Astrologers from the medieval Islamic world envisioned history as a series of great planetary cycles. You've heard of the Great Conjunction on December 20th and the Age of Aquarius, but the medieval writers had different ideas.

According to them we are in a new age

A thread-
While the Age of Aquarius is not really a thing in the writings of medieval astrologers, they do have several techniques which divide up history into astrological ages, or world years.

One is the conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn which we discussed in our last two threads.
The others are intiha’at, fardar, dawr, and qisma which were all related to one another
The dawr are periods of 360 years stretching back to the first human, Adam. Usually calculated from the mythic date of the Great Flood, they pair a planet with a zodiac in specific order, starting with Aries and Saturn, so:


And so on
These cycles of 360 years draw their characteristics from the combination of the two.

This technique was used alongside the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions to determine the rise and fall of religions in particular.
For example, Islam emerged during the dawr of Gemini-Venus and the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Scorpio, shifting out of the air triplicity.

The horoscope presented by Mashallah ibn Athari situates Libra as rising.
From Libra in the horoscope and the dawr, Venus was attributed as the ruling planet of Islam.
Using the fixed date put forth by Abu Ma’shar and others, 2020 is the beginning of a new 360 year age.

We’ve entered the dawr of Jupiter-Libra.
According to medieval astrologers this meant:

-New forms of governance
-New styles of law
-New forms of spying
-Looser bonds of relationships
-Superficial relationships (interpreting these two points through air as a metaphor, social media as primary relationship?)
-Rise of entertainers as rulers
-Separation between ruler and people
-New sciences and arts (great buildings)
-Infidelity as a norm
-New invasions and stratagems in war

The dawr worked with the fardar to break down the ages even further.
Pingree argues the dawr and fardariyyat both were drawn from Sassanian Persian astrology where planetary periods were used as a calendar.

Given Abu Ma’shar's references to Al Hindi it is likely he was also heavily influenced by the Indian world’s vedic astrology and yugas.
The early concept is found in Mashallah and Omar al Tabari, but it is fully developed by Abu Ma’shar in his Kitab al Uluf and Kitab al milal wa-l duwal
The fardar periods have three levels, each with specific calculations associated with planets and zodiac; The Sun for example rules for 75 years and then it is broken down even further.
This system creates a narrative for world history, kingdoms, and empires with planets and zodiacs acting like chapters and paragraphs in a book.

A similar method, though with different calculations, was used to divide up an individuals life
So just as we are in the Jupiter-Libra dawr, the US is going to shift into the Taurus fardar in 2022 for around a decade which medieval astrologers interpreted as:

-Increased material possessions
-Foods and resource shortages
-Women in positions of power
-Singers as rulers and religious figures
-Illness among beasts
- War between laborers and rulers

The ages were then broken down into smaller units
For historians of science and religion, they offer an interesting insight into the concept of time.

We often think of premodern people as believing the world was only a couple thousand years old, but here we see a deep historical imagination stretching tens of thousands of year
and imagining tens of thousands of years into the future...

We see a history of great cycles within cycles

We can also trace the intellectual influences coming in from Indian and Persian sources combining with Greek horoscopic astrology.
Not to mention the exact and complicated calculations used at every level to break down history into tens of thousands, thousands, centuries, and decades of years.
For those interested, I dive deeper into astrology from the Islamic world with an episode on how it was used to build cities in the medieval world from Baghdad to Cairo and will be releasing a piece on Mashallah detailing his theory even further! 
I’ll cover astrology and Islamic history in future threads.
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