The field of astrology is growing rapidly, as historians recognize its centrality to the intellectual life of the past and sociologists and anthropologists treat its importance in a number of modern cultures. Despite the historical and cultural significance of the subject, most reference works on astrology focus on instructional techniques and are written by astrologers with little or no interest in the history of the topic. This book instead offers an objective treatment of astrology across world history from ancient Mesopotamia to the present.
The book provides alphabetically arranged entries by expert contributors writing on such topics as horoscopes, court astrologers, Renaissance astrology, and comets. While it considers the Western tradition, it also treats Islamic, Indian, East Asian, and Mesoamerican astrology. In doing so, it explores the role of astrology in shaping science, literature, religion, art, and other defining cultural traditions. Sidebars offer excerpts from various historical texts, while entries provide suggestions for further reading.
- Provides alphabetically arranged reference entries that delineate the historical and cultural significance of astrology from ancient Mesopotamia to the present
- Directs users to additional sources of information via entry bibliographies
- Offers sidebars offer additional facts from primary source documents
- Incorporates a timeline to help readers to place astrological developments in chronological context
- Features an introductory essay for a narrative overview of the history of astrology, priming readers on its cultural relevance