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Elements of the Babylonian Contribution to Hellenistic Astrology

F. Rochberg-Halton
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 108, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1988), pp. 51-62
DOI: 10.2307/603245
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/603245
Page Count: 12
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Elements of the Babylonian Contribution to Hellenistic Astrology
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Abstract

In the scientific literature of the Hellenistic period, references to "Chaldeans" in connection with astrology and astronomy are numerous. The implications of such references, for the history of astrology, however, depend on a closer assessment of the nature and extent of the Babylonian contribution to that branch of Hellenistic science, but an assessment based on cuneiform sources. This paper undertakes such an assessment. Three elements which are demonstrably Babylonian in origin yet form basic and integral parts of Greek astrological doctrine provide the focus of discussion. They are: 1) planetary exaltations, 2) the micro-zodiac, and 3) trine aspect. The differences between the Babylonian and Greek use of these three elements are exemplary of the fact that despite the incorporation of Babylonian elements at the inception of Greek astrology, the overall character and rationale of Greek astrology remains entirely a Hellenistic Greek product.

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