In Chapter 1 we came across the links between attitudes towards astrology and different philosophical schools. In Chapter 5 the study of ideas about astral influence brought us into the realms of ancient physics as well as of ancient philosophy and religion. The way in which religion, philosophy and what we see as science overlapped became obvious. In this chapter, continuing the more synchronic investigation of the previous chapter, I am going to pursue some of the overlaps and links between astrology and other areas of knowledge, such as geography, meteorology, physiognomies, medicine, magic and cult theology.

The fact is that it is rather artificial to use such categorisations, especially as the Greek origins of the names of modern disciplines gives a misleading impression that we are talking of something similar to the educational curriculum today. In antiquity, theoretical knowledge was more of an amateur affair, being bound up with the elevated social status which guaranteed the leisure for study. In the ancient world there were none of the institutions which give definition and identity to different disciplines, so that there was more of a continuum of knowledge. The term philosophia, usually translated as philosophy, might cover just about all theoretical disciplines, including various types of religious knowledge.


Chorography was rather a sub-discipline of astrology than a discipline in its own right, though it could be seen to offer an over-arching framework of explanation which would dominate geography, eth-


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Ancient Astrology


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