Peitho 4 (1):235-253 (2013)

Charles McNamara
University of Minnesota
The inclusion of De astrologia in the Lucianic corpus has been disputed for centuries since it appears to defend astrological practices that Lucian elsewhere undercuts. This paper argues for Lucian’s authorship by illustrating its masterful subversion of a captatio benevolentiae and subtle rejection of Stoic astrological practices. The narrator begins the text by blaming phony astrologers and their erroneous predictions for inciting others to “denounce the stars and hate astrology” (ἄστρων τε κατηγοροῦσιν καὶ αὐτὴν ἀστρολογίην μισέουσιν, 2). The narrator assures readers that he, the knowledgeable astrologer, will correct for the “stupidity and laziness” (ἀμαθίῃ καὶ ῥαθυμίῃ, ibid.) that bring about false predictions. The narrator’s credibility quickly decays when he attempts to recast Orpheus, Bellerophon, Icarus, Daedalus, and a host of other mythological figures as Greek astrologers. Lucian’s audience would expect such far-fetched interpretations of myth from the stereotypical Stoic philosopher, a character lampooned elsewhere in the Lucianic corpus.
Keywords Lucian  astrology  astronomy  Stoicism  rhetoric
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.14746/pea.2013.1.11
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What is Ancient Philosophy?Pierre Hadot - 2002 - Harvard University Press.
Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism.Walter Burkert - 1972 - Cambridge: Mass., Harvard University Press.

View all 153 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Lucian Boia, The Scientific Mythology of Communism.Codruta Cuceu - 2006 - Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 5 (13):179-181.


Added to PP index

Total views
320 ( #32,675 of 2,506,779 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
46 ( #18,939 of 2,506,779 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes