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date: 29 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In its original Babylonian and Egyptian contexts, astrology was the interpretation of celestial signs and omens sent by the gods as warnings to rulers and the elite. Roman fondness for Stoicism fertilized the growth of astrology in the Greco-Roman world, which developed into a natural science, fully integrated with the prevailing cosmology. Astrology became popularized, and anyone who could afford some level of the service knew basic features of his natal chart. The chapter explains the various forms and purposes of judicial or divinatory astrology: “mundane” (heavenly effects on regions), “genethlialogical” (heavenly effects on a life from its birth or conception), “horary” (heavenly effects on the present moment), and “catarchic” (heavenly effects on the future). The chapter also provides an historical sketch of classical astrology, from Babylonian origins through the major surviving handbooks, and an elaborated ancient example of a natal chart (of the emperor Hadrian), its methods, and interpretation.

Keywords: Antigonus of Nicaea, Dorotheus of Sidon Galen, horoscope, Firmicus Maternus, judicial astrology, Manilius, Ptolemy, Thrasyllus of Alexandria, Vettius Valens

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