The Yavanajātaka, meaning “Nativity According to the Greeks,” is an ancient astrological text translated from Greek to Sanskrit. A critical edition and commentary on this text was published by David Pingree in 1978, who dated the text to approximately 150 C.E. (writing of the prose) and 270 C.E. (versification into Sanskrit).

Since that time, it has become generally accepted in academic circles that a transmission of Greek astrology to India occurred (as evidenced by the Yavanajātaka), which influenced indigenous Indian horoscopic astrology. These conclusions are sometimes rejected by certain practitioners of Indian astrology, who believe that their tradition dates back thousands of years, and was integrated into the ancient Vedic religion.

In recent years some scholars, such as Bill M. Mak, have contested on Pingree’s dating of the Yavanajātaka and some of the conclusions that he drew from the text, though Mak still accepts the general premise that the Yavanajātaka demonstrates that some sort of transmission did occur. Mak dates the text to between the 1st and 7th centuries CE (Mak, at 17).


Further Listening & Bibliography:

The Astrology Podcast, Episode 241, The Yavanajataka: Greek Astrology in Sanskrit?, Chris Brennan & Kenneth Miller, January 31, 2020.

Mak, Bill M., The Date and Nature of Sphujidhvada’s Yavanajātaka Reconsidered in the Light of Some Newly Discovered Materials, History of Science in South Asia 1, 2013.

Pingree, David, The Yavanajātaka of Sphujidhvada, Harvard Oriental Sciences, Cambridge, MA, 1978.


Article Information

  • Author(s): Claire Rootjes
  • Editing or additional contributions: Chris Brennan
  • Originally published: November 10, 2020
  • Last updated: November 10, 2020
  • Cite this article: Claire Rootjes, “Yavanajātaka,” The Astrology Dictionary, November 10, 2020, http://theastrologydictionary.com/y/yavanajataka/ ‎