The “Doctrine Of The Terms”

I find much divination abnormally interesting and I have studied in some detail the diffusion of bird divination from Mesopotamia to the Aegean. I haven’t looked all that closely at astrology or the possibility of diffusion of particular astrological concepts between the Mesopotamian and Aegean worlds. But there clearly was such diffusion.
Recently Alexander Jones and John M. Steele published “A New Discovery of a Component of Greek Astrology in Babylonian Tablets: ‘The “Terms’” with the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. Here’s the abstract:

Two cuneiform astrological tablets in the British Museum provide the first evidence for Babylonian knowledge of the so-called “doctrine of the Terms” of Greco-Roman astrology (BM 36326 and BM 36628+36817+37197). Greek, Latin, and Egyptian astrological sources for the various systems of Terms and their origin are reviewed, followed by preliminary editions and translations of the relevant sections of the tablets. The system of Terms is shown to be so far the most technically complex component of Greek astrology to originate in Babylonia. Over the course of the Hellenistic period an Egyptian origin was ascribed to the systems of Terms as it was combined with components of Greek horoscopic astrology. By Ptolemy’s day, this spurious history had largely displaced the true.

Their complete paper is available open access. Give it a read.
Via Rogue Classicism.

2 thoughts on “The “Doctrine Of The Terms””

  1. “Augean”? 🙂 Not yet decided if it was on purpose, or an accident by habit. Could be looked at as a triple play, but haven’t figured how Augeas would fit in, so I must settle for a double (‘augury’ and ‘Ægean’), for now. 😛
    Re the mentioned Egyptian origin previously ascribed, didn’t Egyptian astrology borrow quite a bit from Mesopotamian astrology? I somehow recall there being a bit of similarity between the two, but with an Egyptian mythological spin on the Egyptian’s part.

  2. Busi – that was a stupid error. I fixed it. As to your very good question. I’m not sure. I haven’t looked at Egyptian astrology much at all.

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