By Tamysn Barton
An account of astrology from its beginnings in Mesopotamia, targeting the Greco-Roman international, Ancient Astrology examines the theoretical improvement and altering social and political function of astrology.
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Extra resources for Ancient Astrology (Sciences of Antiquity Series)
8 In this omen-series, only one branch of divination is discussed, that of celestial omens. It reveals sky-omens as similar to other sources of 12 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND omens treated in other texts. The Mesopotamians found messages from the gods in fields such as noises, animal behaviour and monstrous births, or looked for messages by techniques such as throwing oil or flour on water or burning incense. It has often been remarked on the basis of the Enu¯ma Anu Enlil that Mesopotamian astrology was not concerned with individuals.
8 1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: MESOPOTAMIA, EGYPT AND GREECE INTRODUCTION In antiquity there was disagreement over whether astrology originated in Mesopotamia, the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, or in Egypt. The name ‘Chaldaean’, which in the first place referred to the people who provided the last dynasty which ruled in Babylon before Cyrus of Persia, came commonly by the Roman period to designate all astrologers, regardless of ethnic origin. On the other hand, as Egypt, since the time of the fifth-century historian Herodotus, was judged the repository of antique wisdom, astrologers tended to claim that the ‘ancient Egyptians’ were their sources.
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. If in Month I the Demon with the gaping mouth rises [heliacally]—for five years in Akkad at the command of Irra there will be plague, but it will not affect cattle. 8 In this omen-series, only one branch of divination is discussed, that of celestial omens. It reveals sky-omens as similar to other sources of 12 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND omens treated in other texts.