A Brief History of Astrology
This is just a short insight into a subject about which there is a huge wealth and breadth of information. Many books have been written about the History of Astrology. There is also much more detail available elsewhere on the internet.
Pre-history - from around 5000 B.C.
The planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have been observed and their movements correlated with events on earth for thousands of years. Around 5000 BC there was evidence of astrology and astronomy in stone circles in Great Britain and France.
Babylonian Astrology - from around 4 B.C.
Babylonian astrology was introduced to the Greeks early in the 4th century B.C. and, through the studies of Plato, Aristotle, and others, astrology came to be highly regarded as a science. The pathways of the planets became known as the 'Zodiac'. It was then accepted by the Romans and the Arabs. The Roman names for the zodiac signs are still used today.
A form of astrology that is easily recognisable today emerged in Mesopotamia (now known as Iraq) and Sumeria. In these regions the relationships of the celestial bodies to the planting of crops were studied and documented. The seasons were important for agricultural reasons and the sun was worshipped for its important effect on both agriculture and the whole of human life. The phases of the moon were predicted for pattern, regularity, and a measure of time. Early astrologers began to predict natural disasters, wars, and then later personal horoscopes for national leaders.
Astrology spread towards India and China and Egypt and Greece. At about the same time Europeans and the people of the Americas were developing their own forms of astrology and astronomy, particularly the Mayans of Mexico.
The ancient Greeks attributed their gods and goddesses to the planets. Then the Romans adopted astrology as a form of divination and introduced the names used today.
In Alexandria, Ptolemy wrote the first books on astrology, the Almagest and Tetrabiblios. These books describe how the earth is surrounded by a power, the forces of which are projected from the planets and affect life on earth. They list positive and negative influences and begin to relate astrology to individuals rather than just to countries (as in the past). It was at about this time that many people who could afford to would have their horoscope read to receive indications about their personal health, wealth, the best partner to share life with and even the time and cause of his/her death.
Today horoscopes are printed in many national newspapers and magazines. They are of interest to some people and are often a subject of conversation even among those who doubt the ability of the 'stars' to provide useful advice or direction for their daily lives. Other people take personal horoscopes seriously. They are genuinely interested in predictions and advice from horoscopes made for them personally taking into account their date, place, and time of birth. Use of this personal information enables more accurate, and so some would say more meaningful calculations to be made. Personal horoscopes are now often generated using computer software (computer programs). The use of computers to generate horoscopes has enabled personal horoscopes to be made available at much lower costs than were possible in the past, though some people may feel that the 'personal touch' may have been lost as a result.