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Francis Bacon Conference Lecture

Friday, May 19, 2023
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Baxter Lecture Hall
Babylonian Horoscopy and Genethlialogy
Francesca Rochberg, Francis Bacon Visiting Professor of History, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Caltech; Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley,
  • Public Event

After approximately 500 BCE Babylonian celestial divination and late Babylonian astrological and non-mathematical astronomical texts formed a well-integrated complex within which the study of births in the form of natal astrology played a central role. While rooted in divination from ominous heavenly phenomena, Babylonian genethlialogy was an innovative practice necessitating the twelve zodiacal signs and developments in astronomy beyond the schematics of MUL.APIN and other early first millennium astronomical texts for the production of a new kind of astrological text. In the absence of a native term for this new genre in late Babylonian Akkadian, modern scholarship variously uses the term "horoscope" or "proto-horoscope" as its designation. This talk addresses the question of horoscopy and genethlialogy in late Babylonian astral sciences and discusses its place in the larger framework of the history of astrology.

Francesca Rochberg is the recipient of the Francis Bacon Award in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (2022).

This lecture is part of the ninth biennial Bacon Conference. For an overview of the Francis Bacon Award and information about previous awardees, click here.

Free and open to the public

For more information, please contact Fran Tise by phone at 626-395-3609 or by email at [email protected] or visit the event flyer.