Iatromathematica (Medical Astrology) in Late Antiquity and the Byzantine Period

Maria Papathanassiou


Byzantium inherited the rich astrological tradition of Late Antiquity, espe­cially that of Alexandria, where even in the 6th century A.D., astrology was taught in philosophical schools. The great number of Byzantine astrologi­cal MSS, which preserve works of famous authors and many anonymous treatises, shows the survival and continuity of astrology in Byzantium. Through medical astrology physicians can better understand the tempera­ment of an individual man and find out about his bodily constitution and psychic faculties, his inclination to chronic and acute diseases, the possi­bilities of curable or incurable cases, and finally the periods of major dan­ger for his health. They can also conjecture about the evolution of a dis­ease, choose a favourable time for an operation, or initiate a cure.

Key words: Astrology - Medicine - Late Antiquity - Byzantium 

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