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History's rulers have sought solace in the stars

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03/05/2008 12:17 PM
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History's rulers have sought solace in the stars
History's rulers have sought solace in the stars

Ever since Assurbanipal, the ancient king of Assyria, compelled his astrologers, Rammanu-Sumausar and Nabu-Musisi, to record the daily movement of the planets and used their interpretations to gain political advantage, those in power have looked to the stars for inspiration.

Augustus, Rome’s first emperor, had coins printed with the symbol of his Moon sign, Capricorn. Tiberius took advice from astrologers such as Thrasyllus of Mendes, who gained favour by correctly predicting that the emperor intended to throw him off a cliff. Juvenal recorded many powerful Romans as being “unable to appear in public, dine or bathe, without having first consulted an ephemeris”. The Emporer Claudius, however, favoured augury and banned astrologers from Rome altogether.

Rudoph II, the 16th century Holy Roman Emperor, promoted Tycho Brache, the celebrated Danish astrologer to the position of Imperial Mathematician so he could have instant access to his astrological charts. One of America’s Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, was said to have been so impressed by astrological science that he delayed the Declaration of Independence by two days so that the Moon was in Aquarius.

In 1981, the wife of Ronald Reagan turned to astrology for comfort after an attempt was made on his life. Nancy Reagan continued to use the stars to plan her husband's schedule, with Newsweek alleging that the president's every important action in the last seven years, including the Iran-Contra affair, was orchestrated by her astrologer, Joan Quigley.

Sydney Omarr, the astrologer for the Washington Post, then revealed that President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were "gung-ho" on astrology. The Philadelphia Inquirer insisted that "the signing of the U.S. Soviet treaty eliminating medium-range nuclear missiles" had occurred at 1:30pm on December 8, 1987 based on advice from an astrologer.

Closer to home, Cherie Blair attracted opprobrium when it was reported that she submitted her husband's toenail clippings to a health guru’s pendulum.

[link to www.timesonline.co.uk]