the heavens and Earth were unified and mutually affected each other. Thus, events on Earth could affect those in the heavens, and vice versa. In the Greek system, however, the celestial regions were seen as being purer and metaphysically superior to the sub-lunar regions. Consequently, events in the heavens could bring changes on Earth, but the reverse did not occur. In addition, astrology developed a more scientific emphasis, in keeping with cosmological developments that encouraged mathematics and geometrical model building. According to astronomy historian James Evans, the area of the sky and its relationship to the horizon became important, being divided into four centers: ascendant or horoscopic point, mid-heaven, setting point, and under-earth. Pairs of zodiac signs were designated as the solar and lunar houses of a planet. The precise location of heavenly bodies in the zodiac at different points in time became part of the astrological forecast. As Campion puts it, Babylonian astrology relied on what was observed, whereas Greek astrology depended on accurate predictions that could be made of planetary positions.

According to Evans (2004), the Greek system of horoscopic astrology really began to grow in the 1st Century bc and continued into the Roman period. It was during this time that it also picked up elements of eastern mysticism. This was especially true in Greco-Roman Egypt, where there was a syncretic fusion of Western concepts involving the constellations, especially those of the zodiac, with

Figure 2.10. “Planisphere Egyptien” representing the Egyptian sky according to Athanasius Kircher, from Charles-Francois Dupuis’ L’Origine de tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle, ca. 1795.18.1 cmdia. Note the syncretic mixture of western and eastern zodiacal images around the periphery and the more traditional western constellations in the center. See also Color Section 1.

Figure 2.10. “Planisphere Egyptien” representing the Egyptian sky according to Athanasius Kircher, from Charles-Francois Dupuis’ L’Origine de tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle, ca. 1795.18.1 cmdia. Note the syncretic mixture of western and eastern zodiacal images around the periphery and the more traditional western constellations in the center. See also Color Section 1.

native Egyptian elements (Figure 2.10). Not only were the constellation images altered to conform to both systems, but the use of the decans was included. Each of the zodiac signs was divided into three 10-degree areas, which were named and associated with a decan (Figure 2.11). Furthermore, each Egyptian constellation was linked to one of the zodiac signs. Based on archeological evidence, Evans has given us a picture of astrological practice in Greco-Roman Egypt. This included the use of papyrus horoscopes as well as marble or ivory astrologer’s boards engraved with numbers and figures of zodiac signs and decans, on which were placed colored stones with images of planetary gods. By setting the stones on the board, the

sve-e les noms des Becaiis et la distribution tics Planètes.

■¡»m) \ \ û”. —–V^ Ouwsumiu. CW-eïmoumeii v ual. Sitat, ^ioii, El’^bion .

cerc/e. intérieur contient la disùiinù’ondes jP/iuietes dans ¿eiuxtli- domiciiea ■ Me-2′

/es ntunj des 12. Signes, fui y répondant* “” dessus sont ¿es 5 b’. divisions, où sontplacée les 7, Planetes, repeJees â./ôis . Mn&e/fys dett.v derniers cerc/es sont /es noms des Jfecaiu , sjwant-Fwmicui et suivant/e* Grecsj (a. Série in/èriewt est teffe de i’irmicKs .

Figure 2.11. A figure from Charles-Francois Dupuis’ L’Origine de tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle, ca. 1795, which summarizes important astrological information and is reminiscent of a Greco-Roman astrological board from Egypt (see text). 16.2 cm dia. Note the concentric rings that represent (from the outside in) the names of the 36 decans and the symbols for their planetary associations, and the names of the 12 zodiac constellations and the names of their planetary associations. See also Color Section 1.

astrologer could illustrate for his client the basis for a prediction. Much of this astrological work occurred in temples dedicated to the cult of Serapis, who himself was a Hellenized fusion of Egyptian (e.g., Osiris and Apis) and Greek (e.g., Helios or Zeus) gods.

The principles of ancient astrology were written down in texts, such as Marcus Manilius’ Astronomica and Dorotheus of Sidon’s Carmen, both from the 1st Century ad. However, the definitive text of astrology was Claudius Ptolemy’s 2nd-Century-AD Tetrabiblos. We shall meet this famous scholar from Alexandria, Egypt, in Section 3.1.12 in the context of his astronomical works. But his well-known astrological treatise summed up the state of this subject to that time and became the foundation for modern astrology as it was to be practiced in the West. Originally known as the Mathematical Treatise in Four Books, it did indeed consist of four parts. Book 1 dealt with the basic principles of astrology, such as the characteristics of the heavenly bodies and signs of the zodiac (e.g., favorable/unfavorable, masculine/ feminine), and the various alignments of the Sun, Moon, and planets. Book 2 dealt with astrological issues related to society at large, such as which planets ruled over which countries and the impact of the heavenly bodies on the weather. Book 3 dealt with the individual, such as the importance of the phase of the Moon or the sign that was rising in the sky at the time of conception in predicting future events in a person’s life, and the astrological influences of issues antecedent to conception, such as those related to his or her parents and siblings. Book 4 dealt with additional astrological issues that Ptolemy considered as being more external, such as later occupation, marriage, children, and travel. In the Tetrabiblos, Ptolemy defended astrology as being scientific because it operated according to natural laws. This treatise was a textbook rather than a how-to-do-it manual, focusing more on a systematic presentation of general themes than on specific details of practice. For over 1,200 years, Islamic and European scholars regarded this book as the definitive reference in astrology (much as Ptolemy’s other books on astronomy and geography were considered in their areas of specialty).

When the Roman Empire broke up, astrology in the West began to lose its influence, as Greek mathematical astronomy went into hibernation and as the Catholic Church began to condemn its practices. But as we shall see in Section 3.6, astrology continued on in the East and became even more complex and mystical during the Middle Ages.

included the use of papyrus horoscopes as well as marble or ivory astrologer’s boards engraved with numbers and figures of zodiac signs and decans, on which were placed colored stones with images of planetary gods. By setting the stones on the board, the

sve-e les noms des Becaiis et la distribution tics Planètes.

■¡»m) \ \ û”. —–V^ Ouwsumiu. CW-eïmoumeii v ual. Sitat, ^ioii, El’^bion .

cerc/e. intérieur contient la disùiinù’ondes jP/iuietes dans ¿eiuxtli- domiciiea ■ Me-2′

/es ntunj des 12. Signes, fui y répondant* “” dessus sont ¿es 5 b’. divisions, où sontplacée les 7, Planetes, repeJees â./ôis . Mn&e/fys dett.v derniers cerc/es sont /es noms des Jfecaiu , sjwant-Fwmicui et suivant/e* Grecsj (a. Série in/èriewt est teffe de i’irmicKs .

Figure 2.11. A figure from Charles-Francois Dupuis’ L’Origine de tous les Cultes ou Religion Universelle, ca. 1795, which summarizes important astrological information and is reminiscent of a Greco-Roman astrological board from Egypt (see text). 16.2 cm dia. Note the concentric rings that represent (from the outside in) the names of the 36 decans and the symbols for their planetary associations, and the names of the 12 zodiac constellations and the names of their planetary associations. See also Color Section 1.

astrologer could illustrate for his client the basis for a prediction. Much of this astrological work occurred in temples dedicated to the cult of Serapis, who himself was a Hellenized fusion of Egyptian (e.g., Osiris and Apis) and Greek (e.g., Helios or Zeus) gods.

The principles of ancient astrology were written down in texts, such as Marcus Manilius’ Astronomica and Dorotheus of Sidon’s Carmen, both from the 1st Century ad. However, the definitive text of astrology was Claudius Ptolemy’s 2nd-Century-AD Tetrabiblos. We shall meet this famous scholar from Alexandria, Egypt, in Section 3.1.12 in the context of his astronomical works. But his well-known astrological treatise summed up the state of this subject to that time and became the foundation for modern astrology as it was to be practiced in the West. Originally known as the Mathematical Treatise in Four Books, it did indeed consist of four parts. Book 1 dealt with the basic principles of astrology, such as the characteristics of the heavenly bodies and signs of the zodiac (e.g., favorable/unfavorable, masculine/ feminine), and the various alignments of the Sun, Moon, and planets. Book 2 dealt with astrological issues related to society at large, such as which planets ruled over which countries and the impact of the heavenly bodies on the weather. Book 3 dealt with the individual, such as the importance of the phase of the Moon or the sign that was rising in the sky at the time of conception in predicting future events in a person’s life, and the astrological influences of issues antecedent to conception, such as those related to his or her parents and siblings. Book 4 dealt with additional astrological issues that Ptolemy considered as being more external, such as later occupation, marriage, children, and travel. In the Tetrabiblos, Ptolemy defended astrology as being scientific because it operated according to natural laws. This treatise was a textbook rather than a how-to-do-it manual, focusing more on a systematic presentation of general themes than on specific details of practice. For over 1,200 years, Islamic and European scholars regarded this book as the definitive reference in astrology (much as Ptolemy’s other books on astronomy and geography were considered in their areas of specialty).

When the Roman Empire broke up, astrology in the West began to lose its influence, as Greek mathematical astronomy went into hibernation and as the Catholic Church began to condemn its practices. But as we shall see in Section 3.6, astrology continued on in the East and became even more complex and mystical during the Middle Ages.

 

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.