What is it that makes Alexander the Great such a unique figure in world history? Why out of so many legendary conquerors he apparently holds the most prestigious place? The obvious answer would be: because he accomplished marvelous deeds, such as no other human being has ever accomplished! At age 20 he became king of Macedonia. Under his command he led an army of 30.000 men to the ends of the then known world, into exotic and dangerous lands conquering every single one of them! Side by side with his soldiers, he fought more than one hundred battles almost never losing one! He created an empire 40 times bigger than the one he inherited - actually he formed the greatest empire ever formed by a single individual! And finally he died at the zenith of his glory not having completed the 33rd year of his life.
But apart his marvelous deeds, there is something more to Alexander. Some very unusual charisma seems to ever emanate out of this unique personality, a charisma which we can still feel today, 2300 years after! Actually, there are so many heroic and - at the same time - tragic archetypes enacted in Alexander’s saga that we tend to transform this man into a mythical figure, into a sort of Achilles! But while Achilles is probably no more than a fictitious character, a “cartoon” Alexander has been a real, “flesh and blood” person like us! I think that Alexander has been somehow transmuted in our collective unconscious into some kind of martyr, into a martyr of the human race! He was young, handsome, strong, charismatic and audacious, but still he was a mortal like us. Thus, he became a representative of our race who surpassed the threshold of human dimensions and almost reached divine domains, a man who dared to confront himself with the divine and perhaps for this reason perished.
For all of us dealing with astrology it would be obvious to ask whether the astrological chart of Alexander the Great has been preserved. Could there be, for example, any archaeological finds in Macedonia, in the fatherland of Alexander the Great, related to his horoscope? The fact is that neither in Macedonia nor in any other part of Greece have elements of that period (even remotely alluding to astrology) ever been found. Personally, I have meticulously observed hundreds and hundreds of ancient statues, urns, stelae, coins etc. - while in the same time I have read or browsed the works of hundreds of classical philosophers, dramatists, comedians etc. - and in none of them have I encountered astrological symbols or even a single word explicitly related to astrology! I am convinced that until the end of the fourth century B.C.E. astrology was not rife in Classical Greece (although it was more so in Archaic Greece, as I have suggested in another article). This astrology vacuum is rather inexplicable, because Greece lies rather close to the Middle East and to Mesopotamia, to the cradle of western astrology that is!
However, all this changed by the end of the fourth century B.C.E. due to an extraordinary event, an event that turned out to be very significant in the history of astrology: the expedition, primarily martial but to some extent also cultural, of Alexander the Great into Asia and particularly into Mesopotamia, the cradle of astrology. I should emphasize here that Alexander, being the child of a priestess and the spiritual child of the philosopher Aristotle, was not interested just in conquering nations but also in learning their culture. In point of fact, his army comprised many Greek scientists (geographers, historians, botanists, astronomers, philosophers etc.). His fervent wish was to explore, conquer and then UNITE all the people, all the countries, all the known then world! Alexander was intelligent enough to know that if he were to succeed in his cause he had to demonstrate tolerance towards the religion and the culture of each country and allow the free flow of ideas in his empire.
So, by the time Alexander’s army entered victoriously into the city of Babylon, astrology (in its non - horoscopic form) had reached full growth in Mesopotamia. The Greeks took an immediate interest in astrology. They somehow became heirs of the vast astrological notions accumulated throughout the centuries between the two great rivers. With their philosophical and inventive minds they revised those notions, they applied mathematical and geometrical principles to them and finally transformed the Mesopotamian astrology into the horoscopic astrology we know today. And it all started with Alexander the Great! Of course the promotion of astrology was not his main priority when he campaigned against the Persians in the Middle East. However, as far as we know astrology was not contrary to his beliefs.
Alexander was initiated in various mysteries so he probably had some knowledge of astrology. And as he was mostly following the local traditions he must have had astrologers in his court (the Persian kings before him habitually kept royal astrologers in the palace). Actually, we have some very tangible testimonies on Alexander’s belief in astrology, coming out not just from one but from three different sources (Plutarch, Arrian and Diodorus Siculus). Diodorus is the most descriptive of all:
“When Alexander was about to enter Babylon, the so called Chaldeans came to meet him. These Chaldeans gained much fame and glory through astrology, as they could predict - by the means of their age long observation of the stars - the future events! And the Chaldeans predicted the death of the king in Babylon”2. Now, as all historians account, Alexander took very seriously into consideration this prediction, as if he really believed in astrology! Thus, I am fairly sure that he kept astrologers in his court, astrologers which cast the “chart” of Alexander and consequently passed on his planetary positions to other astrologers too. The astrological identity of this supreme blonde conqueror that came from the west must have been a matter of prime interest among the Babylonian - Persian astrologers of the time. However, to date no “Alexander’s Perso- Babylonian chart” has been found.
The fake Alexander’s charts and the quest for his true birth date
Not having in our disposition a "first hand" chart of Alexander the Great we must necessarily turn our attention to any available "second hand" ones. Two such alleged Alexander’s charts were published in the 17th century. The first one was cast in 1652 by the Italian Andrea Argolo (the so-called "little Ptolemy"). On it we can read: "Genitura Alexandri Magni, 12 Augusti 355 Anno Christum, 16:40 P.M.". From the very first moment I laid my eyes on this chart I fervently sought to verify the planetary positions displayed on it. As soon as I found the means to do so, I noticed that the planetary positions in this chart are generally correct (there is only a deviation in the zodiac positions of the Moon and Mercury). This however cannot be the genuine chart of Alexander, because we are quite sure that he was born in 356 B.C.E. and not in 355 B.C.E..
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Thomas D. Gazis