ARCANA > Bibliographies > Research Source For Astrology
prev | contents | next

Research Sources For Astrology

Greek And Roman Astrology

Greeks played an important role in the development of most astrological practices and thinking. It was Hellenistic Greeks who picked up a Mesopotamian practice, reformulated it in the light of their own science and philosophy, and created the phenomenon which has conquered the world. All later astrology is Greek astrology, whether artistic symbolism or practical techniques for improving one's luck.

Alföldi, A., and Alföldi, E., Die Kontorniat-Medaillons (Berlin: de Gruyter and Co., 1976) {Coin-like tokens with pix of gods; one of Sol Invictus is much like Hammath-Tiberias's sun- god}

Amand, D., Fatalisme et liberte dans l'antiquite grecque; Recherches sur la survivance de l'argumentation anti-fataliste de Carneade chez les philosophes grecs et les theologiens Chretiens des quatre premiers siècles (Louvain: Dissertation, 1945) {The classic work on philosophical arguments for and against astrology. Carneades formulated the key anti-astrology arguments, which were followed by most later anti-astrology writers, Christian and non-Christian. Compare Sextus Empiricus.}

Anson, Leo, Numismata Graeca. Greek Coin Types of for Immediate Identification, Pts. I-VI (London: L. Anson, 1910-1916) {A good source for astrological coins; Part VI is on science and the arts, including astronomy}

Aristotle, On Coming To Be and Passing Away [de Generatione et Corruptione], LCL, tr. E. S. Forster, M.A. (London: Wm. Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1935; repr. 1969) {An influential work on physics by the most influential Greek scientist. Aristotle's physics was frequently used as the theoretical backing for "scientific" astrology. Compare Claudius Ptolemy.}

Aristotle, On the Cosmos [de Mundo], LCL, tr. D. J. Furley, M.A. (London: Wm. Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1955; repr. 1965, 1978) {Probably this is not genuinely by Aristotle, but it has still been influential. It is a good example of Stoic physics, also used as theoretical backing for "scientific" astrology.}

Aristotle, On the Heavens [de Caelo], LCL, tr. W. K. C. Guthrie (London: Wm. Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1939) {An influential work on physics by the most influential Greek scientist. Aristotle's physics was frequently used as the theoretical backing for "scientific" astrology. Compare Claudius Ptolemy.}

Beck, Roger, "Mithraism Since Franz Cumont," Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt II.17.4 (NY: W. de Gruyter, 1984), 2002-15 {Cumont wrote influential books, at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, on the roman era mystery religion of Mithras, which used astrological art for religious symbolism. Beck's bibliography is a useful account of research in the last hundred years. Compare Cumont, Campbell, Ulansey.}

Beck, Roger, Planetary Gods and Planetary Orders in the Mysteries of Mithras (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1988) {A published dissertation on a religious movement which prominently featured astrological art and symbolism. Good bibliography}

Campbell, L. A. Mithraic Iconography and Ideology (Leiden: Brill, 1968) {More on astrological art and symbolism in the popular Roman religious movement.}

Capelle, W., "Älteste Spuren der Astrologie der Griechen," Hermes 60 (1925): 373-95 {Adoption of astrology by Greeks from Mesopotamians.}

Censorinus, Censorini de die natali liber, ed. Fredericus Hultsch (Lipsiae: in aedibus B. G. Teubneri, 1867) {Ancient Greek work on how to cast horoscopes. Chapter 17 tells how Berossus brought astrology to Greece. Chapter 18.14 describes Mesopotamian calculations methods used by Greeks. cf. Neugebauer, 1957; Tester, 1987, 16.}

Closs, A., Die Steinbücher in kultürhistorischer Überschau, Joanneum. Mineralogisches Mitteilungensblatt 1, 34 seiten (Graz: 1958) {Hellenistic works on the astrological properties of stones, etc.}

Colledge, Malcolm A. R., The Art of Palmyra, Studies in Ancient Art and Archaeology, Gen. Ed., Prof. D. E. Strong (London: Thames and Hudson; Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1976) {Palmyra was a rich caravan city, which used a great deal of astrological art in its official religion. Very good illustrations and bibliography. See particularly the zodiac relief from the temple of Bel. Colledge is probably the most notable student of the history and art of the Parthian Empire.}

Cornford, F. M., Plato's Cosmology: The "Timaeus" of Plato with a Running Commentary (Indianapolis; London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1945) {A commentary on a work influential on astral religion.}

Cramer, Frederick H., Astrology in Roman Law and Politics, (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1954) {An excellent account of astrology in Roman history, down to the end of the High Empire. The author promises, in notes, a sequel taking story down to Constantine, but it seems never to have appeared. Good bibliographies, many good illustrations.}

Cumont, Franz, "Le mysticime astral dans l'antiquite," Bulletins de l'academie royale des sciences, des lettres, et des beaux-arts de Belgique (1909): 256-279. {An important aspect of astrological religious symbolism by an important scholar.}

Cumont, Franz, "Les noms des planetes et l'astrolatrie chez les Grecs." L'antiquite classique 4 (1935): pp. 5-45. {Astral religion among the Greeks. Still the standard account, despite its age. Note that the cuneiform signs for the god he equates with Saturn are now read Ninurta, not Ninib.}

Cumont, Franz, Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans (New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1912; repr., NY: Dover, 1960) {The best single book on history of astrology in ancient society and religion. In spite of its age, it has not been replaced.}

Cumont, Franz, L'Egypte des astrologues (Brussells: Fondation egyptologiques reine Elizebeth, 1937) {Astrology as a source for social history.}

Cumont, Franz, Les Religions orientales dans le paganisme romain, 4th edition (Paris: Librairie orientaliste Paul Guethner, 1929) {An older standard reference work. Very good on the religious aspects of magic and astrology.}

Cumont, Franz, Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism, second edition (Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Co., 1911; repr. NY: Dover, 1960) {English translation of an earlier edition of the above.}

Cumont, Franz, Monumenta Mysteriae Mithraicae {The first collection of Mithraic astrological art. Compare Vermaseren, Corpus, 1965.}

Cumont, Franz, Textes et monuments figures relatifs aux mystères de Mithra (Brussels: 1899) {Corpus of Mithraic writings and art.}

Curtis, Col. James W., "Coinage of Roman Egypt: A Survey; Ch. IV: Mythology and the Zodiac," The Numismatist 69 (1956): 402-8 {Astrological coins in plates 27-8 with text describing them.}

Dicks, D. R. Early Greek Astronomy to Aristotle (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1970) {Perhaps the best book on early greek astronomy, and pre-cursors of astrology.}

Dillon, John. The Middle Platonists: 80 BC to AD 220. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977. {Survey of an important philosophical school. Very good on spirits, astral religion, and their philosophical justifications.}

Dorotheus Sidonius, Carmen Astrologicum, Interpretationem Arabicum in lingvam Anglicam versam vna cvm Dorothei fragmentis et Graecis et Latinis, edidit D. Pingree (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1976) {Critical text, translations, and commentary of an influential astrological writer, by the most notable contemporary historian of astrology. Dorotheus is particularly important for "elections," that is, selecting the best astrological moment to begin some activity. Win Rowe notes that he was a contemporary of Jesus, in a neighboring region.}

Drijvers, H. J. W., Cults and Beliefs at Edessa (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1980) {Edessa was an important commercial center in Roman Syria. Astral religion was an important part of its civic religion. Drijvers is an important scholar of the religion of the Roman Near East.}

Drijvers, H. J. W., The Religion of Edessa (Leyden: E. J. Brill, 1976) {Similar to the above.}

Drijvers, H. J. W. The Religion of Palmyra. Leyden: E. J. Brill, 1976. {Palmyra was the greatest caravan city, which emphasized the astral aspect of its civic religion. Compare Colledge, 1976.}

Empiricus, Sextus. Adversus Astrologos in Adversus Mathamaticos 5, Loeb Classical Library, ed. and trans., R. G. Bury (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1949) {This work summarizes the most common philosophical arguments against "scientific" astrology. Compare Amand, Hippolytus of Rome.}

Festugière, André Marie Jean. La revelation d'Hermes Trismegiste, 4 Volumes. Paris: Lecoffre, 1949-1954. {Hermes Trismegistus was a mythical person, credited with writing a large variety of popular philosophical and occult works. This work thoroughly reviews most hermetic works. Vol. 1 is on astrological hermetica. An appendix by Louis Massignon discusses Arabic hermetism.}

Green, Tamara M. The City of the Moon God ; Religious Traditions of Harran, Religions in the Graeco-Roman World [formerly EPRO] Vol. 114 (NY, Leiden, Köln: E. J. Brill, 1992) {A good recent book on Harran and it's important astral cultus in the Later Roman Empire. Good bibliography.}

Gundel, H. G., Weltbild und Astrologie in den griechischen Zauberpapyri (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1968) {A good discussion of one prominent use for astrological religion.}

Gundel, Wilhelm, and Gundel, H. G., Astrologoumena: die astrologische Literatur in der Antike und ihre Geschichte (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1966) {A very good book-length bibliographical essay, discussing nearly all known astrological works from the Greco-Roman world.}

Gundel, Wilhelm, Dekane und Dekansternbilder (Glückstadt und Hamburg: J. J. Augustin, 1936) {Decans are subdivisions of the zodiac, three to each sign, and were important in astrological medicine and magic. This is the classic account of the decans and is quite well-illustrated.}

Hajjar, Yousseff, La triade d'Heliopolis-Baalbek; Iconographie, Theologie, Culte, et Sanctuaires (Montreal: Université de Montreal, 1985) {Zeus of Baalbek was usually shown in a robe with the planet gods on it, proclaiming him the Lord of Heaven. This is an important collection of astrological religious art.}

Heliodorus. Heliodori, ut dicitur, in Paulum Alexandrinum commentarium, ed. A. E. Boer, Interpretationes astronomicas addiderunt O. Neugebauer and D. Pingree (Leipzig: Teubner, 1962) {Fifth century CE commentary on Paul of Alexandria by another well-known astrologer. This is a detailed work on casting and interpreting horoscopes.}

Hephaistion, Hephaistionis Thebani Apotelesmaticorum libri tres, 2 Vols., ed. David Pingree (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1973-74) {Hephaistion was a well- known astrologer. This work discusses connections between stars and exta, an animal's internal organs at section}

Höpfner, Theodor, Griechisch-ägyptischer Offenbarungszauber, Studien zur Paläographie und Papyruskunde, ed. C. Wessely, 21, 1921 and 23, 1924 (Leipzig: H. Hässel, 1921-24) {A major discussion of astrological magic, along much else. He also wrote a article in Pauly-Wissowa.}

Hübner, Wolfgang, Die Eigenschaften der Tierkreiszeichen in der Antike. Ihre Darstellung und Verwendung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Manilius, Sudhoff's Archiv, Zeitschrift für Wissenschaft Beihefte, Heft 22 (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1982) {Discussion of the zodiac signs. Good bibliography, pp. 653-42.}

Julian the Apostate, Hymn to Helios, tr. Wilmer Cave Wright, The Works of Julian the Apostate, 3 Vols. (London: William Heinemann; NY: The Macmillan Co., 1913) {A major work of astrological religion.}

Kaimakis, Dimitris, ed., Die Kyraniden (Meisenheim am Glam: Hain, 1976) {The most recent edition of an important work of astrological medicine. Good introduction and bibliography.}

L'Orange, H. P., Studies in the Iconography of Cosmic Kingship in the Ancient World (Oslo: 1953) {A god in zodiac ring represents a supreme god, or a supreme king. Excellent argument, excellent notes.}

Luck, Georg, Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds, A Collection of Texts, Translated, Annotated and Introduced by Georg Luck (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1985) {A very good collection of texts in translation, including astrological texts. Good bibliography.}

Macmillan, Ramsay, Enemies of the Roman Order; Treason, Unrest and Alienation in the Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966) {Very good on the political and social role of astrology. If there had been a Roman equivalent of the House Un- American Activities Committee, they would have investigated astrologers, M. says}

Manilius, Astronomica, trans. G. P. Good, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: Wm. Heinemann, 1977) {Written in the first century CE, this is one of the oldest surviving works on scientific astrology, besides one of few written in Latin. Manilius was a competitor with Virgil and Lucretius in writing popular science.}

Manilius, M. Magnolia Astronomicon, 4 vols., ed. A. E. Houseman (London: 1903-1930) {A critical edition of the Latin text. Houseman is probably better known to most readers as a poet than a classical scholar.}

Maternus, Julius Firmicus, Mathesis; Ancient Astrology, Theory and Practice trans. Jean Rhys Bram, (Park Ridge, Jew Jersey, Noyes Press, 1975 {Firmicus was the other well-known Latin writer on astrology, and lived in the fourth century CE. "He achieves almost no astrological influence in his own day, but his works directly transmit late Hellenistic astrological methods to the renaissance practitioners, by-passing arab influence, (and also in another sense paving the way for them). He is the best (most complete) source for the doctrine of the antiscia, see p. 58 and on, of the work. The Mathesis also contains a copy of the famous Thema Mundi, the horoscope of the creation. Firmicus Maternus is essentially a literary astrologer...." -- Win Rowe.}

Mely-Ruelle, Ch. de, Lapidaires grecs (Paris: 1898) {The signs and the astrological properties of stones, used in astrological medicine and magic.}

Murray, Gilbert, Five Stages of Greek Religion, 3rd ed. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1955) {Includes astrology as a religion.}

Nechepso and Petosiris, De Nechepsonis-Petosiridis Isagoge quaestiones selectae, ed. C. Darmstadt (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1916) {Nechepso and Petosiris were the inventors of astrology, according to one Greek legend. The work published under their name popularized Hellenistic astrology. This work gathers fragmentary quotations in later authors.}

Nechepso, and Petosiris, Nechepso et Petosiridis fragmenta magica, ed. E. Riess (Philologus Supplementband 6, Göttingen, 1891-93), pp. 327-88. {A rival attempt to collect the fragments of Nechepso and Petosiris.}

Neugebauer, Otto, and van Hoesen, H. B., Greek Horoscopes, Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society Held in Philadelphia for the Promoting of Useful Knowledge, V. 48 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1959) {Q 11 .P612 v.48 folio. This is a collection of all known Greek horoscopes, in translation, thus is an important source. The glossary is one of the best introductions to the terminology of "scientific" astrology.}

Nilsson, Martin P., Geschichte der griechischen Religion, 2 Vols., 3d ed., Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft V.2 (Munich: Beck, 1955) {The classic work; good references to astrology on pages 268-80, 486-519.}

Plato, Epinomis, in Plato, Complete Works, 8 Volumes, translated by W. R. M, Lamb, Loeb Classical Library (London: William Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1955) {This work may not be genuinely by Plato, but it belongs to the Platonic tradition of astral religion. The stars are explicitly called gods in section 984a.}

Plato, Laws, in Plato, Complete Works, 8 Volumes, translated by W. R. M, Lamb. Loeb Classical Library (London: William Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1955) {This is Plato's second ideal state, after Republic, and perhaps his last work. In section 10:899b, the planets are called divine.}

Plato, Timaeus, in Plato, Complete Works, 8 Volumes, translated by W. R. M, Lamb, Loeb Classical Library (London: William Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1955) {This work contains a famous creation myth, which became the equivalent of Genesis for Greek astral religion. A very influential work.}

Salzmann, Michele Renne, On Roman Time: The Codex-Calendar of 354 and the Rhythms of Urban Life in Late Antiquity, Transformation of the Classical Heritage XVII (Berkeley, CA: U. of Cal. Pr., 1990) {good up-to-date discussion of astrological calendar of 354 CE; cf. Stern, 1953}

Sennak, Labubna Bar, The Teaching of Addai, trans. George Howard, Society of Biblical Literature Texts and Translations 16; Early Christian Literature Series 4 (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1981) {Describes the astrological character of the civic religion of an important city in Roman Mesopotamia. Includes Syriac text and English translation.}

Speidel, Michael, Mithras-Orion; Greek Hero and Roman Army God, EPRO 81 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1980) {Another attempt to explain the astral symbolism of this popular religious movement.}

Stern, Henri, Le calendrier de 354, étude sur son texte et ses illustrations (Paris: 1953) {Neugebauer, HAMA, 1975, 1198; 199-202: astrological art; zodiac pictures; calendar very interesting; it was an illustrated Roman calendar drawn for, perhaps, Constantius II; it includes lots of pagan imagery, not only zodiacs, but a gallus dancing to illustrate the month of Cybele's major feast; original evidently survived down to C16; then destroyed in a library fire, but fortunately not before several copies made; Stern's books is a marvel of scholarship from every point of view; now cf. Salzmann, 1990}

Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, with an English Translation by Horace Leonard Jones, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1930) {Section 16.1.6 describes astronomy and astrology in Hellenistic Mesopotamia. Strabo lived late first century BCE.}

Suetonius, C. Tranquillus, Lives of the Caesars, Loeb Classical Library, 2 Vols., tr. J. C. Rolfe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1913; repr. 1989) {The life of Tiberius tells of his addiction to astrology. This is the source of much in the popular TV series I, Claudius.}

Tubach, Jürgen, Im Schatten de Sonnen Gottes; Der Sonnenkult in Edessa, Harran und Hatra am Vorabend der christlichen Mission (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1986) {Discussion of worship of the Sun-god in Roman Syria and Mesopotamia. Outstanding bibliography, pages 489-529.}

Ulansey, David, The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries; Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World (Oxford University Press, 1989) {Another attempt to explain the astrological symbolism of Mithraism. The cult image, the Tauroctony was a map of heavens, while Mithras was the constellation Perseus. good bibliography.}

Vermaseren, M. J., Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentum Religionis Mithraicae (The Hague: M. Nijhof, 1956) {After Cumont, this is the chief collection of Mithraic astrological art.}

Vermaseren, M. J., Mithras, the Secret God {A good popular book by a major authority.}