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A scheme of heaven : astrology and the birth of science

Boxer, Alexander2020
Despite a resurgence in popularity, horoscopes are generally considered to be pseudoscience today - but they were once a cutting-edge scientific tool. In this ingenious work of history, data scientist Alexander Boxer examines a treasure trove of esoteric classical sources to expose the deep imaginative framework by which - for millennia - we made sense of our fates. Astrology, he argues, was the ancient world's most ambitious applied mathematics problem, a grand data-analysis enterprise sustained by some of history's most brilliant minds, from Ptolemy to al-Kindi to Kepler.A Scheme of Heaven explores the wonderful subtleties of astrological ideas. Telling the stories of their inventors and most influential exponents, Boxer puts them through their paces using modern data sets - finding that the methods of today's scientists are often uncomfortably close to those of astrology's ancient sages.
London : Profile Books, 2020.
x, 319 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (colour), portraits, maps, graphs ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
To everything there is a season -- From obscure beginnings : Amarna, Egypt, 1338 BC -- A quick spin around the celestial sphere : Syracuse, Sicily, 212 BC -- Signs from above : Marcus Manilius and the traits of the zodiac : Rome, 44 BC -- Claudius Ptolemy's astrological travel guide : Ultima Thule, 79-- How unique is a horoscope? Vettius Valens and the gospel of fate : Alexandria, Egypt, 139 -- Patterns, patterns, everywhere! Masha'Allah's astrological history of the world : Baghdad, 762 -- When you wish upon a star, which algorithm should you use? Guido Bonatti's astrological wheel of fortune : Mount Ventoux, France, 1336 -- What's in a name? Astronomers, astrologers, and mathematicians : Herrevad Abbey, Denmark (now Sweden), 1572 -- Big astrology : Mare Tranquillitatus, The Moon, 1969 -- Conclusion: Upon the words of no one.
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