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A Brief History of Ancient Astrology

ISBN: 978-1-4051-1087-7
176 pages
November 2006, Wiley-Blackwell
A Brief History of Ancient Astrology (1405110872) cover image
A Brief History of Ancient Astrology explores the theory and practice of astrology from Babylon to Ancient Greece and Rome and its cultural and political impact on ancient societies.
  • Discusses the union between early astrology and astronomy, in contrast to the modern dichotomy between science and superstition.
  • Explains the ancient understanding of the zodiac and its twelve signs, the seven planets, and the fixed circle of 'places' against which the signs and planets revolve.
  • Demonstrates how to construct and interpret a horoscope in the ancient manner, using original ancient horoscopes and handbooks.
  • Considers the relevance of ancient astrology today.
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List of Figures.

List of Tables.

Preface.

1. Introduction. What was Astrology in Ancient Greece and Rome?.

2. Origins and Types of Astrology. The Transfer of Astrology from Babylon. The Pseudo-History of Astrology: “Alien Wisdom”.

3. The Product: How to Construct a Simple Horoscope, Ancient Style.

4. Structure and Meaning in the Horoscope, 1: The Aspects and the “Places”.

5. Structure and Meaning in the Horoscope, 2: The Zodiac and its Signs.

6. Structure and Meaning in the Horoscope, 3: The Planets.

7. Horoscopes and their Interpretation.

8. A Matter of Life and Death: “Starters,” “Destroyers,” and “Length of Life.” Some Sociopolitical Implications of Astrology.

9. Conclusion: Why Bother with Ancient Astrology in the Twenty-First Century?.

Notes.

References.

Index

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Roger Beck is Emeritus Professor at the University Toronto. He is the author of The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire (2006).
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  • A history of astrology from Babylon to Ancient Greece and Rome.

  • Discusses the union between early astrology and astronomy, in contrast to the modern dichotomy between science and superstition.

  • Explains the ancient understanding of the zodiac and its twelve signs, the seven planets, and the fixed circle of 'places' against which the signs and planets revolve.

  • Demonstrates how to construct and interpret a horoscope in the ancient manner, using original ancient horoscopes and handbooks.

  • Considers the relevance of ancient astrology today.
See More
"[Beck's] writing is very clear, lively and accessible; concepts and technical details are well explained with few errors. As a 'brief introduction' it would be highly recommended.... There is a real niche for a lively and very brief introduction to ancient astrology such as Beck's." (The Classical Review, 2008)

“[Beck’s] writing is clear, lively and accessible; concepts and technical details are well explained…” (The Classical Review, Vol 58 No. 1 2008)

"This is a work likely to entice readers to further pursue the subject … Recommended." (Choice)

"Roger Beck’s book does credit to the author: It is clear, and, possibly most importantly, it gives its reader a taste of what the study of ancient astrology may be like ... Should one look for an introduction to the extremely complex field of study, Roger Beck’s book is an excellent choice." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

"Written in a charming colloquial style in which the personal voice of the author is present throughout, full of well-intentioned examples from ancient sources, and furnished with useful diagrams, Beck’s book is extremely user friendly … A book that does an excellent job at enabling non-specialists (such as classicists and ancient historians) to grasp both the science that underlies ancient astrology and the mentality that drove it." (Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science)

"Beck's account is eloquent, compelling, and accessible – even when dealing with technical aspects of horoscopy; it will be of consequence to all those interested in astral symbolism, in semiotics, or in the mentality underlying classical thought."
Luther H. Martin, University of Vermont

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