Ancient Astrology (Sciences of Antiquity Series) by Tamysn Barton

By Tamysn Barton

An account of astrology from its beginnings in Mesopotamia, targeting the Greco-Roman international, Ancient Astrology examines the theoretical improvement and altering social and political position of astrology.

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However, they survived as representations of the year’s decades (groups of ten days), and were eventually brought into a schematic relation to the zodiac in the Hellenistic age, probably at the time when leap years were introduced. Each was taken to preside over 10 degrees of the zodiacal circle (hence the Greek name of decans, from deca, ten). The Egyptian names survive in astrological work into late antiquity, and the decans played many different roles in astrology thereafter. However, it was the Babylonian system of equinoctial hours, unvarying with the seasons, which prevailed among astronomers.

Jupiter…in 18 degrees Sagittarius. The place of Jupiter [means]: [his life? will be] regular, well; he will become rich, he will grow old, [his] days will be numerous [literally, long]. Venus in 4 degrees Taurus. The place of Venus [means]: 16 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Wherever he may go, it will be favourable [for him]; he will have sons and daughters. Mercury in Gemini with the Sun. The place of Mercury [means]: the brave one will be first in rank, he will be more important than his brothers,… Saturn; 6 degrees Cancer.

Diodorus, who accepted in the first century BCE that the Chaldaeans were colonists from Egypt, and was impressed by the antiquity of their predictive star-science, still baulked at the figure of 473,000. 1 Though there were reasons to doubt ancient testimonies to 9 ANCIENT ASTROLOGY theultimate sources of astrology, in the absence of firm evidence scholars in the nineteenth century revived the old debate over the relative influence of Mesopotamia and Egypt. At the end of the century, a group of scholars who came to be nicknamed the ‘PanBabylonians’ found much support for their ideas about Mesopotamian origins for most forms of ancient wisdom, including biblical stories.

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