Sextus Empiricus, Against the Professors

LCL 382: 322-323

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Sextus Empiricus




Περὶ ἀστρολογίας ἢ μαθηματικῆς πρόκειται ζητῆσαι οὔτε τῆς τελείου ἐξ ἀριθμητικῆς καὶ γεωμετρίας συνεστώσης (ἀντειρήκαμεν γὰρ πρὸς τοὺς ἀπὸ τούτων τῶν μαθημάτων) οὔτε τῆς παρὰ τοῖς περὶ Εὔδοξον καὶ Ἵππαρχον καὶ τοὺς ὁμοίους προρρητικῆς δυνάμεως, ἣν δὴ καὶ ἀστρονομίαν 2τινὲς καλοῦσι, (τήρησις γάρ ἐστιν ἐπὶ φαινομένοις ὡς γεωργία καὶ κυβερνητική, ἀφ᾿ ἧς ἔστιν αὐχμούς τε καὶ ἐπομβρίας λοιμούς τε καὶ σεισμοὺς καὶ ἄλλας τοιουτώδεις τοῦ περιέχοντος μεταβολὰς προθεσπίζειν), ἀλλὰ πρὸς γενεθλιαλογίαν, ἣν σεμνοτέροις κοσμοῦντες ὀνόμασιν οἱ Χαλδαῖοι μαθηματικοὺς καὶ ἀστρολόγους σφᾶς αὐτοὺς ἀναγορεύουσιν, ποικίλως μὲν ἐπηρεάζοντες τῷ βίῳ, μεγάλην δ᾿ ἡμῖν ἐπιτειχίζοντες δεισιδαιμονίαν, μηδὲν δὲ ἐπιτρέποντες κατὰ τὸν ὀρθὸν λόγον 3ἐνεργεῖν. καὶ τοῦτ᾿ εἰσόμεθα μικρὸν ἄνωθεν προλαβόντες περὶ τῶν συντεινόντων πρὸς τὴν ἐπισκεπτικὴν αὐτῶν μέθοδον. ἔσται δὲ ἐπιδρομικώτερον καὶ ὁλοσχερέστερον τὸ τῆς ὑφηγήσεως· τοῖς


Against The Professors

Book V

Against the Astrologers

The task before us is to inquire concerning astrology1 or the “Mathematical Art”—not the complete Art as composed of arithmetic and geometry (for we have confuted the professors of these subjects); nor yet that of prediction practised by Eudoxus and Hipparchusa and men of their kind, which some also call “astronomy” (for this, like Agriculture and2 Navigation, consists in the observation of phenomena, from which it is possible to forecast droughts and rainstorms and plagues and earthquakes and other changes in the surrounding vault of a similar character); it is rather the casting of nativities, which the Chaldeans adorn with more high-sounding titles, describing themselves as “mathematicians” and “astrologers,” treating ordinary folk with insolence in various ways, building a great bulwark of superstition against us, and allowing us to do nothing according to right reason. This we shall understand3 after we have first traced back a little the things which contribute to their method of speculation; but our exposition will be somewhat cursory and summary;

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.sextus_empiricus-against_professors.1949