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Eudoxus of Knidos, founder of Greek astrology
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
curtis,

what planet do these folks live on where they can't come down and speak with ordinary earthlings at skyscript? sorry curtis, but i see it the same way as paul here.. the fact someone is reading the contents of thread and can't comment directly shines a weird light on them doing it thru an intermediary.. you are a secretary for them? it seems very weird either way...


Some people I talk to are in important positions that would include grave consequences for being found out that they are in association with astrologers or for having an interest in astrology. I find your "argumentum ad populum" (something is right because more people agree with it) unconvincing.
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From this point on can we make sure that no one publishes remarks that are not their own, unless they are quoting from a source that can be properly attributed, as per forum guideline 6:

Quote:
It is usually OK to include small quotes or small extracts from books/articles for the purposes of making an argument, but always remember to acknowledge your source, and include page references where appropriate.


- it is an easy matter for anyone to register a forum account under a pseudonym and post comments as an individual whilst retaining the security of anonyminity if they want that. That way, if anyone wants to respond to the remarks they can address them to the person involved and the discussion can develop appropriately.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In case you missed it Deb, I was given permission to use this argument unattributed. I refused to do that. I'll forward this to my anonymous sources.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just as a note in the margin of this discussion, I'd like to point out that, as a historian of religion, I think it highly problematic to identify the Buddha as the founder of Buddhism, or Plato as the founder of Platonism, etc. Establishing the degree to which these and other thinkers (even when we know or assume them to be actual historical persons) built on pre-existing ideas and traditions, and disentangling their own teachings from the versions of their later (sometimes even contemporaneous) followers, often borders on the impossible. Quite often, the most we can honestly say is that someone was an important enough figure in the history of a tradition of ideas to have had his name attached to it. (In the case of Eudoxus and astrology, even that seems not to be the case.)
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:
Just as a note in the margin of this discussion, I'd like to point out that, as a historian of religion, I think it highly problematic to identify the Buddha as the founder of Buddhism, or Plato as the founder of Platonism, etc. Establishing the degree to which these and other thinkers (even when we know or assume them to be actual historical persons) built on pre-existing ideas and traditions, and disentangling their own teachings from the versions of their later (sometimes even contemporaneous) followers, often borders on the impossible. Quite often, the most we can honestly say is that someone was an important enough figure in the history of a tradition of ideas to have had his name attached to it. (In the case of Eudoxus and astrology, even that seems not to be the case.)


This argument doesn't preclude the existence of other ideas and cultures having an influence on astrology of the Hellenistic era. I haven't heard Bob say that "Greek astrology" was developed in a vacuum. In fact, there's strong evidence that many ideas were borrowed from the Babylonian era (as shown by Maria Mateus). I haven't heard anything that Maria Mateus has said about Babylonian astrology that would contradict what I've heard so far of Schmidt's argument. I would submit to you that "Greek astrology" has a peculiar "eidos" or archetype that gives it a unique signature. If you want to deal in the world of "hule" then all labels such as "Greco-Roman astrology" are also problematic in the same way. But isn't it more realistic to realize that it's human nature to incorporate ones own cultural hypostasis as the lens through which one views other philosophies?
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curtis

It may be easier to try to dismiss everyone who questions Schmidt here as suffering from some kind of logical fallacy in argument - but simply stating people as such doesn't make that statement true. Can we get back to discuss the topic at hand rather than discussing one another? I hope your anonymous source simply registers under any email he/she wishes and via any pseudonym they want.

Martin Gansten wrote:
Just as a note in the margin of this discussion, I'd like to point out that, as a historian of religion, I think it highly problematic to identify the Buddha as the founder of Buddhism, or Plato as the founder of Platonism, etc. Establishing the degree to which these and other thinkers (even when we know or assume them to be actual historical persons) built on pre-existing ideas and traditions, and disentangling their own teachings from the versions of their later (sometimes even contemporaneous) followers, often borders on the impossible. Quite often, the most we can honestly say is that someone was an important enough figure in the history of a tradition of ideas to have had his name attached to it. (In the case of Eudoxus and astrology, even that seems not to be the case.)


Thank you for this post Martin, it sums up much more succinctly than my own a problem I have with trying to identify what Schmidt has in mind when he says "founder".

zoidsoft wrote:
I would submit to you that "Greek astrology" has a peculiar "eidos" or archetype that gives it a unique signature.


Which is what then, in relation to Eudoxus' influence on astrology? What is it, in specific, that Schmidt is claiming Eudoxus 'founded'? Lots? Houses? The astrological use of the Ascendant? The winds? The blurb states Schmidt recognises that Eudoxus was the first to transcribe the zodiac signs - but what does this tell us about astrology as distinct from astronomy?

This is really what I think is important to understand first.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Can we get back to discuss the topic at hand rather than discussing one another? I hope your anonymous source simply registers under any email he/she wishes and via any pseudonym they want.


I hope so too, and of course we can get back to the topic at hand. I wasn't the one trying to avoid answering what I think is a valid argument from my anonymous source.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
It may be easier to try to dismiss everyone who questions Schmidt here as suffering from some kind of logical fallacy in argument...


I've had quite a few questions over the years about the validity of Schmidt's arguments. One instance in particular, I had trouble with the legal paradigm he proposed in 2003 using the 4 main essential dignities as "rules of evidence". I pointed out that when you filter the 7 visible planets through that paradigm, that most of the time, there's no testimony left. It's not the only time, but I have no interest in making a career out of criticizing Bob. I've seen many less well thought out hypotheses that haven't gotten nearly as much scrutiny as Schmidt's much more carefully thought out hypotheses have. Even so I understand your skepticism is well warranted. Unfortunately I cannot make those arguments for Bob.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zoidsoft wrote:
This argument doesn't preclude the existence of other ideas and cultures having an influence on astrology of the Hellenistic era. [...]

Just to clarify, I wasn't intending to get into the main issue under discussion. (For the record, I'm inclined to be highly sceptical of the Eudoxus hypothesis, but I await Schmidt's arguments.) I just saw someone making an argument from analogy (namely, that 'founding' Greek astrology was like 'founding' a religion), and, as it touched on my professional field, I wanted to point out the problems with that. It's not that I'd fault the analogy; it's just that religions are very far from being the monolithic entities that the writer seemed to suppose, so the analogy doesn't really serve his/her purpose -- rather the reverse.
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zoidsoft wrote:

Some people I talk to are in important positions that would include grave consequences for being found out that they are in association with astrologers or for having an interest in astrology.


I can relate to this, Curtis, and that's how I took your anonymous quote.

Telling one's academic colleagues in a science department you're interested in astrology would be tantamount to saying you've come down with leprosy and a bad case of pink eye. They'd fear the entire department would get quarantined.

Which is a pity, given the really fine work in astrology being done by classical studies scholars and historians in the humanities side of the campus. For my money, the philologists are often the ones with enough expertise in ancient languages and their temporal and regional variations to contribute important insights into astrology's origins.

I appreciate your correspondent's point that astrology is more than a set of techniques, but that it includes a kind of philosophy (or cosmology) as well. I would add to these two, the marketplace component of astrology. An oldy but goody is Frederick Cramer's Astrology in Roman Law and Practice, which is very short on technical or philosopher matters, but a goldmine of information on how astrology was actually used in the ancient world. It explains a lot about the kinds of political and personal preoccupations in the public consumption of astrology that show up in the literary sources.
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zoidsoft wrote:
....
....In fact, there's strong evidence that many ideas were borrowed from the Babylonian era (as shown by Maria Mateus). I haven't heard anything that Maria Mateus has said about Babylonian astrology that would contradict what I've heard so far of Schmidt's argument. I would submit to you that "Greek astrology" has a peculiar "eidos" or archetype that gives it a unique signature. If you want to deal in the world of "hule" then all labels such as "Greco-Roman astrology" are also problematic in the same way. But isn't it more realistic to realize that it's human nature to incorporate ones own cultural hypostasis as the lens through which one views other philosophies?


There has long been tons of evidence that Greek astrology was essentially Mesopotamian in origin. Who invented the zodiac, the ephemeris, calculations of eclipses, signs, the nature of planetary influences, the idea of planetary positions as portents, mundane astrology, and latitude zones?

The Babylonians also developed personal nativities by the late 5th century, although we don't know how they interpreted them.

In ancient Rome, astrologers were often called Chaldeans, or otherwise understood to be foreigners.

What the Babylonians didn't invent were the ascendant, houses, spherical geometry, and a Platonic or Stoic philosophy with which to underpin their work.

My go-to book is Francesca Rochberg, The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture, Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Martin, I agree on multiple origins, as per my post above on the problematical nature of the "great man" theory of history.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric Francis interviewed Bob at Planet Waves about this latest news:

http://planetwaves.net/astrologynews/1165207595.html
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james_m



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Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

curtis,

thanks for sharing the 2 hour and more interview between eric francis and robert schmidt.. it was a bit of a slog listening to this in broken segments, but i managed to make it to the end and gained an insight into schmidt that i wouldn't be able to get any other way, so thanks for that... his discussion on phythagorean scales towards the end really shed light on the way he gets involved in understanding something...as a person who plays music, i found that example a good window into robert schmidts way of sharing his perceptions on astrology, although it was about phythagorean scales!!!
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hoping to meet more evidences of Schmidt's theory, I listened to the interview. Here, I stumbled on a repeated attempt (after the announcement on his website and the Facebook comments of his anonymous student) to reconcile two seemingly contradictory statements regarding Eudoxus. One of these two sources, is Cicero's report (On Divination 2.42.87) that Eudoxus rejected Chaldean astrology. I quote the text fully; the interlocutor is Marcus Cicero himself, addressing his pro-divination arguments of his brother, Quintus.

Cicero wrote:
Ad Chaldaeorum monstra veniamus; de quibus Eudoxus, Platonis auditor, in astrologia iudicio doctissimorum hominum facile princeps, sic opinatur, id quod scriptum reliquit, Chaldaeis in praedictione et in notatione cuiusque vitae ex natali die minime esse credendum. (88 ) Nominat etiam Panaetius, qui unus e Stoicis astrologorum praedicta reiecit, Anchialum et Cassandrum, summos astrologos illius aetatis, qua erat ipse, cum in ceteris astrologiae partibus excellerent, hoc praedictionis genere non usos.


In the translation of C. D. Yonge, with minor corrections:

"Let us now consider the prodigies of the Chaldeans. Eudoxus, who was a disciple of Plato, and, in the judgment of the most erudite men, easily the leader of the science of stars, formed the opinion in his written account that no credence should be given to the predictions of the Chaldeans and their calculation of a person's life from the day of his birth. Panaetius, who is the only Stoic who rejects the predictions of the scientists of stars, also recalls that Archelaus and Cassander, the principal scientists of stars of the age which he himself lived, even though they were very celebrated in the other parts of the science of stars, did not rely on this type of prediction."

The testimony is clear enough, including the account of Panaetius, whose works Cicero knew quite closely. However, Schmidt argues that in the light of another excerpt (from Pliny the Elder), Eudoxus only rejected Chaldean astrology (that is, the Babylonian lore of celestial omens applied natally), not the possibility of astrology as a magical art. Now, I'm strongly convinced that his conclusion is nonsense and, in the best case, an unconscious distortion of the facts that might be gleaned from the sources.

To substantiate my harsh rejection, I have to start with an account of Diogenes Laërtius, from his Lives of Eminent Philosophers (prooem. 8 ). In the introduction of the book, he mentions the Persian Magi, and refers to a number of sources.

Diogenes Laërtius wrote:
Ἀριστοτέλης δ᾽ ἐν πρώτῳ Περὶ φιλοσοφίας καὶ πρεσβυτέρους εἶναι τῶν Αἰγυπτίων: καὶ δύο κατ᾽ αὐτοὺς εἶναι ἀρχάς, ἀγαθὸν δαίμονα καὶ κακὸν δαίμονα: καὶ τῷ μὲν ὄνομα εἶναι Ζεὺς καὶ Ὠρομάσδης, τῷ δὲ ᾍδης καὶ Ἀρειμάνιος. φησὶ δὲ τοῦτο καὶ Ἕρμιππος ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ περὶ Μάγων καὶ Εὔδοξος ἐν τῇ Περιόδῳ καὶ Θεόπομπος ἐν τῇ ὀγδόῃ τῶν Φιλιππικῶν.


The translation of R. D. Hicks:

"Aristotle in the first book of his dialogue On Philosophy declares that the Magi are more ancient than the Egyptians; and further, that they believe in two principles, the good spirit and the evil spirit, the one called Zeus or Oromasdes, the other Hades or Arimanius. This is confirmed by Hermippus in his first book about the Magi, Eudoxus in his Voyage Round the World, and Theopompus in the eighth book of his Philippica."

This testimony lets us know that Eudoxus discussed about the Persian Magi in his socio-geographical work, such as other authors, among them Aristotle, did. This might be paralleled with the account of Pliny the Elder. I will quote a fuller text (Natural History 30.1.2), where the author discusses the origins of the magic art:

Pliny the Elder wrote:
Sine dubio illic orta in Perside a Zoroastre, ut inter auctores convenit, sed unus hic fuerit an postea et alius, non satis constat. Eudoxus, qui inter sapientiae sectas clarissimam utilissimamque eam intellegi voluit (my italics - LL), Zoroastren hunc sex milibus annorum ante Platonis mortem fuisse prodidit; sic et Aristoteles.


The popular translation of J. Bostock and others, writes this:

"There is no doubt that this art originated in Persia, under Zoroaster, this being a point upon which authors are generally agreed; but whether there was only one Zoroaster, or whether in later times there was a second person of that name, is a matter which still remains undecided. Eudoxus, who has endeavoured to show that of all branches of philosophy the magic art is the most illustrious and the most beneficial (my italics - LL), informs us that this Zoroaster existed six thousand years before the death of Plato, an assertion in which he is supported by Aristotle."

Schmidt, using the highlighted passage, argues that Eudoxus highly approved magic arts, and astrology (which would be founded by him, by the way) is one of these arts, therefore nothing excludes him to be a founder of a new astrology of magical type. (I'm probably not wholly faithful to his subtle reasoning as I don't know its exact details, yet he clearly uses the highlighted excerpt to weaken the force of Cicero's straightforward and instructive account.)

The only problem is that the highlighted passage is mistranslated. I'm sorry to say this, but sapientiae secta is not "branch of philosophy", but, say, "school of wisdom" (see Totius Latinitatis Lexicon, s.v. secta 3. and 4.; cf. the translation, for example, of Albert F. de Jong, Traditions of the Magi, p. 211). What Eudoxus really says here is that of the various sects of wisdom, such as the Egyptian, which he lengthily detailed as it is still read in Plutarch's On Isis and Osiris, that of the Persian Magi is the most clarus and the most utilis. Of these words, clarus may be translated either "clear" or "famous", while utilis as either "useful" or simply "fine" in the sense that it fulfills its given role; anyways, the text cited is an approval of the wisdom of Magi, most probably a part of the description of the Magi in the same socio-geographical work. (Note also the presence of Aristotle's name, which also connects the two testimonies; Eudoxus might have been the source for Aristotle.)

According to Cicero, Eudoxus is one of the few highlighted individuals who did NOT approve personal forecasting using Babylonian-style celestial lore, and this evidence is not even minimally contradicted by his positive attitude towards the Magi, who he seems to have taken as more ancient than the Egyptians. This is what we know surely. Then Schmidt attempts to convince the wide audience that this very same man, rejecting not predictions generally, but only the empirical astrology of the Babylonians (Schmidt labels it so, which I wouldn't dare to*), and admiring Persian magical arts, creates a sub-genre of them, a cosmologically- and philosophically-based predictive system, which he propagates using the Hellenised name of an Egyptian divinity, Hermes, as his nom de plume... this is when I sense contradiction. Contradiction of evidences and claims.

(*Ulla Koch-Westenholz in her Mesopotamian Astrology, pp. 13-19, argues strongly against the empirical basis of Babylonian astrology.)
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm very impressed by your scholarship, LL!

For anyone unfamiliar with this work, Ulla Koch Westenholz's book on Mesopotamian astrology is available as a free download at:

http://www.academia.edu/441807/Mesopotamian_astrology_an_introduction_to_Babylonian_and_Assyrian_celestial_divination
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