Astronomy, Astrology, and Medicine

  • Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum
Reference work entry


Astronomy and astrology were combined with medicine for thousands of years. Beginning in Mesopotamia in the second millennium BCE and continuing into the eighteenth century, medical practitioners used astronomy/astrology as an important part of diagnosis and prescription. Throughout this time frame, scientists cited the similarities between medicine and astrology, in addition to combining the two in practice. Hippocrates and Galen based medical theories on the relationship between heavenly bodies and human bodies. In an enduring cultural phenomenon, parts of the body as well as diseases were linked to zodiac signs and planets. In Renaissance universities, astronomy and astrology were studied by students of medicine. History records a long tradition of astrologer-physicians. This chapter covers the topic of astronomy, astrology, and medicine from the Old Babylonian period to the Enlightenment.


Celestial Body Medieval Period Moon Phase Heavenly Body Late Antiquity 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wales, Trinity Saint DavidLampeter, WalesUK

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