By Tamysn Barton
An account of astrology from its beginnings in Mesopotamia, concentrating on the Greco-Roman international, Ancient Astrology examines the theoretical improvement and altering social and political position of astrology.
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Extra info for Ancient Astrology (Sciences of Antiquity Series)
The first fifty tablets deal with lunar, solar and meteorological omens, while the last twenty are concerned with the planets and the stars. Early or late rising and setting, position, size, colour, brightness are all taken into consideration. Here is a selection: If Nergal [Mars] approaches the Scorpion, there will be a breach in the palace of of the prince. If the Worm is massive—there will be mercy and reconciliation in the land. If the star of Dignity, the vizier of Tispak, approaches the Scorpion—for three years there will be severe cold, cough and phlegm will befall the land.
There is no full text of Nechepso and Petosiris, but there are plenty of quotations of writings attributed to them, in some cases extensive. The extant citations in the standard collection35 are very diverse; indeed it is hard to believe that the same authors were responsible for them. 36 The first offers a variety of astral omens which seem to be Egyptian developments of Mesopotamian models—presumably Ptolemaic, if not earlier. These citations are found in late authors: Hephaestion of Thebes (fl.
Though new studies have been appearing on these works attributed to the god Hermes Trismegistos and his circle, the astrological texts have been largely avoided. But the picture is brighter than it was: new editions of astrological texts have been coming out, and some have even been translated, with commentaries. 10 However, it too could do with a supplement to cover new finds. All these difficulties have to be taken into account, in a context where ancient evidence is already a threadbare rag from which to weave any historical tapestry, in fact where the historian has to begin by unravelling, because of the biases of the source-material which has survived.
Ancient Astrology (Sciences of Antiquity Series) by Tamysn Barton