Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 1, No. 2

The History of Wretched Subjects

Otto Neugebauer

Editor’s note:

Otto Neugebauer was for many years Professor of the History of Mathematics at Brown University, RI. His prolific output included The Exact Sciences in Antiquity (Brown University, 1957) and the three volume A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy, (Springer Verlag, 1975). Sadly he died in 1992. The following text, which appeared in Isis, vol. 42, June 1951 is a classic statement of the importance of the history of astrology in the history of ideas. 

In the last issue of Isis (vol. 41, 125-126, p.374) there is a short review by Professor Sarton of a recent publication by E.S.Drower of the Mandean ‘Book of the Zodiac’ which is characterized by the reviewer as ‘a wretched collection of omens, debased astrology and miscellaneous nonsense’. Because this factually correct statement1 does not tell the whole story, I want to amplify it by a few remarks to explain to the reader why a serious scholar might spend years on the study of wretched subjects like ancient astrology.

Contact Us

Dr. Nick Campion,, (University of Wales Trinity Saint David) Chair

For queries about technical issues or the website:
Dr. Frances Clynes, (University of Wales Trinity Saint David)

Join our Facebook Community