A brief history of Greek Astrology – Modern period
We all know that astrology flourished in ancient Greece, particularly in the so called Hellenistic period. The legacy of the ancient Greeks was subsequently passed to the Byzantines (whom we could define as “the Middle Ages Greeks”). Although the church was fiercely opposing the astrology then, the celestial art survived for a thousand years in Byzantium. And not only survived but bred some excellent astrologers too, like Rhetorius or Stephen the philosopher. Even certain prominent Byzantine politicians (like Prime-Minister Michael Psellos) were actually astrologers!
In 1453 Byzantium fell to the Turks. For almost 4 centuries Greece remained under Turkish rule. Astrology was not practiced much during this period. And when Greece was liberated in 1821 astrology was long forgotten. Consider the fact that in the early 1930’s some Greek newspapers were reporting astrology as “a magic art practiced by natives in Africa”!
In 1936 the German-raised Greek engineer Peter Gravinger wrote a book entitled “Praktikon Enchiridion Astrologias” (“Practical Handbook of Astrology”), much advanced for those days and largely unnoticed. It would be in the early 1950’s before we began to see Sun-sign forecasts appearing in some popular magazines and newspapers.
But the true revival of astrology in Greece came about through the efforts of a lady named Maria Metallinou (1928 – 1974). In her youth she had become interested in astrology and maintained that interest through her polytechnic studies in northern Europe. She and her collaborator Theodora Dakou (b. 1942) took lessons with the Faculty of Astrological Studies, having as their tutor the legendary Charles. E.O. Carter.
As Metallinou and Dakou possessed no ephemeris on those days (middle 60’s) they contacted the director of the Athens Astronomical Observatory, Konstantinos S. Chasapes. Doctor Chasapes (1914 -1972), who had a secret flair for astrology, assisted them much with their astrological calculations and interpretations!
In 1969 Metallinou founded “Oroskopio”, the first astrological magazine in Greece. However, her untimely death caused the magazine’s demise. Subsequently, Theodora Dakou founded the “Ouranos Astrological Society” and in 1975 she published a quality astrology magazine named “Ouranos”, that lasted until 1982. In 1980 she organized a pan-Mediterranean (F.I.M.A.) astrology conference in Athens.
In recent years astrologers Thomas Gazis and Maro Ioannidou organized two international conferences in Greece (Astromykonos 2000, featuring Robert Hand, and Astromykonos 2001, feauturing Noel Tyl and Elizabeth Teissier). They also originated the idea (together with the Spanish astrologer Ernesto Cordero) for the formation of the F.A.E.S. (South European Astrology Confederation), which they promoted with other South-European colleagues. Thomas Gazis has written two astrology books and has extensively lectured in Europe.
Another key figure in modern Greek astrology is a lady, Despina Giannakopoulou. She has substantially supported quality astrology in Greece and is actually doing an excellent job on ancient Greek astrology. She has authored five quality astrology books.
Today there are many “light” astrology magazines being published in Greece but none of quality. Commercial astrologers – psychics are over-dominating the scene, leaving very little room for quality astrology. The fact that no formal Federation of Greek astrologers has yet been established says it all!
(This excerpt was written by Thomas Gazis. It has been included – in a shorter and edited version – in Jame’s H. Holden book “A History of Horoscopic Astrology”).