Astrology originated in ancient Babylonia and spread from there to China, India, and the West, where different but related traditions grew up. The earliest known horoscope incorporating the principles of mature astrology dates from 409 BC. In the 2nd century AD, the astronomer Claudius Ptolemy prefaced his Tetrabiblos with a defense of astrology that proved influential. After the fall of the Roman Empire, astrology declined in the Latin west but flourished in the hands of the conquerors the Eastern Empire.
In the 12th century, astrology began to prosper in Western Europe. By the end of the 17th century, however, astrology was considered a pseudoscience by almost all learned people. Not only was it opposed to the Christian doctrines of divine intervention and human free will, but also the acceptance of a greatly expanded, Sun-centered universe raised doubt about whether the heavens were created to direct changes on Earth.
Although astrology has persisted to the present day, enjoying greater popularity in some countries than in others, it has never attracted more than an occasional scientist to its ranks since the 17th century. Periods of resurgence may correspond with times of uncertainty, especially when science and technology seem unable to provide acceptable solutions to pressing problems and when many people seem to seek a more mystical and spiritual mode of understanding the world. Many contemporary works of astrology use the terminology of recent psychological theories.
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