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Quadrant House Systems in Hellenistic Astrology?
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again Gabe,

Quote:
Personally, I not interesting in what ultimately is my take on astrology, I’m interested in what the people who made astrology thought of it, what their take was and the principals that they themselves followed in establishing astrology.


See the post I quoted from Deb. This is not as easy to establish as we might hope. Inevitably there are gaps in our understanding. As we have different perspectives we tend to fill those gaps with our own pre-conceptions. That naturally colours how we perceive the same facts.

Quote:
Let me put it to you this way: would you think that the Greeks, a people who are notorious for their systematic thinking, would either create astrology or develop a Bablyonian or Egyptian (actually these are the people who always get forgotten) astrology in some slap-dash sort of way? Now, there are most certainly some astrological doctrines out of both Babylon and Egypt. How they came about and what were they exactly is more of a matter for those disposed to either history or necromancy.


Quote:
Now Robert Schmidt has his theory, which he hasn’t presented completely either in public or privately that I know of, that the founders of Hellenistic astrology were individuals belong to or associated with the Platonic Academy and that they devised to practically apply their understanding of Plato’s work in people’s lives in order that those lives may be made intelligible. Alas, they did not have unicorns.


I believe Robert Schmidt's theory is that the hellenistic tradition was given birth from the mind of one person or small grouping of thinkers in a relatively short time scale.

Thats such an immense topic I will pass on here rather than attempt to tackle such an enormous question buried in a post here.

You certainly can find a lot of astrological ideas latent in the writings of Plato and middle Platonist and Neo-Platonist ideas certainly influenced hellenistic astrology. Personally, though I rather feel Schmidt tends to understimate the role of Stoic and Hermetic ideas too much for me. Again this is a big topic. I have been looking into the philosophical roots of early astrology quite a bit lately. However, I would prefer to open a separate thread on this on the philosophy part of the forum.

Quote:
Honestly, I question the idea of "pure transmission". It makes sense to me, that what happens later on is the combination of some of the old astrological doctrines being made more available to the profane, involving both innovations from other individuals or groups and portions of the Platonic astrological being occasionally released either delibrately or by accident.


Again I question the exclusive focus on Plato but thats an interesting point.
It sounds like the kind of view Valens would have subscribed to.

Quote:
It also possible that there might be more or less cohesive groups working in the original system for a while, perhaps lasting until sometime into the Arabic period perhaps; one must remember, that when the emperor Justinian closed the Academy in 529 CE (and other pagan institutions of learning), many persons escaping persecution fled to Persia.


Astrological histories always mention this date. However, I suspect the drift started well before then. In reality the legal crack down on Paganism started well before Justinian under the reign of Emperor Theodosius I 347 – 395 AD. As for the rest its sounds an attractive if rather romanticised notion considering the diffuse nature of the Roman Empire.

Quote:
They have a point though, don't you agree? At least in that there are some pretty large gaps in how modern astrolgy goes about things, else why would you have strayed into the dark and unenlightened past?


I love history and find there is a richness of technique and underlying philosophy in traditional astrology simply lacking in modern astrology.
Its undeniably my preference. However, that is a view I have come to from personal experience. If Chiron, harmonics, asteroids or sabian symbols floats someone elses boat I am happy these days to leave them to it rather than waste energy criticising that approach to astrology.
Apart from anything else its counter-productive as it makes people feel defensive and threatened. Far better to tempt people with the box of delights traditional astrology has to offer.

Ultimately, I see astrology working through signs not causes. So I do not rule out the possibility that people applying modern methods can get meaningful results too. I can give the analogy of when I first became a Vegetarian. I went through what I would describe an 'evangelical' phase. I think I went through the same process with traditional astrology! Because my knowledge and confidence were weak I needed the anchor of pristine astrological truth in the tradition. Now I see the tradition is littered with shades of grey no matter what era you focus on. Ultimately, all astrologers, whatever label they give themselves, have to impose their choice of how they approach astrological technique and their underlying philosophy. You can never escape this even if the traditional approach initially appears to answer all our questions. The questions or questioning should never stop. If they do we should all be buried. Very Happy

Quote:
Personally I think the early Arabic period, say Masha'allah or al-Khayatt, for example, is probably just as fruitful as something like Valens or Ptolemy.


Ah so you are more liberal than I assumed. Sorry for painting you into a corner where you were absent!

Quote:
I do believe, regardless of period, that there has to be a critical determination of who seemed to have a really good idea of what they were doing that is explainable, and who had maybe an interesting concept or technique but is otherwise full of nonsense. I do have my opinions on the matter, which in the interest of self-preservation I try to keep silent on.


Not exactly clear what you mean here sorry. Confused


Quote:
An honest question, why do you think that exactly?


Why do I question the notion that the first hellenistic astrologers hold all the astrological answers?

Many reasons:

1 Our knowledge of the sources will never be definitive
2 We have relatively little information on the philosopical worldview underlying this early period. Robert Schmidt has attempted to fill in gaps but his conclusions may be completely incorrect.
3 I suspect the early development of astrology was less focused on the the early hellenistic astrologers than is currently conceded by authorities such as Robert Schmidt and Chris Brennan.
4 While Robert Schmidt suggests one mind or small group of minds involved in developing the basic model of hellenistic astrology I remain somewhat sceptical of this theory. I suspect the process was more piece meal in reality.
5 Beyond this and more fundamentally I dont see the first generation of astrologers as similar to Buddha or Christ like figures who offered all the answers to human existence.They were fallable human beings as we are.

There is genuine scope for development and refinement of ideas when we are dealing with mortal human beings but not divine incarnations. That doesn't stop me being fascinated by trying to discover more about the earliest astrology and its techniques. See you on the ACT forum!

Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:11 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Gabe,

Quote:
I don't believe you were being deliberately offensive, Mark, but I do frankly think there is a feeling on the board that anything coming from Robert Schmidt’s work is going to be challenged, whether adeptly or not, and this ‘cultic’ talk is only one example of this, though mercifully this particular example isn’t very much here on Skyscript.


You do seem to be quite sensitive on the subject of Robert Schmidt.
You picked up a previous comment referring to him in another thread as an attack on him when it was nothing of the sort. My earlier comments here never referred to Robert Schmidt personally although you have chosen to interpret them as directed straight at him.

I dont think Robert Schmidt needs you to champion his cause. His invaluable output speaks for itself. That doesn't mean I have to accept every word he writes or speaks uncritically. I would take this approach to any astrological teacher. However, I certainly dont accept there is any kind of 'Get Schmidt' type conspiracy going on here on skyscript. Just what are you basing that on?

I mean good heavens I am a Project Hindsight subscriber and Talking tour subscriber too. I would probably go to the Conclaves if I could afford it! I am quite jealous of the Americans like you who have this happpening almost next door to them. Does Robert Schmidt ever come to Europe? I have never heard of him lecturing here but I may be mistaken.

Quote:
Well, part of this problem is the supposed “esteemed” nature of some of these people. I have opinions on this matter, and certainly I would recommend in regards to Schmidt, not “esteeming” him, but engaging him .


Precisely why I joined the ACT forum! Have you forgotten we have chatted there?

Mark
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GR



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Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

MarkC wrote:

That doesn't mean I have to accept every word he writes or speaks uncritically. I would take this approach to any astrological teacher.


I wouldn't expect that anyone would do such a silly thing as be uncritical, and I think I can safely say that Schmidt would agree with me.

MarkC wrote:

I mean good heavens I am a Project Hindsight subscriber and Talking tour subscriber too. I would probably go to the Conclaves if I could afford it! I am quite jealous of the Americans like you who have this happpening almost next door to them.


Well, Maryland isn't exactly next door to New Jersey, but I take your point that I'm advantaged in this respect.

MarkC wrote:

Does Robert Schmidt ever come to Europe? I have never heard of him lecturing here but I may be mistaken.


I'd have to imagine if he were invited he'd consider it, but there are other things going on that make that a difficult prospect.

MarkC wrote:

Precisely why I joined the ACT forum! Have you forgotten we have chatted there?


I do remember that, yes. We both should post there more often. Smile
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gabe,

Quote:
I do remember that, yes. We both should post there more often.


True. I might take this issue to the Hellenistic part of the ACT forum. However, as Deb indicated perhaps this topic is limited in how far it can go at present without more translation material and research.

More generally, ACT is a good deal less active than Skyscript. Still, getting a considered reply from Robert Schmidt on this would be most valuable.

I guess I am still adjusting to the astrological year zero approach on the hellenistic part of the forum where all the usual astrological terminology in english is completely retitled. The formality of that bit of the forum also feels a little strange too with everyone addressed by surname. Still at least I dont have to have deep discussions with someone signing in as zippy!

Mark
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Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I missed this thread from only a few months back. The topic of quadrant house systems in the hellenistic era is discussed by Deb and Osthanes in considerable depth.

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4412

Mark
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margherita



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Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GR wrote:


Who needs Martin Luther when there are plently of Borgias to be had? Very Happy


Smile


Quote:
This is probably "Renaissance astrology in a sentence".


I know it's a simplification... but just to say that Ptolemy has so much credit for the only reason the most well known astrologers willing or not- followed his texts.

So we can dig in the line three of the codex Y and find a wonderful technique, but nobody knew about it and nobody used.

I'm more interested in the astrology how it was really practised than in the most wonderful technique, I say here in this case as I always say with my friends in CieloeTerra in the opposite case - this is just my opinion.

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Deb
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Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a very good point Margherita. I can relate to that very strongly.
As for whether we are inclined towards Ptolemy's views or teachings; that seems irrelevant to me. If we want to understand the history and tradition of astrology, then we have to understand his philosophy and be familiar with his work. It's as simple as that.
I am also convinced that it is helpful to be respectful of any text that we are trying to understand, because it means that we approach it with a more open mind and then we understand it more readily.

Deb
Ps - Gabe, I like your points very much and usefully agree with you, but I don't see what there is to be gained from wishing that history was different to what it was, or that an astrologer who was very imporant and influential, wasn't.
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GR



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Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Gabe, I like your points very much and usefully agree with you, but I don't see what there is to be gained from wishing that history was different to what it was, or that an astrologer who was very important and influential, wasn't.


It's not so much wishing history be different, but feeling that we are not necessarily beholden unto history. Ptolemy was easily the single most influential astrological writer, but that wasn't always a good thing, and we should benefit from hindsight, as it were.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It's not so much wishing history be different, but feeling that we are not necessarily beholden unto history. Ptolemy was easily the single most influential astrological writer, but that wasn't always a good thing, and we should benefit from hindsight, as it were.


Hi Gabe,

Your certainly not the only astrologer to suggest there has been too much focus on Ptolemy in considering early astrology as a whole. In part this is no doubt due to the lack of available translations of these astrologers. The work of Robert Schmidt, James Holden and Dorian Greenbaum is certainly helping to address this problem and give us a more balanced view of all the sources as a whole.

However, I find the argument by some that Ptolemy’s distinctive stance on many issues makes him somehow peripheral to the hellenistic tradition quite unconvincing.

Firstly, this assumes there was ever such a thing as a unified tradition. I am not so sure that was ever the case. Astrologers always seem to have had their differences from the year dot. For example, Vettius Valens isn't shy criticising some of his predecessors and giving his own empirical perspective based on delineation of actual charts.

Secondly, Ptolemy was clearly held in great respect by other classical astrologers following his death. For example, Hephaistio of Thebes calls him ‘divine Ptolemy’ and Firmicus also pays tribute to him. Similarly, by the 3rd century Porphyry devoted a whole text to explaining the Tetrabiblos which he clearly regarded as a crucial astrological work. The fact Ptolemy often has a different perspective to his contemporaries makes him useful to contrast with these sources.

Still, its almost certainly the case that his fame rested more on his astronomical prowess as much as anything else. The Almagest his great astronomical work was the key text of astronomy for well over a 1000 years in the west. That is the kind of influence even the most megalomaniac of authors couldn't dream of today Shocked

More practically, I suspect many astrologers were deeply grateful to Ptolemy for his ‘Handy Tables’ which summarised some of the key information from the Almagest on plotting planetary and star positions. This not only allowed more accurate calculation of planetary and stellar positions but saved the practical astrologer an awful lot of time. Rhetorius writing in the 6th century is still relying on the Handy Tables of Ptolemy.

Here is an interesting article by professor Mark Riley on Ptolemy in comparison to his contemporaries such as Valens.

http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/PDF_folder/theoretical.pdf

In addition here is an article by Mark Riley on the Terabiblos and its 'scientific' perspective:

http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/PDF_folder/Science.pdf
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margherita



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Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,

MarkC wrote:

However, I find the argument by some that Ptolemy’s distinctive stance on many issues makes him somehow peripheral to the hellenistic tradition quite unconvincing.


To be honest I don't believe Ptolemy woke up a morning and invented a new branch of astrology separated from "hellenistic" astrology.

As everybody in writing his book he talked about techniques he found most effective, discarded the ones he found ineffective, and omitted the ones he was unsure, or he did not have any expertise.

When I attended my lessons, talking about different subjects teacher said this is Ptolemy and this Vettius Valens without problems, quoting both.


In Italy there is not this war between hellenistic astrology and Ptolemy one, so there is something I surely miss.

Margherita
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MarkC wrote:



3 I suspect the early development of astrology was less focused on the the early hellenistic astrologers than is currently conceded by authorities such as Robert Schmidt and Chris Brennan.



I was just browsing through this interesting thread, and there are a few issues that were raised that I wanted to comment on, although I wanted to ask you if you could clarify this statement for me first Mark.

Are you referring to what I call the 'sudden invention hypothesis' that Holden, Pingree, and especially Schmidt are proponents of, which is contrasted with the 'gradual development' arguments that Hand and Campion make? That is to say, the notion that Hellenistic astrology represents a singular invention sometime around the 1st or 2nd century BCE vs. the notion that it developed more organically over an extended but overlapping time period?

Or are you referring to other arguments about the provenance of certain doctrines and techniques in particular?

I have attempted to take more of the middle ground in some of these debates, since each has its own merits, so I am curious know if it is the case that I do somehow come off as being more of a staunch proponent of one argument or another. In some instances I may very well be willing to make a number of concessions, although to some extent it does depend on which issue is being called into question in particular.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I wanted to ask you if you could clarify this statement for me first Mark.

Are you referring to what I call the 'sudden invention hypothesis' that Holden, Pingree, and especially Schmidt are proponents of, which is contrasted with the 'gradual development' arguments that Hand and Campion make? That is to say, the notion that Hellenistic astrology represents a singular invention sometime around the 1st or 2nd century BCE vs. the notion that it developed more organically over an extended but overlapping time period?

Or are you referring to other arguments about the provenance of certain doctrines and techniques in particular?


Hi Chris,

Sorry for the delay replying. I dont tend to see these points as completely separate. The general impacts on the specific. In other words if you hold to a rapid explosion type theory based on almost exclusively Greek ideas that inevitably affects how you perceive the development of specific techniques.

I would prefer to discuss this topic in non-personal terms rather than stating I am against one astrologer or for another. I am more interested in trying to understand what the primary sources are actually telling us rather than attacking or defending anyone's pet theory.

To do that I feel we need to look not just at specifically astrological texts but general historical sources for this period of early astrology.

However, in regards the provenance of techniques I do feel there is sometimes a tendency to overemphasize the unity of early hellenistic astrology and underestimate its pluralism. House systems is just one example.

On the historical issue I am not sure if I like using the label 'gradualist' . This implies astrology moves forward like the glaciation process. Incredibly slowly and imperceptably. In contrast to this I think astrology has had many periods when its techniques have taken a progressive spurt forward. What I question is whether the the undeniable leap forward astrology took in 1st or 2nd century Alexandria was based on an almost totally indigenous hellenistic astrology or whether it was the product of the creative cross fertilisation of Greek, Mesopotamian and Egyptian ideas.

Thus rather than typify the discussion as simply rapid vs gradualist I prefer the distinction of culturally exclusivist vs hybrid?

I think the rapid development theory focusing on purely Greek sources ignores a lot of historical evidence to the contrary that states Greek astrology was heavily influenced and indeed founded on Mespotamian astrology. If this was not the case why are so many classical sources repeatedly telling us this? Is it more likely a 1st century writer has it wrong or a 21st century scholar trying to put together the historical jig saw without many of the original primary sources?

Another issue i dont agree with is the idea of a rigid distinction between e Mesopotamian and Greek astrology as if these things were completely separate things. In actual fact following the conquests of Alexander the two worlds came together so its hardly incredible that late Mesopotamian astrology was a major influence on Greek and hellenistic Egyptian thought.

I will give specific examples of what I mean later but I thought I owed you some kind of provisional reply.

To some I extent I fear current debate around hellenistic astrology is too inward looking and too narrowly focused on hellenistic astrological texts. There is a risk this may be mirroring older scholarship on the history of astronomy which gave all the credit to the Greeks at the expense of the Babylonians. For example look at J.L.E. Dreyer's ''A History of Astronomy from Thales to Kepler" . Its a great book and very useful. However, as a lover of all things Greek his attitide tended to grossly underestimate the role of Babylonian astronomy in influencing Greek ideas.

We now know that major figures like Hipparchus had access to Babylonian astronomical research. If Greek astronomy did this why should we accept their astrology was created almost ex-nihilo?

Mark
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CJ



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Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is maybe an inflammatory view but I consider it possible the "explosion" in Egyptian/Hellenistic horoscopic astrology may not be fundamentally different from the explosion of Arabic parts in Islamic astrology, the explosion of dasha systems in India or the contemporary explosion of asteroids and aspects. The KISS principle has somehow always appealed to me in astrology, so now I'm researching a sidereal whole sign approach (also if one believes in the precession of the equinoxes having a historical and cultural influence one can also form theories about how this may have influenced astrology itself).
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Eddy



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Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CJ wrote:
This is maybe an inflammatory view but I consider it possible the "explosion" in Egyptian/Hellenistic horoscopic astrology may not be fundamentally different from the explosion of Arabic parts in Islamic astrology, the explosion of dasha systems in India or the contemporary explosion of asteroids and aspects.
I think this is a correct view. Although I agree with Mark that many foundations of Hellenistic astrology have their origin in Babylonian astrology (like the exaltations), I also believe in some progress through "explosion" development.

I believe this sudden progress is related to inventions. With the development of spherical trigonometry two millennia ago many calculations could be performed (for example in the use of primary directions) instead of crude estimations. Likewise the invention and use of the computer made astrology and many techniques attainable to many. Some fifty years ago nobody would have considered for a moment to use hundreds of asteroids but with the availability of computers ephemerides for these objects got available and were an inspiration for some to use. Another example is the view that some house systems 'fit' more to certain individuals than others (it is believed that there are 'Regiomontanus' people and 'Campanus' people etc. all fitting to some psychological type ascribed to the system). Computers made this comparison much easier.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MarkC wrote:

I dont tend to see these points as completely separate. The general impacts on the specific. In other words if you hold to a rapid explosion type theory based on almost exclusively Greek ideas that inevitably affects how you perceive the development of specific techniques.



I agree, and I don't see the two issues as separate either. I just wasn't sure if you were thinking of some general historical statements that I made at one point in time, or if there was some specific technical argument that I made which gave you the impression that I was a strict 'sudden inventionist', such as the post about the origins of the exaltations on my blog for example.


MarkC wrote:

However, in regards the provenance of techniques I do feel there is sometimes a tendency to overemphasize the unity of early hellenistic astrology and underestimate its pluralism. House systems is just one example.




Yes, this is definitely a prevailing tendency at this point. Certainly it has its pros and cons. I think that some of the work that can be done in comparing parallel passages in different authors and identifying common sources raises interesting pieces of evidence for a sort of continuity, and it can also help to explain points of divergence in the tradition. However, the view that the entire tradition was completely unified and coherent in the beginning but then sort of devolved from there can lead to a sort of technical and conceptual myopia that forces one to downplay or overlook areas of discontinuity or divergence. Somehow there has to be room for both approaches.



MarkC wrote:

On the historical issue I am not sure if I like using the label 'gradualist' . This implies astrology moves forward like the glaciation process. Incredibly slowly and imperceptably. In contrast to this I think astrology has had many periods when its techniques have taken a progressive spurt forward. What I question is whether the the undeniable leap forward astrology took in 1st or 2nd century Alexandria was based on an almost totally indigenous hellenistic astrology or whether it was the product of the creative cross fertilisation of Greek, Mesopotamian and Egyptian ideas.



I don't think that anyone really doubts the indebtedness that the Hellenistic astrologers had to the earlier Mesopotamian and Egyptian astrological traditions. I think that the main question is exactly how much was inherited from the previous traditions, versus how much was developed subsequently from the synthesis of those traditions that occurred in the Hellenistic period. Some degree of cross-fertilization is a given. However, that does not tell is if the Mesopotamian astrologers had developed a full-fledged aspect theory, if they used houses, planetary rulers of signs, time-lords, etc. That is to say, aside from the techniques and concepts that we do know were inherited from the earlier traditions (the zodiac, decans, twelfth-parts, natal astrology, etc.), what do we say about the techniques that do not have known traditional antecedents?

From what I understand of Hand and Campion's thoughts on this matter, they argue that many of these techniques must have been developed in the late Mesopotamian traditions prior to the visible advent of Hellenistic astrology, and that it is only through the loss of so many cuneiform and other sources that the advent of Hellenistic astrology appears to be such a sudden and drastic departure from what went before.

On the other side of the spectrum, those that argue for more of sudden invention accept that a synthesis took place between the Mesopotamian and Egyptian traditions, but that beyond that there are far too many subsequent technical and conceptual innovations that have little to no known precedent in the earlier traditions for them to simply to have been inherited wholesale. Most importantly, they argue that the systematic character of these developments implies that they were consciously or deliberately constructed in some way.

The whole debate really rests on just a few key issues, the majority of which we may never really be able to fully address due to the loss of early sources.


MarkC wrote:

I think the rapid development theory focusing on purely Greek sources ignores a lot of historical evidence to the contrary that states Greek astrology was heavily influenced and indeed founded on Mespotamian astrology. If this was not the case why are so many classical sources repeatedly telling us this? Is it more likely a 1st century writer has it wrong or a 21st century scholar trying to put together the historical jig saw without many of the original primary sources?



The ancient views on the origin of tradition are a pretty tangled problem in it of itself due to a number of factors, and I'm not sure that the statements from the ancient authors themselves can always be taken at face value. Some authors do present more of what we would consider an accurate historical account of the origins of the tradition, either attributing the development of the science to the Mesopotamians or the Egyptians. However, there are just as many who present a more mythological view of the origin of the tradition, likely due to the pseudepigraphical works attributed to those figures at the time, tracing their lineage back to Hermes, Asclepius, Nechepso, Petosiris, Zoroaster, Abraham, Orpheus, etc. From that perspective I do think that we might be in a slightly better position to reconstruct the actual historical development of the subject, or at least make inferences from a broader historical vantage point.



MarkC wrote:

To some I extent I fear current debate around hellenistic astrology is too inward looking and too narrowly focused on hellenistic astrological texts. There is a risk this may be mirroring older scholarship on the history of astronomy which gave all the credit to the Greeks at the expense of the Babylonians. For example look at J.L.E. Dreyer's ''A History of Astronomy from Thales to Kepler" . Its a great book and very useful. However, as a lover of all things Greek his attitide tended to grossly underestimate the role of Babylonian astronomy in influencing Greek ideas.




I agree. One issue is that while some cuneiform birth charts have survived, we don't really have any technical manuals on astrology from the same period - the period after the advent of natal astrology. One of the things that people get caught up on is the fact that the extant Cuneiform birth charts just list a few planetary placements and then don't say much else, which doesn't give us much of a clue about how they actually delineated charts. What is interesting is that we would be in a similar position with the Hellenistic tradition if it was only the Greek horoscopes that had survived, since the vast majority of the non-literary horoscopes only list the placement of the planets in the signs and then say something curt at the end like 'good luck!'. Obviously this is because astrological consultations in ancient times, just as today, were primarily done orally, not written out. If it were not for the fact that actual technical manuals such as the Tetrabiblos or the Anthology survived into the present day then it would hardly be apparent from the Greek horoscopes how astrology was practiced during that period. To some extent we have to keep in mind that it is likely a similar case with the Cuneiform horoscopes.
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