eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2022): 0.2
PDF | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2012.4.04

S. Mohammad Mozaffari

This paper is based on the assumption that the ‘egocentric perspective’ of the human mind acted as an efficient psychological factor for evolving the astrological doctrines. We adopt a psychological approach to studying the relation between historical-social events and the astrological doctrines in the medieval period. In its focus, this study deals with the two celestial phenomena observed in the Middle East from the beginning of the 14th century to that of the 15th one, where astrological interpretations or the prognostications had political, social and historical effects. The examples have been selected from the primary historical sources. They are Comet 1402 D1 and the unordinary conjunctions between Mars and Saturn. Considering them in various contexts, it is shown how those phenomena were ‘the cause of anthropocentric historical events’ such as wars, or identified as ‘the justifier of social or natural accidents’ like epidemics. The explanation of the role astrology played in such events, in particular, and its impact upon societies, in general, must be sought in the psychical effect caused by the astrological ideas on the human mind and its relation with the physical world. We conclude that as the human egocentric mind was a main cause of the formation of astrology, astrology itself penetrated into the consciousness of the human mind and objectively appeared in the physical world, and therefore conducted history in a specific direction. It is shown that this effect was so extended to give birth to the astrological history. In addition, having classified the four ways of interpreting the celestial phenomena in the ancient – medieval period (meteoro­logical/weather prognostication, natural philosophical, meteorological/atmo­pheric, astro­logical), we briefly noticed the situation of the astrological dogma in Islam and the methodological distinction between astrology and astronomy by Avicenna in that period.


Abū Mu¬āmid Ghaznawī. Kifāya al-Taclīm fi ¼ināca al-Tanjīm. [Sufficient knowledge for the art of astrology]. MS. University of Tehran, No. 1914.

Aristotle (1971) De la génération et de la corruption. J Tricot, tr. Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin.

Aristotle (1969) Physics. Hippocrates G. Apostle, tr. and com. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Avicenna/’Ibn Sīnā (1986) “Fī ’Aqsām cUlūm al-cAqlīya”. [On the classification of the rational sciences]. In Ibn Sīnā’s Tisca Rasā’il fi al-©ikma wa al-Æabīcīyāt. [The seven treatises by Avicenna on the wisdom and the natural sciences.] ©asan c½ī, ed. Beirut: Dār Qābis.
[H 1406 H]

Dorcé, C. (2002–2003) “The Tāj Al-’Azyāj of Muhyiddin Al-Maghribī: methods of computation”. Suhayl 3, 193–212.

Goldstein, B. (2004) “A prognostication based on the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in 1166 [561 AH]”. In Studies in the history of the exact sciences in honour of David Pingree, 735–757. C. Burnett et al., ed. Leiden: Brill.

Goldstein, B. (2007) Levi ben Gerson’s prognostication for the conjunction of 1345. New York: American Philosophical Society.

Gutas, D. (2003) “Medical theory and scientific method in the age of Avicenna”. In Before and after Avicenna, 145–162. D. C. Reisman and A. H. Al-Rahim, ed. Leiden, Brill.

Kennedy, E. S. and D. Pingree (1971) The astrological history of Māshā’allāh. Cambridge, MT: Harvard University Press.

Kepler, J. (1621) Epitome astronomiæ Copernicanæ. Libri V, VI and VII. Frankfurt.

Khāndmīr (1954) ©abīb al-Sīyar. 3 Vols. Tehran.

Mīrkhānd (2002) Tārīkh-i RawÞa al-¼afā. Vol. 5. J. Kiyanfar, ed. Tehran: Asātir.

Mozaffari, S. M. (2009) “Wābkanawī and the first scientific observation of an annular eclipse”. The Observatory 129, 144–146.

Neugebauer, O. (1975) A history of ancient mathematical astronomy. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer–Verlag.

Pingree, D. (1985) Astronomical works of Gregory Chioniades. Vol. 1: Zīj al-cAlā’ī. Amsterdam: Gieben.

Pingree, D. (1997) From astral omens to astrology: from Babylon to Bikanar. Roma: Instituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente.

Poincaré, H. (1913) The foundations of science. George Bruce Halsted, tr. New York and Garrison: The Science Press.

Richardson, M. J., K. L. Marsh, and R. C. Schmidt (2010) “Challenging the egocentric view of coordinated perceiving, acting, and knowing”. In The mind in context, 307–333. New York and London: Guilford Press.

Rosenthal, F. (2007) Knowledge triumphant: the concept of knowledge in Medieval Islam. Leiden: Brill.

Saliba, G. (1995) History of Arabic astronomy. New York: New York University Press.

Sarton, G. (1953) Introduction to the history of science. Vol. 2, Part 2. Baltimore: Carnegie Institute.

Seargent, D. (2009) The great comets in history. New York: Springer.

Sezgin, F. (1978) Geschichte des Arabischen Scrifttums. Vol. 6. Leiden: Brill.

Shīrāzī, QuÐb al-Dīn 1. Ikhtīyārāt-i MuÞaffarī. MS. Iran, National Library, No. 3074f. (Copied in 13–14th century AD, during the life of the author.)

Shīrāzī, QuÐb al-Dīn 2. Tufa al-Shāhiyya. MS. Iran, Parliament Library, No. 6130. (Copied at
H 730 H/AD 1329–30.)

Siyyid Muammad the Astronomer. Latā’if al-Kalām fī Akām al-’Acwām. MS. Tehran, Parliament Library, No. 6347, pp. 168–361.

Stapp, H. P. (2007) Mindful universe. Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer.

Suter, H. (1902) Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber und ihre Werke. Amsterdam, Leiden.

Tekeli, S. (1980) “Mu¬yī al-Dīn Al-Maghribī”. In Dictionary of scientific biography 9, 554–556. C. C. Gillipsie, ed. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Mu¬ammad al-Wābkanawī. Zīj-i Mu¬aqqaq-i SulÐānī. [Testified Zīj for the Patron.] MS. University of Tehran, Microfilm No. 2546.

Westerink L. (1980) “La Profession de foi de Grégoire Chioniadès”. Revue des études Byzantines 38, 233–245.

Ya¬yā al-Dīn b. Badr al-Dīn ’Anārī. Jāmic al-Qirānāt. MS. University of Tehran, No. 4883.

Yeomans, D. K. (2007) Great comets in history. California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory: accessible on http:// comets. Retrieved April 2007.

Zotti, G. and S. M. Mozaffari (2010) “Ghāzān Khān’s astronomical instruments at Maragha Observatory”. In L. Pigatto and V. Zanini, eds. Astronomy and its instruments before and after Galileo, 157–168. Padova: Cooperativa Libraria Editrice Università di Padova (CLEUP).

Back to Issue