I arrived in Cambridge in 1986 determined to write a Ph. D. for the Faculty of Classics on ‘Women and the Irrational: Magic, Cult and Madness’, but within a few weeks found myself forced to produce a paper on astrology in antiquity. I had my supervisor to blame for that, and I had my revenge by casting his horoscope in the ancient style for the paper. Nevertheless, in retrospect, I have Keith Hopkins to thank for pushing me in the direction which eventually led to this book.
Thanks is also due to my long-suffering main supervisor Geoffrey Lloyd, and to Newnham College, which gave me a Research Fellowship; without them, I could never have begun the book. The Wingate Foundation generously funded me throughout the period of writing, for which I am very grateful.
There are a few other debts to acknowledge; the Classics Faculty Library in Cambridge kindly allowed me to continue borrowing even though I was based in London, Paul Taylor of the Photographic Collection at the Warburg Institute was extremely helpful with finding illustrations; I am grateful to Paul Cartledge for starting my collection of newspaper cuttings on contemporary astrology and to Tim Screech for his last-minute assistance in printing out. Thanks are also due to the series editor, Roger French, to the desk editor, Sue Bilton, with her expertise in modern astrology, to the copy editor, Lionel Hope Jones, and to the judges of the Routledge Ancient History Prize for the useful comments and queries they all made. Particular thanks go to those who painstakingly sought answers to the queries posed during the editing process, a task I was unable to carry out myself while in India: Malcolm Barton, Catharine Edwards, Angie Hobbs, Peter Kingsley, Elizabeth McGrath, Onnovan Nijf, Vicky Peters, Ursula Sdunnus and Paul Taylor. Most of all I have to thank Peter Singer, my only critic before it went to the publishers,