Astronomy and astrology related to mathematics
And so astronomer and astrology continued to march through history arm in arm. Astrology reached a high point in its existence during the humanist Renaissance through the rise of astrological medicine or iatromathematics as it was called , to become the dominant form of school medicine. According to this theory, the cause of an ailment, its course and its cure could all be determined by casting and interpreting a horoscope.
With this, astrology entered the Renaissance university. In the early fifteenth century, chairs for mathematics were established in the Northern Italian humanist Renaissance universities and at the university of Krakow. These chairs existed to teach astrology and the casting of horoscopes to students of medicine.
To do astrology one needed to do astronomy, and to do astronomy one needed mathematics, therefore chairs for mathematics. In about Germany got its first chair for mathematics at the University of Ingolstadt, established for the same purpose. And so the teaching of astronomy and astrology spread through the European universities. In the Reformation, the Lutheran Protestant Church needed to set up its own education system, as the existing schools and universities were controlled by the Catholic Church.
Philipp Melanchthon was entrusted with this task. Starting in , Melanchthon established chairs of mathematics in all the Protestant schools and universities in order to ensure a steady supply of future astrologers. Starting in the thirteenth century, European ruling courts followed the Arabic and Persian custom to employ court astrologers as advisors.
Astrology and Astronomy
This began in Sicily, which had close contacts with Arabic culture, and spread from there throughout Europe. By the fifteenth century almost every court in Europe, including the Vatican, either employed a full-time astrologer or maintained a university mathematician on a retainer as court astrologer. These astrologers were almost all qualified mathematicians, who along with their astrological activities of producing yearly prognostica and medical calendars of which more in a minute as well as often giving medical advice, were expected to fulfil other mathematical activities.
These included designing and producing sundials and other astronomical instruments, or working as architects or hydraulic engineers designing water features. Astrological medicine also set out that there were good days and bad days for the application of the most used medical treatments—bloodletting, cupping, purging—, which were determined by the phases of the moon, eclipses and other astronomical phenomena. In order that doctors and barber-surgeons, who carried out these treatments, knew these good and bad days, towns employed calendar makers, whose job it was to publish a yearly calendar containing all the astronomical and astrological data required for medical treatment.
Many prominent mathematicians and astronomers worked as civic calendar makers, an occupation that provided a nice subsidiary source of income. With the invention of movable type-printing, medical calendar production became big business. Johannes Gutenberg printed a medical wall calendar to earn money before he printed his better-known Bible. Medical calendars existed both as wall calendars and pocket calendars; the latter developed into the pocket diary when inventive Renaissance printers inserted empty pages to enable the owners to make notes.
Most notably, the Renaissance reform of astronomy, which would eventually lead to the so-called astronomical revolution and the adoption of heliocentricity, was driven by astrology. Regiomontanus, who was at the time court librarian and astrologer in Budapest, was asked why astrological prognostications were so often inaccurate.
He answered that because the astronomy on which it was based was so inaccurate. These were the very first printed ephemerides and noted for their level of accuracy. Although they could also be used for cartography and navigation, Regiomontanus explicitly mentioned their intended use in astrology in his introduction. Regiomontanus died too soon to come very far with his programme, but we find the same motivation in the work of other astronomers such as Apian, Brahe and even Kepler.
In the Early Modern period, astrology was often the mistress and astronomy the handmaiden. The terms mathematicus , astronomus and astrologus were synonyms and designated one profession — that of the mathematical, astronomical astrologer. Throughout the Renaissance and early modern period, astrology was regarded as a science — as a system of knowledge on an equal footing with other academic systems of knowledge.
In the late seventeenth century, the generation of astronomers beginning with Isaac Newton no longer believed in or practised astrology, although Newton, an astronomical autodidact, learnt his astronomy from the books of Vincent Wing and Thomas Streete, both of whom were practising astrologers. So what led to the separation of our scientific Siamese twins? Robert Westman famously pointed out that there were only ten true Copernicans between the year of the publication of De Revolutionibus by Copernicus and It should, however, be noted that all ten were practising astrologers.
In fact, horoscopes are calculated according to the position of the planets along the ecliptic, the apparent yearly path of the sun through the heavens. And these remain the same whether your astronomical system is geocentric or heliocentric. What led to the separation of astronomy and astrology was the change in the philosophical basis of scientific knowledge in the seventeenth century. This says that which occurs in the heavens is mirrored here on earth.
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There is however a small coda to the story of astrology in western science. Although they believed in astrology, the Renaissance astronomers and mathematicians were well aware of the very shaky empirical foundations on which astrology stood and tried to improve those foundations. Astrology is not just about natal horoscopes but has several different branches, one of which was astro-meteorology.
It seemed logical that since weather came from the heavens it must also be controlled by the heavens. During the Renaissance, several astronomer-astrologers began keeping accurate detailed weather diaries in which they recorded both the weather and the daily horoscope to try and determine the controlling pattern.
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Another attempt to provide an empirical base for astrology was to create collections of biographies of prominent people and compare to real life biographies with the predicted astrological ones. Again, like the efforts in meteorology, these efforts proved more detrimental than supportive to astrology. However, these biographical efforts were one of the steppingstones in the emergence of modern history, which took place during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Also, these biographical collections are an important contemporary source for modern historians researching the period. Although it ceased to be regarded as a science or as an academic discipline in the late seventeenth century, astrology refuses to die and large numbers of often well educated and intelligent people continue to believe that the course of their lives are influenced or determined by the course of the planets along the ecliptic. I personally know at least three respected, academic historians of astrology, who are also practising astrologers.
I also know a fourth, a successful university historian of science, who, whilst not really admitting to believing in astrology, was pleased to have one of the three cast and interpret her horoscope. Disclaimer: If you buy any of the books using the provided weblinks below, this will help us run Forbidden Histories as your purchase will yield a small commission, at no extra cost for you. Azzolini, Monica. Barton, Tamsyn. Ancient Astrology.
Astrology is bullsh*t. NASA's scathing takedown perfectly explains why.
A History of Western Astrology. Volume I. The Ancient World. Volume II. The Medieval and Modern Worlds. Our classical texts on astrology state that one who knows this science, is truthful, well versed in mathematics, Vedas, mantras and tantras can only be an astrologer capable of correctly predicting the future. Astrology was therefore divided into two main parts-Ganita Jyotisha mathematical astronomy and astrology and Phalita Jyotisha predictive astrology.
This book deals with the Ganita Jyotisha, so very essential to lay the foundation on which the edifice of Phalita Jyotisha can be built.
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A complete work on Astronomy relevant to Astrology and a scientific study of casting of horoscope and divisional charts with vimshottari dasha, bhavas, upgrahas, panchanga, graha bala and bhava bala etc. Deepak Kapoor, M.
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He teaches various subjects of astrology but his area of specialisation is prashna. This encouragement has eventually resulted in writing of Astronomy and Mathematical Astrology. This book is primarily meant for those who want to learn the techniques of casting a horoscope and divisional charts with clear perception, systematically and scientifically. Each step has been explained logically and the subject dealt in simple and lucid narration. The first few chapters briefly explain those concepts of astronomy which are relevant to astrology.
It is a complete text book on astronomy and mathematical astrology covering Vimshottari Dasha, Bhavas, Upgrahas, Panchang calculation, Graha bala, Bhava bala and Divisional charts etc. A chapter on the brief history of astronomy in India has been added. This book will also serve as a handy reference material required for astrological calculations. Two groups of astrologers have always existed, the traditionally trained ones who did astrology as a source of living and felt it necessary to keep whatever family secrets they had been having for generations.
That knowledge expands when it is shared, discussed, debated and taught has been an Indian tradition.