History, Astrology
Ancient World, Classical World, Belief Systems

A History of Western Astrology Volume I

The Ancient and Classical Worlds

by Nicholas Campion

ISBN: 978-1441127372
16 Apr 2009
£24.64 – £28.99
Paperback; 408 pages

This is the first comprehensive examination of astrology’s origins and it examines the foundations of a major feature of popular culture in the contemporary west, one which has its origins in the ancient world. Campion explores the relationship between astrology and religion, magic and science, and explores its use in politics and the arts.

Beginning with the theories of the origins of religion in sun-worship, it spans the period between the first Paleolithic lunar counters around 30,000 BC and the end of the classical world and rise of Christianity. Campion challenges the idea that astrology was invented by the Greeks, and asks whether its origins lie in Near-Eastern religion, or whether it can be considered a decadent Eastern import to the West. He considers the evidence for reverence for the stars in Neolithic culture, Mesopotamian astral divination, Egyptian stellar religion, and examines attitudes to astrology and celestial prophecy in the Bible. He considers such artefacts as the mysterious, 15,000-year-old ‘Venus of Lauselle’, the reasons for the orientation of the pyramids, the latest theories on Stonehenge as a sacred observatory, Greek theories of the ascent of the soul to the stars and the Roman emporer Nero’s use of astrology to persecute his rivals.


Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chap 1 Distant Echoes: Origins of Astrology
  • Chap 2 Prehistory: Myths and Megaliths
  • Chap 3 The Mesopotamian Cosmos: The Marriage of Heaven and Earth
  • Chap 4 Mesopotamian Astrology: The Writing of Heaven
  • Chap 5 The Assyrians and Persians: Revolution and Reformation
  • Chap 6 Egypt: The Kingdom of the Sun
  • Chap 7 Egypt: The Stars and the Soul
  • Chap 8 The Hebrews: Prophets and Planets
  • Chap 9 Greece: Homer, Hesiod and the Heavens
  • Chap 10 Greece: The Platonic Revolution
  • Chap 11 The Hellenistic World: The Zodiac
  • Chap 12 The Hellenistic World: Scepticism and Salvation
  • Chap 13 Hellenistic Astrology: Signs and Influences
  • Chap 14 Rome: the State, the Stars and Subversion
  • Chap 15 Christianity: A Star out of Jacob
  • Chap 16 Rome: The Imperial Heaven
  • Chap 17 Christianity: the Triumph of the Sun
  • Afterword
  • Bibliography
  • Index


“It shines light on the heaven for scholars and amateurs alike; its narrative is dense but rich, readable and suggestive.”” Literary Review,’Campion leaves few stones unturned and the large section of notes and the ample bibliography make these two volumes [History of Western Astrology Volume I and II] an excellent starting point for those who wish to dig deeper.”
~ The Observatory

“…the advantage of Campion s work lies in its material wealth, including figures, themes and topics normally excluded from histories of astrology.”
~ European Review of History

“I’ve got and read both of Nicholas’ books on the history of Astrology and I love both of them equally. Nick has covered in this first book the beginnings of Western astrology, as in what we know as Astrology in our end of the world, as opposed to India or the far east. He begins with Stone Age man and why he might have had an interest in the cosmos…..Nick makes the very valid point, why wouldn’t he have been interested….and how we have (mostly) lost our connection, not only with the divine, but the wonders of what lies above us, if only we’d look…. In this volume he covers the Mesopotamians, Assyrians, Persians…travels through Egypt, gets info on the Hebrews and Greeks, including the Hellenistic period, onto Rome, then the flowering of Christianity. It’s all fascinating stuff and I read through it in a total rush, then spent a few months going back over it again, it was SO interesting.”
~ Miss Mary L. English


Dr Nicholas Campion is Principal Lecturer, Institute of Education and Humanities, and Associate Professor in Cosmology and Culture. He is the director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, the only academic Centre in the world to deal with cultural relationships with the sky and the cosmos. He is responsible for taking forward the Centre’s research and teaching activities, through supervising PhD students, sponsoring research projects, organising conferences and other events, and publishing research via the peer-reviewed journal Culture and Cosmos. He also serves as Programme Director of the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology.

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