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Manilius and his Intellectual Background$
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Katharina Volk

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199265220

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199265220.001.0001

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The Rules of Fate

The Rules of Fate

(p.58) Chapter 3 The Rules of Fate
Manilius and his Intellectual Background

Katharina Volk (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The chapter dicusses the system of astrology that Manilius describes in Books 2-5 of his Astronomica. It begins with an exposition of the tenets of ancient astrology, pointing out that Manilius' astrology is both ‘strong’ (the stars hold the key to every aspect of our fate) and ‘hard’ (the stars themselves cause this fate). A brief history of ancient astrology from Mesopotamia via Hellenistic Greece to Rome is followed by a detailed examination of Manilius' text: the poet treats first the three astrologically significant circles (zodiac, fixed circle of the observer, and circle of lots) and then the influences of the heavenly bodies—in particular the signs of the zodiac and the paranatellonta—on human beings. The chapter concludes with an examination of the idiosyncrasies of Manilius' astrology, a topic that harks back to the puzzle of the planets discussed at the end of Chapter 1.

Keywords:   astrology, fixed circle of the observer, hard astrology, lots, Manilius, Mesopotamia, paranatellonta, planets, strong astrology, zodiac

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