The Fault in our Stars: Marcus Manilius and Western Astrology

The opening page (top section) of the poem Astronomica by the Roman poet Manilius

As the Roman Empire rose, absorbing the trappings of Hellenistic culture, one writer penned the oldest surviving complete treatise on the art of astrology. Part poetics, part mathematics, Manilius’ Astronomica offers a glimpse of the core concepts and Stoic philosophy underlying both Hellenistic astrology and the beginning of modern Western science.

Capricorn: The Goatfish

Sidney Hall’s astronomical chart illustration of zodiac Capricorn. A mermaid goat forming the constellations.

The profound wisdom of Ea, the ancient “antelope of the ocean”, and the influence of rule-loving Saturn give this sign its staid and hardworking nature as the steadfast Capricorn climbs ever higher up the mountain peak of life.

Sagittarius: The Archer

Sagittarius, the archer, colored engraving by S. Hall.

Like the mutable flames of a wildfire, Sagittarius blazes through life with enthusiasm and curiosity, eschewing limits to exploration as the far-sighted Archer fixes their sights on a distant future.

Aquarius: The Water Bearer

Aquarius the water bearer, colored engraving by S. Hall.

From the flooded banks of the Nile to the brimming beaker of Science, the Water Bearer brings with it an impartial generosity and detached humanist perspective. But to reach its true potential, this fixed air sign must operate within its own structure, no matter how abstract.