Firmicus Maternus's defense of astrology

Look how in one part of his work [Plotinus] attacks the power of the necessity of fate--quite foolishly and carelessly it seems to me--and he forcefully rebukes people who fear the decrees of Fortune. He grants no power to the stars, and he offers no necessity to fate, but says that everything is within our power...
And look how, when he was secure in his impudent rashness, the power of fate compelled everything: first his limbs became stiff from a chilling and torpor in his blood, and the sharpness of his eyes slowly lost their clarity as the light in them failed. After this, his whole skin erupted in a pestilence fed by malignant humors, so that his putrid body melted away into death with soured blood, failing limbs. Every day and every hour small parts of his viscera were dissolved by the creeping disease, and what was seen as intact one moment was deformed the next by the ulceration destroying his body. Thus corrupted and dissolved in appearance, the whole shape of his body fallen apart, all that remained in the--so to speak--dead body was the mind so that, being destroyed by the horrible progressing disease, he was convinced by his own torments and by the authority of true reason to see the force and power of fate. Thus broken and with a mangled, destroyed body, he received the sentence passed by Fortune. - Mathesis 1.18-21

If Saturn makes people prudent, serious, slow, greedy, and quiet, and Jupiter mature, good, kind, and moderate ... why are some groups constituted so as to have particular common characteristics? The Scythians alone attack with beastly and savage cruelty, the Italians show an ever-noble regality and glory, the Gauls are thick, the Greeks effeminate, Africans cunning, Syrians greedy, Sicilians sharp-witted, Asians always preoccupied with luxurious pleasures, and Spaniards foolish with ridiculous boastfulness. - Mathesis 1.2.2-3

-- translations from Lehoux's "Tomorrow's News Today: Astrology, Fate, and the Way Out"
Written on September 4, 2009