Thesis ID: CBB334513367

Astrology in Augustan Rome: A Cultural History (2016)


This dissertation covers the early history of astrology in the culture and society of Rome, with a special emphasis on the reign of Rome’s first emperor. This is a crucial time and place for the history of astrology and the history of the Roman Empire. Previous studies of astrology’s early history have focused on the development of doctrine and technique with little regard for the social and cultural valence of the practice. Moreover, the few studies that have devoted attention to astrology’s place in Roman culture and society, have tended to ignore its salient connections with science and philosophy, and to read this early period through the lens of later developments. This work aims to contribute to these latter studies while bringing a more contextualized view of this early period. In the course of this work, I offer inter alia the first comprehensive assessment of evidence for astrology in the late Republic and early empire, conduct the first detailed lexicographical study of Latin terms for astrologer, and undertake the first detailed prosopographical study of early imperial astrologers. The insights derived from this study present a more detailed and contextualized view of astrology in this early period and correct some preconceptions that have dominated the historiography of this subject. Perhaps the most important of these is the notion that astrology was criminalized under Augustus’ rule. To the contrary, the Augustan era was one of the great golden ages of astrology in Western history.

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Authors & Contributors
Hübner, Wolfgang
Swerdlow, Noel M.
Jones, Alexander
Calderón Dorda, E.
Montero Herrero, Santiago
Reiner, Erica
MHNH (Revista Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas)
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Journal for the History of Astronomy
Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science
MIT Press
K. G. Saur Verlag
Walter de Gruyter
University of Wisconsin Press
Oxford University Press
Poetry and poetics
Occult sciences
Constellations; zodiac
Manilius, Marcus
Theon of Alexandria
Hephaestio, Thebanus
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus
Paulus Alexandrinus (fl. 4th century)
Time Periods
Early modern
Middle and Near East
Babylon (extinct city)

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