Manuscripts of Greek astrological works

Looking at the calendar of Antiochus of Athens, as I was yesterday, led me to a corpus which was unfamiliar, the Catalogus codicum astrologorum graecorum.  Seven volumes of this are on Google books.

What was this series, the CCAG?  I find a splendid blog piece here by Chris Brennan on the Rediscovery of Hellenistic astrology in the modern period.  He also has a collection of PDF’s of these texts online.

The most important efforts in this area were initiated by a group of scholars in Europe towards the end of the 19th century who set out on a mission to collect, catalogue and edit all of the existing manuscripts on astrology that were written in ancient Greek during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.  This project, which was led by a Belgian scholar named Franz Cumont, took over fifty years to complete, and it entailed scouring the world’s libraries and private collections for ancient texts and manuscripts that had been copied and preserved over the long centuries since their original composition.  This project culminated in the publication of a massive twelve volume compendium called the Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum (Catalogue of the Codices of the Greek Astrologers), more commonly known simply by its acronym as the CCAG. …

This massive compendium, which was published in 12 volumes between 1898 and 1953, consists of critical editions of dozens of astrological texts and fragments which had been carefully sifted through, examined, and edited by diligent linguists and paleographers in order to produce published volumes of all of the extant Greek astrological texts from antiquity. 

This explains why the CCAG, despite its name, is more than this and contains material by Antiochus of Athens.

I can’t say that I am at all interested in astrology, ancient or modern.  But someone has to edit all this material.  It may be junk, but it is part of the literary heritage from antiquity.  It is a reminder that, as in every age, most of what is written is rubbish.


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