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Ancient Astrology

Product no.: 0-415-11029-7
Traces the history of astrology from its beginnings in Mesopotamia to the early Byzantine Empire, focusing on the Greco-Roman world.

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Publisher's Synopsis

This book reveals the importance of astrology in ancient thought, morals, politics and daily life. Tamsyn Barton first traces the history of the subject chronologically. She untangles the Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek threads which come together in Greco-Roman astrology, discussing the astrological literature of each period.

The book examines intellectual and popular reactions to astrology. It also reveals its political role in the Roman Empire - astrologers could set emperors on the throne or depose them. Astrology's battle with the early church and its eventual decline after the fifth century are also examined.

The remainder of the book looks at ancient astrology from a synchronic perspective. Dr. Barton explains the principles of ancient astrology and brings the theory to life by interpreting the horoscope of Prince Charles according to the instructions of ancient treatises.

The final section brings together a variety of evidence on the uses made of astrology in everyday life and discusses areas of knowledge related to astrology, from medicine and magic to Mithraic cult.


"The editorial guideline for this series is to produce definitive volumes on fields that were effectively recognized as sciences in antiquity. Astrology certainly rates on that measure (as would dream interpretation, for example, which was becoming 'scientific' in the Roman period, i.e. systematic and, believe it or not, highly empirical).

So if you are only interested in precursors to modern (i.e. real) sciences, you can skip this one, although it is fascinating to see how astrology became 'scientific' in Roman hands and how it influenced and was influenced by other 'real' sciences. Though, like French, Barton is a bit of a postmodernist, which is occasionally annoying, if you want a good summary of ancient astrology from a cultural and historical perspective, this book is certainly definitive (as on this subject Barton has no peer)."        ~Richard Carrier

Author Barton, Tamsyn
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 245 pp.
Publisher Routledge 1994
Series Sciences of Antiquity
Browse these categories as well: Advanced Astrology, Spiritual Astrology

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Number: 49 Page 1 of 49