The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology

Origins and Influence


In The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology: Origins and Influence, Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum investigates for the first time the concept of the daimon (daemon, demon), normally confined to religion and philosophy, within the theory and practice of ancient western astrology (2nd century BCE – 7th century CE). This multi-disciplinary study covers the daimon within astrology proper as well as the daimon and astrology in wider cultural practices including divination, Gnosticism, Mithraism and Neo-Platonism. It explores relationships between the daimon and fate and Daimon and Tyche (fortune or chance), and the doctrine of lots as exemplified in Plato’s Myth of Er. In finding the impact of Egyptian and Mesopotamian ideas of fate on Hellenistic astrology, it critically examines astrology’s perception as propounding an unalterable destiny.

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Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum, Ph.D. (2009), Warburg Institute, London, translates astrological texts and writes on the history, philosophy and practice of astrology from antiquity to the early modern period. She is a tutor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
"...Greenbaum's The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology will indubitably enthrall those interested in the difference between fatalism and determinism and the solutions provided by astrologers of the past." - Levente László, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, in: Aestimatio, vol. 13 (2016-2018)
"...the book has achieved a new level of excellence in the subject area." - Nicolas Campion, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, in: Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2017)
List of Figures, Tables and Illustrations
Abbreviations and Text Conventions
Astrological Symbols
Part I. Daimon and Fortune
Chapter 1. Kindled Spirits: The Daimon, Plutarch and Vettius Valens
Chapter 2. Keeping in Good Spirits: The Places of Good Daimon and Fortune in Astrology
Chapter 3. Twists of Fate: Daimon, Fortune and Astrology in Egypt and the Near East
Chapter 4. Hie Thee to Hell: The Place of the Bad Daimon
Part II. Gods and Daimons
Chapter 5. Divergent Paths: Daimons and Astrology in Gnosticism and Mithraism
Chapter 6. Ambivalent Daimons and Astrology
Chapter 7. Porphyry, the Oikodespotēs and the Personal Daimon
Part III. Lots and the Daimon
Chapter 8. Allotment, the Daimon and Astrology
Chapter 9. Endowment and Chance: The Lots of Fortune and Daimon
Chapter 10. ‘Parents of Human Civilisation’: The Lots of Love and Necessity

All interested in the history, philosophy and practice of astrology; those interested in ancient religions, divination, magic, the ancient concept of daimon, lots and destiny, fate and negotiating fate.
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