Semi-religious discipline claims to forecast events by observation of stars, sun, moon, planets. Probably was practiced in Mesopotamia ca. 3000 BC, in China ca. 2000 BC, spread to India, (6th c. BC) and Greece (3d c. BC). In Mesopotamia omens were drawn from celestial phenomena. This led to systematic observance of celestial bodies, thus combining religion (astrology) and science (astronomy). In Mesopotamia, and later Egypt, astrology was connected with the ruling family and its predictions concerned the kingdom. When astrology came to the Greeks their world gods were changed to astral deities (catasterism); astrology was made personal, i. e., made prognostications for every person. Such prognostications were based on the zodiacal belt, probably a development of Greeks. In early Christianity astronomy and astrology were distinguished and the latter rejected by various councils. Astrology revived with Charlemagne and was given new impetus by Arab and Jewish scholars in the 12th c. In the 14th c. many univs. had chairs in astrology (e.g., Paris, Florence). Astrology is still a popular pastime but is rejected by the intelligentsia as a serious science.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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