We are currently seeking submissions for future volumes of Culture and Cosmos.
Astrology for an Empire: the ‘Treatise on the Celestial Offices’ in the Grand Scribe’s Records (c. 100 BCE)
David W. Pankenier
Joseph Needham called the Treatise on the Celestial Offices ’a text of the highest importance for ancient Chinese astronomy’. This is no exaggeration, but the title of the Treatise alone shows that it is more than just a summa of ancient Chinese astronomical lore. The term ‘Celestial Offices’ clearly evokes a direct linkage between the stellar patterns above and the imperial offices and departments of the “celestial” empire below. This was new, of course, since at the time the empire itself was barely a century old. This paper will report on new insights on the text and its socio-cultural context acquired in the process of producing a complete annotated translation into English.