Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans

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9781519741882: Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans
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Around the turn of the 20th century, Franz Cumont compiled numerous sources of ancient astrology and astronomy, including those from Mesopatamia and the Mediterranean.  The following text summarizes these documents and includes Cumont’s theories. Mesopotamia was the birthplace of astrology and astronomy -- this knowledge moved west to Greece and Rome, where it became integrated into paganism.  Indeed, many remnants of the ancient’s astrology are with us today, such as the seven day week.   

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Franz Cumont was one of the preeminent classical scholars of his day, and his investigations into the history of religion had a dramatic impact upon the fields of archaeology, comparative mythology, and anthropology.

This 1912 volume collects the influential series of lectures he delivered across the United States highlighting one aspect of his groundbreaking studies of ancient worship: the reverence of the stars.

He discusses... * the origins of astrology in ancient Babylonia * why ancient scientists believed the stars were divine * how astrology influenced Greek and Roman paganism * astrology as the official religion of the Roman Empire * and more...

About the Author:

About the Author:

"Franz-Valery-Marie Cumont (Aalst, Belgium, January 3, 1868 – Brussels, August 25, 1947) was a Belgian archaeologist and historian, a philologist and student of epigraphy, who brought these often isolated specialties to bear on the syncretic mystery religions of Late Antiquity, notably Mithraism. Cumont was a graduate of the University of Ghent (PhD, 1887). After receiving royal travelling fellowships, he undertook archaeology in Pontus and Armenia (published in 1906) and in Syria, but he is best known for his studies on the impact of Eastern mystery religions, particularly Mithraism, on the Roman Empire. Cumont's international credentials were brilliant, but his public circumspection was not enough. In 1910, Baron Edouard Descamps, the Catholic Minister of Sciences and Arts at the University of Ghent, refused to approve the faculty's unanimous recommendation of Cumont for the chair in Roman History, Cumont having been a professor there since 1906. There was a vigorous press campaign and student agitation in Cumont's favor, because the refusal was seen as blatant religious interference in the University's life. When another candidate was named, in 1912, Cumont resigned his positions at the University and at the Royal Museum in Brussels, left Belgium and henceforth divided his time between Paris and Rome.

He contributed to many standard encyclopedias, published voluminously and in 1922, under stressful political conditions, conducted digs on the shore of the Euphrates at the previously unknown site of Dura-Europos; he published his research there in 1926. He was a member of most of the European academies. In 1936 Franz Cumont was awarded the Francqui Prize on Human Sciences. In 1947, Franz Cumont donated his library and papers to the Academia Belgica in Rome, where they are accessible to researchers." (Quote from

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