By Tamysn Barton
An account of astrology from its beginnings in Mesopotamia, targeting the Greco-Roman global, Ancient Astrology examines the theoretical improvement and altering social and political function of astrology.
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In addition, there is much work to be done on Latin manuscripts. Perhaps most useful to shed light on the origins of astrology would be an up-to-date study of the Greco-Egyptian ‘Hermetic’ astrological texts. 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.
Moreover, there were significant differences between Romans and Greeks in their attitudes to intellectual pursuits, in particular under the Republic and Early Empire. The Greeks had been conquered by the Romans, and were as often to bring their intellectual talents in the guise of slaves as in the guise of cultural ambassadors in the Republic. Given this background, the cultural stereotype—which had its influence on attitudes—was that elite Romans might be expected to be acquainted with Greek culture, but their real business was to govern.
415 CE) and Proclus (410–485 CE) and John Lydus (fl. c. 560). Not all refer specifically to Nechepso and Petosiris, but only to the ‘ancient Egyptians’. The omens include eclipses, the heliacal rising of Sirius, meteorological phenomena and comets (the most dubious fragment) 26 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND in relation to zodiac signs. Predictions are made either for Egypt or for the whole Eurasian continent (though here interpolations are quite conceivable), and could fit into a context of the third or second century BCE.