Astronomy vs. Astrology - Comparative

Topics: Astrology, Roman Empire, Divination Pages: 3 (1064 words) Published: October 31, 2012
Astrology, in early Rome, was associated with the lower orders, and it was only after influence from the Greeks, as well as the emerging political situation in Rome that astrology came to the forefront. Astrologers were viewed as troublemakers in early Rome as it was a time of civil unrest. This attitude resulted from the concern that astrologers stirred up the inferiors who went to them to have their fortunes read, and could cause a revolt as was witnessed in the case of Athenio. They were thus expelled from Rome around 139 BCE. It was Cicero, almost a century later, who scorns at these fortune tellers who cluster around the lower class, saying that they are "ignorant of their own futures" and yet they "offer to teach others." It was with the Mithridatic wars that Greek culture became desirable as many Greek scholars and educated Greeks poured into Rome, many of whom developed links with the elite Romans. At this time, the elite Romans were considerably influenced by the Stoic school, and it gained more favour under Posidonius who was a Greek Ambassador. It should be noted though that Stoicism, although offering support to astrology, did not convert the Romans into believers. However, it is in this period that one can see the Romans first starting to practice astrology. The political situation in Rome, and the role played by astrology in that area, was the reason astrology became more acceptable. As the Republic of Rome collapsed, and was replaced by an imperial rule, the method of divination changed as well. Where there were a team of diviners taking omen from birds and other such methods for the Republic, astrologers were now replacing them, taking their omens from the reading of the stars. It was at the moment that the prediction for Octavian was made, and eventually came true, that the belief gained popularity and the ideas was reinforced that one had to be backed by the stars to become the emperor. Astrology, and the reading of the stars, came to the...
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