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Eudoxus of Knidos, founder of Greek astrology
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:16 pm    Post subject: Eudoxus of Knidos, founder of Greek astrology Reply with quote

Robert Schmidt has made an announcement of importance to the astrological community about the origin of Hellenistic, or what he now calls "Greek Astrology" stating that he has discovered who that is. Eudoxus of Knidos, founder of Greek Astrology. He was active circa 370 - 350 BCE. This would push the origin back about 200 years. A series of arguments will be forthcoming to prove this statement. More info can be found here:

http://www.projecthindsight.com
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Paul
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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a pretty bold claim.

Do you know which paper Schmidt is hoping to publish this in? This would be of huge interest to the academic community.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
This is a pretty bold claim.

Do you know which paper Schmidt is hoping to publish this in? This would be of huge interest to the academic community.


Indeed. Extremely bold. He says he's ready to publish but I don't know where yet. Stay tuned...
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if part of this new research relates to the sole surviving text by Hipparchus entitled ''Commentary on the Phenomena of Aratus and Eudoxus.''?

Eudoxus of Cnidus (c. 390-c. 340 BC) produced a work known as the Phenomena, in which he described a calendar with references to the risings and settings of constellations. Aratus (c. 315 - before 240 BC) produced an enormously popular poem, also known as the Phenomena, which utilised Eudoxus' work.

Bizarrely, there is no existing translation of this text in English although there is a German one by C. Manitius dating from 1894

Mark
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Paul
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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what little we know, however, Eudoxus seemed to have been against the notion of either using astrology at all, or, possibly more likely, using either natal astrology or else possibly just using astrology to predict events in a native's life. He is possibly more for the kinds of astrology for predicting weather patterns. It will be interesting to see how Schmidt not only argues that Eudoxus was an astrologer, but also that he was the founder of the Greek astrology.

To repeat an argument I made on facebook though, I am not sure whatever anyone means by the term 'founder' in this context in this first place. It's the same thing with Schmidt's other latest treatise on house division - he regularly refers to what the "original" house system was, but also what it was "supposed to be" by the "originators" or "founders" of the houses, and of Greek astrology in general.

But why are we assuming such a founder even exists? We know that there is astrological thought spanning centuries if not millennia and have changed hands and been altered or improved upon along the way, particular with the Babylonians and we can assume the Persians. We also know, speaking of Eudoxus, that he imported Babylonian data and was inspired by Babylonian mathematics and astronomy. What do we mean then by "greeK" in this context - do we mean to encompass all the techniques used by the Greeks (many of which have origins elsewhere), or do we mean to limit this to any original contributions that distinguish what the Greeks did to other cultures?

If the former, do we mean by "founder" something more like "synthesiser" - perhaps by synthesising a philosophical construct for astrology with Babylonian and other astronomical or astrological principles?
If the latter, we should isolate what exactly we think they are and what in specific he therefore founded.

Either way, it seems a very big claim for which a very strong argument will have to be made. Especially as leading scholars currently take the view that either Eudoxus had no interest in astrology at all or none as applied to human beings. To make the claim that he appears to be making from the title, it seems he would have to first satisfy some assumptions before reaching the conclusion:
1) Eudoxus was an astrologer
2) There was a founder to Greek astrology - and what is meant in specifics by both the terms founder and Greek astrology
3) That not only was there a founder, and not only was Eudoxus an astrologer, but that Eudoxus was that founder.

I'm not sure of what Schmidt's qualifications are, outside of being well versed in Greek, but this seems like such a huge leap, I can only imagine that to truly make this claim, one would need to have expertise in Babylonian and Egyptian astrology and astronomical principles, be well versed in mathematics and astronomy (as Eudoxus himself was), and also master of Greek. Whilst we may attribute to him the last requirement, I have no idea about the others.

I hope he releases either a book or publishes this in some (hopefully) peer reviewed academic journal so that the theory can be given the scrutiny that such a big claim requires - without academics and scholars having to pay a large sum to hear a theory they may later dismiss.
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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Quote:
But why are we assuming such a founder even exists? We know that there is astrological thought spanning centuries if not millennia and have changed hands and been altered or improved upon along the way, particular with the Babylonians and we can assume the Persians.


Exactly. Well put. And the research of Dorian Greenbaum and Micah Ross shows Egyptian influence too.

Paul wrote:
Quote:
I hope he releases either a book or publishes this in some (hopefully) peer reviewed academic journal so that the theory can be given the scrutiny that such a big claim requires - without academics and scholars having to pay a large sum to hear a theory they may later dismiss.

Indeed. If Robert Schmidt wants his new theory to be taken seriously he needs to publish it. These CD releases no doubt generate income but they are not a way to influence the wider astrological or academic community on important issues.

Mark
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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:

Exactly. Well put. And the research of Dorian Greenbaum and Micah Ross shows Egyptian influence too.


Right, and more to the point, they argue that many Greek astrological factors (including the houses) are in fact in many places a fusion of two or more distinct non-Greek factors, particularly Egyptian and Babylonian. We have no idea if the Greeks are the ones who primarily did the synthesising, or whether the Babylonians and Egyptians independently traded/communicated and a fusion already existing was transmitted to the Greeks after Alexander the Great.

For me, the entire concept of a "founder" or an "original" raises far more questions than it answers, but biggest of them all is what is mean by a founder in this context.

As with the latest houses offering by Schmidt, this claim is equally bombastic in a way I find unacademic. The claim isn't "A theory of the origins of Greek contributions to Astrology via Eudoxus" or something more succinct, it's a statement of truth that seems to go further than theorising. The email I got on this from Project Hindsight states without hesitation:
"The celebrated polymath Eudoxus of Knidos was the founder of Greek astrology."

This certainly seems like jumping the gun to me.

Quote:
Indeed. If Robert Schmidt wants his new theory to be taken seriously he needs to publish it. These CD releases no doubt generate income but they are not a way to influence the wider astrological or academic community on important issues.


Right, and there needs to be a balance between financially rewarding someone for their hard work, and then having an academic proposal and treating that proposal along the usual routes within academia. Typically a CD audio presentation with accompanying PDF is not the best way to present this kind of data.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,

Why did you delete the other thread by Hermes about Schmidt's argument to reconcile house division? I suggested that it should be posted here instead, then it was gone.

For those not familiar with Schmidt's qualifications, he won the National Science Foundation award back in the late 60's, was valedictorian of his high school and given a full scholarship to MIT (which he turned down). A master of 5 languages (Greek, Latin, French, German and English), he then focused on the mathematical works of Francois Viette.

I've had several professors of mathematics, but Schmidt was the only one I've ever consulted with a difficult problem (software) and he was able to solve it in less than 2 minutes in his head. Everyone else said that they would get back to me after doing some research. So I personally have no doubt that Schmidt is eminently qualified.

I'm not suggesting that argumentum ad verecundiam should hold sway here, but the question did arise above as to qualification.
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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curtis

I've PM'd the original poster, Hermes, about his thread - in short I tried moving it to this forum, but ended up deleting it by mistake. The reason why is sort of long winded, but I have PM you if you're interested. So far Hermes has not read the PM.

Regarding qualification, I meant more in broader sense of incorporating knowledge about things like mathematics, astronomy, Babylonian and Egyptian astrology and astronomy and history. I am not trying to paint Robert Schmidt as someone with sophomoric understanding of Greek - I'm sure he's quite fluent in several languages like you say. I was trying to imply instead that this kind of conclusion goes beyond what I understand of Schmidt's expertise and seems like the kind of thing I would expect from collaboration from several other experts in their own respective fields. But really this is a pretty small point but I wonder if his theory of 'origins' incorporate the academic work already done in this field? That's really more what I meant.
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waybread



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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am hugely interested in this topic. If Schmidt can make a strong case for his thesis, I congratulate him. It is not possible to comment intelligently without reading the forthcoming full article, but a couple of things occur to me based on his announcement, some mentioned by y'all.

1. Schmidt says that Eudoxis was the "first" to use Greek terms for signs of zodiac. I'm not sure what this means. The earliest surviving record? Or is there solid evidence that he actually was the originator of the translations? (The Babylonians invented signs in the 5th century BCE.)

Schmidt may overlook the extent to which Greek planetary deities partook of a much older Indo-European base, and subsequently took on the attributes of the chronologically older Babylonian deities through diffusion and incorporation into the Greek pantheon. Parallels between Greek and Babylonian gods show up in 8th century BCE sources like Hesiod's Theogeny.

2. This may not be the place to get into theories of history (historiography) but many historians today are cautious about the "great man" theory of history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Man_theory Our surviving literary astrologers credited multiple sources, some of them mystical rather than systematic. It is tempting to cite one "tradition" in the published astrologers and to prune away competing evidence; but we know from histories of the Greek and Roman empires more generally that there were alternate astrologies in ancient times. (Many examples in Frederick Cramer, Astrology in Roman Law and Politics.)

Firmicus Maternus alludes to an Egyptian tradition which was kept secret for religious reasons: a common practice for religious mysteries at the time. Ross & Greenbaum offer some serious evidence for Egyptian origins of the ascendant and houses; and Conman on the Egyptian origin of exaltations. Is the suggestion, then, that Eudoxis synthesized Egyptian and Babylonian practice with Greek philosophy to devise Hellenistic astrology?

4. Schmidt's language is highly conjectural. For example, he writes. "None of this, to be sure, is evidence that Eudoxus was the progenitor of Greek astrology. It is not implausible, however, to suppose that he was interested in cosmology...." and other qualifiers of this type.

5. Is Schmidt actually saying that ancient attributions of astrology to mythical/legendary progenitors like Nechepso and Petosiris support his Eudoxis thesis?

I have no problem in considering Eudoxis to be an important contributor to the origins of Hellenistic astrology. But we could just as easily point to all kinds of diversity in ancient practice.
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waybread



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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a couple of more points on the "great man" or single origin thesis. (What Schmidt calls the "guiding intelligence.")

There is an old truism in anthropology that innovations generally begin in one place and diffuse geographically from there. That point of origin can be determined chronologically, oldest first. In the case of astrology we have to look at Mesopotamia as ground zero. Then we need plausible diffusion routes and carriers of new information.

390 BC. birth of Eudoxis. He seems to have been active in the 360s, and perhaps later.

ca. 330 BC. birth of Berossus, Babylonian scholar credited with bringing astrology to the Greek island of Kos, probably before 280 BCE. This is a different origin than the one attributed to the mythical/legendary Hermes Trismegistus. Philologists have traced the hermetic work to more recent years than the 3rd and 4th centuries. Berossus is named by classical authors Vitruvius, Pliny the Elder and others for his history of Babylon, so he pretty clearly existed.

This isn't to confirm that Berossus transmitted Babylonian astrology as well as history, but it at least gives us a date, a name, and a point-- probably a generation later than Eudoxis.

Eudoxus does seem to have contributed some important findings in astronomy and mathematics that were included in later astrological works. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudoxus_of_Cnidus

Does the question hinge on defining what we mean by horoscopic astrology? Here we have to look at the invention of the horoscopic point, or ascendant; and perhaps Schmidt will claim some evidence that Eudoxus did this.

The oldest nativities of individuals come from Mesopotamia, but without ascendant and houses, which are a later invention.

Astrology seemingly has to mean something more than an orderly solar system with planets named for Greek (Mesopotamian) deities in accordance with Platonic ideals.
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Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:
1. Schmidt says that Eudoxis was the "first" to use Greek terms for signs of zodiac. I'm not sure what this means. The earliest surviving record? Or is there solid evidence that he actually was the originator of the translations? (The Babylonians invented signs in the 5th century BCE.)


At this stage it's really not clear what he means by this. From what I can guess he's examining something to do with the the linguistic clues of how the zodiac signs are/were named which he feels points to Eudoxus. There's no doubt that Eudoxus was one of the most influential mathematicians and astronomers of his day and commented extensively on geometry - he was the first to derive a theory of the motion of the planets via geometry. Hipparchus claims that he divided the zodiac into 12, and that he placed the equionox and solstice points at the middle of their signs. If this is true then it's likely a large part of Schmidt's argument as well. However, there are scholars which seriously doubt that Eudoxus ever divided up the ecliptic into 12 at all.

What seems obvious is of course that the ecliptic divisions were already in place by then but we need to address what is meant by "founding"?

What do we consider to be "Greek Astrology"? Is it the Lots? The zodiac complete with exaltations, rulers, triplicty and mode? Houses? The ascendant? It's hard to know what, in actuality, Schdmit is claiming was contributed by Eudoxus. What I'm not sure of is if he's saying that Eudoxus was the first to 'transcribe' elements of Babylonian astrology/astronomy that to create a geometrical based Greek astronomy - or if he's going further and saying that Eudoxus applied astrological thought to this astronomy.

With the signs, we at least know that the Babylonians had some kind of aspect theory as one as evidence of some triplicity theory - the exact natures of which we don't know right now. But there's enough to suggest the Babylonians had something like this already. In order to 'found' Greek astrology, Eudoxus would have to incorporate this not just in terms of geometry, but also to apply astrological thinking to this. It would be interesting to see if this was primarily done in regards weather patterns as the Babylonians wrote extensively on this and the triplicities derive from the concept of the 'winds'. We know Eudoxus to have equally written on the winds and that he had access to Babylonian data. But to 'found' Greek astrology he needs to have applied this astrologically and weather prediction may be what Schmidt has in mind. However if we want to make a claim for natal astrology of some kind then this is going to be a lot harder, and really we should see some evidence of him using aspects, houses or lots as well as these are chiefly what we consider the defining characteristics of Greek astrology. Without this at best we have Eudoxus doing omen interpretation for meteorological reasons much like the Babylonians.

Quote:
Is the suggestion, then, that Eudoxis synthesized Egyptian and Babylonian practice with Greek philosophy to devise Hellenistic astrology?


More to the point are we to think Eudoxus was the first? The most influential? What elements of both did he synthesise? In what sense is this 'founding'?
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Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This quibbling about what the meaning of "founding" is reminds me of Bill Clinton when he once infamously said "depends upon what the meaning of is, is". If we look at Merriam-Webster's dictionary we have:

Quote:
foun·da·tion
founˈdāSH(ə)n/
noun
1. the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level.
synonyms: footing, foot, base, substructure, infrastructure, underpinning...
2. an underlying basis or principle for something.
"this idea is the foundation of all modern economics"
synonyms: basis, starting point, base, point of departure, beginning, premise...


Since we aren't talking about buildings, we can presume that definition 2 is what Schmidt is using.

It is part of human nature to bring understanding into one's own sphere of experience. The Greek culture (and language) undoubtedly knew about the previous innovations by the Babylonians in such areas as mathematics and astronomy and based upon their own understanding, presumably applied their own principles as the basis for their own understanding, not just in astrology, but in many other areas.

I don't want to put words in Schmidt's mouth, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that what he means by "founding" is that Eudoxus used some of the underlying principles found in Greek philosophy to lay the groundwork for his own astro-logic, probably borrowing from both Egyptian and Babylonian ideas, but with it's own comprehensive logic.
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Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zoidsoft wrote:

I don't want to put words in Schmidt's mouth, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that what he means by "founding" is that Eudoxus used some of the underlying principles found in Greek philosophy to lay the groundwork for his own astro-logic, probably borrowing from both Egyptian and Babylonian ideas, but with it's own comprehensive logic.


My definition of founder (rather than foundation) is someone show sets up an organisation - what I'm not sure is how does that apply to a corpus of work like astrology. Do we mean something more like "someone who synthesises" or more "someone who invents".

To take the example Chris Brennan made on this point on Facebook, would you see Euclid as the founder of geometry?

I would prefer something specific and measurable - a claim that Eudoxus was the first to synthesise the 12 part Babylonian zodiac with Greek philosophy would be an interesting thing all by itself and definitely worthy of consideration. But Greek astrology is very broad - we typically distinguish it by way of an aspect doctrine, the lots (at least Fortune and Spirit), the use of the ascendant, the use of the houses and then zodiacal features as well. Is the claim that Eudoxus founded all these things too? Did they exist before him in some other cultures? If so, what did he bring that was new or imagined differently in the sense of applying Greek philosophy? Or should we see founded as made available or gathered together in one place?

The term, for me, raises more questions than it answers. Perhaps that's the whole point of course. It may seem like squabbling to you, but to me, it's important to actually understand, in specifics, what Schmidt's claim is that he has discovered.
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Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
To take the example Chris Brennan made on this point on Facebook, would you see Euclid as the founder of geometry?


To extend this logic further you're implying that Schmidt is saying that Eudoxus was the founder of "astrology". Do you see the problem with that? It's not what Schmidt said. The title on his web page right now says:

Quote:
Eudoxus of Knidos:
Founder of Greek Astrology


Nice try...
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