Famous historic astrologers
The oldest known horoscope chart is believed to date to B. The modern names for planets and zodiac signs come from Greek literature. In A. Tetrabiblos contains core techniques of astrology used to this day, including planets, zodiac signs, houses, and aspects or angles. The Roman Empire falls. Western astrology disappears for years and the Arabs continue studying and developing Greek astrology. Astrology flourishes and is an intrinsic part of culture, practiced by doctors, astronomers, and mathematicians.
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Famous Astrologers | List of the Top Well-Known Astrologers
Many esteemed European universities at this time, including Cambridge , had astrology chairs, and royals had court astrologers. Many popes were pro-astrology. The monk and mathematics professor Placidus created the house division system used by astrologers today. Belief in astrology began to decline as the church gained power, and it was seen as heresy and superstition during the Inquisition.
Galileo himself was found guilty of heresy and had to renounce his astrological beliefs to save his life! Later, rationalism become the popular consensus during the Age of Enlightenment in Western European cafes and salons, emphasizing reason, analysis, and individualism—a reaction to excessive superstition, authority, and control from institutions such as the Catholic church. Skepticism and science were seen as a way to reform society, and to bring back temperance and balance. Astrology was viewed as mere entertainment and not a valid science, and most astrologers worked under pseudonyms.
Renewed interest in spirituality and mysticism in England invigorate astrology again in Europe. Psychologist Carl Jung pioneers the use of astrology in analysis, and other developments in the field are made. In s, newspapers and magazines begin publishing the Sun-sign-based horoscopes that we still read today. Later in the century, computers make it fast and easy to cast charts, replacing the need to do laborious charts by hand though some stricter astrologers still prefer to do them that way.
Get the Horoscope Guide! This describes how the gods revealed to him in a dream the constellations that would be most favourable for the planned construction of a temple. The oldest undisputed evidence of the use of astrology as an integrated system of knowledge is therefore attributed to the records that emerge from the first dynasty of Mesopotamia BC.
Babylonian astrology was the first organized system of astrology, arising in the 2nd millennium BC. By the 16th century BC the extensive employment of omen-based astrology can be evidenced in the compilation of a comprehensive reference work known as Enuma Anu Enlil. Its contents consisted of 70 cuneiform tablets comprising 7, celestial omens.
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Texts from this time also refer to an oral tradition - the origin and content of which can only be speculated upon. Astrological symbols likely represented seasonal tasks, and were used as a yearly almanac of listed activities to remind a community to do things appropriate to the season or weather such as symbols representing times for harvesting, gathering shell-fish, fishing by net or line, sowing crops, collecting or managing water reserves, hunting, and seasonal tasks critical in ensuring the survival of children and young animals for the larger group.
By the 4th century, their mathematical methods had progressed enough to calculate future planetary positions with reasonable accuracy, at which point extensive ephemerides began to appear. Babylonian astrology developed within the context of divination. A collection of 32 tablets with inscribed liver models, dating from about BC, are the oldest known detailed texts of Babylonian divination, and these demonstrate the same interpretational format as that employed in celestial omen analysis.
The gods were also believed to present themselves in the celestial images of the planets or stars with whom they were associated. Evil celestial omens attached to any particular planet were therefore seen as indications of dissatisfaction or disturbance of the god that planet represented.
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An astronomical report to the king Esarhaddon concerning a lunar eclipse of January BC shows how the ritualistic use of substitute kings, or substitute events, combined an unquestioning belief in magic and omens with a purely mechanical view that the astrological event must have some kind of correlate within the natural world:. In the beginning of the year a flood will come and break the dikes. When the Moon has made the eclipse, the king, my lord, should write to me. As a substitute for the king, I will cut through a dike, here in Babylonia, in the middle of the night.
No one will know about it. In BC Egypt was conquered by the Persians so there is likely to have been some Mesopotamian influence on Egyptian astrology. The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander after the conquest and during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, the scholars of Alexandria were prolific writers. It was in Ptolemaic Alexandria that Babylonian astrology was mixed with the Egyptian tradition of Decanic astrology to create Horoscopic astrology.
This contained the Babylonian zodiac with its system of planetary exaltations , the triplicities of the signs and the importance of eclipses. Along with this it incorporated the Egyptian concept of dividing the zodiac into thirty-six decans of ten degrees each, with an emphasis on the rising decan, the Greek system of planetary Gods, sign rulership and four elements.
The decans were a system of time measurement according to the constellations. They were led by the constellation Sothis or Sirius. The rising of a constellation just before sunrise its heliacal rising was considered the last hour of the night. Over the course of the year, each constellation rose just before sunrise for ten days. When they became part of the astrology of the Hellenistic Age, each decan was associated with ten degrees of the zodiac. Texts from the 2nd century BC list predictions relating to the positions of planets in zodiac signs at the time of the rising of certain decans, particularly Sothis.
Particularly important in the development of horoscopic astrology was the astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy , who lived in Alexandria in Egypt. Ptolemy's work the Tetrabiblos laid the basis of the Western astrological tradition, and as a source of later reference is said to have "enjoyed almost the authority of a Bible among the astrological writers of a thousand years or more". According to Firmicus Maternus 4th century , the system of horoscopic astrology was given early on to an Egyptian pharaoh named Nechepso and his priest Petosiris. This is principally shown by their sacred ceremonial.
For first advances the Singer, bearing some one of the symbols of music. For they say that he must learn two of the books of Hermes, the one of which contains the hymns of the gods, the second the regulations for the king's life. And after the Singer advances the Astrologer, with a horologe in his hand, and a palm, the symbols of astrology. He must have the astrological books of Hermes, which are four in number, always in his mouth.
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Greek overtook cuneiform script as the international language of intellectual communication and part of this process was the transmission of astrology from cuneiform to Greek. With this, what historican Nicholas Campion calls, "the innovative energy" in astrology moved west to the Hellenistic world of Greece and Egypt. By the 1st century BC two varieties of astrology were in existence, one that required the reading of horoscopes in order to establish precise details about the past, present and future; the other being theurgic literally meaning 'god-work' , which emphasised the soul's ascent to the stars.
While they were not mutually exclusive, the former sought information about the life, while the latter was concerned with personal transformation, where astrology served as a form of dialogue with the Divine. As with much else, Greek influence played a crucial role in the transmission of astrological theory to Rome.
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The first definite reference to astrology comes from the work of the orator Cato , who in BC composed a treatise warning farm overseers against consulting with Chaldeans. One of the first astrologers to bring Hermetic astrology to Rome was Thrasyllus , who, in the first century CE, acted as the astrologer for the emperor Tiberius. While doing so, he coined the term "geography". Even though some use of astrology by the emperors appears to have happened, there was also a prohibition on astrology to a certain extent as well. In the 1st century CE, Publius Rufus Anteius was accused of the crime of funding the banished astrologer Pammenes, and requesting his own horoscope and that of then emperor Nero.
For this crime, Nero forced Anteius to commit suicide. At this time, astrology was likely to result in charges of magic and treason. Astrology was taken up enthusiastically by Islamic scholars following the collapse of Alexandria to the Arabs in the 7th century, and the founding of the Abbasid empire in the 8th century. Zael , whose texts were directly influential upon later European astrologers such as Guido Bonatti in the 13th century, and William Lilly in the 17th century. Amongst the important names of Arabic astrologers, one of the most influential was Albumasur , whose work Introductorium in Astronomiam later became a popular treatise in medieval Europe.
The Arabs greatly increased the knowledge of astronomy, and many of the star names that are commonly known today, such as Aldebaran , Altair , Betelgeuse , Rigel and Vega retain the legacy of their language. They also developed the list of Hellenistic lots to the extent that they became historically known as Arabic parts , for which reason it is often wrongly claimed that the Arabic astrologers invented their use, whereas they are clearly known to have been an important feature of Hellenistic astrology. During the advance of Islamic science some of the practices of astrology were refuted on theological grounds by astronomers such as Al-Farabi Alpharabius , Ibn al-Haytham Alhazen and Avicenna.
Their criticisms argued that the methods of astrologers were conjectural rather than empirical , and conflicted with orthodox religious views of Islamic scholars through the suggestion that the Will of God can be precisely known and predicted in advance.
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Avicenna considered that the movement of the planets influenced life on earth in a deterministic way, but argued against the capability of determining the exact influence of the stars. By the 13th century astrology had become a part of everyday medical practice in Europe. Doctors combined Galenic medicine inherited from the Greek physiologist Galen - AD with studies of the stars. By the end of the s, physicians across Europe were required by law to calculate the position of the Moon before carrying out complicated medical procedures, such as surgery or bleeding.
Influential works of the 13th century include those of the British monk Johannes de Sacrobosco c. His astrological text-book Liber Astronomiae 'Book of Astronomy' , written around , was reputed to be "the most important astrological work produced in Latin in the 13th century". In medieval Europe , a university education was divided into seven distinct areas, each represented by a particular planet and known as the seven liberal arts. Dante attributed these arts to the planets.
Medieval writers used astrological symbolism in their literary themes.
For example, Dante's Divine Comedy builds varied references to planetary associations within his described architecture of Hell , Purgatory and Paradise , such as the seven layers of Purgatory's mountain purging the seven cardinal sins that correspond to astrology's seven classical planets. Chaucer's astrological passages are particularly frequent and knowledge of astrological basics is often assumed through his work. He knew enough of his period's astrology and astronomy to write a Treatise on the Astrolabe for his son.
He pinpoints the early spring season of the Canterbury Tales in the opening verses of the prologue by noting that the Sun "hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne". One of the earliest English astrologers to leave details of his practice was Richard Trewythian b.
His notebook demonstrates that he had a wide range of clients, from all walks of life, and indicates that engagement with astrology in 15th-century England was not confined to those within learned, theological or political circles. During the Renaissance, court astrologers would complement their use of horoscopes with astronomical observations and discoveries. Many individuals now credited with having overturned the old astrological order, such as Tycho Brahe , Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler , were themselves practicing astrologers.
At the end of the Renaissance the confidence placed in astrology diminished, with the breakdown of Aristotelian Physics and rejection of the distinction between the celestial and sublunar realms , which had historically acted as the foundation of astrological theory. Keith Thomas writes that although heliocentrism is consistent with astrology theory, 16th and 17th century astronomical advances meant that "the world could no longer be envisaged as a compact inter-locking organism; it was now a mechanism of infinite dimensions, from which the hierarchical subordination of earth to heaven had irrefutably disappeared".
By the 18th century the intellectual investment which had previously maintained astrology's standing was largely abandoned. Astrology in seventeenth century England was not a science. It was not a Religion. It was not magic. Nor was it astronomy, mathematics, puritanism, neo Platism, psychology, meteorology, alchemy or witchcraft. It used some of these as tools; it held tenets in common with others; and some people were adept at several of these skills.
But in the final analysis it was only itself: a unique divinatory and prognostic art embodying centuries of accreted methodology and tradition. The only work of this class to have survived is the Vedanga Jyotisha , which contains rules for tracking the motions of the sun and the moon in the context of a five-year intercalation cycle. The date of this work is uncertain, as its late style of language and composition, consistent with the last centuries BC, albeit pre- Mauryan , conflicts with some internal evidence of a much earlier date in the 2nd millennium BC.
The documented history of Jyotish in the subsequent newer sense of modern horoscopic astrology is associated with the interaction of Indian and Hellenistic cultures in the Indo-Greek period. The oldest surviving treatises, such as the Yavanajataka or the Brihat-Samhita , date to the early centuries AD.
Indian astronomy and astrology developed together. The earliest treatise on jyotish, the Bhrigu Samhita , dates from the Vedic era. The sage Bhrigu is one of the Saptarshi, the seven sages who assisted in the creation of the universe.