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HellenisticAstrology - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R...

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Hellenistic Astrology Hellenistic and Late Antiquity astrologers built their craft upon Babylonian (and to a lesser extent Egyptian) astrological traditions, and developed their theoretical and technical doctrines using a combination of Stoic , Middle Platonic and Neopythagorean thought. Astrology offered fulfillment of a desire to systematically know where an individual stands in relation to the cosmos in a time of rapid political and social changes. Various philosophers of the time took up polemics against astrology while accepting some astral theories. The Stoic philosopher Posidonius was alleged to embrace astrology and write works on it (Augustine, De civitate dei , 5.2). Other Stoics such as Panaetius and (late) Diogenes of Babylon were primarily adverse to astrological determinism. For some philosophers such as Plotinus , horoscopic astrology was absurd for reasons such that the planets could never bear ill will toward human beings whose souls were exalted above the cosmos. For others, such as the early Church Fathers, ethical implications of astrological fatalism were the main point of contention, as it was contrary to the emerging Christian doctrine of free will. The Gnostics , who for the most part believed the cosmos is the product of an evil and enslaving creator, thought of the planets as participants in this material entrapment. Prominent Neoplatonists such as Porphyry, Iamblichus, and Proclus found some aspects of astrology compatible with their versions of Neoplatonic philosophy. The cultural importance of astrology is attested to by the strong reactions to and involvement with astrology by various philosophers in late antiquity. The adaptability of astrology to various philosophical schools as well as the borrowing on the part of astrologers from diverse philosophies provides dynamic examples of the rich “ electicism ” or “syncretism” that characterized the Hellenistic world. Table of Contents 1. Introduction a. Babylonian Astrology in the Hellenized World b. Hellenistic Theorization and Systemization of Astrology 2. Early Greek Thinking a. Fate, Fortune, Chance, Necessity b. Greek Medicine c. Plato and Divination d. Ages, Cycles, and Rational Heavens 3. Philosophical Foundation of Hellenistic Astrology a. Astral Piety in Plato’s Academy b. Stoic Cosmic Determinism i. Fate and Necessity ii. Stoic-Babylonian Eternal Recurrence iii. Divination and Cosmic Sympathy iv. The Attitude of Stoic Philosophers Towards Astrology c. Middle Platonic and Neopythagorean Developments i. Ocellus Lucanus ii. Timaeus Locrus iii. Thrasyllus iv. Plutarch 4. The Astrologers a. The Earliest Hellenistic Astrology: Horoscopic and Katarchic b. Earliest Fragments and Texts c. Manilius d. Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria e.
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