Influences of Astrology

in Roman Culture and History

At it's peak, astrology in Rome was a part of every inhabitant's life. The wealthy frequently had their horoscopes read for their "destinies" or for good luck before a long journey or a new endeavor. This is why being "star-crossed", generally means you're out of luck, while having your "stars aligned" is a good thing. Citizens of Rome, mainly those who practiced Theurgic astrology, could also hire astrologers full-time. Theurgic astrology was a system of divination that thought of the heavens as a way to communicate with the divine. Gods were even considered by a fairly widespread population to be embodied in specific celestial bodies, which we now know as Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, Neptune, and Mercury. Decisions, even those of the emperor, could be influenced by what was thought of as "divine intervention".

An augur watches a group of birds to predict the outcom of the yearly crops.

However, not all emperors approved of astrology. Some didn't practice any form of superstition, while others preferred augury, a form of divination based on the flight patterns of birds. Astrology was alternatively exiled and praised, but the study of the stars made a lasting impact on Roman history, society, and culture.

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