Did Ancient Greeks Believe In Astrology?

Did Ancient Greeks Believe In Astrology? Discover whether ancient Greeks believed in astrology. Explore the origins, influences, and role of astrology in their society. Learn about key figures, literature, medicine, and more.

In examining the fascinating topic of astrology in ancient Greece, it is important to question whether this celestial practice held any significance for the ancient Greeks. The intriguing relationship between astrology and the ancient Greeks draws us into a realm of historical inquiry where we explore the beliefs and customs surrounding celestial phenomena. By delving into the depths of Greek literature, religion, and philosophy, we can gain a deeper understanding of the role astrology played in the lives of these ancient civilization. So Did Ancient Greeks Believe In Astrology? Let´s talk about it.

The Origins of Astrology in Ancient Greece

Early Beginnings of Astrology in Ancient Greece

Astrology, the belief that celestial bodies and their movements can influence human behavior and personality traits, has a rich history in ancient Greece. The roots of astrology can be traced back to the early Greek civilization, where it was strongly influenced by Babylonian and Egyptian astrological practices.

Influence of Babylonian and Egyptian Astrology

The ancient Greeks were not the original pioneers of astrology; they inherited their knowledge from earlier civilizations, particularly Babylon and Egypt. The Babylonians were known for their advanced knowledge of astronomy and astrology, which they believed could help decipher messages from the gods. They developed the zodiac system, a celestial coordinate system divided into twelve distinct signs, each representing a different aspect of human life.

The Egyptians also played a significant role in shaping Greek astrology. They believed that the movements of celestial bodies had a profound impact on the destiny of individuals and the fate of nations. The Greek philosopher Plato, who studied in Egypt, was deeply influenced by Egyptian astrology and incorporated its principles into his own teachings.

The Development of Greek Astrology

Although the ancient Greeks absorbed astrological knowledge from other cultures, they made significant contributions to its development and refinement. Greek philosophers and astronomers, such as Thales of Miletus, Heraclitus, and Empedocles, played vital roles in shaping astrology as we know it today.

The Role of Astrology in Ancient Greek Society

Astrology and the Gods

In ancient Greece, astrology was deeply intertwined with the worship of gods and goddesses. The Greeks believed that the celestial bodies were the physical manifestations of the gods, and their movements reflected the divine will. As such, astrology was seen as a means of understanding and interpreting the messages sent by the gods.

Astrology in Daily Life

Astrology had a pervasive presence in the everyday lives of ancient Greeks. It was not only used to predict the future but also to make decisions about various aspects of life, such as marriage, childbirth, travel, and even warfare. Individuals would consult astrologers or study celestial alignments themselves to gain insight into the best course of action.

Astrology and Politics

Astrology also played a prominent role in ancient Greek politics. Rulers would often seek the guidance of astrologers to determine the most auspicious moments for making important decisions, such as declaring war or signing treaties. Astrology provided a sense of legitimacy and divine approval for political actions, shaping the course of governance in ancient Greece.

The Key Figures in Ancient Greek Astrology

Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus, one of the Seven Sages of Greece, was one of the earliest Greek philosophers known for his contributions to astronomy and astrology. He is credited with predicting a solar eclipse and believed that the positions of celestial bodies influenced human affairs. Thales laid the groundwork for the future development of astrology in ancient Greece.


Heraclitus, another prominent philosopher, viewed the cosmos as a system governed by a divine principle. He believed that the stars and planets exerted a profound influence on human behavior and character. Heraclitus’ ideas contributed to the philosophical underpinnings of astrology, emphasizing the interconnectedness between the celestial and terrestrial realms.


Empedocles, a philosopher and scientist, further expanded upon astrology in ancient Greece. He proposed that the four classical elements (earth, air, fire, and water) corresponded to the four qualities (hot, cold, dry, and wet) and that their interactions were influenced by celestial forces. Empedocles’ theories influenced later astrological practices and the belief in the harmony of the universe.

Astrology in Ancient Greek Literature and Mythology

Astrology in the Works of Homer

Astrological references can be found throughout ancient Greek literature, with one of the earliest instances appearing in the works of Homer. Homer, in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, frequently mentions the movements of celestial bodies as omens or signs from the gods. These references highlight the strong connection between astrology and the perceived will of the divine in ancient Greece.

Astrological References in the Greek Myths

Greek mythology is filled with stories in which astrology plays a significant role. For example, the twelve Olympian gods are often associated with specific celestial bodies or zodiac signs, emphasizing their influence over different aspects of human existence. These myths served to reinforce the belief in astrology and its impact on ancient Greek society.

Astrology and Medicine in Ancient Greece

The Influence of Astrology on Greek Medicine

Astrology had a profound influence on ancient Greek medicine, which believed that the human body and the cosmos were intricately linked. Physicians integrated astrological principles into their medical practices, emphasizing the importance of celestial influences on individual health. Astrology guided the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases, highlighting the interconnectedness of the physical and celestial realms.

The Zodiac and the Four Humors

The zodiac system had a significant impact on ancient Greek medicine through its association with the four humors: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. These humors were believed to correspond to the four elements and were influenced by the positions of celestial bodies. Physicians used astrological information to determine the balance of humors in an individual, helping to diagnose and treat various ailments.

The Different Astrological Systems in Ancient Greece

The Zodiac Signs

The zodiac signs, originating from Babylonian astrology, played a central role in ancient Greek astrology. The twelve signs represented different qualities, personalities, and life experiences. Each sign was associated with a ruling planet, which further influenced its characteristics and the interpretation of astrological charts.

The Twelve Houses

In addition to the zodiac signs, ancient Greek astrology divided the sky into twelve houses, each representing different areas of life, such as wealth, relationships, or career. The position of planets within these houses provided insight into specific aspects of an individual’s life and their potential influences.

The Planetary Influences

The ancient Greeks believed that the movements and positions of celestial bodies, particularly the planets, had specific influences on human affairs. For example, the planet Mercury was associated with communication and intellect, while Mars symbolized conflict and ambition. Understanding these planetary influences was crucial for interpreting astrological charts and predictions.

Critics and Skeptics of Astrology in Ancient Greece

Aristotle’s Critique of Astrology

Aristotle, one of the most influential philosophers in ancient Greece, was a notable critic of astrology. He argued against the notion that celestial bodies directly influenced human behavior. According to Aristotle, astrology was a superstitious practice that relied on coincidences and lacked a rational scientific basis. His skepticism challenged the prevailing belief in astrology among some intellectuals of the time.

The Skepticism of the Sophists

The Sophists, a group of philosophers and rhetoricians in ancient Greece, also expressed skepticism towards astrology. They questioned the validity of astrological predictions, highlighting the potential for personal bias and subjective interpretations. The Sophists believed in the power of human agency and rhetoric, challenging the deterministic worldview often associated with astrology.

Astrological Practices and Techniques in Ancient Greece

Astrological Charts and Interpretations

Ancient Greek astrologers used intricate charts, known as horoscopes, to map the positions of celestial bodies at the time of an individual’s birth. These charts served as a blueprint for interpreting an individual’s personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, and potential life events. Astrologers carefully analyzed the placement of planets, signs, and houses to provide detailed readings and predictions.

Astrological Divination Methods

Astrological divination was a common practice in ancient Greece, involving the use of various techniques to gain insight into the future. One popular method was astromancy, which involved observing the positions and movements of celestial bodies to make predictions. Astrologers also used divination tools such as astrology dice, which provided random placements of planets that were then interpreted for meaning.

Astrology and Astronomy in Ancient Greece

The Relationship between Astrology and Astronomy

Astrology and astronomy were closely entwined in ancient Greece, with astronomers often doubling as astrologers. While astronomers focused on the scientific study of celestial bodies and their movements, astrologers used this astronomical knowledge to make predictions and interpret astrological charts. This symbiotic relationship between astrology and astronomy helped shape both disciplines.

The Contributions of Greek Astronomers to Astrology

Greek astronomers, such as Hipparchus and Ptolemy, made significant contributions to both astronomy and astrology. Hipparchus, known as the “father of trigonometry,” developed the mathematical tools necessary for plotting celestial positions accurately. Ptolemy, on the other hand, authored the influential work “Tetrabiblos,” which became a cornerstone of Western astrology. These astronomers’ scientific advancements laid the groundwork for astrological practices in ancient Greece and beyond.

The Legacy of Astrology in Ancient Greece

Influence on Western Astrology

The astrological traditions established in ancient Greece had a lasting influence on Western astrology. Greek astrological concepts, such as the zodiac signs, planetary influences, and the interpretation of astrological charts, continue to be central to modern astrology. The fusion of Greek, Babylonian, and Egyptian astrology became the foundation upon which subsequent astrological traditions were built.

Surviving Greek Astrological Texts

Despite the passage of time, some ancient Greek astrological texts have survived, providing invaluable insights into the practice of astrology in ancient Greece. These texts, such as Ptolemy’s “Tetrabiblos” and various writings by other Greek philosophers, serve as historical records of astrological knowledge and its integration with philosophical, scientific, and religious beliefs in ancient Greek society.

In conclusion, astrology had a profound impact on ancient Greek society, shaping various aspects of life, from personal decisions to political actions. Influenced by Babylonian and Egyptian astrological practices, the Greeks developed their own system, which emphasized the role of celestial bodies in determining human fate and character. Greek astrology found expression in literature, mythology, medicine, and astronomy, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to influence Western astrology to this day.

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