Astronomy and Astrology

Seminar: Astronomy and Astrology in Early Text Cultures

Astronomy and astrology werelong viewed by numerous culturesas they still are in some parts of the worldas two sides of the same coin:pre-modernsocietiestook an interest in the celestial sphere precisely because of its purported links to the earthly domain.Whether gods were catasterised onto the night sky or comets held as portents of ill omen, the heavens long held sway overtheimaginationof pre-modern cultures, and their influence extended, naturally, to these cultures’ writings, whether mythological, encyclopaedic, hemerological,computistical, or divinatory.

Presenters will speak alongside another contributor treating a different  early  text culture. They are encouraged to  engage with theoretical perspectives and across cultural contexts, and to discuss their paper in advance with their fellow speaker for that week. These papers will serve as starting points for a discussion with  other participants  in each session, which will promote an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to the material under consideration.

The sessions are held on Thursdays, from 3:00–4:30PM (UK time), on Zoom. To receive the Zoom links, please register via this Google form. Other enquiries may be directed to

Abstracts may be found on the respective sub-pages, accessible via the sidebar.


6th May

Text and Image

Peter John Williams (Cambridge) and Yossra Ibrahim (Mainz)

13th May

Our Science and Theirs: Reconstructing Ancient Models

Gonzalo Recio (Quilmes) and Luca Beisel (Berlin/Tel Aviv)

20th May

Computational Methods: Ptolemy, Vettius Valens, and the Aryabhatiya

Claire Hall & Liam Shaw (Oxford) and Vanishri Bhat (Independent Researcher)

27th May

Literary Narratives: The Alexander Romance and the Adonias Saga

Caterina Franchi (Bologna) and Katherine Olley (Oxford)

3rd June

Mythologies: The Book of Watchers and Hesiod

Ari Silbermann (Bar Ilan) and Giulio Leghissa (Toronto)

10th June

Medieval Perspectives: Al-Farghānī and Michael Scot

Razieh Mousavi (Max Planck) and Eleonora Andriani (Observatoire de Paris – CNRS)

17th June

Naming and Nomenclature: Greek and Early Chinese Astronomical Terminology

Vilius Bartninkas (Vilnius) and Federico Valenti (Independent Researcher)

25th June (Friday)

Cultural Vistas: Ancient Egyptian and Graeco-Roman Culture

Massimiliano Franci (CAMNES – Firenze) and Cristian Tolsa (Barcelona)