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Firmicus Maternus (4th century CE)

Firmicus Maternus was a fourth-century Roman astrologer and astronomer who wrote a number of astrological treatises. His most famous work is the Matheseos Libri VIII (or Mathematical Astrology), written between 334 and 337 CE. The work is a detailed and comprehensive guide to Hellenistic astrology, and it serves as an introduction to the field as well as to the ideas of the time. Firmicus Maternus’s writings have been influential in the field of astrology for centuries, and they continue to be studied today. In his work, Firmicus Maternus outlines the fundamentals of astrology, including the significance of the planets, the zodiac signs, the aspects, and the influences of the fixed stars. He also explains the role of the astrologer and the methods they can use to interpret the movements of the stars. Firmicus Maternus’s writings also provide insight into the beliefs of the time, including the idea of destiny and the role of fate in human life.

Critical Editions:

Iulii Firmici Materni Mathesos libri VIII, 2 vols., ed. W. Kroll, F. Skutsch, K. Ziegler, Teubner, Leipzig, 1897-1913 (reprinted 1968). >>

Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis, Vol. 1 >>

Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis, Vol. 2 >>


Firmicus Maternus, Ancient Astrology, Theory and Practice: Matheseos Libri VIII, trans. Jean Rhys Bram, Noyes Press, Park Ridge, New Jersey, 1975. >>

Julius Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis, ed. and trans. James Herschel Holden, American Federation of Astrologers, Tempe, Arizona, 2011. >>


Bram, Jean Rhys (trans.), Firmicus Maternus, Ancient Astrology, Theory and Practice: Matheseos Libri VIII, Noyes Press, Park Ridge, New Jersey, 1975. >>

Firmicus Maternus, The Error of the Pagan Religions, trans. Clarence A. Forbes, Newman Press, New York, NY, 1970. >>

Monat, Pierre (ed. and trans.), Firmicus Maternus, Mathesis, 3 vols., Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1992-1997. >>

Sidonius, Poems and Letters, vol. 1, trans. W. B. Anderson, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1939. >>

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