How was astrology invented?
Many people believe that astrology is some kind of more elevated form of divination, when actually is like palm reading, cartomancy etc, a belief that the way material objects are arranged in space has some meaning. pure imagination, and nothing else
- Chain lightninGLv 710 years agoFavorite Answer
Astrology is best understood by learning how it began. Like most urban yet agricultural peoples of the day, the Babylonians had a pantheon of many gods. They also had a well-developed science of observational astronomy, which served the highly utilitarian purpose of providing a calendar— times to plant and to harvest, as well as times of religious festivals, etc. In this observational scheme each bright planet was important, and the priests whose task it was to make the observations naturally named the planets for the gods in their pantheon— Marduk, Isthar, Nergal, etc. It was a fateful naming. By about 1000 BC there was an extensive Babylonian literature of “planetary omens” based entirely on the arbitrary names of the planet-gods. Since Nergal (Mars) was the god of war, a summer in which red planet Nergal shone down brightly from the sky was a good time to wage war (or a time in which risk of war was great). Since Ishtar (Venus) was the goddess of love, a spring night in which Ishtar shone brilliant and high in the West after sunset was a good time to make love, or go looking for love.
By about 600 BC the Babylonians had devised the twelve-sign zodiac: markers in the sky along the ecliptic, the apparent path which the sun, moon, and five naked-eye planets— Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn— appear to follow in their apparent motion across the sky. The “horoscope,” a crude earth-centered chart of the positions of the planets along the zodiac at a given moment of time, was devised soon after. The oldest known horoscope was made for April 29, 410 BC; historically, this is the true beginning of astrology. During the classical era dominated by first Greece and then Rome, Babylonian astrologers (called “Chaldeans”) set up shop in most of the large urban areas throughout the civilized world. Greek astronomers scoffed at the Chaldean cultus as a ludicrous combination of primitive astronomy and primitive religion, but to no avail— the Greek and later the Roman public embraced astrology as lovingly as they embraced most of the other bizarre and barbaric cults that wandered toward the shores of the Mediterranean looking for converts. That astrology makes no sense with its Babylonian religious underpinnings removed was apparent to thinking people from the very first. Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43 BC) wrote, in 44 BC, a devastating critique of astrology, which is well worth reading today. Among the points made by Cicero was that no one sees or expects any correlation between the weather conditions at the time of birth of a child and the child's later personality or fortunes. Yet clearly the weather— extreme cold or heavy rain or harsh heat— has far more effect on a living thing than dim lights in the night sky. And even if all children born in December were similar in some way— which they are not— how would an astrologer know that these similarities were thus not due to the weather, due to all the children being born into a cold environment, rather than to the environmentally meaningless situation of the sun being in “Sagittarius,” or whatever?
Much more at link.
- MarkabLv 610 years ago
Western Astrology has been traced back to ancient Babylon or Mesopotamia to be more accurate. We know that they recorded observations and correlated them to actual terrestrial events. The astrology at this time was more of an omenology, along the lines of "When a comet appears in the eastern sky with (name a constellation) a king will die." In other words celestial phenomenon were associated with earthly events. The 12 constellation zodiac comes from them
The Hellenistic Greeks picked up this system and made it what it is. They developed the 12 sign tropical zodiac - a concept too advanced for the average scientist who cannot grasp the difference between signs and constellations even though the average teenage girl can. Hellenistic Greek astrology is not exactly like what is practiced now, and ancient Greeks like Ptolemy would not recognize what passes for astrology especially the "I'm a Taurus she's a Leo" type; they would recognize it as astrology. Who and how long this took to develop is unknown. Legend says it was "Invented" by Heremes Tresmigistus, the "Thrice Greatest Hermes." Some historians claim it developed over a long time with a large number of contributors. Others say the time frame is shorter and the number involved much smaller. There may have been someone who became the Hermes of myth.
By the second century AD Ptolemy had set down the fundamentals in four books known as the Tetrabiblos (Greek) or Quadriparte (Latin). This is easily the most influential astrology text ever written and it is not known if Ptolemy ever cast a chart in his life. He may have simply been writing it down for posterity without having practiced it. Other astrologers of the period wrote better texts in the opinions of some, but Ptolemy's survived in tact whereas the others were lesser known at the time and many did not survive in their entirety. The important thing to realize is that astrology as we know it developed as part of a larger philosophy or understanding of the world. It was not based on the mechanics of the cosmos, but rather those mechanics served a larger purpose. It was not religious or part of a religion and no one believed the planets were the gods.
The ancient Romans were big on astrology and when the Empire fell Christianity replaced it and was never comfortable with the subject. But it found its way to the Middle East and the Arab astrologers continued the development adding techniques and further developing Greek techniques. Astrology may have hit is peak of influence both philosophically and scientifically during the Middle Ages in both the Middle East and Europe. By this time there were two similar but distinct schools Latin (European typified by Bonatti who used Arab sources) and Arabic (typified by Masha alah and Abu Mashar).
As Europe rose in power and prestige astrology went along for the ride through the Renaissance. It remained very influential but never lacked for critics both secular and clerical. Some argue this is the high watermark of astrological influence. It was part of every man's education and authors of great literature from Chaucer through Milton used astrological metaphors fully expecting their audience to grasp their points.
The end of classical astrology can be roughly dated at 1700 and although astrologers were still around and publishing after that date, they were few and far between having been replaced in the academe with the ideas of the so-called Enlightenment. Astrology would recover, but never to the level of even the late classical period much less the middle ages.
Historians have been working at the influence of astrology and several important books have been written. Unfortunately the attitude of the earlier of these books has been one of scoffing and condescension which spoils the history. More recent texts have shown the subject more respect, but the average academic just doesn't seem to get it, but being an academic, cant' bring themselves to admit it. Books by Holden and Campion are more respectful. The others listed below are worth reading, but keep in mind the astrology in them frankly, stinks, (except Neugebauer whose attitude stinks instead).Source(s): Greek Horoscopes, Neugebauer & Van Hoesen Ancient Astrology by Tamsyn Barton A History of Western Astrology by Jim Tester A History of Horoscopic Astrology by James Holden A History of Western Astrology by Nicholas Campion (two volumes)
- Anonymous10 years ago
cartomancy etc, a belief that the way material objects are arranged in space has some meaning. pure imagination, and nothing invented
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- 10 years ago
a belief may be i wish to know the same its pretty interesting and fascinating
- Anonymous5 years ago
check out the immortals of science
- Anonymous10 years ago
observation and correrlation