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One such astrologer who predicted this doom was Berossus, the first official teacher of astrology, according to Seneca. In 281 BC, the Babylonian-born Berossus, Court Astrologer to the Persian king, Antiochus I, moved to the island of Kos, and opened his school of astrology with the goal of convincing Alexander’s conquering, colonizing Greeks to incorporate ancient Mesopotamian myths into the Hellenistic mindset.
The result of this hybridization of Babylonian belief and Greek education was the dissemination of Berossus’ theory that the world would end, not only through flood, but also through conflagration. The deluge myth was a popular end-of-world catastrophe story in this era, as one would expect for any civilization accustomed to the vagaries of seasonal flooding. Even the Hebrews knew of the end-of-world deluge myth, since it crossed the sands via Semitic traders who traversed the Tigris-Euphrates valley. However, the concept of conflagration was unique to Mesopotamian end-of-days myth, for only through fire and water could the world be purified.
Seneca, who had access to Berossus’ original papyrus manuscript of the Babyloniaca, which now exists only in fragments, stated that Berossus assigned a definite date to both the conflagration and deluge. When all the planets line up in Cancer, we can expect the conflagration. When all the planets align in Capricorn, we should expect the deluge. “They are zodiacal signs of