Timeline of Ancient Astrologers

This timeline lists the approximate dates of the major astrologers of the Hellenistic astrological tradition, as well as the dates of some relevant historical events. Some astrologers have not been included in this list either because they were minor figures in the tradition or because their dating is unknown. For more extensive coverage of each of the astrologers in this list please see the Hellenistic astrologers page.

5th century BCE

  • The oldest known Mesopotamian birth charts date to 410 BCE. The concept of natal astrology or genethlialogy was developed by this time. 

4th century BCE

  • Alexander the Great launches his war against the Persian Empire in 334 BC.
  • The city of Alexandria is founded in Egypt by Alexander sometime shortly after 332 BCE.
  • The Ptolemaic dynasty is founded in Egypt in the late 4th century BCE, and Ptolemy I or II began setting up the famous Museum and Library of Alexandria.

3rd century BCE

  • Zeno of Citium founds the Stoic school of philosophy c. 300 BCE.
  • Berossus sets up a school for astrology on the Greek island of Kos in the early 3rd century BCE.

2nd century BCE

  • The Antikythera Mechanism is thought to have been constructed sometime around 150-100 BCE.

1st century BCE

  • The last Cuneiform and the first Greek birth charts appear around mid-1st century BCE.
  • The foundational texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, Asclepius, and Nechepso and Petosiris are published in the 1st century BCE or slightly earlier. This is essentially the birth of Hellenistic astrology.
  • Rome annexes Egypt and the Ptolemaic dynasty comes to an end with the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE.

1st century CE

  • Manilius writes his Astronomica sometime around the death of Augustus in 14 CE.
  • Thrasyllus becomes the personal astrologer for the Emperor Tiberius prior to 2 CE, and subsequently writes an astrological manual titled Table sometime before his death in 36 CE.
  • Thrasyllus’ son Balbillus takes over his father’s position in the Roman imperial court. He served the emperors Claudius, Nero and Vespasian.
  • Antiochus of Athens wrote a book of definitions of astrological concepts, perhaps sometime around the 1st century CE.
  • Critodemus wrote a work known as the Vision and another named Table likely sometime in the 1st century.
  • Teucer of Babylon wrote a text that dealt with the planets, the signs, and co-rising stars, probably sometime in the 1st century.
  • Dorotheus of Sidon wrote his five book instructional poem on astrology sometime around the last quarter of the 1st century. Book 5 is the earliest surviving treatment of electional or katarchic astrology.

2nd century CE

  • Aubio wrote an instructional poem on astrology perhaps sometime around the late 1st or early 2nd century.  
  • Manetho wrote his Apotelesmatika sometime in the early 2nd century. He was born in May 80 CE.
  • The Greek original of the Yavanajataka was written in Egypt in the early 2nd century.
  • The original Greek text of the Yavanajataka was translated into Sanskrit in 149/150 by Yavaneśvara.
  • Claudius Ptolemy wrote the Tetrabiblos sometime around the mid-2nd century, attempting to re-conceptualize astrology within the broader context of Aristotelian natural philosophy.
  • Vettius Valens wrote the books which were later compiled as his Anthology and towards the middle of the 2nd century. He was born February 8, 120.

3rd century CE

  • Sphujidhvaja versifies the Yavanajataka in 269/70 CE.
  • Porphyry wrote an introduction to Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos probably sometime during the late 3rd century.
  • Antigonus of Nicaea wrote a work that included examples of eminent nativities such as the Emperor Hadrian, perhaps in the late 2nd or 3rd or 4th century.

4th century CE

  • The Emperor Constantine legalizes Christianity in the Roman Empire in 313.
  • Firmicus Maternus wrote the Mathesis towards the middle of the 4th century.
  • Paulus Alexandrinus wrote his Introduction and dedicated it to his son in the year 378.
  • Anonymous of 379 wrote a work on the fixed stars in the year 379.
  • Maximus wrote a work titled On Inceptions sometime around the 4th or 5th century CE.

5th century CE

  • Hephaistio of Thebes wrote his Apotelesmatika sometime in the early 5th century, based largely on Ptolemy and Dorotheus. He was born November 26, 380.

6th century CE

  • Julian of Laodicea wrote a work on katarchic astrology in the early 6th century CE.
  • In the mid-6th century astrology flourishes in the court of the Persian king Kusrō Anūshirwān.
  • Olympiodorus the Younger wrote a commentary on Paulus’s Introduction in the summer 564 CE.

7th century CE

  • Rhetorius of Egypt may have assembled his Compendium as late as the early 7th century (although he may have flourished a century earlier).
  • Egypt is invaded and taken over by the Islamic Empire in 639. This essentially marks the end of the Hellenistic astrological tradition.

8th century CE

  • The Medieval astrological tradition begins in the latter part of the 8th century and flourishes in Baghdad under the Abbasid Caliphate.