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History of Constellation and Star Names 29/10/17 15:51

Episodic Survey of the History of the Constellations

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G: Greek Constellations
14: Sphaera Barbarica and Sphaera Graecanica

Zodiac of Cairo' or the 'Daressy Zodiac.' It dates from the Roman Imperial Period. It consists of 3
concentric circles and the various signs have been divided from each other. Outside the central roundel
there are 2 rings, the inner ring containing the dodekaoros and the outer ring the Greek zodiac. In the
centre are the busts of the Sun and the Moon gods, and a snake.

'Zodiac of Cairo' or the 'Daressy Zodiac'

Roman-period Greek zodiac that is loosely called the 'Zodiac of Cairo' or the 'Daressy Zodiac.' The grey
marble plaque (also described as a disk or slab, and made of bronze) some 0.25 metre square was sighted

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by Georges Daressy in an antiquities dealer's shop in Cairo prior to 1901. (It has also been described as
being found by Georges Daressy in (a) Cairo market at the beginning of the 20th-century.) Georges
Daressy (1864-1938) was a leading French Egyptologist. The Daressy Zodiac remains one of the few
extant examples of an Egyptian zodiac (Dodekaoros) from Roman times. (Another example is the 18th-
century planisphere of the Italian philosopher and scientist Francesco Bianchini.) The Daressy Zodiac is
now lost in that its present location remains unknown. What we have is a squeeze that was made by
Georges Daressy. The squeeze is now kept in the French Archaeological Institute in Cairo.

The dodekaoros was a system of 36 "decans" according to which 3 "paranatellonta" were attached to each
sign of the zodiac. Also, each zodiacal sign was divided into 12 equal parts or dodecatemories. The
'Daressy Zodiac' follows the the Egyptian tradition in that it includes the dodekaoros.

Depicted on the Daressy Zodiac are the Greek zodiacal signs and associated animals according to a
doctrine called "Dodekaoros." (The astrological doctrine of Dodekaoros is known to us from the writings
of the astrologer Teucrus (circa 1st-century BCE) and the Byzantine astrologer Rhetorios (circa 600 CE).)
There are 2 concentric bands enclosing a central area. Depicted in the central area are busts of the sun
(Sol) as Apollo and the moon (Luna) as Phoebe (with a bow); and a snake(?). The outer band has the
clockwise depiction of the signs of the Greek zodiac. The inner band has 12 animals depicted. Twelve
radial lines divide the bands into 12 individual sectors. In his book Sphaera (1903) the German philologist
Franz Boll showed that the inner band contains representations of animals that are associated with the
zodiacal signs according to an astrological doctrine called "Dodekaoros."

The pairs pictorially depicted (juxtapositioned) on the Daressy Zodiac are:

Aries (ram (with belt): cat (sitting),

Taurus (bull): dog, (or jackal)

Gemini (twins (man and woman): serpent,

Cancer (crab): scarabaeus/crab,

Leo (lion): donkey/ass,

Virgo (virgin): lion (walking),

Libra (balance (borne by a man): goat (or gazelle),

Scorpio (scorpion): bull/ox,

Sagittarius (archer (centaur)): falcon,

Capricorn (goatfish): baboon/ape,

Aquarius (waterman): ibis,

Pisces (fishes): crocodile.

The dodekaoros circle follows the description given by the astrologer Teucrus.

The 'Daressy Zodiac' has important connections with the 'Planisphaerium Bianchini' and the 'Ponza
Zodiac.' All show Egyptian influences. (It appears that it was (like the 'Planisphaerium Bianchini') an

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astrological dicing board of the kind described by the Armenian Bishop Eustathius of Antioch. It involved
divination by throwing and also served for casting horoscopes.)

'Planisphaerium Bianchini' or 'Tabula Bianchini,' a marble astrological table. It is likely that dice were
thrown on it to cast horoscopes. It is dated not earlier than the 2nd-century CE by Wilhelm Froehner
(1869) but is now thought to likely date to the 3rd-century CE. The illustration above was included as 1 of
22 engravings (plates) in l'Origine de tous les cultes ou religion universelle by Charles-François Dupuis
(1795) with the title/description 'Planisphere astrologique de style Egyptian.' The 'Planisphaerium
Bianchini' (or 'Tabula Bianchini') shows 5 concentric circles, in 2 of which the zodiac sequence is
presented. The The centre of the system is drawn on the pole of the ecliptic (with the constellation Draco
or Dragon), not on the pole of the equator (with the constellation Ursa Major) because the Sun's passage
through the sky along the ecliptic is the relevant path for the system of astrology. The separation of the 2
bear constellations is accurately represented in the central roundel. Around the central roundel are a series
of concentric bands (rings). From the centre outwards the bands contain: (1) the dodekaoros (i.e., the
Egyptian zodiacal signs), (2) and (3) the Greek zodiacal signs repeated in 2 identical bands, (4) the 36
decans (i.e., the guardians of each third of each sign, of Egyptian origin like the dodekaoros), and (5) the
planetary deities corresponding to each decan. An inscription in Greek is on the black ribbon. Of the 36
decans only the figures of 8 have survived on the fragments recovered.

'Planisphaerium Bianchini' (or 'Tabula Bianchini')

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'Planisphaerium Bianchini' (or 'Tabula Bianchini') now held in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. (The Louvre
catalog/illustration reference is given by Hans Gundel as: Louvre, v. vol. lv, p. 1040, fig. 1231.) It is a
remaining fragment of a largely damaged Roman (Egyptian-Roman) planisphere dated to the 2nd- or 3rd-
century CE incorporating the Sphaera Barbarica (i.e., Greek, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian (zodiacal)
constellations). The artifact is made of marble. It was found in several fragments in 1705 (1708?) on
Mount Aventin (the Aventine Hill/Mount) in Rome and given to the French Academy by Francesco
Bianchini. (It is called the planisphere of Bianchine because it was first published by that Italian
astronomer.) Though the exact find spot was not recorded it has been suggested by Maarten Vermaseren
(1974) that it was perhaps discovered in the grounds of the Mithraeum of Santa Prisca (discovered in 1958
and located beneath the 4-century CE church of Santa Prisca). The Planisphaerium/Tabula shows 5
concentric circles and 4 of these concentric circles are divided into segments by radial lines.

It basically presents 3 circular zodiacs side-by-side. Depicted in the centre (innermost circle) are the 2
Bears (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor) and the intertwined Dragon/Snake (= Draco). The 2 Bears are
represented facing in opposite directions. The Dragon/Snake (= Draco) does not surround them both but
coils between them. (The centre of the system is drawn on the pole of the ecliptic and, from the nature of
the depiction, is obviously located in alpha Draconis. This placement is a concept within the scheme of the
Sphaera Barbarica and is devoid of any precessional concept. That said, whilst the pole of the equator
moves due to precession the stars in the region of the pole of the ecliptic are not subject to precessional
movement. In the Classical Graeco-Roman sky the coils of Draco entwine the pole of the ecliptic.) There
are then 4 concentric bands and an outermost ring of figures. The figures comprising a "Chaldean" zodiac
are depicted in the first circle (i.e., the 12 animals of the Dodecahōros Chaldaikē). Two identical Greek
zodiacs are depicted in bands 2 and 3 - meaning evidently the fixed and the movable ecliptic distinguished
by Ptolemy and coinciding accurately as they were at the instant of the creation. (This dates the item to no
earlier than the the 2nd-century CE.) We then have a zone of Greek numerals giving the oria or limits of
the planetary influences in the several signs of the zodiac. (This is the inscription in Greek on the black
ribbon.) The figures in the fourth band (the second most outer ring of depicted figures) depict the Egyptian
decans (which appear in authentic Egyptian stylization), the Graeco-Egyptian names of each one inscribed
below the figure. On the outermost ring, outside of the fourth band, we have the prosōpa, facies (=
faces/persons) depicted. These faces are loosely the Greek decans. These faces have their heads encircled
by a nimbus. (The interpretation by Robert Eisler is they are the faces of the 7 planetary gods repeated
again and again, in the septizonium order, each one co-ordinated with one of the decans.) On the
planisphere each of the Egyptian decans is associated with a planetary ruler (dignitary) prosōpa, facies.
Lines drawn from the circumference of the central circle, through the limits of the zodiacal signs, divide
the whole planisphere into 12 sectors. In each of the 4 corners (extremities) the winged heads of the 4
main winds are depicted. (Only 1 is depicted in the remaining fragment.)

It has been commented that the decan system on the 'Tabula Bianchini' insinuates itself as a separate
region between the fixed stars and the planets.

The Italian polymath and Vatican courtier Francesco Bianchini was a noted antiquarian and director of
antiquities in Rome. However, he is largely forgotten today. He was born in Verona (Northern Italy),
studied in Bologna and Padua, and in 1684 permanently transferred his residence to Rome and became
part of the scholarly circle there. He achieved high levels of church patronage through a combination of
family connections, fortunate circumstances, and his demonstrated intellectual ability. (His enormous
breadth of learning included expert knowledge of mathematics, physics, astronomy, and the natural
sciences.) Throughout his life Francesco Bianchini remained financially dependent on the Roman Curia.
On arriving in Rome he immediately found a patron in Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (later Pope Alexander
VIII (1689-1691)) and became custodian of his library. He also held minor orders in the Roman Catholic
Church. He studied theology and in 1699 achieved deaconship but never progressed to ordination as a
priest. As presidente delle antichità di Roma (to which he was elected in 1703) he was enormously

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influential in the Vatican museums and also in the archaeological excavations in the Papal States. He was
especially interested in the transmission of knowledge through images which functioned both as a form of
illustration (historical evidence) and as a mnemotic aid (memory aid). During the course of several
journeys in Europe he traveled with a wagon-load of scientific instruments.

Franz Boll (Sphaera (1903), Page 303) reproduces a similar fragment, now lost, known only through an
old engraving by the French antiquarian Nicolas Peirese (1580-1637) that was later reproduced in a book
by the French Benedictine monk and scholar Bernard Montfaucon (1655-1741).

The 'Planisphaerium Bianchini' has important connections with the 'Daressy Zodiac' and the 'Ponza
Zodiac.' All show Egyptian influences. (It appears that it was (like the 'Daressy Zodiac') an astrological
dicing board of the kind described by the Armenian Bishop Eustathius of Antioch. It involved divination
by throwing a dice on to it and also served for casting horoscopes.) There are only 2 zodiacal monuments
preserved from the whole of antiquity that show the sign of the North Pole in the centre. One of these is
the 'Planisphaerium/Tabula Bianchini' and the other is the Ponza zodiac.

The Sphaera Babarica

(1) Introduction

The Sphaera Graecanica and the Sphaera Barbarica were the 2 main constellation systems of the
classical Graeco-Roman world. The term Sphaera Barbarica means the "barbarian sphere"/'sky-map of
the foreigners" (predominantly Babylonian and Egyptian) and the Sphaera Graecanica means the "sky-
map of the Greeks." The Sphaera Barbarica existed from the late Hellenistic period. Sphaera Barbarica
originally meant the star-map of the Babylonians. However, it likely comprised late Egyptian and
Babylonian traditions. (Jim Tester, A History of Western Astrology (1987)) states the term was used in
classical antiquity to refer to any non-Greek description of the heavens, most usually the Egyptian
constellations.) Knowledge of the Sphaera Barbarica comes exclusively from the preserved fragments of
Graeco-Roman astrological literature. The first evidence for the Sphaera Barbarica is connected with
Nigidius Figulus (1st-century BCE). The Sphaera Barbarica of Figulus seems to have been a composite
of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian spheres. It had little effect on Greek astronomical tradition but greatly
affected Indian, Islamic, and medieval Western astrology and it artistic representation. In antiquity the
Sphaera Barbarica originally referred to any non-Greek description of the heavens, and later the term
included an eclectic mixture of the Egyptian sphere, elements of Babylonian astronomy, constellations
described by Ptolemy, and the star map of the Romans. The system was codified for the first time by the
astronomer/astrologer Teucrus in the 1st-century CE. The position of many of constellations belonging to
the Sphaera Barbarica are now not not known.

In the opinion of the classical historian Frederick Cramer (and others) there were probably 2 Sphaera
Babarica, known to the Greeks in Hellenistic times, a Mesopotamian one and an Egyptian one. (Teukros,
Antiochus, Valens, (and Peterios ?) mention Egyptian constellations. Figulus, Varro, Manilius, and
Maternus mention Babylonian constellations.)

Aby Warburg proposed that the Sphaera Barbarica was devised in Asia Minor. From there it eventually
(1) passed to Egypt, and (2) passed eastward to the Orient (India and then the Islamic Persian Empire) and
eventually became incorporated in the Kitab al-mudkhal al-kabir ila 'ilm ahkam an-nujjum (Latin title:
Introductorium maius) by the Islamic scholar Abū Ma'shar. (The Sphaera Barbarica of Teucrus was
translated into Pahlavi for the first time circa the 3rd-century CE.) This astrological tradition finally
reached Latin Europe via the Arab-Islamic world toward the end of the Middle Ages (via Spain into
France).

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The Sphaera Barbarica has been described as a kind of parasite on the Sphaera Graecanica. It has been
claimed that it eventually came to rival the Sphaera Graecanica. However, it may not have been a serious
rival at all.

(2) Sources for Graeco-Roman knowledge of the Sphaera Barbarica

Evidence for direct constellation borrowing from Mesopotamian is almost non-existent.

It is possible that Babylonian uranography was passed to the Greeks through particular intermediaries
such as the Phoenicians and Egyptians. During the Hellenistic period it is possible that Berossus and some
Chaldaean contemporaries made the Babylonian sphaera familiar to the Greeks. Berossus the Chaldean
(flourished circa 290 BCE), a Hellenistic-era Babylonian writer who taught astrology when residing on the
Greek island of Cos, and some of his Babylonian contemporaries may have familiarised the Greeks with
the late Babylonian sphere. In the early Ptolemaic period the Hellenistic scholars engaged with a mass-
translation of Egyptian texts in Greek would have become familiar with the Egyptian sphaera of that
period. Ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian star groupings differed from those of the Greeks. When they
sometimes did use similar star groupings they used different mythological/animal names.

All references to the Greek Sphaera Barbarica come from Latin writers/astrologers. Latin authors writing
about the Sphaera Barbarica include Critodemo, Cicero, Nigidius, Dorotheos, Manilius, Maternus,
Asclepiades, Valens, Antiochos, and Teucrus.

(3) The invention of the Sphaera Barbarica

The Sphaera Barbarica was an invention of the Greek world. The Sphaera Barbarica is thought to have
originated in Greek Asia Minor. The Greeks appear to have originally introduced the term to distinguish
the Greek sphere from the hybrid Egyptian sphere (of the Hellenic period) comprising native Egyptian
constellations and borrowed Babylonian constellations. After the ('traditional') Greek constellations were
established (which included adopted Babylonian constellations) some Graeco-Roman astrologers began
modifying the constellation set by introducing foreign (non-Greek) constellations and stars, both
Babylonian and Egyptian, into the (established) Greek scheme of constellations.

Construction of a Sphaera Barbarica in antiquity was carried out from circa the 2nd-century BCE
onwards. In Hellenistic times the non-Greek constellations were still well-known. It is doubtful whether
there was yet a definitive Greek sphaera. The Greek astronomer Eudoxus in the 4th-century BCE and the
Greek poet Aratus in the 3rd-century BCE laid the basis of a Greek celestial picture-atlas. However, it was
the Greek astronomer Hipparchus in the 2nd-century BCE who first defined the outlines of the
constellations systematically in terms of individual stars identified by coordinates. Hipparchus basically
followed the constellation scheme of Eudoxus and Aratus. The Greek Sphaera which was passed down to
the West was that of the Hellenized astronomer Ptolemy (2nd-century CE), which owed much to
Hipparchus. No addition was made to it until the 17th-century CE.

(4) The composition of the Sphaera Babarica

The Sphaera Barbarica was comprised primarily of Babylonian and Egyptian constellations. The Sphaera
Barbarica seems to have been a composite of Mesopotamian constellations and Egyptian constellations.
(Additional information about this syncretic "barbaric" constellation scheme is contained in Greek
astrological texts, especially those of the 1st and 2nd centuries CE.) The Sphaera Barbarica basically
comprised decans and paranatellenta. (Paratellonta are non-zodiacal constellations that rise and set at the
same time as the zodiacal constellations.) The Greek zodiac, however, was basically left unchanged. The
Sphaera Barbarica was based on the 12 constellations of the Greek zodiac. (The Sphaera Graecanica was
based on the 12 (Greek) zodiacal constellations.) Pictures of the signs of the zodiac of the Sphaera
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Barbarica were, however, different to the classical Greek pictures. The non-zodiacal component of the
Sphaera Barbarica apparently was not standardised and was changed over time. The later texts
mentioning the Sphaera Barbarica often actually discuss (sky-maps consisting of) a mixture of Greek
and Mesopotamian/Egyptian material. Broadly, however, the Sphaera Barabarica was a Hellenistic name
for alternative constellations (zodiacal constellations excluded) that were not used in the the established
constellation set comprising the Sphaera Graecanica.)

The astrologers Teucrus and Valens listed Eridanus among the paranatellonta of Aquarius. However, they
called the liquid (water or a mix of water and nectar) gushing from the jug of Aquarius Eridanus. This
liquid gushing from the jug of Aquarius was meant to join the constellation Eridanus (of the Sphaera
Graecanica) below Piscis Austrinus.

To some extent the 'Sphaera Barbarica' is a collective term for the catalogues of ancient astrologers known
as paranatellonta. (Chapters 5-17 of Mathesis by Firmicus Maternus deal with the paranatellonta (the
stars rising with the signs of the zodiac). Prior to the time of Claudius Ptolemy (circa 85 - circa 165) a
system of paranatellonta was developed that could be used to tell the hours of the night when the signs of
the zodiac were hidden. Paranatellonta (or synanatellonta) are stars which rise at the same time as a given
zodiacal sign, or bright stars such as Regulus or Sirius. Teucrus laid stress on the decans and their
paranatellonta. The use of these paranatellonta for astrological purposes has been ascribed to Teucrus but
is undoubtedly earlier. In the Sphaera Barbarica Figulus gave for each of the 360 degrees of the ecliptic
the astral forecasts based on the character of the stars "rising together" (paranatellontes). (The references
to constellations, in particular their simultaneous risings and settings, make it possible to distinguish
between two different sets of uranography - a Sphaera Barbarica and a Sphaera Graecanica.)

According to one researcher the sphaera barbarica is the Egyptian description of the heavens extensively
modified by the Roman astronomers.

Our knowledge of Teucrus is limited and his system of paranatellonta has been reconstructed only after
Franz Boll combined several later textual sources. In the system developed by Teucrus
constellations/asterisms simultaneously rise to the north and to the south of the celestial equator at the
time when the sun is in the corresponding ten degree arc of the ecliptic (sphaera barbarica). When
constellations of the sphaera barbarica rise north or south of the celestial equator they are called
paranatellonta. Teucrus also explained the astrological influence of his constellations through a system of
paranatellonta. The word "paranatellonta" comes from the Greek para ('rapa; together) and anatellein; to
rise), and it refers to the stars and constellations simultaneously rising to the north and to the south of the
celestial equator. With Teucrus the paranatellonta never appear individually, but always in relation to the
zodiac. It is significant that they are temporal and not spatial sequences. The stars or constellations of
paranatellonta related to a single zodiacal sign (or its decan) do not belong to the same 30° (or 10°) of the
ecliptic. Rather, they rise simultaneously anywhere in the sky during the period which is determined by
the temporal sequence of that particular sign (or decan). Franz Boll concluded that Teucrus combined in
the paranatellonta two different systems: one in which the paranatellonta were related to the decans, and
the other in which they were related to the zodiac.

(5) Nigidius Figulus and the Sphaera Barbarica

Only fragments of the Sphaera Barbarica have come down to the present-day. Most of our knowledge
about non-Greek constellations and star names comes from extant fragments of the Latin book on the
Sphaera Barbarica by Nigidius Figulus. (Nigidius Figulus was a neo-Pythagorean and the leading figure
among the Roman Pythagoreans.) Figulus seems to have dealt methodically with both the Greek and
"barbaric" constellations. However, Teucrus also transmitted many names of the Sphaera Barbarica. The
Sphaera Babarica of Figulus was concerned with paranatellonta. The Sphaera Graecanica of Figulus

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was also concerned with paranatellonta.

(6) Teucrus 'the Babylonian'

Teucrus is (first?) called "the Babylonian" by the Greek philosopher Porphyrius (circa 270 CE). It is
generally accepted that "Babylon" presumably designated Seleukeia on the Tigris. The historian Robert
Eisler suggested (without evidence) that "Babylon" referred to the fortress-town of this names in Egypt
(near Cairo). It is thought that Teucrus probably wrote his Sphaera Barbarica in Asia Minor. Several
forms of the Sphaera Babarica of Teucrus are known. The form of the Sphaera Barbarica of Teucrus
which passed through Arab-Islamic scholarship is arranged according to decans. Also, Teucrus
supplemented or replaced the traditional Greek constellations with exotic ones. "The sphaera barbarica
(i.e., non-Greek mappings of the heavens) - in particular representations of the decans, whose iconography
was transformed through Indian mediation - was transferred to Sasanian Iran; thence it entered Arabic
astrological texts. Greek descriptions of the paranàtellonta toîs dekanoîs, that is, the constellations rising
on the horizon together with a particular decan, were made by Teucer the Babylonian, an astrologer to be
placed between the 1st century BCE and the first century CE. ("Zodiac." by Antonio Panaino,
Encyclopædia Iranica.)"

The work of Teucrus on the Sphaera Barbarica (De Sphaera Barbarica) was described by the art
historian Aby Warburg as being nothing more than a description of the Greek fixed-star sky with the
addition of star names from Egypt, Babylonia, and Asia Minor (causing it to surpass the 'star catalogue' of
Aratus almost 3 times over). (It seems that in many cases Teucrus gave a different ('barbaric') name to the
same Greek constellation.) However, it was Teucrus who his codified his system as the Sphaera
Barbarica. The Sphaera Barbarica of Teucrus has come down to the present-day in several forms. In one
of these forms the Sphaera Barbarica of Teucrus is arranged according to decans. This form of Teucrus'
Sphaera Barbarica was transmitted to the Western Europe during the Middle Ages through Arab-Islamic
star catalogues and lapidaria (books of precious stones).

The Sphaera Barbarica of Teucrus was different from the Sphaera Graecanica, which was based on the
twelve constellations of the zodiac, and which Greek astronomers had almost entirely borrowed from
Babylonian uranography. Boll demonstrated that the Sphaera Barbarica, at least the system finalised by
Teucrus in the 1st-century CE, derived from the list of stars (paranatellonta) that accompanied the rising
of the zodiacal constellations. It appears that Teucus did a number of things. He made a register of stars
that rose to the north and south of each zodiacal sign. His work was important in the transmission of the
astrological system of the decans, i.e. the subdivision of the zodiac into 36 decans, each one 10 degree (3
per constellation), and also of the so-called paranatellonta (i.e. the constellations rising on the horizon
simultaneously with a certain decan).

The French scholar Joseph Scalinger (1540-1609), in his 2nd edition (commentary) of Manilius (1600)
(effectively a treatise on ancient astronomy), began the investigation of the Sphaera Barbarica on the
basis of a version preserved in the writings of Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra (1092-1167) - who had derived it
from the writings of Abū Ma'shar.)

(7) The function of the Sphaera Barbarica

In Book VIII of his Mathesis, Firmicus Maternus deals with the Sphaera Barbarica. Part of it is
uncritically copied from Marcus Manilius. The work of Firmicus Maternus provides evidence that the
Sphaera Barbarica was an astrological sphere. The Sphaera Barbarica comprised stars and constellations
outside the Greek zodiac. The Sphaera Barbarica was a non-Greek system of astrology. The astrology of
the Sphaera Barbarica involved astrological forecasting by stars and constellations outside the zodiac.

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Observations of the constellations rising on the horizon together with a particular decan, were made by
Teucrus the Babylonian, an astrologer who can only be placed between the 1st-century BCE and the 1st-
century CE.

(8) The influence of the Sphaera Barbarica

According to Hans Gundel its actual prominence in the Greek world may not have been great. However,
the Sphaera Barbarica (with its decans and paranatellonta) had a major impact in Indian astrology, Arab-
Islamic astrology, and Latin astrology during the Middle Ages.

(9) The success of the Sphaera Graecanica

The ultimate success of the Sphaera Graecanica (i.e., its complete acceptance by the Greek world and
later the Roman world was largely due to the work of the Greek astronomer Eudoxus of Cnidus (4th-
century BCE) and the Greek poet Aratus of Soli (3rd-century BCE). Eudoxus constellated and catalogued
the entire Greek sky in his works Enoptron and Phaenomena. Aratus later turned these works into an
astronomical poem concerning the constellations. The Phaenomena became hugely popular in the Graeco-
Roman world. Without this popularisation by Aratus the works of Eudoxus may never have exerted the
lasting influence they achieved. (The final consolidation of the Greek constellations was based Hipparchus
and the writings of Ptolemy.)

(10) History of the Sphaera Barbarica

The first text to cite the Sphaera Barbarica was by Critodemo in the 3rd-century BCE (?). Teucrus
(Teucer), 1st-century CE, gave the (supposed) final version.

In the 1st-century BCE the Roman senator and astrologer Nigidius Figulus (circa 100-45 BCE), a
revivalist of Pythagoreanism, wrote his 2 books (now lost) on the Sphaera Barbarica and the Sphaera
Graecanica. (The term Sphaera Barbarica and Sphaera Graecanica was first used by Nigidius Figulus.)
The Sphaera Barbarica of Nigidius is indicated as a mix of Egyptian constellations/decans and Greek-
Babylonian constellations. It is thought that Nigidius' work on the Sphaera Barbarica was probably
derived from the like-named work of Asclepiades of Myrlea. (Note: Perhaps Nigidius wrote a single book
Sphaera graecanica et sphaera barbarica.) The Sphaera Barbarica dealt with the pre-Greek
nomenclature of the stars and constellations, mostly Mesopotamian and Egyptian in origin. (It is most
likely that there were two "barbaric" constellation schemes, a Mesopotamian one and an Egyptian one.)
Teucrus the Babylonian (circa 1st-century BCE (circa 1st-century CE?)) also wrote a basic work (now
lost) on the Sphaera Barbarica. (The Hellenistic astrologer Teucrus of Babylon lived between the 1st-
century BCE and the 1st-century CE.)

Traces of the Sphaera Barbarica also exist in the astrological writings of Marcus Manilius (circa 1st-
century CE), of Vettius Valens (circa 2nd-century CE), of Antiochos of Athens (circa 2nd-century CE),
and Firmicus Maternus (circa 4th-century CE). (The Sphaerica of Vettius Valens is not identifiable with
treatises on the sphere written by Aratus, Eudoxus, or Hipparchus.) The fact of the Sphaera Barbarica (or
rather traces of it) being encountered in the astrological writings of Firmicus Maternus (flourished circa
mid 4th-century CE) demonstrates that its progress into oblivion was not rapid. Also, nearly all the
constellations discussed by Marcus Manilius (1st-century CE), including the paranatellonta he
enumerates, which are commonly referred to as Sphaera Barbarica, are actually Greek. More correctly,
only traces of the Sphaera Barbarica are found in Marcus Manilius. What in Manilius really belonged to a
Sphaera Barbarica is now unable to be established. One of the few exceptions is the so-called Haedus
(Kid), which is described as one of the paranatellonta of Libra. Both Firmicus and Manilius had no
understanding of astronomy. Both simply followed their sources.

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There seems little doubt that in Hellenistic period the non-Greek constellations were still well-known to
the Greeks. References to the Sphaera Barbarica in the 2nd-century CE by Vettius Valens shows that it
had not yet been wholly superseded by the Sphaera Graecanica. Valens derived some of his material from
Teucrus. In the 4th-century CE Firmicus Maternus was still familiar with the Sphaera Barbarica even if
this was a syncretism of the Sphaera Barbarica and Sphaera Graecanica.

(11) The confused state of the Sphaera Barbarica

A variety of sources from the classical period attest to knowledge of, and use of, non-Greek constellations
i.e., constellations having Mesopotamian or Egyptian origins. However, these texts frequently discuss a
mixture of Greek, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian constellations/asterisms. In antiquity the name Sphaera
Barbarica was inexactly used (i.e., far removed from its proper and original sense) for a scheme of non-
Greek and Greek constellations i.e., the Latin astrologer Firmicus Maternus and the Greek physician
Asclepiades of Bithynia. Marcus Manilius also does not strictly set out the Sphaera Barbarica. The
Sphaera Barbarica of Asclepiades of Myrlea contained both Greek and non-Greek constellations. Also, it
was not concerned with paranatellonta. The phrase Sphaera Barbarica referred (properly) in antiquity to
any non-Greek description of the heavens, and usually to the Egyptian pattern of constellations. By the 1st
and 2nd centuries CE the Sphaera Barbarica encountered in Greek astrological texts is usually syncretic;
a mix of Greek and non-Greek spheres. Katharina Volk (Manitius and his Intellectual Background (2009))
writes: "They do so typically without showing any awareness of their own syncretism or of the possibility
that they may be describing the same stars over and over again - whether as parts of different
constellations, or as the same constellation with a different name. ... The title [Sphaera Barbarica] appears
to have been used in this strict sense only by Nigidius Figulus, who wrote both a Sphaera Graecanica and
a Sphaera Barbarica, with the first containing the Greek and the second the non-Greek constellations ...."
Also, proponents of the scheme of the Sphaera Barbarica, to a considerable extent, introduced fictitious
constellations.

(12) Horoscopes and the Sphaera Barbarica

Only a few horoscopes surviving from antiquity contain date pertaining to the Sphaera Barbarica. One
example is a Greek papyrus in the British Museum dating from 81 CE in which an astrologer named Titos
Pitenios drew up the horoscope of a person name Hermon.

(13) Introductorium maius in astronomiam by Abū Ma'šar

The main source for the transmission of Persian astrological iconography to the West was Introductorium
maius (Great Introduction to Astronomy) by Abū Ma'shar. This book was also the main authority for
Western medieval astrology.

Antonio Panaino has pointed out Teucrus' work was very important in the transmission of the astrological
system of the decans. (This astrological system of decans (involving the subdivision of the zodiac into 36
decans, each decan of 10 degrees length, with 3 decans per constellation (sign)) also included the so-
called paranatellonta (those constellations rising on the eastern horizon simultaneously with a certain
decan).) The Egyptian iconography of the decans, modified with Indian and Sasanian elements, was
transferred through the Arabic work of Abū Ma'shar, Kitab al-mudkhal al-kabir ila 'ilm ahkam an-nujjum
(Latin title: Introductorium maius) to Spain, and then to France. A Latin translation of the treatise Kitab
al-mudkhal al-kabir ila 'ilm ahkam an-nujjum was completed by Hermann of Dalmatia in 1143 CE. An
abridgement based on this version was made in the second half of the 12th-century CE by Georgius
Fendulus. Numerous copies of both Latin manuscripts were made and circulated in Europe. The writings
of Teucrus later influenced the Arabs.

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In his Sphaera (1903) Franz Boll showed that the Persian astrologer Abū Ma'shar (Latin name:
Albumasar) (circa 787-886 CE) used a (Middle) Persian translation (or rearrangement) (made in 542 CE
under Xusraw Anōširwān) of the Sphaera Barbarica of Teucrus the Babylonian in the writing of his Kitab
al-mudkhal al-kabir ila 'ilm ahkam an-nujjum (Latin title: Introductorium maius). Abū Ma'shar also used
Indian sources, derived from the 6th-century CE Indian astronomer Varāhamihira, about the iconography
of the decans. (Varāhamihira had in turn used the Yavanajātaka of Sphujidhvaja (a 3rd-century CE Indian
astrologer) which was a versification of a 2nd-century CE Sanskit translation of a Greek-Alexandrian
astrological text.) In his book Abū Ma'shar Kitab al-mudkhal al-kabir ila 'ilm ahkam an-nujjum also
linked astrology to both Neoplatonic Aristotelianism and to Hermeticism. (The titles of Latin translations
of key books by Abū Ma'shar are: Flores astrologiae (1488), Introductorium maius (1489),
Introductorium in astronomiam (1489), and De magnis conjunctionibus (1489).) In this way Abū Ma'shar
is an important source for early Hellenistic constellation lore. Abū Ma'shar's description of the three
astrological systems related to the zodiacal signs: (1) the Greek firmament based on the writings of
Ptolemy (sphaera graecanica); (2) the Indian system of decans by Varahamihira (sphaera indica); and (3)
the system of Teucrus (sphaera barbarica).

Abū Ma'shar was also the father of European Medieval and Renaissance astrology. (Abū Ma'shar was
born in northern Afghanistan and settled permanently in Baghdad during the reign of Caliph al-Ma'mum
(813-833).) For scholars in western Europe the principal source of scientific astrology was the Graeco-
Roman tradition of Ptolemy. It is commonly believed today that the medieval astrological tradition
developed as a direct extension of Antiquity. However. the astrological, mythological. and symbolic
traditions were translated from Antiquity to the Middle Ages in a broad circle, through Arab-Islamic
civilisation, touching diverse cultures such as those of Persia, India, and the Arabic regions. What reached
Europe in the 12th-century was a conglomerate of different traditions, comprised of Western and Eastern
characteristics in somewhat equal measure.

(14) Georgius Fendulus and the reappearance of the paranatellonta

The Croation scholar and translator of Arabic texts, Hermann of Dalmatia (actually Hermann of Carinthia)
(circa 1110-circa 1154), a pioneer of European science, translated into Latin in 1140, Introductorium
maius in astronomiam by Abū Ma'šar. The work was twice translated into Latin in the 12th-century. The
work was first translated into Latin by Juan (John) from Seville in 1133. An illustrated abridgment of the
treatise was made in the 2nd part of the 12th-century by Georgius Fendulus, and was based upon the
lengthy multi-volume Latin translation by Hermann of Dalmatia (from 1140-1143) of Introductorium
maius in astronomiam. (Fendulus misleadingly claimed he translated the text from Persian to Latin.)
Between the 1220s/1240s and circa 1500, Fendulus' abridgment of Introductorium maius in astronomiam,
written by Abū Ma'šar (787-886), was copied several times and 6 copies have been preserved, originating
from southern Italy, the Low Countries, and Paris. Within the celestial imagery introduced by Georgius
Fendulus is the appearance of the paranatellonta. The original treatise by the Arabic astrologer,
astronomer, and philosopher Abū Ma'šar (787-886) was written in Baghdad in 848 CE. It had an extensive
influence on the development of both astrology and astronomy in the Latin West and the Arab-Islamic
East.

(15) Astrolabium Magnum by Pietro d’Abano

The Sphaera Barbarica, as described in the book Astrolabium Magnum (1448) by the Italian philosopher,
medical doctor, and astrologer Pietro d’Abano (1257-1315/6), played an important role in the program of
decoration of the so-called Salone at the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua (1306) and in the Salone dei
Mesi at the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrera (1470). Aby Warburg writes that Boll: "... discovered, for
instance, a small book illustrated with woodcuts that is in fact a reproduction of an astrological diary of
the kind used in Asia Minor: the Astrolabium Magnum, edited by the German scholar Engel, and first

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printed by Ratdolt in Ausburg in 1488. Yet the book was written by a world-famous Italian, Pietro
d'Abano, the Paduan Faust of the Trecento, a contemporary of Dante and Giotto. ... And the book's
journey can once again be followed all the way down to Pietro d'Abano; having made its way from Asia
Minor, via Egypt, to India, the Sphaera landed (probably via Persia), in the aforementioned
Introductorium majus [Great Introduction] of Abū Aā'sār, which then was translated into Hebrew by a
Spanish Jew, Aben Esra (who died in 1167). The Hebrew translation was then translated in turn into
French in Mecheln, by the Jewish scholar Hagins for the English-man, Henry Bates. And this French
translation was finally the source of a Latin version completed in 1293 by Pietro d'Abano. The book was
frequently reprinted ...."

(16) Renaissance period fresco cycles

One of the sources of astrological imagery of the Renaissance was the Sphaera Barbarica. The Egyptian
iconography of the decans in Introductorium maius finally became embedded in the book Astrolabium
planum by Pietro d'Abano (a famous Italian physician, philosopher, and astrologer; circa 1257-circa
1316). The 14th-century CE program of decoration of the so-called Salone (begun in 1306) in the Palazzo
della Ragione (Padua's massive secular and civil centre) was inspired by the Sphaera Barbarica and
astrological concepts in Astrolabium planum. (An early appearance in Europe of the Sphaera Barabarica
was also the small book Astrolabium magnum (1448) by Pietro d'Abano.) Later, the Sphaera Barbarica
and astrological concepts in Astrolabium planum also played an important role in the decoration (begun in
1470) of the Salone dei Mesi at the Palazzo Schifanoia (Schifanoja) in Ferrara (commissioned by Duke
Borso d'Este and executed by Farrarese artists led by the painter Cosimo Tura). The fresco cycle of the
months in the Schifanoia Palace is unique of its kind, such is its range and complexity: it contains a triple
register of allegories, astrological decans and scenes of court life. The fresco cycle (a pictorial calendar in
which each of the 12 months were personified as 1 of the 12 main Roman gods) is located in the great
hall. Aby Warburg ("Italienische Kunst und internationale Astrologie im Palazzo Schifanoja zu Ferrara"
(1912)) identified that the 15th-century frescoes of constellations with their decans in the Palazzo
Schifanoja - based on the calendar illustrations that were in frequent use in Northern European
manuscripts - were ultimately those of the Sphaera Barbarica of Teucrus the Babylonian. (According to
another source the fresco cycle was identified by Aby Warburg as going back to the Roman astrologer
Manilius.) Seven of the 12 original wall areas survive in good condition, and traces of the other five are
more or less visible. (The series of allegorical frescoes in each building each depict the concept of the
"yearly astrological cycle" and comprise a compendium of symbolic, astrological, religious, scientific, and
philosophical beliefs of the Middle Ages.)

(17) The discussion by Joseph Scalinger of Manilius' Sphaera Babarica

The belief of the Renaissance chronologist Joseph Scalinger that Book 5 of Marcus Manilius' work
Astronomica was derived from the Sphaera Barbarica was shown by Boll in his Sphaera to be a
(typically) confused description of the Greek sphere mixed/mingled with 'barbaric' doctrine. (Scalinger's
1st edition of Manilius was published in 1579.) However, the French scholar Joseph Scalinger (1540-
1609, born in Agen, southern France, into the family of an Italian scholar and physician), in his 2nd
edition (commentary) of Manilius (1600) (effectively a treatise on ancient astronomy), began the
investigation of the Sphaera Barbarica on the basis of a version preserved in the writings of Rabbi
Araham Ibn Ezra (1092-1167) - who had derived it from the writings of Abū Ma'shar.) It has been
remarked that Scalinger over-simplified the problem of the Sphaera Barbarica. He believed it to comprise
merely of the paranatellonta and 'clarae stellae' (of the zodiac) of the Greek sphere as seen in Egypt. He
overlooked his own quotation from Nigidius Figulus that stated it included non-Greek constellations.

(18) The recovery by Franz Boll of the Sphaera Barbarica

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It was Franz Boll who discovered and reconstructed the history of the passage of the Sphaera Barbarica.
Later, it was Aby Warburg who first recognised the resurgence of the Sphaera Barbarica in the imagery of
the Renaissance period. Perhaps the next most important study of the Sphaera Barbarica is the
monograph-length study forming the last section of the Introduction to the book Catalogue of Astrological
and Mythological Illuminated Manuscripts of the Latin Middle Ages, III, Volumes 1-2: Manuscripts in
English Libraries by Fritz Saxl and Hans Meier, Edited by Harry Bober (1953, 2 Volumes). (Other
scholars are currently working on additional volumes.)

The first major modern work devoted to elucidating the Sphaera Barbarica was the classic book-length
study Sphaera by the German philologist Franz Boll (1903). The masterly work Sphaera, published in
1903, was Franz Boll's ingenious recovery of the Sphaera Barbarica, based on the discovery of new
manuscripts. Boll became aware of the Sphaera Barbarica through the discovery of excerpta (brief
segments of writing taken from longer works) from the Byzantine period. He ingeniously reconstructed
the Sphaera Barbarica and also traced the major stages of its journey to the Islamic Persian Empire and
back to Europe.

(19) Aby Warburg and the Renaissance period fresco cycles

It was Aby Warburg who first recognised the resurgence of the Sphaera Barbarica in the imagery of the
Renaissance period. Aby Warburg's study, Heidnisch-antike Weissagung in Wort und Bild zu Luthers
Zeiten (1920) was a ground-breaking assessment of the role of astronomical iconography in the
Renaissance. Decanal images at the Palazzo Schifanoia and the Palazzo della Ragione were first studied
by Aby Warburg. With the help of certain types of historical astrological texts Warburg succeeded in
explaining the enigmatic cycle of frescoes from the 15th-century in the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara. Aby
Warburg's iconographical analysis of frescos in the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara showed that they
represented the signs of the zodiac and their divisions into 36 decans. His most famous paper,
"Italienische Kunst und internationale Astrologie im Palazzo Schifanoja zu Ferrara" was delivered at the
height of his career to the 10th Art-Historical Congress in Rome in October, 1912. Following his
pioneering work Warburg (an independent Privatgelehrter = independent/(private scholar)) explained his
discovery that each of the 3 figures marking each month are decans. The Indian decans of Abū Ma'shar
dominate the central plane (of frescoes) in the Palazzo Schifanoia. (See: Die Erneuerung der heidnischen
Antike (1932) by Aby Warburg.) The Warburg scholar Eugenio Garin in his short book, Astrology in the
Renaissance: The Zodiac of Life (1983)) has provided a fuller understanding of astrology in the
Renaissance. See also the important study: La Tirannia degli astri: Aby Warburg e l'astrologia di Palazzo
Schifanoia (1985) by M. Bertozzi.

Note: For a critical discussion of the speculative and erroneous ideas of Aby Warburg and Fritz Saxl on
proposed paths of transmission of planetary iconography/iconographical tradition (uncritically re-stated by
Jean Seznec in his Survival of the Pagan Gods (1940)) see the first critical analysis in Regenten des
Himmels by Dieter Blume (2000). Also, Duits, Rembrandt. (2005). "Celestial Transmissions. An
Iconographical Classification of Constellation Cycles in Manuscripts (8th-15th Centuries)." (Scriptorium,
Volume 59, Pages 147-202); and Duits, Rembrandt. (2011). "Reading the Stars: Fritz Saxl and Astrology."
(Journal of Art Historiography, Number 5, December, Pages 1?-18?). Also, Duits, Rembrandt. and
Quiviger, François. (Editors). (2009). Images of the Pagan Gods: Papers of a Conference in Memory of
Jean Seznec. [Note: "Research in astrological manuscripts has always been one of the strong points of the
Warburg Institute (already true by the time of Aby Warburg's 1912 Rome conference): thus, it comes as no
surprise that a considerable part of the publication is dedicated to it. Duits's presentation of illustrated
constellation cycles revisits Saxl's thesis and, in the light of new research, concludes that instead of "a
consistent set of classical constellation images . . . it appears that there were different parallel and
sometimes intertwining traditions" (100). In a less nuanced way, Kristen Lippincott, who studies the
constellation of Eridanus, discards expediently altogether all previous work and Dieter Blume, in his

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paper on planetary astrology, is equally blunt: "there was in fact no survival of the pagan gods" (136).
[Extract from (English-language) book review by Natalia Agapiou (National and Kapodistrian University
of Athens) in Renaissance Quarterly, Volume 64, Number 1, Spring, 2011, Pages 167-169."]

(20) Failure of the Sphaera Barbarica to take hold in Latin Europe

The Sphaera Barbarica did not obtain wide popularity in western Europe and interest in it remained
within the domain of specialist scholars. There were 3 different iconographic schemes for illustrated
versions of the Sphaera Barbarica. The most common iconographic scheme involved the depiction of the
Persian, Indian, and Graeco-Roman spheres in separate strips placed one above the other. (MS M.785 (A
Latin translation, circa 1400, of a work originating from Abū Ma'shar) now in the Pierpont Morgan
Library is a typical example. The Sphaera Persica (i.e., Sphaera Barbarica) appears in the top register,
the Sphaera Indica appears in the middle register, and the Sphaera Graeca appears in the lower register.)
This artistic tradition originated with manuscripts produced in southern Italy in the 12th-century CE and
continued through to the 15th-century CE. The illustrations accompanied the translated Latin text of
Introductorium maius by Abū Ma'shar and were primarily for manuscripts made for the (educated and/or
wealthy) layperson.

Ancient Writers mentioning the Sphaera Babarica (Most of these are Roman/Latin)
Mixed (Syncretist) Sphaera
Egyptian Sphaera Babylonian Sphaera
Name Barbarica and Sphaera
Mentioned Mentioned
Graecanica
Petrosiris [Peterios],
circa 4th-century

BCE; Egyptian
astrologer.
Critodèmo, uncertain
date, 3rd-century BCE
Mentions the Sphaera
(?), perhaps 2nd-
Barbarica.
century CE; Greek
astrologer.
Marcus Varro, circa
2nd-century BCE;
Roman antiquarian
and writer whose √ (?)
works are full of
astrological
references.
Asclepiades of
Myrlea (also
(mistakenly?)
identified as
Asclepiades of
Bithynia (a physician), Mentions the Sphaera
circa between 2nd and Barbarica. Not concerned
1st centuries BCE; with paranatellonta.
grammarian and
historian who focused
on topics such as

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Homer, astronomy,
and astrology.
Nigidius Figulus, 1st-
century BCE; Roman
magistrate; astrologer;
according to some
√ Concerned with
writers the first √
paranatellonta.
evidence for the
Sphaera Barbarica is
connected with
Nigidius Figulus.
Antiochus of Athens, √ Extant fragments of
circa 1st century Antiochus of Athens
BCE/1st-century CE; contain references to
astrological poet. the Sphaera Babarica.
Marcus Cicero, circa
1st-century BCE;
Roman philosopher, Mentions the Sphaera
politician, and critic of Barbarica.
astrology (De
Divinatione).
Teucrus 'the
Babylonian', 1st- √ Concerned with

century CE; Egyptian paranatellonta.
astrologer.
√ Whether any of the material
really belonged to a Sphaera
Barbarica now cannot be
Marcus Manilius,
established. Marcus Manilius
circa 1st-century CE;
does not seem to have known
Roman poet and
Nigidius Figulus' Sphaera
astrologer.
Graecanica and Sphaera
Barbarica. Concerned with
paranatellonta.
Dorotheos of Sidon,
1st-century CE; Greek
astrological poet,
astrological works by
Dorotheus of Sidon Mentions the Sphaera
were copied into Barbarica.
Pahlavi during the 3rd
and 4th centuries
(including
Pentabiblos).
Vettius Valens circa
2nd-century CE; √ Extant fragments of
Hellenistic astrologer. Vettius Valens contain
Valens derived some references to the

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of his material from Sphaera Babarica.


Teucrus.
√ Chapters on the Sphaera
Barbarica in Firmicus
Maternus (Mathesis, Book
Firmicus Maternus, VIII) are based on Marcus
circa 4th-century CE; Manilius. The sense that
Latin astrologer. Firmicus Maternus attached
to the Sphaera Barbarica was
far removed from its proper
and original sense.

Appendix 1: Franz Boll and Sphaera (1903)

It was Franz Boll who discovered and reconstructed the history of the passage of the Sphaera Barbarica.
The first major modern work devoted to elucidating the Sphaera Barbarica was the classic book-length
study Sphaera by the German philologist Franz Boll (1903). (The word "Sphaera" refers to the celestial
sphere, the map of the night sky. The title is plural because 2 sky maps existed in Graeco-Roman antiquity
- the Greek and the Barbarian.)

Boll's most important and most outstanding work is perhaps Sphaera (1903). It is still an important work
on ancient and Arabic astrology. The masterly work Sphaera was Franz Boll's ingenious recovery of the
Sphaera Barbarica, based on the discovery of new manuscripts. Boll became aware of the Sphaera
Barbarica through the discovery of excerpta (brief segments of writing taken from longer works) from the
Byzantine period. Boll became aware of the Sphaera Barbarica through the discovery of excerpta (brief
segments of writing taken from longer works) from the Byzantine period. In Sphaera Boll published and
annotated the texts of then newly discovered Classical and Byzantine astronomical/astrological
manuscripts by Teukros the Babylonian, Antiochus of Athens, Vettius Valens, and Johannes Kamateros, a
12th-century Byzantium astrologer.

He ingeniously reconstructed the Sphaera Barbarica and also traced the major stages of its journey from
Ptolemaic Egypt and Babylon to the Islamic Persian Empire (in Persian manuscripts translated into
Arabic) and back to Latin Europe (retranslated into Latin). Boll recognised the contributions of Teukros
the Babylonian to constellation lore ahead of his contemporaries. The first part of the book is a critical
discussion of the newly discovered texts, the second part describes the constellations in them, and the
third part deals with the history of the "Sphaera Barbarica" as described by Nigidius Figulus and others. In
Sphaera Boll first described the genre of paranatellonta writing and edited much of the material.

Appendix 2: Teucrus/Teucer and the Sphaera Barbarica

Teucrus 'of Babylon' lived in the 1st-century CE. Teucer of Babylon was an ancient Egyptian astrologer.
Teucrus is called "the Babylonian" by the Neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry of Tyre (circa 270 CE) and
by subsequent writers. The writings of Teucrus are known only through excerpts preserved in later
astrological works. Their historical importance was first fully recognised by the German
classicist/philologist Franz Boll in his important book Sphaera (1903).

The Sphaera Barbarica were mostly based on the writings of Teucrus. He made a register of stars that
rose to the north and south of each zodiacal sign. Teucrus' work was very important in the transmission of
the astrological system of the Decans, i.e. the subdivision of the Zodiac into 36 Decans, each one 10
degree, three per constellation, and also of the so-called Paranatellonta (i.e. the constellations rising on the
horizon simultaneously with a certain Decan).

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The Sphaera Barbarica of Teucrus survived in the form of a Greek manuscript with partial contents, the
Arabic work of Abū Ma'shar, Kitab al-mudkhal al-kabir ila 'ilm ahkam an-nujjum [Great Introduction],
and Arab-Islamic star catalogs and lapidaria. Teucrus' work was translated in Pahlavi for the first time
about the 3rd-century or later. Unfortunately the Pahlavi translation is lost and only a number of fragments
in Arabic still survive. A Middle Persian translation of Teucrus was written or probably rearranged in the
6th-century (precisely 542) under Xusraw Anōširwān. This very translation was used by Abū Mashˁar
together with Indian sources about the iconography of the Decans deriving from the Indian astronomer
Varāha Mihira (6th-century CE), taken in its turn from the Yavanajātaka of Sphujidhvaja (3rd-century
CE), a Sanskrit translation of a Greek-Alexandrian astrological text. Some Pahlavi material from Teucrus
was probably embedded in the Introductorium Maius of Abū Mashˁar, and via such a translation they
returned to Byzantium and the West. It has been shown that the Egyptian iconography of the Decans,
intermingled with Indian and Sasanian modifications, was transferred through the Arabic Introductorium
Maius to Spain, then to France and finally was embedded in the Astrolabium Planum of Pietro d'Abano.

According to Aby Warburg, writing on the Sphaera Barbarica of Teucrus: "This work is nothing more
than a description of the fixed-star heaven, which with the addition of star names from Egypt, Babylonia,
and Asia Minor, surpasses the star catalog of Aratus almost three times over. ... The Sphara Barbarica of
Teukros comes down to us in yet another form , corresponding to the surviving Greek text [of Teucrus'
Sphaera Barbarica], a form arranged according to decans, that is, thirds of months, each of which
encompasses ten degrees of the respective zodiacal sign. This type came to the western Middle Ages via
the star catalogs and lapidaria (books of precious stones) of the Arabs. So the "Great Introduction" of Abū
Aā'sār (who died in 886), the main authority for medieval astrology, contains a synopsis of three different
conceptions of the fixed-star heaven, each apparently quite peculiar and belonging to a different nation.
Closer examination reveals, however, that these disparate parts can all be traced back to the Greek
Sphaera of Teukros, expanded by barbaric additions."

The Sphaera Barbarica with its elements of paranatellonta (the system of constellations "which
accompany" certain points of the ecliptic in the north and south = the constellations rising on the horizon
simultaneously with a certain decan) and Dōdekaōros (the system of subdivision of each zodiac sign into
3 parts (10 degrees of the ecliptic) - making a system of 36 "decans" according to which 3
"paranatellonta" were attached to each sign of the zodiac) gained fixed form in the 1st-century CE(BCE?)
in the Sphaera Barbarica devised by Teucer of Babylon (Egypt?). Paranatellonta are stars or star groups
that are viewed as attendants. In ancient astrology the term was applied to the constellations that rose with
the zodiacal decans. Teucer is supposed to have lived in the 1st-century CE(BCE?). The Sphaera
Barbarica of Teucrus/Teucer also established the subdivision of each zodiac sign into 3 parts (10 degrees
of the ecliptic), each subdivision (= the decans) controlled/ruled over by specific gods/goddesses of
ancient Egyptian or Asiatic origin (Mesopotamian, or Persian, or Indian).

A fragmentary list attributed to Teucrus/Teucer associates each of the zodiacal signs with a specific
country. As example: The Ram represents Persia, and the He-goat represents Syria. To date the connection
of the signs of the zodiac with particular countries is unattested in the 2nd-century CE.

Franz Boll (Sphaera, 1903) showed the features of the Sphaera Babarica of Teucrus included the Hades-
constellations being found around Sagittarius and Scorpius.

Appendix 3: Nigidius Figulus

Publius Nigidius Figulus held public office as an aedile and later as practor or magistrate. (Aedile was an
office of the Roman Republic. Based in Rome, the aediles were responsible for maintenance of public
buildings and regulation of public festivals. They also had powers to enforce public order.) Circa 60 BCE
he started/was at the centre of the first school of astrology in Rome (indeed the earliest Roman astrological

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school) and published books on astrological prediction and meteorology. Julius Caesar when he came to
power banished him for political reasons. Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 BCE) the greatest Roman
scholar and an incredibly prolific writer was a colleague of Figulus but not an astrologer.

We owe most of our knowledge of the non-Greek constellations and star names from extant fragments of
Figulus' work(s) on the subject. Figulus seems to have dealt methodically with both the 'Greek' and
'Barbaric' spheres, describing also their mythological and astrological characteristics/features.

A book quoted by Nigidius Figulus under the title of Sphaera Barbarica ("Sky-map of the Foreigners"
i.e., the Babylonians and Egyptians) gave for each of the 360° of the ecliptic the astral forecasts based on
the character of the stars "rising together" (paranatellontes).

Appendix 4: Daivajna Varāhamihira and the Sphaera Indica

Daivajna Varāhamihira (505-587 CE) was an Indian astronomer, (outstanding) mathematician, and
astrologer who lived most of his life in Ujjain. The Indian sphaera is attested in Chapter 27 of the
Brhajjātaka (a treatise on astronomy and horoscopic astrology) written by Daivajna Varāhamihira.
Varāhamihira was Abū Ma'shar's unnamed influential source for information on the decans and their gods.
(Franz Boll showed that prior to the 6th-century CE knowledge of the Egyptian decans had reached India.)
Abū Ma'shar's Kitāb al-madkhal al-kabīr contains Indian material and is one of the principle conduits for
the transmission of genuine Indian astrological doctrines to the West. It contains information about Indian
terms and decans. It has been determined by David Pingree (1963 paper) that Varāhamihira's decan
descriptions are a mixture of those of the decans and horās (Vedic jyotish unit of time, the Egyptian
decans were sidereal gods of time) in the Yavanajätaka of Sphujidhvaja. Pingree also determined that
these decans and horās are misinterpretations (influenced by Śaivite iconography) of the Greco-Egyptian
pictures in a Greek manuscript translated into Sanskrit by Yavaneśvara in 149/150 CE.

Appendix 5: Aby Warburg

In the early 20th-century Germany Aby Warburg (1866–1929) and his followers Fritz Saxl (1890–1948)
and Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968) built on, and expanded, the practice of identification and classification
of motifs in images to that of using iconography as a means to understanding meaning. Panofsky codified
an influential approach to iconography in his 1939 book Studies in Iconology, where he defined particular
definitions - "iconography" (the identification of visual content) and "iconology" (the analysis of the
meaning of that content). In the USA, where Panofsky immigrated in 1931, students such as Frederick
Hartt, and Meyer Schapiro continued his ideas. In an influential 1942 article, Introduction to an
"Iconography of Mediaeval Architecture", Richard Krautheimer, another German émigré and a specialist
on early medieval churches, extended iconographical analysis to architectural forms.

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