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Astrology

The prediction of events on the basis of the positions of heavenly bodies started in ancient Babylonia, but did not reach Greece until about 410 b.c. After Alexander's campaigns it spread rapidly, and from the second century b.c. it influenced the entire intellectual world until the time of Newton. Its greatest protagonist was Ptolemy (second century a.d.), whose book Tetrabiblos became the standard astrological text of the [[Middle Ages]]. Astrology still exerts enormous influence throughout the world; it is particularly prevalent in India and Ceylon. In the West it is usually taken half-seriously, but not always; in World War II Hitler and Himmler maintained regular contact with astrologers. Astrology takes three forms: (1) meteorological or astronomical phenomena are regarded as omens relating to rulers and their peoples; (2) planets are supposed to exert influences at birth as in the germination of seeds or the birth of children (such influences are commonly depicted in horosco