These had given expression both to a concern for the stabihty of the Babylonian or Assyrian king and his state, and to the behef in a connection between the kingdom and the cosmos. It is tempting to see in the emergence of personal astrology evidence of a change in the relation conceived between the individual and the cosmos, or the individual and the gods, after the mid-first millennium.
Whether this is the case, and what relation it may have to the poHtics of the Achaemenid and even the Seleucid era, is subjea to further inquiry, but not on the basis of the horoscope texts alone.
The analysis of the Babylonian horoscopes from the point of view of their cultural and historical context belongs to a future study, in which the horoscopes can be viewed in the hght of the traditions of Babylonian celestial divination as well as of astronomy, both non-mathematical and mathematical. In spite of their implicit purpose to prognosticate aspects of the life of the native, the ostensive astronomical nature of the gpnre ties the horoscopes together with diaries, almanacs, goal-year texts, ephemerides and procedure texts as sources for our reconstruction of the repertoire of Babylonian astronomy in the late first millenniimi.
The present edition focuses on the philological aspects of the corpus and the dating of the horoscopes by means of their astronomical content. It is only on the basis of such a foundation that a meaningful comparison with Greek astrology may be tmdertaken by those competent to equate the vast literature in that field. Onecan start with O. Neogefaaoer and H3. Goold Cambridge, kfos. Robbins Cambridge, Mass. Pingree, "Astrology," in P. Wiener ed. Only the moon's position is affected by a change in hour, since it moves so much more rapidly than the sun or the five planets.
That planetary data are not greatly affected, may perhaps explain why the hour of birth is not noted with regularity in the Babylonian horoscopes. Even when noted, the Babylonian horoscopes' "inspection of the hour" is not paralleled by their synonymous Greek counterparts, where opooKdicoc refers not to the consideration of the time of day, but of the point of the ecliptic the ascendant rising at the moment of birth Ptolemy, TetrabMos ,2.
The differences between Babylonian and Greek horoscopes begin here and permeate most other aspects of the two corpora.
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Despite the evidence of transmission and borrowing from Mesopotamia found in specific elements of Greek astrology,' and that the basic idea of predicting the life of a person on the basis of astronomical phenomena associated with the birth date was originally Babylonian, Babylonian and Greek horoscopes reflect substantially different genethhalogical systems.
Mention should also be made of the Demotic horoscopes of Roman Egypt, dating to the first half of the first century A. The discovery of the first cuneiform horoscope came as part of the general decipherment of astronomical cimeiform texts in the late nine- teenth century by J.
Astrology by type
Strassmaier, and F. At that time, in , only a single horoscope text was known Text Twenty-eight Babylonian horoscope tablets are now extant. In the context of cimeiform scientific texts, this group may be seen as a well- defined class of astrological texts belonging to the Achaemenid, Seleucid, and Arsadd periods, or roughly between the fifth and first centimes B. Their content is ostmsibly astronomical rather than "astrological," as prac- tically no prognostications for the native are included in these documents.
The chronological range of the extant texts is from B. The five documents from the first century B. These first century horoscopes fTexts , all from the city of Babylon, date from the end of the reign of Mithradates 11 88 B. Since three texts contain more than one horoscope, it cannot be the case that a horoscope was written on the date of the birth.
In no case has the writing of a horoscope tablet been dated by means of a colophon. The dates are f oimd at the beginning of the text and refer exclusively to the birth date. Given the existence of birth notes, recording dates and times of births apparently for the purpose of later casting a horoscope, it is dear that horoscopes could have been prepared well after such dates. In the single birth note preserved with more than one birth record, two of the dates are spaced thirty-six years. Vn Nr. Text 7 by Kugler and Schaumberger, see note 6. Of the ultimate goal of the construction of these documents, the good and bad fortimes of the recipients, they tell us little.
Still less is known from the texts about the individual recipients themselves.
The historical problem of astrological interpretation seems to be endemic to the history of astrology on a broad scale, as expressed in a comment by JD. North: "Historians faced with a nativity are almost alwajrs inclined to ask how it would have been interpreted. Even so, the Greek names may or may not represent ethnic Greeks, and conclusions as to the nationality of any of those for whom horoscopes were cast caimot yet be drawn.
Primarily because the vocabulary of the horoscopes is the same as that of the Late Babylonian astronomical texts, both mathematical and non-mathematical, one may guess that they were produced by the same group of scribes. Precious litde is known of these individuals, but from astronomical text colophons we do have names, patronyms, and professions for some of the hellenistic Baby- lonian astronomers. Their duties regarding celestial divination, not to speak of horoscopy, are not referred to in the temple documents.
It can only be assumed that since copies of Enuna Anu Enlil continued to be made during the hellenistic period, it was this same group of scribes who made thenL Even on the basis of such scanty evidence as this, it is perhaps sufficient to say that the group of scribes known as tupSeir Enuma Anu Enlil produced the horoscope tablets, as well as any other text of astro- nomical or astrological content, and that throughout the Achaemenid, Seleucid, and Arsacid periods these scribes belonged to an extremely small set of Babylonian literati.
Beyond their small numbers, evidence is wanting for the social standing of such scribes, and even less is available for their horoscope clients. The Greek names of two horoscopes can point to the Macedonian elite of late Babylonian society, but not unequivocally. It is no reflection on the accessibiUty of horoscopy for clients outside the circle of the scholars themselves. More often than not the time is given with reqpea to a part of the day, e.
Apodoses ham the physiognomic series contain subject matter that points to the palace and its personnel, see for example YOS 10 , 23, 30 and Many basic aspects of the social structure of first millfnninfn Babylonia, such as the social and economic "classes," are still to be fully imderstood, as attested to in statements such as lA. Rocfa, "A Case of Gouested Status. In this context, to attach anything more than vague social sigtiificance to the prosopographical evidence from the horoscopes would be premature.
Note however, that a connection between astrology and the ruler continued in the context of Hdlenistic Greek hofoicopy. Apractioeof prqiaringahmosoopeferdie coronation ola monarch is attested three times.
One is the huge monimient that represents in stone relief the earliest preserved horoscope. It can be dated to the coronation of Antiochm I of Commageae m 62 B. For the other examples, see ibid. See Text 6 rev. Copyrighted material 'ature and Cultural Context 7 i. The body of the horoscope contains the planetary positions in the zodiac.
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These data may follow several introductory expressions, e. These positions are generally given with respect to a zodiacal sign alone, less often in specific degrees within a sign. With several exceptions," horoscopes do not generally record positions of planetary synodic phenomena, but rather positions in the zodiac at the arbitrary moment of someone's birth. Neugebauer drew attention to the fact that the Babylonian horoscopes constitute a very small corpus compared with the over late Babylonian astronomical texts.
Zodiac Signs and Their Dates
The relevance especially of the non-mathematical astronomical texts for analysis of the horoscopes is prima fade evident from the technical termin- " E. See ch. This purely philological aspect of the horoscopes is sufficient to place the genre in its correct scholastic context, i. The identification of data and methods of derivation, however, are not as straightforward as one might like.
To begin with, the daily positions, so important to a horoscope, were not a primary goal of Babylonian planetary theory. At least as we know it from the mathematical ephemerides, the chief goal was the computation of dates and positions of the synodic phenomena. Such daily ephemeris tables could conceivably have been of use in constructing horoscopes, but one can do no more than speculate about this since no reference to such a purpose, or to any other astrologically important configuration of planets, is fotmd in procedure texts, or. Whether or not such interpolation was the method employed in horoscopes for obtaining longitudes of planets on dates between their synodic appearances cannot be d ecided.
But it is certain that the planetary data found in the horoscopes were the results either of some method of direct computation or, more likely, of extracting such data from other records.
In his discussion of the non-mathematical astronomical texts' use of the zodiac, Sachs said, "An inspection of all the items that mention a sign of the zodiac shows that we are in the presence of predictions in all such cases. Aside from the non-observational nature of the planetary phenomena, another general remark may be made about the planetary positions given in the horoscopes; namely, that the sequence in which they are given, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Mars, is the standard sequence employed in the non-tabular astronomical texts of the Seleucid period, specifically almanacs and goal year texts, but also attested sporadically in much earUer texts.
Sidereal and tropical astrology
There has been much discussion about this pecuHar sequence of planets for which there is no ''natiu:al" eiq lanation, such as distance from the sun. What can now be substantiated with evidence W nativity omens of the same period is that this amusement of planets stems from an astrological schema which assigns the planets beneficent and maleficent In HAMA, p.
Neiigebauer commenfed, legarding the procedure text ACT Sections for Venus, that "were it fully preserved [it] would give us all data for the 'subdivision' of the synodic motion. The arrangement of the planets in the horoscopes, as well as in Babylonian astronomy in general, consequently bears no relation to a concept of where the heavenly bodies are located in the sky. This is contrasted in the Greek horoscopes, which provide much the same data as do the Babylonian counterparts, but list the planetary positions in order of their distances from the earth, thereby reflecting their spatial location in a geocentric cosmos.
The Greek order is Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury having the same sidereal periocQ, in descending order of their periods of sidereal rotation, hence their geocentric distance. The most explicit evidence is in some of the names and epithets of Mars, the quintessentially "evil planet," who was, in addition, associated with the god of pestilence and death, Nergal.
Mars was called MUL. In the same text is also the name MUL. See HAMApp. Copyrightad material 'ature and Cultural Context 11 astronomical events of the month or even the year in which the birth occurred are frequently appended. Besides the limar three, horoscopes record lunar and solar eclipses, in- cluding those not observed or visible at Babylon; the conjunctions of the moon with the ecliptical reference stars termed normal stars ; as well as the dates of equinoxes and solstices for the given year.
Religious and Divinatory context Apart from the content of a typical horoscope relevant to the astronomical positions on the birthdate, a number of horoscopes contain another element shared by other astronomical texts. This is the formulaic invocation to the deities associated either with the temples of Babylon or Uruk, i. Furher research is needed before the use of the date of conception versus that of birth in Babylonian astrology is imderstood.
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