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Gehrz Translation of Valens
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I printed out Riley's on-line version for easier access. He is an authority on Valens and Ptolemy so I hope there's some chance of this coming out as a publication with some footnotes.
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Paul
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Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Is there a way to contact Riley? He must have been in touch with Dave?


I actually recently emailed Mark Riley about something and he was really prompt in coming back to me, which is really incredibly kind of him, so you possibly have a chance of reaching out to him and seeing if there's any more information on this or if he knows any more about it.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A note on translations:

Today I found some time to carefully compare passages in Volume 7 between Schmidt and Gehrz. There is no doubt that Schmidt's translation is vastly superior and also includes copious notes and references. I think Andrea Gherz may have started out fairly well with the first book or two which contained basic concepts. But in Book 7 she seems to have lost her way. In many places she doesn't seem able to skillfully translate the Greek in order to form sentences with cohesive meanings. Perhaps in her inexperience she realized this and began placing a decimal (.1) after titles, indicating a first try at translation.

Anyway I can't thank my lucky stars enough to have purchased each Schmidt volume as it was published in the 1990s. (A mere $15 for each volume...) Book 7 was published in 2001; It's puzzling that Robert Schmidt hasn't finished the translation with Books 8 and 9. He has mentioned that these early translations were provisional, so perhaps he felt that he had to start all over again, and enough time and energy were never found for the work. But fortunately we have the Riley translation. I plan to email him soon to ask about Dave Roell's work on a hard copy.
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Zagata



Joined: 15 Dec 2011
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Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Therese,

Thank you for your post. Even though Book VII by Valens is one of the most difficult/cryptic ones, there are many examples he presents, which allow the diligent student to somewhat read between the lines as to how the method is to be used. In addition, Schmidt's copious footnotes preface and synopsis are, as always, invaluable.

Contrary to this, in the chapters 29-30 in Book II, which I mentioned, there is no exemplified chart.

The point is, this is already Book VII by the same author, and thus one is supposed to find it easier to translate the author's writings. Based on what you say, the fact that Gehrz is having difficulty, even with the many examples given, is perhaps as you say due to her inexperience.

On the other hand, this should serve as a strong reminder about the vast differences, as well as the level of complexity, between the modern and ancient astrological branches, for if an experienced modern practitioner cannot translate Valens properly, what hope is there for those of her psychologically based readers to understand one of the most important astrological texts?
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good points, Zagata.

I'm not sure whom you mean by "psychologically based readers." As you know, modern astrology includes modern psychological astrology, evolutionary astrology, past-lives astrology, &c &c; but a lot of modern astrologers are more restrained, pragmatic, and classical in orientation.

Further, "psychological astrology" increasingly seems to mean adherence to Carl Jung. But he is no longer taught in comprehensive university psychology departments in the US and Canada, except in historical perspective. North American academic psychology today is more clinically based, and moving ever closer to neuroscience.

This leaves Jung to be taught in specialized institutes, or in other kinds of academic departments besides psychology. I really think Jung belongs with the humanities disciplines, not with the social and behavioural sciences.

Due to an interest in the history of ancient astrology, I've read the Riley translation several times, but I would never call myself a "psychological astrologer."
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is an example of what I mean when I say that Gehrz seems to have trouble comprehending concepts:

Schmidt VII.19, p. 63 (The Anthology, Book VII)
"In the 48th year there was gravest sorrow, as the native beheld the death of an affectionate child, and in the same year also the death of the mother. The Virgin and the Balance were signifying, then, because they have equal ascensions--8 years from the Balance, 40 from the Virgin;" (Schmidt includes a half page of notes with this chart.)

Gehrz VII (Vettius Valens of Antioch, 7.1) (No page numbers or chart identification number!)
"In the 48th year there was great depression and grief accompanied by the tender affection of a child. There was also a wondrous contemplation of death between the mother and herself. This was significant. Virgo and Libra are of the same ascensional time, Libra year 8, Virgo 40..."

Visually Gherz's layout is more pleasing (but certainly doesn't make up for the decimation of concepts). It's easier to quickly grasp the planetary placements as her hand drawn charts are circular, and she uses modern terminology neatly laid out in a column beside the charts:

Sun, Mercury in Capricorn
Moon, Saturn in Sagittarius
Jupiter in Cancer
etc.

Schmidt makes us think a little as the planetary placements are in condensed paragraph form in Hellenistic terminology: Sun, Hermes in the Goat-Horned One; Moon, Kronos in the Archer; Zeus in the Crab;....and so on. But this allows the reader to have a sense of the Hellenistic aura (for lack of a better word).

It would be interesting if someone could add the Riley translation here for a three way comparison. My computer of a certain age doesn't handle long pdfs well, and I couldn't get a Riley printout in a readable font.
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese

Riley p.133
Quote:

In his 48th year he saw the death of his beloved son, a very great sorrow, and in the same year the death of his mother. Virgo and Libra indicated this because of their equal rising times <40>: 8 years for Libra <Venus> plus 40 for Virgo total 48

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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Paul. The differences between Riley and Schmidt are interesting as the Riley translation points to a more personal loss. Gehrz misses. So it would really be helpful to have Riley published in a good hard copy edition.
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waybread



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Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be nice to see comments on the 3 translations from someone fluent in ancient Greek. Therese, have you got such a background? I sure don't.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My language studies were limited to French and Spanish, and a little German. But reading the different Valens translations of even a sentence or two shows us that translating an ancient language is a fine art. Even a change in verb is significant. Translation isn't simply finding words in a dictionary and putting them together in a sentence which Andrea Gherz seems to have done on occasion. Nevertheless we have to applaud her efforts. But why, when we have Riley and Schmidt? And now perhaps Gramaglia.
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Konrad



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Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Greek, the section reads: τῳ μηʹ ἐτει πενθος βαρυτατον τεκνου φιλοστοργου θανατον θεασαμενος, ἐν δε τῳ αὐτῳ και μητρος. tō mē etei penthos barutaton teknou philostorgou thanaton theasamenos, en de tō autō kai mētros.

Riley and Schmidt only really differ in the rendering of the adjective φιλοστοργου - Riley has taken it to show the native's affection, Schmidt the child's.

In Gehrz's case, she has taken the noun θανατον ('death') and the participle θεασαμενος ('seeing') to be separate from the part about the child, which is odd for two reasons: first, Pingree has supplied a comma in the critical edition showing where he thinks the sentence should be broken up. Second, and more importantly, the participle is in the masculine nominative, and it looks like Gehrz thinks that μητρος is also in the nominative (the -os endings are nominative for most masculine and some neuter nouns, the nominative of 'mother' is μήτηρ mētēr), so the contemplation (or, more typically, the seeing) is the native seeing the death of both the child and the mother, rather than the mother contemplating her own death (which is an odd thing to think when the chart is of the woman's son, and not the woman). This error is compounded by the fact that the participle is in the masculine, and 'mother' is grammatically feminine, so its participle would read θεασαμένη theasamenē. Even the 'and herself' of Gehrz is based on a pretty basic misunderstanding of the Greek. It reads ἐν δε τῳ αὐτῳ (literally 'and in/during the same'), αὐτῳ referring back to the 48th year (αὐτῳ is the dative form of the pronoun αὐτός , and when it takes the article it means 'the same'). The issue is that Gehrz ignores the article and translates it as 'herself'. A bigger mistake is that αὐτῳ is masculine, the feminine form is αὐτῇ autē, so I don't see why she would connect it with 'mother'. All in all, it is a pretty bad translation.
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Konrad wrote:
All in all, it is a pretty bad translation.


Here, here, and here, we discussed some passages of the Gehrz translation (paraphrase? interpretation? rewriting?) of Valens's Book I, and the conclusions weren't very favorable. The observations made there are still valid, and so are Konrad's acute remark here. In other words, the concerns still prevail and the question arises whether Gehrz's work is a legitimate rendering of anything by Valens. If you ask me, my answer is a definite "no".

I also want to remark that translating old astrological texts is an arduous task. Most aspects worthy of consideration have been related by Stephan Heilen in two papers:

"Problems in translating ancient Greek astrological texts." In Writings of Early Scholars in the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece: Translating Ancient Scientific Texts, eds. Annette Imhausen and Tanja
Pommerening, 299–329. Berlin/New York: 2010. (Google Books preview here)

"Translating Greco-Roman Astrological Texts: The Horoscope of Hadrian by Antigonus of Nicaea." In Translating Writings of Early Scholars in the Ancient Near East, Egypt, Greece and Rome: Methodological Aspects with Examples, eds. Annette Imhausen and Tanja Pommerening, 507–569. Berlin/Boston: 2016. (Google Books preview here)

I think without the awareness of the issues raised in these papers and a clear methodological strategy, it's risky (and somewhat foolish) to produce so-called translations.
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waybread



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Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm impressed. Thanks to you both.

I understand that ancient Greek wasn't punctuated, so there are judgement calls (and probably conventions) in how to break up long lines of text.

It would be interesting to get Andrea Gehrz on this thread to defend her translations.

I'll see if I can get the articles by Stephan Heilan. I have access to on-line journal articles via a university library; but unfortunately a lot of scholarship on astrology is published in limited edition edited volumes.
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