Many different ancient cultures are responsible for shaping the concept and beliefs of astrology. For example, the Egyptians were able to calculate when a good or bad harvest would hit their people. Sometimes, issues like war and peace, came into better view when using astrology. However, while some believe that Egypt started to focus on astrology in 3rd millennium BC, others feel the existence of the pyramids may suggest that the use of heavenly bodies to make predictions and settle important decisions may be a much older practice than first expected.
Anyhow, the knowledge that the Egyptians and Chaldeans possessed started to move throughout the other ancient communities and into the classical realm. Ancient Greeks especially embraced and took advantage the idea of astrology, as they used it to expand upon their trading and seafaring efforts. By the time 8th century BC rolled around, the Greeks had already accepted astrology into their lives as an important source of information and guidance. In 5th century BC, Greek medicine started to highlight an influence from astrology, as shown in the writings of Hippocrates (460 – 375 BC) , a man that has been given credit as the Father of Modern Medicine. When he schooled his student, he introduced them to astrology as a way of determining the number of critical days associated with a sickness.
Over time, the Roman Empire expanding their reign and when they came in contact with Greek practices, they warmed up to astrology pretty quickly. It became quite popular and in no time , everyday life started to utilize astrology in everyday life. Roman culture started to use its effect within nearly all of the things that were important to them.
If you were to pinpoint some of the most significant advancements associated with astrology, a great deal of accomplishments have been recorded as occurring during the first half of the 2nd century AD. With thanks to the Greek philosopher Ptolemy, we learn about the Almagest (relating to the astronomical movement of the Sun, Moon, and planets) and the Tetrabiblos (pertaining to the astrological explanation of these movements). Fortunately, when the destructive fires that took place at the Great Library of Alexandria swelled, the records concerning ancient astronomy and astrology were not harmed.
Ancient astrology went through many different changes, especially with the fading of the Roman Empire’s power and the onset of the Middle Ages in Europe. Other cultures started to influence the shift in astrological beliefs, as the Arabic Empire succeeded in conquering the Eastern Roman Empire, taking for their own , the main heartbeat of education , Alexandria.
All of the past thoughts of science, medicine and alchemy were absorbed into their culture and they began to expand upon these as well. Medical terms were born based upon astrology, as well as the astrological influences from the Sun, Moon and planets that were linked to various human characteristics. For example, the terms ‘mercurial,’ ‘saturnine’, ‘lunatic,’ ‘venereal,’ ‘jovial’ and ‘martial’ were created, which are still commonly used today.
In Part III of “The History of Medical Astrology,” we will learn how the concept has been used and then later explore the different associations with the zodiac.