Hephaistio of Thebes

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Hephaistio of Thebes (also called Hephaestion or Hephaistion; Greek: Ἡφαιστίων; fl. c. 415 AD) was a Late Antique astrologer of Egyptian descent who wrote a work in Greek known as the Apotelesmatics (Apotelesmatika) in the early 5th century. Much of the work appears to be an attempt to synthesize the earlier works of the 1st century astrologer Dorotheus of Sidon and the 2nd century astrologer Claudius Ptolemy. Hephaistio is seen mainly as one of the later compilers of the Hellenistic tradition of astrology since he mainly draws from earlier astrologers, including Antiochus of Athens, and he summarizes large portions of Ptolemy and Dorotheus, which is helpful to modern scholars since we have no other record of many of the authorities that he quotes.

Hephaistio's intention appears to have been to reconcile the authoritative Ptolemaic tradition with the earlier practices represented by Dorotheus of Sidon. He wrote at a time and in a place (likely Alexandria) when astrological ideas were being summarized and consolidated, after the removal of the capital of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople. His contemporaries included Paulus Alexandrinus (378 AD) and the anonymous author of the well-known Treatise on Fixed Stars (379 AD).

Although influential on later Byzantine astrologers, his work seems to have had little impact in the Arab tradition which followed.

The first two volumes of the Apotelesmatics have been translated into English (by Robert Schmidt of Project Hindsight); the third volume on Katarchic astrology (e.g., electional) is in preparation.

References[edit]

  • Apotelesmatics, Hephaistio of Thebes, Book I, [tr. Robert H. Schmidt], Project Hindsight, Greek Track Vol. XV., The Golden Hind Press (Cumberland, MD), 1994; and Book II ibid., 1998.
  • Robert Schmidt, Project Hindsight [1].
  • Late Classical Astrology: Paulus Alexandrinus and Olympiodorus (with the Scholia of later Latin Commentators). [Translated by Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum.] ARHAT, 2001.
  • From the periodical Culture and Cosmos, [2].
  • David Pingree, Hephaestionis Thebani Apotelesmaticorum libri tres, I–II. Leipzig: Teubner, 1973–1974

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