Hipparchus and Astrology

In addition to his other writings dealing with astronomical topics, the work of Hipparchus (flourished second half of second century BC) dealing with the calculation and prediction of celestial positions would have been very useful to those engaged in the sort of astronomy known as astrology. Astrology developed in the Greco-Roman world during the Hellenistic period, borrowing many elements from Babylonian astronomy; some historians have suggested that Hipparchus played a key role in this. Remarks made by Pliny the Elder (who died 79 AD, following the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius), in his Natural History Book 2. 24, suggest that some ancient authors did regard Hipparchus as an important figure in the history of astrology. Pliny claimed that Hipparchus 'can never be sufficiently praised, no one having done more to prove that man is related to the stars and that our souls are a part of heaven.'

Recommended Reading

Toomer, G.J. "Hipparchus" in Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd ed. Oxford 1996

Toomer, G.J. "Hipparchus" in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles C. Gillespie, Supplement I: 207-224. New York 1978

Full Bibliography