Original Sources Texts of Astrology
Definition: The evidence we now have for the development of the astrological system comes from relatively few ancient sources. We know - from references to them that have survived - that once there were many more, but these have now been lost. Below is a list of the main source material, of which very few of the key works are freely available in translated form on the Internet. In contrast, web pages of the opinions based on these original sources are legion...
The Venus Tablets Of Ammizaduga: [Fragment translated] Cuneiform observation and omen tablets - possibly copies of originals from the reign of Ammizaduga [probably 1646 - 1626 BC], the penultimate king of the First Babylonian Dynasty. No known free-text version on the internet.
The Mul.Apin Tablets: [Full text - as web pages - with commentary] The most comprehensive surviving Babylonian star and constellation catalogue from before 600 BC.
The Omen Tablets of Babylonia: [Full text - as jpg pages - with list and index] A comprehensive listing of Babylonian Omen astrology before 550 BC.
"Babyloniaca" [or "Chaldaica"] Book I: Creation to the Flood; Book II: The Flood to King Nabonassar; Book III: King Nabonassar to Alexander the Great: Berosus [Berossus]. c 290 BC. This work did not survive antiquity. However, he is quoted by Flavius Josephus, Nicholas of Damascus, Julius Africanus, Eusebius, Syncellus and several others.
The Iliad: [Full text] Homer. c 750 BC.
The Odyssey: [Full text] Homer. c 750 BC.
The Theogeny: [Full text] Hesiod. c 700 BC.
Works and Days: [Full text] Hesiod. c 700 BC.
Astronomia: Hesiod. c 700 BC. [Now lost to us except for fragments, quoted for example by Eratosthenes.]
Homeric Hymns: [Full text] c 650 BC.
History: [Full text] Herodotus. c 440 BC.
Mirror ["Enoptron"] and Appearances ["Phaenomena"]: Eudoxus. c 390 - 340 BC. Neither work survived antiquity. However, Phaenomena was put into verse by Aratus.
On the Heavens: [Full text] Aristotle. 384 - 322 BC
On Meteorology: [Full text] Aristotle. 384 - 322 BC
Catasterisms: Pseudo-Eratosthenes. c 275 - c195 BC. [Only a later summary survives antiquity.] No known free-text version of the summary on the internet.
The Kugel Globe ["Ouranion Mimèma"]: Unknown artist. c 300 - 100 BC; almost certainly predates Hipparchos. The earliest known celestial globe. Libra is absent, its place taken by the claws of Scorpius. The Vernal Equinox Point lies within Aries.
Commentary on Aratus and Eudoxus ["Toon Aratou kai Eudoxou Fainomenoon exegesis"]: Hipparchos of Rhodes. [Born: Nicaea] c 190 - 120 BC. No known free-text version on the internet.
On the Change in Position of the Solstitial and Equinoctial Points: Hipparchos of Rhodes. [B: Nicaea] c 190 - 120 BC. [Now lost to us but used by Ptolemy in Al Magest.]
On the Length of the Year: Hipparchos of Rhodes. [B: Nicaea] c 190 - 120 BC. [Now lost to us but cited by later authors, for example Vettius Valens]
On the Ascension of Stars: Hypsicles of Alexandria. c 190 - 120 BC. No known free-text version on the internet [and I can not find if the work is in fact still extant].
The Dendera Zodiacs: [Photographs and drawings of carvings and replicas] The zodiac carvings at the temple of Hathor, Dendera, Egypt.
Roman Late Republic & Empire :
"The Dream of Scipio" from On the Republic ["De Re Publica"]: [The Dream of Scipio complete.] 106 - 43 BC. M. Tullius Cicero. [The rest of "On the Republic" was lost in antiquity.]
On Divination ["De Divinatione"]: 106 - 43 BC. M. Tullius Cicero. No known free-text version on the internet.
On the Nature of the Gods ["De Natura Deorum"]: [Full text] 106 - 43 BC. M. Tullius Cicero.
Georgics: [Full text] P. Vergilius Maro [Virgil] 17 - 19 BC.
Astronomica: [Extracts from the text, only] Marcus Manilius. c 10 - 20 AD. Extracts from the Thomas Creech translation into English [1697 AD]. [For extracts related to the Classical House Systems, follow that link.]
Natural History - Book II Astronomy and Meteorology: [Full text of Book II] Pliny the Elder. 23 - 79 AD.
Carmen Astrologicum Dorotheus of Sidon, c 1st century AD. However, if the text is from this early a date there are certainly later, possibly large scale, additions - as a reference to Vettius Valens shows. No known free-text version on the internet.
Mathematical Syntaxis ["Al Magest"]: [Star catalogue from books vii and viii, only.] Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria. c 130 - 170 AD. No known free-text version of the full text on the internet.
Four Books ["Tetrabiblos"]: [Full text] Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria. c 130 - 170 AD.
De Astronomia ["Poeticon Astronomicon"]: Hyginus. [Dates disputed] c 1st century BC or more probably c 2nd century AD. No known free-text version on the internet.
Anthology ["Anthologiae"]: c 150 to 175 AD, Vettius Valens of Antioch c 120 - 175 AD. The extant version that has come down to us dates from the 5th century AD, with interpolations from that time. Valens is particularly important for his citation of many earlier astrological works now lost to us, though curiously he never cites the works of Eudoxus, Aratus, Manilius, Dorotheus, nor his likely contemporary, Ptolemy that have survived to the present day. No known free-text version on the internet.
The Mainz Globe ["Der Mainzer Globus"]: Unknown artist. c 150 - 220 AD. One of only three surviving celestial globes from antiquity; it also includes a depiction of the Milky Way. Libra is absent, its place taken by the double-sign of Scorpius.
The Refutation of all Heresies ["Philosophumena"] Book IV: [Full text of Book iv] Hippolytus, c 170 - 236 AD. Book iv concentrates on the refutation of Hellenistic divination - particularly astrology - hence giving a useful summary of post-Ptolemy astrological thought. J. H. Macmahon, translator. Books ii and iii, also on divination, are lost to us.
De Nativitatibus sive Matheseos Julius Firmicus Maternus Siculus, c 337 AD. No known free-text version on the internet.
The Errors of the Pagan Religions ["De Errore Profanarum Religionum"] Firmicus Maternus, c 335-350 AD. A summary of non-Christian thought in the later Roman Empire. [It's possible this author was the same as the astrologer above, and that he renounced astrology in favour of Christianity.] No known free-text version on the internet.
Anonymous of 379: The work of an anonymous Egyptian astrologer, writing in Rome in 379 AD.
© Dr Shepherd Simpson, Astrological Historian
See the new Astrological Index for the meaning of other astrological words and phrases