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HELLENISTIC Astrology

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Bianca
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« on: August 11, 2007, 11:46:00 am »


URANIA - Muse of Astrology








                                             H E L L E N I S T I C   A S T R O L O G Y


 
Hellenistic astrology is a tradition of horoscopic astrology that was developed and practiced in Hellenistic Egypt and the Mediterranean, whose texts were written in Greek (or sometimes Latin), sometime around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE.  Although the Hellenistic period properly ended in the early part of the Common Era, this type of astrology that was developed sometime during the early Hellenistic period was practiced in essentially its original form until the 6th or 7th century CE and thus it is still commonly referred to as 'Hellenistic astrology'.
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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2007, 11:47:37 am »





History



The origins of much of the astrology that would later develop in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are found among the ancient Babylonians and their system of celestial omens that began to be compiled around the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE. This system later spread either directly or indirectly through the Babylonians to other areas such as India, China and Greece where it merged with preexisting indigenous forms of astrology. It came to Greece initially as early as the middle of the 4th century BCE, and then around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE after the Alexandrian conquests this Babylonian astrology was mixed with the Egyptian tradition of Decanic astrology to create
horoscopic astrology.

 H O R O S C O P I C   A S T R O L O G Y
This system is labeled as "horoscopic astrology" because, unlike the previous traditions, it employed the use of the ascendant, otherwise known as the horoskopos ("hour marker") in Greek, and the twelve celestial House_(astrology) houses which are derived from it. The focus on the natal chart of the individual, as derived from the position of the planets and stars at the time of birth, represents the most significant contribution and shift of emphasis that was made during the Hellenistic tradition of astrology. This new form of astrology, which appears to have originated in Alexandrian Egypt, quickly spread across the ancient world into Europe, the Middle East and India.

This complex system of astrology was developed to such an extent that later traditions made few fundamental changes to the core of the system, and many of the same components of horoscopic astrology that were developed during the Hellenistic period are still in use by astrologers in modern times.
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2007, 11:49:24 am »

                                                

                                                       HERMES TRIMEGISTUS






Mythical origins



Several Hellenistic astrologers ascribe its creation to a mythical sage named Hermes Trismegistus. Hermes is said to have written several major texts which formed the basis of the art or its evolution from the system of astrology that was inherited from the Babylonians and the Egyptians. Several authors cite Hermes as being the first to outline the houses and their meaning, and thus the houses are usually thought to date back to the very beginning of the Hellenistic tradition and indeed they are one of the major defining factors which separate Hellenistic astrology and other forms of horoscopic astrology from Babylonian astrology and other traditions in different parts of the world. This system of horoscopic astrology was then passed to another mythical figure named Asclepius to who some of the Hermetic writings are addressed.

According to Firmicus Maternus, the system was subsequently handed down to an Egyptian pharaoh named Nechepso and his priest Petosiris.  They are said to have written several major textbooks which explicated the system and it is from this text that many of the later Hellenistic astrologers draw from and cite directly. This system formed the basis of all later forms of horoscopic astrology.
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2007, 11:52:39 am »

                                           







Transmission



This system of Hellenistic astrology was passed to India sometime around the 1st century CE where it was merged with the preexisting tradition of Babylonian astrology and the indigenous lunar astrology of the Nakshatras and this founded the vast tradition of Indian astrology. Hellenistic astrology was practiced from the 2nd century BCE until sometime around the 7th century CE when Europe entered the Middle Ages. Astrology was then passed to and further developed by individuals working within the Islamic Empire from the 7th to the 13th century.



References

^ See David Pingree - From Astral Omens to Astrology from Babylon to Bikaner, Roma: Istituto Italiano per L'Africa e L'Oriente, 1997. Pg. 26.
 
^ See Firmicus Maternus, Ancient Astrology Theory and Practice – Matheseos Libri VIII, translated by Jean Rhys Bram, Noyes Press, 1975. Pg. 118.

^ Derek and Julia Parker, Ibid, p16, 1990



See also

Babylonian influence on Greek astronomy



Sources


AstrologyNotes article on the History of Astrology -

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_astrology"

Categories: Hellenistic philosophy and religion | Astrology by tradition | History of astrology | Hellenistic astrology | History of astronomy
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2007, 11:56:28 am »

                                  

                                                       THEMA MUNDI






                                           A S T R O L O G Y   O F   R O M E





Like so much else, astrology came to Rome due to Greek influence. Among the Greeks and Romans, Babylonia or Chaldea was so identified with astrology that "Chaldaean wisdom" became the synonym of divination through the planets and stars. Astrologers became very much in vogue in Imperial Rome. 

                                        Indeed the emperor Tiberius had had his destiny predicted for him at birth, and so surrounded himself with astrologers such as Thrasyllus of Mendes. According to Juvenal 'there are people who cannot appear in public, dine or bathe, without having first consulted an ephemeris'. Claudius, on the other hand favoured augury and banned astrologers from Rome altogether. It is perhaps not surprising, that in the course of time, to be known as a "Chaldaean" carried with it frequently the suspicion of charlatanry and of more or less willful deception.
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2007, 12:49:08 pm »

  Smiley     THEMA MUNDI has Mars in Scorpio in the 5th? house?? Is that what that says?  Boy his marriage was a stormy one, LOL. 

Do you think I should change my Avatar to the one you posted?  Mine looks lousy in comparison.  But that would mean I'll have to go back and remember how I got the avatar to post in the first place, LOL. 
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Bianca
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2007, 01:05:20 pm »




Yup!  The colours are a lot classier.  I hate the colours of mine!  If you run into better ones,
let me know.
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Bianca
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2007, 09:36:19 pm »











What is so special about Hellenistic Astrology?




This is the question most are probably asking and is more to the point of this introduction. In order to answer properly however requires a closer examination of our astrological history. When starting my investigations I have to honestly admit that I was in no wise prepared for the enormous amount of historical and philosophical evidence I was to have to examine. It is a record that would and does in fact fill several volumes of books. My recapitulation here of the historical record is therefore going to be much abbreviated. [2]

I am not going to dwell in depth on the astrology before the Hellenistic period. The reason being that Astrology as we know it today, where we fix an Ascendant [3] point and divide the Zodiacal circle for the purposes of analysing (natal horoscope astrology), answering of questions, picking favourable times for doing things, etc, was not in existence prior to this period.

This fact alone makes the Hellenistic period unique and worthy of closer examination. Before this period, Astrology was oracular in nature. That is to say that the fixed stars, constellations and planets, as well as the natural phenomena associated to them (eclipses for example), were examined and interpreted as giving signs and omens concerning physical events. Those plying the Astrologer's trade were interested in the state of the King and kingdom and there was nothing "personal" about it.

However, the most noteworthy consideration about the Hellenistic period is the transformation that occurred through the synthesis of the Persian and Chaldean astrology, with Egyptian religion and astronomy, and the Greek Natural philosophy. This single event would appear to be the catalyst, which changed the oracular to the very personal. While I use the term event, I use it rather loosely here. In the "time-line" of history, it fills a rather large period from about 800 - 100 B.C.E. As you can see it did not "happen over night".


http://www.astrologycom.com/hellenistic.html
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2007, 09:47:05 pm »








                                        The Pre-Hellenistic Advent: 800 - 400 B.C.E.





The political and cultural events leading into the Hellenistic period were very instrumental in setting the stage for the transformation that was to unfold.

 Assyria had established a "world" dominion by 730 B.C.E. They controlled all of Mesopotamia and most of Persia, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. While it is politically correct to say that Assyria governed, it was however Babylonian culture that pervaded the entire kingdom and for the first time, there was a free "cultural" flow between the subject territories. Up to this point, there were distinct differences in astrological, astronomical and philosophical culture, one line moving from the Babylonians, One from the Persians and one from the Egyptians.

As it was the first time that Egypt, Babylonia and Persia were under the same political system, one has to recognise the importance of these great cultures meeting.

In 612 B.C.E, the Babylonians once again regained regional domination only to be shortly thereafter subjugated by Persia. This was an important time in the mixing of these three main astrology lines, Persian, Babylonian and Egyptian.
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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2007, 09:51:20 pm »








Another important ingredient to the cultural "stew" that was brewing was the Semitic influence and the monotheistic religious teachings. When the New Babylonian Empire took the reigns of control, one of their first conquests was the overthrow of Jerusalem and the captivity of Israel.



"In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god."
"And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus."



"Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.
Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king." 




One wonders just what kind of influence Daniel and his friends had as "governors over all the wise men". It is interesting to note that it is in this time period that the first Zodiac appears in Babylon as we know it today, divided into twelve 30° segments. It is clear from the Bible that Daniel's influence extended into the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2007, 09:53:10 pm »










Equally interesting is the fact that several birth charts were found written in cuneiform, the oldest being dated to the late Persian period April 29, 410 B.C.E. [6], which had no degrees given, only sign positions, and no Ascending degree. Rob Hand further tells us that:

"Various ancient sources mention "Chaldeans" who cast birth charts for various persons, including Diogenes Laertius who said that according to Aristotle, a Chaldean forecast Socrates' death from his birth chart, and that Euripides' father also had his son's chart read getting a forecast of his brilliant career. The reference to Chaldeans of course refers to astrologers and makes it clear that the art in this period was completely associated with late Babylonians, i.e., Chaldeans." [7]

This, among the many subtle changes developing in astrology, was particularly significant. Why is that? Simply, this event brings to our attention the beginnings of the emphasis of the "individual". Since all the oriental cultures were "collective" oriented, where should we look to find the source of this change of emphasis? For that answer, I think we have to investigate what was happening outside of the dominant world power.
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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2007, 09:59:39 pm »








In this same period of 800-400 B.C.E. was developing the philosophical and "scientific" groundwork in Greece. Ancient Greeks such as Homer and Hesiod had already built a "national" mythology, but it was the Milesians Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes as well as Heracleitus, who sought to give a quasi-scientific explanation of the world.

While not "scientists" or mathematicians, they laid a foundation for all future philosophical and scientific investigation by describing in natural philosophical terms the creation and the stars' influence. Those that followed, followed the precedence that they had set.

To list, in this introduction, all the major actors and their contributions would be an immense work and perhaps detract from its intention. The most significant to name here are Socrates Plato, Pythagoras, Hippocrates and Aristotle.

The Greeks at this point had become the philosophical and "scientific" centre of the known world and their cosmology of causality and emphasis on the "individual" became the subjects of prime interest. The schools and academies established in Greece attracted the "wise men" and scholars from far and wide within the now Persian empire. Simultaneously many of these same Greek philosophers travelled widely carrying these new schools of thought to both Egypt and Babylon.
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2007, 10:01:27 pm »








The Hellenistic Period




We have seen above that at least by Aristotle's time, ca. 350 B.C.E., there were the beginnings of natal astrology. However, it is also interesting to note that up to this time we find no Greek astrology or astrologers! Any references to astrologers were simply the "Chaldeans". So where does the astrology of the Hellenistic period, (or what is commonly called Hellenistic Astrology), come from? What then are the origins of "horoscope" astrology?

In 331 B.C.E the political picture changed as Alexander the Great gathered the Persian Empire under Greek domination. Egypt, Palestine, Persia, Mesopotamia and parts of northwest India all fell as conquests and for the first time in history the different cultures were united under a common language. Greek was not only the official language, but was used for any purpose involving communications between the diverse ethnic cultures.

A scholar or traveller could go anywhere, from Greece in the west, to India in the east, and Egypt in the south and be understood. Interestingly enough, it was not Athens which became the centre of culture for this new empire as one would think.

It was Alexandria in Egypt that became one of the most famous of the Hellenistic capitals. While the residents of Alexandria retained some of their Egyptian culture, it became mixed with that of the Greeks, Romans, Macedonians, Persians, Syrians, Jewish, and Chaldeans. It was somewhere here, amongst the intellectual mélange of third century BCE Alexandria, that very simple natal or judicial astrology made a quantum leap to a highly sophisticated and complex system of astrological methodology.
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2007, 10:06:36 pm »









Quite honestly, the period from 300-100 B.C.E. is a mystery. There exist no known texts or manuscripts from this period, but there do exist several varying opinions as to just where this system of horoscope interpretation came from. Some theorise it was the result of a continuous tradition from Mesopotamia, transmitted by Babylonian diviners such as Berossus [19] to the Greeks. Robert Schmidt presents us with the opinion that it was a unique Greek invention as a theoretical construct by one man or a small school. The Hermetic traditionalists insist it came out of the secret oral Egyptian temple system. Others propose it was the creative synthesis by scholars of all three cultures: Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Greek. Unless some long forgotten text is uncovered, we may never know.

We do know that they did exist, although indirectly, through the writings of the "third" generation astrologers in Greece, the "novi". The second century CE astrologer Vettius Valens reports to us:

"The most amazing Abraham in his books on this subject has given us the explanation of others as well as his own..."  "For in the 13th book, after the prooemium and the disposition of the zoidiac, the King attacks the Lot of Fortune from the Sun..."  (referring to the text of Nechepso ) "For him who wishes to ascertain the matter of happiness more exactly, I will return to the Lot of Fortune which is the most necessary and sovereign place, as the king mysteriously explained, beginning in the 13th book..." (referring to the text of Nechepso) "Petosiris  also explained the matter similarly in the 'Boundaries'... 
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« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2007, 10:09:49 pm »








Therefore, it is clear from Valens' texts that he derived his teachings from an even earlier textbook. Just how much earlier, we do not know. It is "guestimated" that Nechepso and Petosiris were writing somewhere between 300-200 B.C.E. and Abraham we have no other reference to [but see note [22] – ed.]. Another "mystical" figure from this same period is one called Hermes Trismegistus [25]. His writings are widely repeated among a large percent of the earliest Greek astrologers. It is a shame that we have not been able to retrieve any texts from this very important period. Nevertheless, some things are quite evident, the most important being that in the 5th century B.C.E. we have the most rudimentary of natal astrology. Then, by the time of the earliest recorded astrological authors ca. 100 B.C.E., we have a very complete natal astrology. Robert Schmidt best sums up these events for us:



"There is a statement by a Neo-Platonist philosopher named Iamblichus in a strange book called On The Mysteries. In this book, another neo-Platonist, Porphyry (of Porphyry house fame, for the astrologers here) is directing a number of questions about the Egyptian religion to an Egyptian priest. In the course of the answering of these questions, the priest says that the men who translated the Egyptian sacred writings into Greek – and these sacred writings included their magical, alchemical, and astrological writings, all generally attributed to one of their sages named Hermes – the men who translated these sacred writings into Greek were men who were trained in Greek philosophy, presumably the philosophies of the Athenian Greeks, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics.

Now, this is a very astonishing statement and it made a great impression on me. If we take it seriously (it is several hundred years after the fact), it means that in Hellenistic astrology we may have an absolutely unique event, something that had probably never happened before and has not happened since. We may have a deliberate and unprecedented fusion of what we might call the straight Athenian philosophical tradition and the esoteric traditions of the Middle East."

 


The Hellenistic period is unique in the history of astrology. In less than 200 years, an astrology developed that changed the whole nature of its earlier Oracular history.
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