"In a horoscope he cast in 1647 for Charles I, William Lilly, a noted English astrologer, made the following judgment: "Luna is with Antares, a violent fixed star, which is said to denote violent death, and Mars is approaching Caput Algol, which is said to denote beheading." Two years later the king's head fell on the block. "Astrology must be right," wrote the American astrologer Evangeline Adams, a claimed descendant of President John Quincy Adams, in a challenge to skeptics in 1929. "There can be no appeal from the Infinite."
From ancient times to the present day, astrology has captured the imagination — is it possible that human fate is influenced by the stars? Astrologers throughout the ages have advised the powerful, from popes to presidents to royalty, and their influence can be seen as a hidden history behind the great events of the past. In The Fated Sky, historian Benson Bobrick writes the first serious history of astrology and takes a fascinating look at its origins and impact on human events.
Astrology is the oldest of the occult sciences. It is also the origin of science itself. Astronomy, mathematics, and other disciplines arose in part to make possible the calculations necessary in casting horoscopes. In earlier times, it was a science that won the respect and allegiance of the greatest thinkers and rulers of the ancient world, and eventually claimed adherents among the great astronomers of the scientific revolution — Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton among them. Statesmen such as Churchill and de Gaulle consulted astrologers, and St. Thomas Aquinas thought astrology not incompatible with Christian doctrine. It is even said the Incas submitted to the Spanish conquistadors without a fight because their arrival coincided with an astrological prophecy. And astrology permeates our cultural consciousness, from references in the Bible and Shakespeare to expressions such as "ill-starred" or "lucky stars."
Rich in historical anecdote and astrological lore, The Fated Sky shows us that while the true power of astrology may be open to debate, the belief in its power has been — and continues to be — an enduring and intriguing influence on history and the history of ideas."