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Aspect doctrine in ancient astrology
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petosiris



Joined: 08 Oct 2017
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Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The astrologers casting horoscopes without degrees and the authors describing only sign-based aspects, either by choice or necessity or ignorance, obviously didn't perceive any problem here.


That is what I meant with my first post, although I doubt it will be heard.
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petosiris



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Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I’m totally up for that as long as time permits, but ultimately we’re both likely to walk away not convincing one another, I’m not going to even bother trying.


You are in for a disappointment if you thought you were going to be able to persuade someone that has a bias blind spot that easily. Such a person would need a great amount of good fortune, an even then it would be transitory, or attractive of fools. Then the rational person either accepts this fate or becomes misanthropic and suffering.

But you do not need to suffer for the truth (if you are right). After all, the other side is the losing one. Be happy that you figured something out when others have failed and do not believe you. The people in the dark have no idea what they are stumbling over.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,

Interesting how this topic morphed from aspects to houses before I even got a chance to chime in... Talk about thread drift! Laughing

Well, that's generally cool with me, so first of all, I will say that I think your definition of a house system as a static framework of reference - as opposed to the dynamism of the zodiac with its ceaseless motion - is a very astute one. This ties in with the old idea that the houses were somehow linked to the outermost sphere of the Aristotelian Universe, the one that was attributed to the 'unmoved mover'.

The epithome of that line of thinking would be the classical system of twelve equal houses starting from the ASC, which was previously more or less generally assumed to have been the prevalent one in antiquity, especially by the German researchers of astrological history. While we understand today that things in truth were certainly a little more complex, we do find explanations of that system in some of the most influential classical authors (Ptolemy, Valens, Firmicus Maternus), which is more than what can be said of WSH. - Although I am well aware of the extant practical examples for the latter, i (just like you) nonetheless consider it more of a common 'ad hoc' method, in want of more accurate calculations being readily available at the time.

I believe I have heard all the arguments in opposition to that view by now, and (again much like you) I just don't have the time and energy to enter another extensive and fruitless discussion about the topic. So please be free to use whatever house system you feel comfortable with, fellow astrologers, you do have my blessing! Laughing

What I haven't heard so far, however, is a philosophical (or astrosophical) rationale for WSH! Historical research is fine as far as it informs and expands our understanding and application of astrology, but I feel it's time the discussion shifts from hair-splitting argumentation over the validity of this or that interpretation to a demonstration of the relevance a particular approach might actually have for today's astrologer (traditionalist or not).

For there has been already much discussion of the principles underlying the various systems of equal and unequal, time- and space-based (etc) methods of house division, but what remains to be seen is if the adamant supporters of WSH have to offer more than a bunch of sketchy chart samples from the remote past, combined with a dismissal of the things the textbooks of the time actually were actually teaching.

Now the topic of the ancients' take on aspects is obviously related with this topic of the houses. Even though it has its own intricacies. Who knows, maybe we are yet going to talk about it, after all. Confused
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petosiris



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Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What I haven't heard so far, however, is a philosophical (or astrosophical) rationale for WSH!


I haven't either, but I put forward one myself on the previous page. It is the only reason I even bothered with a reply. Did you bother to read it?

David Cochrane, a modern astrologer, also noted the affinity of the sidereal zodiac with whole sign houses - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgS_iMS7Cr0

An antistellar astrologer would not be able to see the meaning and coherency of the place, represented by the material boundaries of the image.

Other considerations have been put forward, for example the zodiacal configurations (schema) of each place to place, or the counting of houses from any point. But these, appear to me, side factors of the relations of the currently neglected signs. Manilius' work treats of them exclusively, while modern astrologers have went to great length to diminish their usage to ''background''. It would be a miracle if someone made a post on that matter.

This fascination with the rising and culminating twelfth-parts might be older than the Greek astrology, if we are to trust the usage of decans by some authors. Note that the decans were originally based on the same principle - stellar clusters occupying specific spaces. Whether the first part of the cluster or the middle or the last portion of the cluster arises, the deduction would be the same. The same would be judged of the degrees and minutes of the Myriogenesis, each portion should be looked at its own fatalistic terms.
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, let me first reply to some points you raised.

Paul wrote:
It is curious to me that my own reading of Manilius, and indeed others, seems to be the same as what BL describes here. That the houses and signs are independent, the houses static, the signs moving through them not defining them, but passing influence from one another.


Bouché-Leclercq, publishing his book in 1899, is a representative of early, partly outdated scholarship. You see that he misses acknowledging that the word hōroscopos may also stand for the ascending sign itself, don't you? Or that the word kentron may also denote the angular signs, not just rising, setting, culminating and anti-culminating degrees? Or that he was unable to recognize, which is perfectly understandable at the end of the 19th century, that the relevant extant horoscopes didn't use any sort of domification, only house meanings superimposed on the signs? (At the same time, you've certainly checked the modern references I gave, haven't you? Let me add Wolfgang Hübner's monograph on the subject, Die Dodekatropos des Manilius (Manil. 2,856–970).)

But, regarding the basic claims, I can agree both with BL and you. The horizon tinges the zodiacal sections close to it with 1st and 7th-house meanings, no matter what "house system" one uses. In this respect, the houses are static indeed while the signs rotate.

Paul wrote:
Nowhere in reading that section do I get the sense that he means by "horoscope" anything other than the point of the ascendant, certainly I don't think he means sign. Do you?


I think it is ambiguous; it depends what one wants to see. For me both interpretations are acceptable. This is what I really want to say: the poetic description of the pivots, quadrants, and houses allow different interpretations, from more literal ones (like yours) leading to the assumption of some sort of locally fixed quadrant system to ones that say the description is mostly symbolic and not necessarily correct in its minute astronomical details. This latter is what I claim; after all, even basic astrological concepts are idealistic approximations: the signs represent the ideal month and the degrees the ideal days, although neither is astronomically correct - and the same could be told about virtually everything else.

On the other hand, there are the two passages quoted earlier that imply that Manilius meant signs as houses. If someone takes the choice of words rigorously, which reading is based on a comparison with the usage of other authors, then it only allows the symbolic interpretation; which I do. You seem to have chosen a different approach, that is, that it is not whole signs that are dyed with house meanings but fractions; which I find quite stretched, but you may consider the symbolic interpretation of the whole description equally stretched. This would lead to a standoff.

Now, for a moment, let's assume that you are right, and Manilius intended to describe a quadrant system. But could he have computed one? I believe the answer is a definite "no," and I'll tell why.

In the first century CE, when an astrologer wanted to ascertain the ascending sign, if he knew the rising times (and most of the astrologers keep repeating them so that no-one could forget them), a gnomon or a not-too-imprecise waterclock or, on starry nights, even direct observation could yield acceptable results. If he wanted to ascertain it down to the degree, then there were sort of rule of thumb simple and not too precise arithmetic ways. If he wanted to take the meridian-MC by degree, this imprecision grew even further. (Computations like these can be found in Valens and Paulus, and if you check them, you'll see their limits.)

Of the 65 or so extant first-century horoscopes, seven calculate the ascendant to the degree. Of these, two are from Antigonus of Nicaea (writing not earlier than the late 2nd century) and two from Valens, which might have been calculated later; three are embedded in original documents. Fourteen first-century horoscopes indicate the sign of the midheaven (or the lower midheaven or both), including one original document giving the ascendant degree but only the midheaven sign; however, the sign is without exception the one in right quadrature with the ascendant. The degree of the midheaven is given only in a dozen or so horoscopes from the 1st century BCE to the 4th century CE, a third of which has imprecise or utterly wrong data.

For calculating "equal" houses, one needs the degree of the ascendant. It seems that the minority of the practicing astrologers bothered even with this calculation, except the astrologers casting so-called "deluxe" horoscopes. Neither did "15-degree rule" Dorotheus and "equal-houses promoter" Firmicus Maternus, who were both happy to use whole signs when it came to houses. "Archetypical practicing astrologer and also equal-houses promoter" Vettius Valens, the winner of the competition with his 120+ horoscopes, took up the arduous task to compute or at least publish the degree of the ascendant in five (!) cases. So even if the "equal" system(s) were originally introduced by His Thrice-Greatness, His Majesty the Wise or His Holiness of the Egyptians, when it meant labor, few astrologers were ready to make calculations; which suggests they were happy with whole signs, no matter they were philosophically (astrosophically, toposophically) sound or not.

If an astrologer is so adventurous that he wants to use a quadrant system of an easier type, that is, which slices up the quadrants on the ecliptic, he also needed the degree of the midheaven. As the numbers suggest, very few astrologers thought it was important. Even Valens, who describes Orion's system of trisecting the quadrants and who emphasizes the 10th- and 4th-house meanings of the meridian-MC and IC, gives the value only three times, of which one (Hor. gr. nat. 75.VII.19 in Val. 3.5.6-10) is fairly imprecise, and in a fourth case the degree of the MC is only implied, whereas no degrees whatsoever are given.

Ptolemy published his astronomical and astrological theories, including tables calculated using advanced methods for climes, right and oblique ascensions, in the second century. Gradually, his ideas were accepted: by the fifth century, planetary longitudes and degrees of the ascendant and the midheaven had been computed with the aid of his tables. It is probably not a coincidence the first full-fledged quadrant systems were expounded by Ptolemy's commentators, Pancharius (in the third or fourth century) and "Rhetorius" (if it was him; who knows, maybe in the fifth century). It was also Ptolemy's tables that enabled the author of the known form of Hor. gr. nat. 428.IX.8 to calculate the "Alchabitius" houses: you just do some simple arithmetics, and you'll get nice results.

Ptolemy's tables were calculated using the so-called Menelaus theorem, which was either developed by Menelaus of Alexandria around 100 CE or somewhat earlier. Actually, this theorem made the spherical trigonometry of the upcoming nine centuries possible. Perhaps there were a few forgotten astrologers who made tiresome calculations for quadrant houses in single horoscope or for constructing tables, but available historical data shows the spread of "house systems" from about 800 CE onward, probably not independently from the fact that around this time was Ptolemy's astronomy and astrology rediscovered.

So, can a first-century astrologer be imagined as someone making exhausting calculations? The answer, theoretically, is a "maybe" (provided the Menelaus theorem was available); however, historical data suggest that astrologers of this era were by far lazier. For me, a Manilius-like figure, who mixes System A data with System B data, uses the climes of Babylon, Alexandria, and Rome indiscriminately, and so on - and, alas, the majority of the Hellenistic astrologers was this sort of folks -, is more similar to an averagely informed modern astrologer who knows what buttons to press toget the horoscope but has very limited astronomical knowledge than to someone who not only knows exactly where the north is found (there was no polar star that time) but can visualize position circles dividing the prime vertical, or, Thot forbid!, even calculate them.

For my part, the debate on "house system issues in Hellenistic astrology" is over for forever. I've used all the relevant historical data from extant horoscopes, writings published and unpublished but available to me, the applicable philological, historical, and astronomical arguments drawn from these sources in this and previous threads, and I really don't have anything more to say.

So, Paul, if you feel like, after a little break, we can return to the titular topic of the thread.
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Paul
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Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Levente Laszlo wrote:

Bouché-Leclercq, publishing his book in 1899, is a representative of early, partly outdated scholarship.


Which is why I said as much when I introduced him. In some cases though he wasn't outdated. I introduce him to demonstrate that it's obviously not about being proficient at Latin and all coming to the same conclusion. I chose him cos he explicitly quotes this part of Manilius and comes to a different conclusion - ie. I'm not alone in saying this and it's not therefore because of lack of awareness of the original translation.

Quote:
At the same time, you've certainly checked the modern references I gave, haven't you? Let me add Wolfgang Hübner's monograph on the subject, Die Dodekatropos des Manilius (Manil. 2,856–970).)


Nope. It's entirely possible you're not reading my posts fully or not understanding them. I've said multiple times now what my intentions are here and, equally importantly what it is not. My intention is not to enter into some debate nor to prove anything nor to open some grander investigation or study. With respect you asked how I could think these things. My posts here are purely an attempt to answer that question. I don't speak German but I'm already familiar with some of your references. Some of them are not accessible to me because I don't speak German and a lot of material is in German. I've tried to find some of those references in English and can't.

But hey ho, as I say, I'm not here to debate nor to change anyone's opinions. Only to offer my own and listen to other people's.

Paul wrote:

I think it is ambiguous; it depends what one wants to see. For me both interpretations are acceptable.


You mean when he talks about a point and arcs between one cardinal point and another you think he might really mean signs? I think there's absolutely no reason to think that, he clearly just means the points in this section. Whether he applies that to the houses is another matter, but in this section you really think by cardinal point he might actually mean sign?

Quote:
not necessarily correct in its minute astronomical details. This latter is what I claim; after all, even basic astrological concepts are idealistic approximations: the signs represent the ideal month and the degrees the ideal days, although neither is astronomically correct - and the same could be told about virtually everything else.


Right but then this poetic description also applies to the evidence of whole sign houses, which is, no pun intended, hinged and pivoted around the occasional use of the word sign in later depictions of the houses, whilst in the section explicitly describing houses he's more clear and visual-astronomical in description.

Quote:
On the other hand, there are the two passages quoted earlier that imply that Manilius meant signs as houses


Or else this is where the poetry came in.

Quote:
If someone takes the choice of words rigorously, which reading is based on a comparison with the usage of other authors, then it only allows the symbolic interpretation; which I do.


This is the problem I run into when discussing the use of houses amongst ancient astrologers. If I focus on any one author it's a case of "well all the others ones did this instead". But actually I'd like to first go through each one one at a time. Let's not worry about any other authors. Let's imagine we only have Manilius - the question is what evidence of whole signs is available here. Then we can do another author. It's entirely possible everyone else but Manilius used whole sign houses for example and Manilius, whose influence is much less than others, did his own thing. Or else that there was more than one tradition.

I'd rather just take Manilius for now.

Quote:
You seem to have chosen a different approach, that is, that it is not whole signs that are dyed with house meanings but fractions; which I find quite stretched, but you may consider the symbolic interpretation of the whole description equally stretched. This would lead to a standoff.


Well I may not have explained this well, but actually I'm open to either interpretation. The point is more obvious with the tenth house. If say the MC falls in the ninth sign, then I think that actually the quadrant house system that someone like Manilius (as I read him) employs is one that says that actually the 10th begins in the 9th sign, and then it's ambiguous (to me) the details of how Manilius employs that (if at all) in practice. Perhaps the entire sign is coloured/dyed by the MC - certainly I can read that interpretation of Manilius and I think there's evidence that this may be the case. He doesn't talk about fractions or portions of the sign. I'm inclined to believe this is more likely personally, but I'm also open to the idea he may just means a portion, but this is not so clear to me at this point in time. In the past I've described my viewpoint as being that it's like the sign has a whole sign conjunction with a given house cusp or point and is coloured by the influence of that house cusp.
I've been advised against saying whole sign conjunction because it may have other connotations I don't mean to intend, so I'm now trying to find another way of putting this. I probably haven't explained myself well here to be honest.

Quote:
But could he have computed one? I believe the answer is a definite "no," and I'll tell why.


Of course he could, one only needs to use either the ascending times to create a crude quadrant house system, or else do something fairly straightforward like porphyry or else Campanus can be computed fairly easily with ancient tools. Manilius already tells us (and does some fluffing around) of the formulae for the ascensional times.

Now I think from some of your points you're implying that he couldn't do a quadrant division accurately - well I'm not implying he did it accurately or to the accuracy we can today. The question is what he was intending or believing he was doing or calculating. This reminds me of etic vs emic distinctions. What I'm arguing for is an emic investigation of Manilius - not necessarily what he actually did or how well he did it, but rather what he believed he was doing or attempting to do.

Quote:
The degree of the midheaven is given only in a dozen or so horoscopes from the 1st century BCE to the 4th century CE, a third of which has imprecise or utterly wrong data.


We're going a little off point here because of course we should be focusing on Manilius. Keep in mind my points are overwhelmingly about Manilius and what he did or didn't do, not what all or most other Hellenistic authors did. Nevertheless....

Chris Brennan makes a similar argument in his book. As I highlighted to him, we do not need the charts which have ascendant degree to include the MC. We just need that the astrologer had an idea what latitude the chart was cast for - I think that's not an unreasonable expectation that they'd know that without necessarily writing it down.

Once they have one, they can calculate the other. Valens for example does exactly that in his calculation.

A simple modern example would be asking or taking note of both your age and your date of birth. Just because I dont' include the age doesn't mean I don't know or use it. One can be computed from the other.

There's also no reason to imagine that all the charts we have access to are actually interpreted with a house system anyway. Some of them are from Valens where he's describing some technique or property which doesn't rely on degree and then later in his work he apologises for his lack of precision which he used, he claims, for expedience and teaching, and then proceeds to be more specific to the degree. Talking about the 10th occurring in the 9th sign, how terrible it is to have the house begin at 0 degrees of the sign, and explicitly describing a form of porphyry houses as well as equal and never explicitly describing whole anywhere at all. Nevertheless I, unlike some other astrologer who argue against whole sign houses, do believe that Valens employed a simple sign for house system where precision was not needed, but also because there are many ways to divide the sky and I think Valens was open to symbolic ways of doing so and whole sign houses would include that. But I don't want to keep shifting these goalposts. Enough of Valens, I'm not discussing him here, but Manilius instead.

Quote:
For me, a Manilius-like figure, who mixes System A data with System B data, uses the climes of Babylon, Alexandria, and Rome indiscriminately, and so on - and, alas, the majority of the Hellenistic astrologers was this sort of folks -, is more similar to an averagely informed modern astrologer who knows what buttons to press toget the horoscope but has very limited astronomical knowledge than to someone who not only knows exactly where the north is found (there was no polar star that time) but can visualize position circles dividing the prime vertical, or, Thot forbid!, even calculate them.


I agree, and in fact I think, like you, that most astrologers mixed the two systems, valens did as well for all his likelihood to be more specific.

See above, I'm not arguing that manilius created super exact horoscopes by today's standards. The question is, emically, what he thought or was attempting to do. THe question is did he think or attempt to describe a whole sign house system explicitly as being the only or most important system available, or was he trying to describe a quadrant system of some kind to some precision or imprecision. The answer for me is quadrant.

Quote:

For my part, the debate on "house system issues in Hellenistic astrology" is over for forever. I've used all the relevant historical data from extant horoscopes, writings published and unpublished but available to me, the applicable philological, historical, and astronomical arguments drawn from these sources in this and previous threads, and I really don't have anything more to say..


Sure, I didn't expect anything else when I started this conversation.
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Paul,

Interesting how this topic morphed from aspects to houses before I even got a chance to chime in... Talk about thread drift! Laughing


It seems to happen to me all the time! I just hope it's not just me Smile

Quote:
This ties in with the old idea that the houses were somehow linked to the outermost sphere of the Aristotelian Universe, the one that was attributed to the 'unmoved mover'.


Right, and it's interesting to imagine that the cardinal points are kind of pillars or supports that hold up the universe, which is how Manilius describes them, with that in mind, the supports in place, the houses seem to be like static frameworks or scaffolding.

Quote:
I believe I have heard all the arguments in opposition to that view by now, and (again much like you) I just don't have the time and energy to enter another extensive and fruitless discussion about the topic. So please be free to use whatever house system you feel comfortable with, fellow astrologers, you do have my blessing! Laughing


Same, I think, in practice, people should just use whatever house system they find useful and practical for their purposes.

Quote:

What I haven't heard so far, however, is a philosophical (or astrosophical) rationale for WSH!


The best I can see is that most WSH advocates have one of a couple of important things in common.

The most common is the belief that astrology emerged from a sudden inventor or school. That is to say that someone came up with things like the aspect doctrine, the houses and so on all at the same time. In that way of thinking, the houses were meant to be signs as they were meant to be used alongside the zodiac and the aspect theory (presuming it's whole sign aspects). I don't think there's a huge amount of evidence for this, and there's plenty of evidence of sudden shifts and developments by not just multiple individuals, but multiple cultures.

However, in a worldview where some genius figure, like the Einstein of his time, came up with the astrological use of the zodiac, the houses and the aspects all at the same time and the unit of measurement or division for them all was the same has some merit to say that actually there's the zodiac and the zodiacal relationships encapsulated in the aspect theory from which, amongst other things emerged the houses.

If you have Chris Brennan's book I think he does a very fair and decent job of trying to balance out both arguments citing authorities in favour of both.

For my money, the inventor hypothesis just doesn't stand up. It calls into question what exactly inventor means. We know the houses likely derived from decan observations as they culminate and pass the horizon and so on, and aspects are apparently mentioned in mesopotamia, the wording of what horoscope means has changed over time etc.

Next up is the pragmatic approach, not really a philosophy of why it works, but why to keep using it. The idea is that whole sign houses can be used anywhere in the globe. If this is meant to contrast with quadrant houses, then this simply is not true. The problems of high latitudes are not necessarily to do with the houses per se but rather with what happens when the zodiac apparently reverses when it rises. I've dealt with this in another thread so wont' go into here.

Quote:

Now the topic of the ancients' take on aspects is obviously related with this topic of the houses. Even though it has its own intricacies. Who knows, maybe we are yet going to talk about it, after all. Confused


I know enough to know that the likelihood of that is too slim, once the house issue has started, it won't stop til everyone exhausts themselves and eventually get fed up talking about it.
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me reply to the question and the ad hominem remark.

Quote:
It's entirely possible you're not reading my posts fully or not understanding them.


I am. I understand that you aren't a Latin scholar, you don't read Latin or German, and you beg for the fool's pardon should any arguments defeat your position, which of course can never happen; your thesis as you present it is irrefutable since every possible objection will be discredited:

The instructive use of words as internal evidence?
Occasional poet's freedom.

Comparative evidence of the same word usage by other authors, including virtually every early author like Nechepso and Petosiris, Imbrasius of Ephesus, Timaeus, Thrasyllus, Balbillus, Dorotheus, and Serapio? Further comparative evidence drawn from actual case horoscopes of the age? Even further comparative evidence of the actual state of developments in astronomy and its documented reception among astrologers?
Comparisons are not relevant; we're talking about Manilius.

The external evidence of up-to-date scholarship?
Bouché-Leclercq and others say the same as me; the rest I don't care.

But, at the same time, you are a moderator of an astrological forum, not just the anonymous of 2019, and your expressed views will undoubtedly influence many of those who don't have the time, humor, or faculty to critically evaluate the evidence presented by you and me. Therefore, you may wish to consider whether you'd happily like to be credited as the ultimate author of a statement that can quickly morph into something like "Manilius used a quadrant house system, most probably Campanus."

Quote:
You mean when he talks about a point and arcs between one cardinal point and another you think he might really mean signs? [...] in this section you really think by cardinal point he might actually mean sign?


No, the description of the quadrants reads for me as though he's writing about mundane quadrants. Just it seems that he switches back and forth between the two meanings of cardo without signaling what he means, and so does he with other words having two meanings throughout the poem.

After all, I regard Manilius's work as something like contemporary popular nonfiction: little factual information, mostly to exhibit the author's aptitude, embedded in entertaining stories, engaging images and so on, rather to amuse and motivate the reader than to instruct her; you'll never learn to interpret a nativity from Manilius. In any case, if I were about to write a poem on the houses (no matter which house system), I'd also employ the same imagery of rising, setting, culminating and the like, as this is the way how they can be powerfully depicted. If Manilius had really wanted to write a technical manual, his Astronomica would look like Dorotheus's poem. But to me, poetry doesn't mean that words that have only one meaning can be used to convey something totally different because while playing with ambiguity is sort of okay, the other trick is fooling the reader.
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Levente Laszlo wrote:

I am. I understand that you aren't a Latin scholar, you don't read Latin or German, and you beg for the fool's pardon should any arguments defeat your position, which of course can never happen; your thesis as you present it is irrefutable since every possible objection will be discredited:


Then you haven't understood me, as I suspected. There's no ad hominem here, I just began to suspect that you don't really believe or understand that I'm really not here to argue the point. There are no arguments at all. It is not that no arguments can defeat my position, rather I am not arguing to begin with. I am explaining and answering the question of why I believe Manilius isn't describing whole sign houses. That is all. Now were this a debate, or some argument or some attempt to convince one another or hold up some study for scrutiny it would be different. But that's not where I'm coming from. I have tried to explain this because I know from past experience how difficult it is to simply accept someone as giving their viewpoint without seeing it as a challenge to open a debate or argue over the points. I'm simply trying to explain my position and nothing more. I'm happy to listen to other people's positions if they want to give them.

Quote:

But, at the same time, you are a moderator of an astrological forum,


The position of which calls for me to be moderate in my posts and ensure moderation in posts by others. Nothing more. I'm first and foremost a poster on a forum who has accepted a request to serve, freely of my time, skyscript to ensure that posts can be moderate.

What I'm not, however, is a professional astrologer, professional scholar, hoping to make waves in the astrological community, trying for speaker positions, writing astrological books etc. I'm a web developer who does astrology as a hobby and semi-professionally on an ad-hoc basis.

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Therefore, you may wish to consider whether you'd happily like to be credited as the ultimate author of a statement that can quickly morph into something like "Manilius used a quadrant house system, most probably Campanus."


I don't accept the onus of responsibility for what other people say or do. I am happy to do that only for what I say or do. I've presented why I think Manilius is describing quadrant divisions of some kind, I could go more into why I suspect he either doesn't have any particular division in mind, or perhaps it's Campanus. You have presented your views, I created this thread explicitly because you asked for it and I thought it fair and moderate to explain as best as I can why I came to those views and you have done the same as to why you disagree. If you are the authority here on the houses, then great, you can simply conclude that I'm wrong or haven't studied it enough. Some day I may try for a compelling argument, or write a paper on the issue, but it's not today.

People can make up their own mind, if people want to say Manilius uses Campanus, ok, I've given my reasons, people can find it compelling or not.

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After all, I regard Manilius's work as something like contemporary popular nonfiction: little factual information, mostly to exhibit the author's aptitude, embedded in entertaining stories, engaging images and so on, rather to amuse and motivate the reader than to instruct her; you'll never learn to interpret a nativity from Manilius.


Sure, I mean the most obvious gap here is that the planets aren't treated at all. He promises to deal with them and then doesn't. However, a question people have wondered when dealing with Manilius is whether his poem is a didactic poem or not. You clearly come down on the side of it not being a didactic poem or at least not instructional in astrology. I am not so sure. I think Manilius's intent is for it to be instructional but not really just about astrology but also about Stoicism. In that sense I do think Manilius is trying to be instructional and informative - he provides formulae, he criticises other formulae or calculus for achieving some measurement etc. I think he equally means to be instructional when discussing houses - whether he means for us to be able to create a house system ourself at the end of it is much less clear, possibly not. That may be to avoid that there were multiple house systems already in his time or else that the doctrine was still in flux, or it could be that he doesn't have anything specific in mind.
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petosiris



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Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Manilius followed Lilly!
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

petosiris wrote:
Manilius followed Lilly!


Come on, don't be kidding! Smile I know you are very well aware that there never existed a man named Marcus Manilius, and Astronomica was written under the disguise of a Roman by Gerbert of Aurillac. Wink
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

petosiris wrote:
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What I haven't heard so far, however, is a philosophical (or astrosophical) rationale for WSH!


I haven't either, but I put forward one myself on the previous page. It is the only reason I even bothered with a reply. Did you bother to read it?


I have read all previous posts in the thread before I wrote one of my own, of course. The way I got you, a sign is an image, which can only be taken as a whole. To that I would reply that images have also been attributed to the subdivisions of a sign (decans etc.), down to individual degrees (Sabian symbols or, if you like it more traditional, what is shown in the Astrolabium Planum).

So no, this is hardly a tenable explanation to me. Your mileage may differ.

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David Cochrane, a modern astrologer, also noted the affinity of the sidereal zodiac with whole sign houses - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgS_iMS7Cr0


He is saying that there are no houses, essentially. Which is an alternative view in its own right, however, one I don't concur on.

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An antistellar astrologer would not be able to see the meaning and coherency of the place, represented by the material boundaries of the image.


Even in a sidereal zodiac, the actual boundaries of the visible image (i.e. constellation) have little to do with the sign it is associated with. The constellations deviate considerably in length from the regular 30 degrees extensions of the signs.

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Other considerations have been put forward, for example the zodiacal configurations (schema) of each place to place, or the counting of houses from any point.


You mentioned it yourself here - counting the houses from a point, as opposed to from a whole sign! No doubt, the former was the common practice at least with some of the ancients.

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But these, appear to me, side factors of the relations of the currently neglected signs. Manilius' work treats of them exclusively, while modern astrologers have went to great length to diminish their usage to ''background''.


The practice of counting houses from the Lots (commonly called Arabic Parts later) has indeed fallen out of fashion just like so many other ancient techniques, though it's quite possible that some traditionally minded astrologers still do this today.

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It would be a miracle if someone made a post on that matter.


Feel free to make one yourself!

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This fascination with the rising and culminating twelfth-parts might be older than the Greek astrology, if we are to trust the usage of decans by some authors. Note that the decans were originally based on the same principle - stellar clusters occupying specific spaces. Whether the first part of the cluster or the middle or the last portion of the cluster arises, the deduction would be the same. The same would be judged of the degrees and minutes of the Myriogenesis, each portion should be looked at its own fatalistic terms.


Again, this actually supports that the ancients were very much aware of the subdivisions of the sign; even Ptolemy presents various systems of terms (bounds).
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Michael Sternbach wrote:
Paul,

Interesting how this topic morphed from aspects to houses before I even got a chance to chime in... Talk about thread drift! Laughing


It seems to happen to me all the time! I just hope it's not just me Smile


Hardly. Some mods are working hard to keep threads really tidy, whereas I too prefer a somewhat more relaxed attitude on the forums I am involved with. A thread is a living discussion to me that should be allowed to move in this and that direction, generally speaking.

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This ties in with the old idea that the houses were somehow linked to the outermost sphere of the Aristotelian Universe, the one that was attributed to the 'unmoved mover'.


Right, and it's interesting to imagine that the cardinal points are kind of pillars or supports that hold up the universe, which is how Manilius describes them, with that in mind, the supports in place, the houses seem to be like static frameworks or scaffolding.


An interesting picture, to be sure!

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I believe I have heard all the arguments in opposition to that view by now, and (again much like you) I just don't have the time and energy to enter another extensive and fruitless discussion about the topic. So please be free to use whatever house system you feel comfortable with, fellow astrologers, you do have my blessing! Laughing


Same, I think, in practice, people should just use whatever house system they find useful and practical for their purposes.

Quote:

What I haven't heard so far, however, is a philosophical (or astrosophical) rationale for WSH!


The best I can see is that most WSH advocates have one of a couple of important things in common.

The most common is the belief that astrology emerged from a sudden inventor or school. That is to say that someone came up with things like the aspect doctrine, the houses and so on all at the same time. In that way of thinking, the houses were meant to be signs as they were meant to be used alongside the zodiac and the aspect theory (presuming it's whole sign aspects). I don't think there's a huge amount of evidence for this, and there's plenty of evidence of sudden shifts and developments by not just multiple individuals, but multiple cultures.

However, in a worldview where some genius figure, like the Einstein of his time, came up with the astrological use of the zodiac, the houses and the aspects all at the same time and the unit of measurement or division for them all was the same has some merit to say that actually there's the zodiac and the zodiacal relationships encapsulated in the aspect theory from which, amongst other things emerged the houses.


That would make the zodiac the pivot of all of astrology (no pun intended) which is not my perspective, as I think of it and the other main factors (planets, houses, even aspects) as equally valid expressions of certain archetypal 'ideas' common to them all, albeit on various levels.

It is interesting that you bring up Einstein as the reputed singular genius of modern physics, for even he did not create his theories out of the blue. Rather, hs role was to bring together bits and pieces of information and ideas (by Maxwell, Poincaré, Lorentz, Minkowski, Michelson/Morley etc.) that already existed in the literature of his day and combined them into a coherent whole. This in no way diminishes his achievement, it just show how scientific progress happens in general.

Also the elements of contemporary astrology may indeed have been developed by different individuals and in different cultures, yet they have been weaved into a comprehensive system by some ingenious (some might say, divinely inspired) mind(s) in Hellenistic times.

What this boils down to is the question whether you think of astrology as a merely symbolic system in which meanings can be attributed to different factors more or less at random (some kind of cosmic inkblot test, as it were), or if you assume that there is some objective metaphysical reality underlying it. The latter is how the ancients looked at it, in keeping with Hermetic and neo-Platonic natural philosophy, which I believe is still essentially viable despite modern insights into the workings of the Universe.

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If you have Chris Brennan's book I think he does a very fair and decent job of trying to balance out both arguments citing authorities in favour of both.


What's the title of the book?

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For my money, the inventor hypothesis just doesn't stand up. It calls into question what exactly inventor means. We know the houses likely derived from decan observations as they culminate and pass the horizon and so on,


Do you know any decent link or printed source for that topic?

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and aspects are apparently mentioned in mesopotamia, the wording of what horoscope means has changed over time etc.

Next up is the pragmatic approach, not really a philosophy of why it works, but why to keep using it. The idea is that whole sign houses can be used anywhere in the globe. If this is meant to contrast with quadrant houses, then this simply is not true. The problems of high latitudes are not necessarily to do with the houses per se but rather with what happens when the zodiac apparently reverses when it rises. I've dealt with this in another thread so wont' go into here.

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Now the topic of the ancients' take on aspects is obviously related with this topic of the houses. Even though it has its own intricacies. Who knows, maybe we are yet going to talk about it, after all. Confused


I know enough to know that the likelihood of that is too slim, once the house issue has started, it won't stop til everyone exhausts themselves and eventually get fed up talking about it.


Which may be a good moment to start talking about the ancient understanding of aspects, opening another can of worms. Very Happy
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petosiris



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Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Even in a sidereal zodiac, the actual boundaries of the visible image (i.e. constellation) have little to do with the sign it is associated with. The constellations deviate considerably in length from the regular 30 degrees extensions of the signs.


What if I told you that the Greek astrologers did not make a difference? Mindblown, I know. Firmicus and Rhetorius (probably using the same source) distribute the 30 degrees of each constellation throughout the twelve signs. Then every single astrologer without exception treats the forms of the constellations as applying to the ideal 30 degrees twelfth-parts rather than whatever constellations one chooses to see.

For one list of significations of the signs see Ludwich, A. (Ed.). (1877). Maximi et Ammonis carminum De actionum auspiciis reliquiae: accedunt Anecdota astrologica. BG Teubneri.

Examples include watery, terrestrial, amphibian, royal, servile, vocal, mute, fertile, infertile, digging, with many limbs, two-coloured, rising backwards, lying, thievish, missing limbs, fierce, quadrupedal, enigmatic, outrageous, many-coloured, polycentric, running, sitting, double-bodied, incomplete etc. In one place, Valens 2.36 (possibly using Critodemus as a source) seems to treat the whole of Taurus as indicative of blindness because of the Pleiades (another unexpected whole sign consideration).

Dorotheus, Manilius, Ptolemy, Valens, Rhetorius all applied those to the twelfth-parts. In the spirit of the thread, it could be another method of convenience (or necessity, or something for the students as Paul put it), or... they conceptualized and used equal sized constellations. Certainly, Firmicus and Rhetorius intended to, and the rest did not have problem using them in that way.

For a method of distributing and seeing the constellations equally (without idealization), check out this thread - https://www.astrologyweekly.com/forum/showthread.php?t=121654


Last edited by petosiris on Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:23 am; edited 2 times in total
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Paul
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Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To test out my theory.

Peotsiris and Levente - inventor hypothesis by an individual or school ? or gradual development ?
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