AbstractsAstronomy & Space Science

Hellenistic astrology as a case study of 'cultural translation'

by Moonika Oll

Institution: University of Birmingham
Year: 2011
Keywords: DF Greece; PA Classical philology
Record ID: 1391598
Full text PDF: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/1603/


This dissertation approaches Hellenistic astrology as a case study for 'Cultural translation' in the Greco-Roman world. 'Cultural translation' denotes here the transition of ideas and knowledge from one culture to another, making them available in the recipient culture by the ‘translation’ in its broader sense, using recipient’s own already familiar intellectual and cultural concepts. The spread of Greek culture and the adoption of non-Greek elements into it during the Hellenistic times resulted in new hybrid Hellenistic culture based at Alexandria. Around the middle of the 2nd century BC astrology in its Hellenized form appeared there as a fully developed set of doctrines that Classical authors argued to have been the discoveries of the Chaldeans. Astrology, however, was not taken over from Babylonia per se, but was an assimilation and invention at the same time. This has led some scholars to argue that Hellenistic astrology was an invention in its own right and its philosophical rational and doctrine of interpretation are Hellenistic Greek in origin. This dissertation aims to discover what was 'Hellenistic' about Hellenistic astrology, to what extent it was derived from its Babylonian predecessor and through that to determine the role of the 'Oriental wisdom' in the Greco-Roman society.