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P. Apian, Astronomicum Caesareum [1540] (Public Domain Image)

Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans

Franz Cumont


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This is a study of star-worship by Franz Cumont. At the turn of the 20th century, Cumont collected all available astrological and astronomical texts from antiquity. This book summarizes his knowledge and theories on this subject. Cumont shows that astronomical knowledge was developed over time in the ancient Near East, eventually allowing prediction of phenomena such as the location of the planets, the phases of the moon, and eclipses. This knowledge was used as the basis of a religious system which was integrated into Greek and Roman Paganism. This involved worship of the planets and stars and a belief that after death (if virtuous) we ascend to the heavens. Other aspects of ancient star-worship that are still with us are our seven-day week and the transference of the winter Solstice into the celebration of the birth of Christ.

Title Page
Lecture I. The Chaldeans
Lecture II. Babylon and Greece
Lecture III. The Dissemination in the West
Lecture IV. Theology
Lecture V. Astral Mysticism--Ethics and Cult
Lecture VI. Eschatology