Serapio of Alexandria

Serapio of Alexandria was an astrologer who lived in the Mediterranean sometime around the 1st century CE.

His dating is uncertain, although he is thought to have lived during the early part of the Hellenistic astrological tradition, which began around the 1st century BCE.  Only fragments of his works survive.

The Definitions

There is a long list of definitions attributed to Serapio that was edited in CCAG 8, part 4 by the noted Belgian scholar Franz Cumont in 1921.  There he is called Serapion of Alexandria (Σαραπίωνος Ἀλεξανδρέως). This list is apparently a later Byzantine compilation which contains some of Serapio’s own definitions, although material from other authors has been added in as well.

This list of definitions is titled Derived Names of the Configurations of the Stars (παρονομασίαι σχηματισμῶν τῶν ἀστέρων), or Definitions for short.

The list is incomplete, with the last page of the manuscript missing.

Critical Editions

The Greek text of the Definitions was edited in CCAG 8, part 4:

  • Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, vol. 8, part 4, ed. Boudreaux & Cumont, Lamertin, Brussels, 1921, pgs. 225-232.

This volume of the CCAG is available for download through our website:  Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum 8, part 4

Translations of Serapio

Three translations of the Definitions have been published recently. The first was a partial translation of some of the definitions by Robert Schmidt which was published in 2009:

  • Robert H. Schmidt, Definitions and Foundations, The Golden Hind Press, Cumberland, MD, 2009.

The second was a complete translation of the Definitions by James Holden which was published in 2010:

  • Porphyry the Philosopher: Introduction to the Tetrabiblos, and Serapio of Alexandria: Astrological Definitions, trans. James Herschel Holden, American Federation of Astrologers, Tempe, AZ, 2009.  [Available on Amazon.com]

Another complete translation of the Definitions that was published online by Eduardo Gramaglia on the Hellenistic Astrology Website in 2009, and then revised in 2013:

  • Serapion of Alexandria, Definitions, trans. Eduardo J. Gramaglia, The Hellenistic Astrology Website, 2013, http://www.hellenisticastrology.com/translations/serapion-definitions.pdf

Bibliography

Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, vol. 8, part 4, ed. Boudreaux & Cumont, Lamertin, Brussels, 1921.

Gramaglia, Eduardo J. (trans.), Serapion of Alexandria, Definitions, The Hellenistic Astrology Website, 2013,  http://www.hellenisticastrology.com/translations/serapion-definitions.pdf

Holden, James Herschel (trans.), Porphyry the Philosopher: Introduction to the Tetrabiblos, and Serapio of Alexandria: Astrological Definitions, American Federation of Astrologers, Tempe, AZ, 2009.

Schmidt, Robert H., Definitions and Foundations, The Golden Hind Press, Cumberland, MD, 2009.

Serapio of Alexandria, “Definitions,” edited in Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, vol. 8, part 4, ed. Boudreaux & Cumont, Lamertin, Brussels, 1921, pgs. 225-232.

Article Information

  • Author: Chris Brennan
  • Originally published: January 20, 2012 |   Last updated: December 30, 2013
  • Article notes:  This version of the article is stable, but needs to be expanded a to include other fragments by Serapio, as well as references to him by other authors.
  • Cite this article: Chris Brennan, “Serapio of Alexandria,” The Hellenistic Astrology Website, December 30, 2013, http://www.hellenisticastrology.com/astrologers/serapio-of-alexandria/