However, the apparent overwhelming concern with the mundane details of daily life should not be taken at face value. Rather the notion of such externals as the outer manifestation of the soul's current incarnation is a given. For example, Vettius Valens - c. The apparently trivial and highly detailed interpretations of the significance of astronomical motion in individual life can therefore only be understood within a context in which the Hermetic concept of an ensouled, spiritually heliocentric cosmos, is taken for granted.
One of the most influential of the early classical astrological authors, Claudius Ptolemy, attempted to locate the soul's relationship with the stars in two of his works, the Harmonics and the Tetrabiblos , providing the philosophical motive and context for his, to historians of astronomy, better known work in the Almagest. Conclusion There has been, in recent years, a tendency to re-evaluate the Egyptian contribution to astrology. Conman has argued for an Old Kingdom origin of the Babylonian bit nisirti , significant zodiacal locations for the planets.
Bohleke , p. He notes , p. See also Fowden , p.
The argument for the indigenous Egyptian contribution to astronomy is based partly on the syncretism which occurred during the Hellenistic period, in which Greek and Babylonian contributions were combined with Greek. However, if a substantial contribution from Greece was a refined notion of the relationship between and immortal soul and the stars, and if this concept was borrowed from Egypt sometime between the eight and fourth centuries BCE, the Egyptian contribution is seen to be far more significant. Herodotus' claim that the Greeks borrowed notions of the immortality of the soul from Egypt are unconfirmed but persuasive, even if they were combined with theories that the Greeks themselves were developing.
Theories of the soul's ascent to the stars were refined by Plato and Aristotle and re-exported to Egypt in the Ptolemaic period. We may therefore argue that there were two routes for Egyptian concepts of the soul to enter Ptolemaic astronomy, both directly and via classical Greece. The horoscopic texts themselves are highly technical but, as both Valens and Ptolemy make clear, the apparent overwhelming concern with the mundane details of daily life should not be taken at face value. Rather, the notion of such externals as the outer manifestation of the soul's current incarnation is a given.
Hermetic teachings then provided a model by which the motions of the planets might be seen to disturb the soul, and liberation might be achieved. These practices then provided the foundation for the form of practical astrology which spread through the Roman Empire, and westwards to India, flourished in the golden age of Islamic learning and was one of the major motives for the study of astronomy in Medieval and Renaissance Europe until the seventeenth century Campion a : the importance of astrology in the Roman Empire Cramer and medieval Europe Thorndike - 58 , and its impact on developments in mathematical astronomy, is well-attested.
The development of a 'psychological astronomy' Campion b , or astrology - an astronomy whose concern was the soul, or psyche - in Ptolemaic Egypt was therefore so important for subsequent developments in non-mathematical astronomy that, following the notion of the 'Copernican Revolution', I suggest that we can refer to an 'Egyptian', or 'Ptolemaic Astronomical Revolution' of the first and second centuries BCE.
This suggestion, I emphasise, is made in order to encourage debate on the significance of a neglected period in the history of astronomy. References Aquinas, T. Summa Contra Gentiles, 4 Vols. Vernon J. Aristotle On the Soul, trans. Hett, Cambridge Mass. Aristotle , Meteorologica, trans.
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The astrological work apparently written by Hipparchus c. When Kamose died during a struggle against the Hyksos, his brother Ahmose ascended to the throne, and Queen Ahhotep served as regent until he came of age. Nevertheless, commitment to others—and trust in them—is in considerable tension with the liberal incitement to individual autonomy. During the months of March, April, and May , while I was teaching in New York, Mohammed Tabishat carried out interviews for me in Cairo with a number of Egyptians, only some of whom I know personally; I thank him for this work. A similar controversy surround the Eleusinian mysteries, with some scholars claiming they are 'Egyptian by execution and intention' as Stilwell , put it, others denying it.
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