Astrology renaissance era

In the year B. It is only necessary to recall the greatest man of ancient Rome , Julius Caesar. Cicero, who in his younger days had busied with astrology, protested vigorously, but without success, against it in his work "De Divinatione". The Emperor Augustus , on the other hand, believed in astrology and protected it. The first Roman work on astrology was dedicated to him; it was the "Astronomica" written about 45 B.

In five books this poem gives an outline of the astrology of the zodiac and constellations. The fifth book is devoted to the sphoera barbarica. It is a curious fact that the poem does not take up the astrology of the planets. In spite of repeated attempts to suppress it, as in the reigns of Claudius and Vespasian , astrology maintained itself in the Roman Empire as one of the leading forms of culture.

The lower the Romans sank in religion and morals the more astrology became entwined with all action and belief. Under Tiberius and Nero the two astrologers named Thrasyllus who were father and son held high political positions. The most distinguished astronomer of antiquity, Claudius Ptolemaeus, was also a zealous astrologer. His "Opus Quadripartitum, seu de apotelesmatibus et judiciis astrorum, libri IV" is one of the chief treatises on astrology of earlier times and is a detailed account of astrological teachings. This work occupied in astrology as important a position as that which the same author's Megale Euntaxis also called "Almagest" , held in the science of astronomy before the appearance of the Copernican theory.

It is a striking fact that Ptolemy sought, in the second book of the "Opus Quadripartitum" to bring the psychical and bodily differences of the various nations into relation with the physical conditions of their native lands, and to make these conditions, in their turn, depend on the positions of the stars. The Roman astrologers wrote their manuals in imitation of Ptolemy, but with the addition of mystic phantasies and predictions. After the death for Marcus Aurelius , the Chaldeans were always important personages at the imperial court.

As late as the time of Constantine the Great the imperial notary Julius Firmius Maternus, who later became a Christian , wrote on "Mathematics, or the power and the influence of the stars" eight books which were the chief authority in astrology until the Renaissance. With the overthrow of the old Roman Empire and the victory of Christianity , astrology lost its importance in the centres of Christian civilization in the West. The last known astrologer of the old world was Johannes Laurentius sometimes called Lydus of Philadelphia in Lydia, who lived A.

Astrological Ages as an Accurate and Effective Model of History - Astrodienst

Astrology under Christianity From the start the Christian Church strongly opposed the false teachings of astrology. The Fathers energetically demanded the expulsion of the Chaldeans who did so much harm to the State and the citizens by employing a fantastic mysticism to play upon the ineradicable impulses of the common people, keeping their heathen conceptions alive and fostering a soul-perplexing cult which, with its fatalistic tendencies created difficulties in the discernment of right and wrong and weakened the moral foundations of all human conduct.

There was no room in the early Christian Church for followers of this pseudo-science. The noted mathematician Aguila Ponticus was expelled from the Christian communion about the year , on account of his astrological heresies. The early Christians of Rome , therefore, regarded the astrological as their bitterest and, unfortunately, their too powerful enemies; and the astrologers probably did their part in stirring up the cruel persecutions of the Christians.

As Christianity spread, the astrologers lost their influence and reputation, and gradually sank to the position of mere quacks. The conversion of Constantine the Great put an end to the importance of this so-called science , which for five hundred years had ruled the public life of Rome. In Constantine issued an edict threatening all Chaldeans, Magi , and their followers with death.

Astrology now disappeared for centuries from the Christian parts of Western Europe. Only the Arabic schools of learning, especially those in Spain after the Moors had conquered the Iberian peninsula, accepted this dubious inheritance from the wisdom of classic times, and among Arabs it became incentive to pure Astronomical research. Arabian and Jewish scholars were the representatives of astrology in the Middle Ages , while both Church and State in Christian countries rejected and persecuted this false doctrine and its heathen tendencies.

Unfortunately, at the same time the development of astronomy was checked, excepting so far as it was needed to establish certain necessary astronomic principles and to calculate the date of Easter. Yet early Christian legend distinguished between astronomy and astrology by ascribing the introduction of the former to the good angels and to Abraham, while the latter was ascribed to Cham.

In particular, St. Once more the East prepared a second period of prosperity for astrology. The Jews , very soon after they were driven into Western Europe , busied themselves with astrological questions, being stimulated thereto by Talmud. Jewish scholars had, moreover, a knowledge of the most important works of classic times on astrology and they became the teachers of the Arabs. These latter, after the rapid spread of Mohammedanism in Western Asia and North Africa, and their defeat in Western Europe by Charles Martel , began to develop a civilization of their own.

The mystical books which appeared in Jewish literature after the time of the Talmud, that is, the books called the "Sefer Zohar" and the "Sefer Yezirah" Book of Creation , are full of rules of divination dealing especially with astrological meanings and calculations.

The high reputation of the Talmud and Cabbala among the Jews in the Middle Ages explains their fondness for astrological speculations; but at a very early date , it should be noted, they distinguished between astronomy , "the science of reading the stars", and astrology, "the science of divination". Caliph Al-Mansur, the builder of Bagdad , was, like his son, the famous Harun-al-Rashid, a promoter of learning.

He was the first caliph to call Jewish scholars around him in order to develop the study of the mathematical sciences , especially astronomy , in his empire. In the year the learned Jew Jacob ben Tarik founded at Bagdad a school for the study of astronomy and astrology which soon had a high reputation; among those trained here was Alchindi Alkendi , a noted astronomer.

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It was one of Alchindi's pupils, Abumassar Abu Mashar , from Bath in Chorassan, born about the year , whom the Middle Ages regarded as of greatest of Arabian astrologers. Astrology being regarded by the caliphs as the practical application of astronomy , all the more important Arabic and Jewish astronomers who were attached to that court, or who taught in the Moorish schools were also astrologers. Among the noteworthy Jewish astrologers may be mentioned Sahl ben Bishr al-Israel about ; Rabban al-Taban, the well-known cabbalist and Talmudic scholar; Shabbethai Donalo , who wrote a commentary on the astrology of the "Sefer Yezirah" which Western Europe later regarded as a standard work; and, lastly, the Jewish lyric poet and mathematician Abraham ibn Ezrah.

The Arabo-Judaic astrology of the Middle Ages pursued the path indicated by Ptolemy, and his teachings were apparently the immovable foundation of all astronomical and astrological activity. At the same time the "Opus Quadripartitum" of the great Alexandrian was corrupted with Talmudic subtleties and overlaid with mystical and allegorical meanings, which were taken chiefly from the Jewish post -Talmudic belief concerning demons. This deterioration of astrology is not surprising if we bear in mind the strong tendency of all Semitic races to fatalism and their blind belief in an inevitable destiny, a belief which entails spiritual demoralization.

The result was that every conceivable pursuit of mankind every disease and indeed every nation had a special "heavenly regent", a constellation of definitely assigned position from the course of which the most daring prophecies were deduced. Up to the time of the Crusades , Christian countries in general were spared any trouble from a degenerate astrology. Only natural astrology, the correctness of which the peasant thought he had recognized by experience secured a firm footing in spite of the prohibition of Church and State.

But the gradually increasing influence of Arabic learning upon the civilization of the West, which reached its highest point at the time of the Crusades was unavoidably followed by the spread of the false theories of astrology. This was a natural result of the amalgamation of the teachings of pure astronomy with astrology at the Mohammedan seats of learning.

The spread of astrology was also furthered by the Jewish scholars living in Christian lands, for they considered astrology as a necessary part of their cabalistic and Talmudic studies. The celebrated didactic poem "Imago Mundi", written by Gauthier of Metz in , has a whole chapter on astrology.

Medieval Astrology

Pierre d'Ailly, the noted French theologian and astronomer , wrote several treatises on the subject. The public importance of astrology grew as the internal disorders of the Church increased and the papal and imperial power declined.

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Towards the close of the Middle Ages nearly every petty prince, as well as every ruler of importance, had his court astrologer upon whose ambiguous utterances the weal and the woe of the whole country often depended. The revival of classical learning brought with it a second period of prosperity for astrology. Among the civilized peoples of the Renaissance period , so profoundly stirred by the all-prevailing religious, social and political ferment, the astrological teaching which had come to light with other treasures of ancient Hellenic learning found many ardent disciples.

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The romantic trend of the age and its highly cultivated sensuality were conditions which contributed to place this art in a position far higher than any it had attained in its former period of prosperity. The forerunners of Humanism busied themselves with astrology, and but few of them perceived the dangerous psychical effect of its teachings upon the masses. Towards the end of the thirteenth century the Florentines employed Guido Bonatti as their official astrologer, and, although Florence then stood alone in this respect, it was scarcely a hundred years later when astrology had entered in earnest upon its triumphant course, and a Cecco d'Ascoli was already its devoted adherent.

In Petrarch's day the questionable activity of the astrologers at the Italian courts had made such progress that this clear-sighted Humanist De remed. I, iii, sqq; Epist. When these rulers lived astrology was, so to say, the regulator of official life; it is a fact characteristic of the age, that at the papal and imperial courts ambassadors were not received in audience until the court astrologer had been consulted.

Regiomontanus, the distinguished Bavarian mathematician, practised astrology, which from that time on assumed the character of the bread-winning profession, and as such was not beneath the dignity of so lofty an intellect as Kepler. Thus had astrology once more become the foster-mother of all astronomers. Among the zealous patrons of the art were the Medici. Catharine de' Medici made astrology popular in France.

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  • She erected an astrological observatory for herself near Paris , and her court astrologer was the celebrated "magician" Michel de Notredame Nostradamus who in published his principal work on astrology--a work still regarded as authoritative among the followers of his art. Philognesius, Practicarum, Ingolstadt, Some of the late Roman astrologers, among whom was probably Firmicus Maternus, thought to reform astrology by idealizing it and raising its moral tone. The same purpose animated Paolo Toscanelli , called Maistro Pagollo, a physician greatly respected for the piety of his life, who belonged to the learned and artistic circle which gathered around Brother Ambrosius Camaldulensis in the Monastery of the Angels.

    There were special professors of astrology, besides those for astronomy , at the Universities of Pavia, Bologna, and even at the Sapienza during the pontificate of Leo X , while at times these astrologers outranked the astronomers. The three intellectual centres of astrology in the most brilliant period of the Renaissance were Bologna, Milan , and Mantua.


    The work of J. Campanus, published at Rome in , and often commented on, namely, "Oratio initio studii Perugiae habita" throws a clear light on the lack of comprehension shown by the Church Fathers in their attitude towards pagan fatalism. Among other things it is here said: "Quanquam Augustinus, sanctissimus ille vir quidem ac doctissimus, sed fortassis ad fidem religionemque propensior, negat quicquam vel mali astrorum necessitate contingere". In the Renaissance , religion, also, was subordinated to the dictation of astrology. The hypothesis of an astrological epoch of the world for each religion was widely believed by Italian astrologers of the time, who obtained the theory from Arabo-Judaic sources.

    Thus it was said that the conjunction of Jupiter with Saturn permitted the rise of the Hebrew faith ; that of Jupiter with Mars, the appearance of the Chaldaic religion; of Jupiter with the sun, the Egyptian religion; of Jupiter with Venus, Mohammedanism ; and of Jupiter with Mercury, Christianity. At some future day the religion of Antichrist was to appear upon the conjunction of Jupiter with the moon.

    Extraordinary examples of the glorification of astrology in Italy during the Renaissance are the frescoes painted by Miretto in the Sala della Ragione at Pavia , and the frescoes in Borso's summer palace at Florence. Petrarch , as well, notwithstanding his public antagonism to astrology, was not, until his prime, entirely free from its taint.