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A History of Western Astrology Volume I: 1 Paperback – 16 Apr 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (16 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441127372
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441127372
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3.2 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 682,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


It shines light on the heaven for scholars and amateurs alike; its narrative is dense but rich, readable and suggestive."" Literary Review,'Campion leaves few stones unturned and the large section of notes and the ample bibliography make these two volumes [History of Western Astrology Volume I and II] an excellent starting point for those who wish to dig deeper.' --- The Observatory,.

...the advantage of Campion s work lies in its material wealth, including figures, themes and topics normally excluded from histories of astrology. --European Review of History

About the Author

Nicholas Campion is Director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture and Senior Lecturer in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, UK.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've got and read both of Nicholas' books on the history of Astrology and I love both of them equally.

Nick has covered in this first book the beginnings of Western astrology, as in what we know as Astrology in our end of the world, as opposed to India or the far east.

He begins with Stone Age man and why he might have had an interest in the cosmos.....Nick makes the very valid point, why wouldn't he have been interested....and how we have (mostly) lost our connection, not only with the divine, but the wonders of what lies above us, if only we'd look....

In this volume he covers the Mesopotamians, Assyrians, Persians...travels through Egypt, gets info on the Hebrews and Greeks, including the Hellenistic period, onto Rome, then the flowering of Christianity.

It's all fascinating stuff and I read through it in a total rush, then spent a few months going back over it again, it was SO interesting.....

....but then I would say that as a professional astrologer and author....
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
invaluable as textbook for students of History and Anthropology
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book. Very informative.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best history of ancient astrology out there 10 Sept. 2010
By N. Grossman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Campion's history of ancient astrology does what other such histories do not: it places astrology in the context of the societies in which it developed. So Campion's book describes the religious practices and beliefs of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome and the British Isles and shows why and how they spawned astrology. This method is far preferable to that used by other histories, which often treat astrology as a subject unto itself without fully explaining its connection to the societies that gave it birth. Campion relies on both primary and secondary sources -- the bibiliography is staggering in its size and scope -- as well as on his own insights. Highly readable for a work of this type (which can easily suffer from dryness), comprehensive and thorough, The Dawn of Astrology is simply the best treatment of its subject I have yet encountered. Highly recommended.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two disappointing volumes 5 Feb. 2017
By D. J. Mccann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is not a history of astrology. In the introduction, Campion describes it as "a cultural history ... I have considered technical developments only in so far as they provide a framework for our understanding of changing views of humanity's relationship with the sky." So, anyone who wanted a history of what astrologers actually do is going to be disappointed.

How does it work as history? "Cultural history" is a newcomer to the discipline, and sometimes seems open to the old jibe once made about social history: "polite chat about the past". There's certainly a woolliness here and a feeling that topics are chosen for sales value rather than significance. The balance of topics is sometimes odd. The first volume has 2 chapters on prehistory which, necessarily, are mostly speculation. Yet in the second volume Persian and Arab astrologers, a vital channel of transmission to Europe after the Dark Ages, get just 2 pages. The history is often strange, too: thus we are told that the Israelite king Jeroboam's religious policy was "purely pragmatic". If Campion can read that from our meagre sources, he has more imagination than I. And what does it have to do with astrology anyway?

The index is clearly the work of an amateur, presumably the author, who thinks his job is done if every proper name is indexed. Thus "what James Webb called the occult underground" duly gets an entry for Webb, but progressions (wrongly attributed to Kepler instead of Placidus) are left out.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read but not without issues... 23 May 2011
By J. Hicks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The History of Western Astrology Vol I is a very good book in two respects. The first is just how quick and easy a read it is. Plowing through it was certainly not a laborious task nor a long one. What makes this even more impressive is the anount of information packed within its pages. It is impossible to imagine anyone not learning something from reading it. For this alone, the author deserves kudos.

The problem I had was on the one subject I actually knew something about (Egypt). The author made what are in my opinion some critical mistakes. On page 91, he states the builders of the Giza pyramids were from the 5th Dynasty, not the fourth. The second was calling Imhotep, the designer of the step pyramid of Djoser in the Old Kingdom, a Middle Kingdom priest (page 103).

If these were small detail issues, one might be willing to forgive but these are major mistakes. Further it provides doubts (at least to me) not just about the accuracy of the minor but the major details on subjects less familiar. Add to this, the section on Plato was a little tough going. There were an inordinate number of paragraphs starting off with the word Plato. Okay I'm nitpicking but if my 10th grader passed in a paper like that, she would lose points for it. It was the only section I felt the author went from explaining to pontificating. Thankfully it didn't last.

All and all, recommended reading!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dawn of Astrology Volume 23 Sept. 2009
By Peggy Schick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
this is a must read for everyone. you do not have to be an astrologer to appreciate the historical sequence of reglion and the sciences. astrology was the first science and without it we would not have medicine, mathematics, astronomy or any of the knowledge we have today. The Dawn of Astrology clearly outlines the rise and fall of oldest science, astrology.
8 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A piece of Pretend Scholarship. 18 Jun. 2011
By G Whiteman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book should have stayed buried in an academic journal , it reads like that . Surprisingly another reviewer claims this book is easy to read , none sense .I got to chapter 6 and have abandoned the read.Most of the information in this book is made implicit by foot notes , so if you haven't read the conclusion (option) of another 'scholar' in another book then then you are lest to trust Campion's judgement. The problem is Campion , claims scholarship where it suits him by pointing to an obscure fact of doubtful intention and then makes leaps of faith with platitudes like 'it is clear' or 'obviously' when making other connections .Not only are there many examples of this dubious scholar's practice but his interrogation of religious philosophical premise and outcome creates tortured lawyer text , listen to this! page 61 :

Astrological practice operated through the analysis of all phenomena in terms of dualities or binary opposites, such as up-down , above-below , infront of-behind,left-right,bright-faint,punctual-early/late and so on.Babylonian astrology was scientific in the sense that it relied on a deductive methodology and logical inferences made on the basis of empirical observation but emphatically not because it posited a set of physical relationships between stars and society. However , ... . This continues on for a few pages , I'm not impressed.Campion has injected his own layer of verbosity into a much simpler cause and effect .This allows him to amplify any part of his screed where required.I've seen this guru technique before. By Chapter 6 I got the feeling that Campion has a barrow to push , regarding the MEast.
Chap 5 "The Assyrians and Persians : Revolution and Reformation" he hardly mentions the Persians even though he says that there's is the first mention of a Natal Chart in 475 bce .Where did the Persians come from? Campions fails to mention , (I looked in the index). Campion is deducing not the obvious but the obscure.
He talks of two critical Babylonian texts for a couple of chapters but we only get to see a half handful of examples , and are left to trust the footnotes.And he pulls a swifty at the end of chapter5 by mentioning that the number 12 had actually been in use of 2000 years earlier but thinks he can't make any deductions regarding the 12 housed zodiac! Clearly this is not the case.

His treatment of megalithic monuments is shallow and convoluted I think because it not going to serve the point later in the book.Not even one diagram .He really wants us to believe that people who sit around a camp fire for all of their lives for 10 of thousands of years aren't going to work a few things out! Sorry Campion but that incandescent light bulbs blinded you.

I used a pencil to mark out the significant pieces but after so many BS and PC in the margins it became a joke. If your looking for a book to shed light on the obscured origin's of astrology and its twin astronomy this is not going to get you there. 2 Stars cause I've only got 1/3 of the way in.If I continue at some later date I'll update this review .My search continues.
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