is an ancient text in Indian astrology.
It is a later versification of an earlier translation into Sanskrit of a Greek text, thought to have been written around 120 BCE in Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...
, on horoscopy. The original translation, made in 149–150 CE by "Yavanesvara
Yavaneśvara, Sanskrit for "Lord" "of the Greeks" , was a man who lived in the Gujarat region of India under the rule of the Western Kshatrapa Saka king Rudrakarman I....
" ("Lord of the Greeks") under the rule of the Western Kshatrapa king Rudrakarman I, is lost. Only a substantial portion of the versification 120 years later by Sphujidhvaja under Rudrasena II has survived.
It is the earliest Sanskrit work in horoscopy. It was followed by other works of Western origin which greatly influenced Indian astrology: the Paulisa Siddhanta
The Paulisa Siddhanta refers to multiple Indian astronomical treatises, at least one of which is based on a Western source. "Siddhanta" literally means "Doctrine" or "Tradition"....
("Doctrine of Paul"), and the Romaka Siddhanta
The Romaka Siddhanta is an Indian astronomical treatise, based on the astronomical learning of Byzantine Rome...
("Doctrine of the Romans").
The last verses of the text describe the role of Yavanasvera in the creation of the text, and the role of Sphujidhvaja in its subsequent versification:
- "Previously Yavanesvara (the lord of the Greeks), whose vision of the truth came by favor of the Sun and whose language is flawless, translated this ocean of words, this jewel-mine of horoscopy, which was guarded by its being written in his tongue (i.e., Greek), but the truth of which was seen by the foremost of kings (in the year) 71; (he translated) this science of genethlialogy for the instruction of the world by means of excellent words." (Chapter 79/60-61 The Yavanajataka of Sphujidhvaja)
- "There was a wise king named Sphujidhvaja who versified this entire (text), which was seen by him in the year 191, in 4,000 indravajra verses." (Chapter 79/62 The Yavanajataka of Sphujidhvaja)
The dates employed in the Yavanajataka are based on the Saka era (see Chapter 79/14 "When 66 years of the Sakas have elapsed..."), meaning that the translation of the text into Sanskrit was made by Yavanasvera in 149 CE
Year 149 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Scipio and Priscus...
(year 71 of the Saka era, which starts in 78 CE). Accordingly, the versification by Sphujidhvaja was made in 269 CE
Year 269 was a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Claudius and Paternus...
The Yavanajataka contains instructions on calculating astrological charts (horoscope
In astrology, a horoscope is a chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, the astrological aspects, and sensitive angles at the time of an event, such as the moment of a person's birth. The word horoscope is derived from Greek words meaning "a look at the hours" In...
s) from the time and place of one's birth. Astrology flourished in the Hellenistic world (particularly Alexandria) and the Yavanajataka reflects astrological techniques developed in the Greek-speaking world. Astronomical mathematical methods, such as the calculate of the 'horoskopos' (zodiac sign on the eastern horizon) was used in the service of astrology.