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Aspect doctrine in ancient astrology
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petosiris



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Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
To test out my theory.

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


What theory? Considering that the vital components of astrology come from Mesopotamia, I consider the inventor hypothesis untenable - things include like the benefic and malefic powers of the wandering stars, and the areas they influence, the twelve-fold circle, the groupings of triplicities and assigning them to planets, the exaltations, the Egyptian terms, the dodekatemoria, heliacal risings and settings etc. Mundane astrology was also adapted without change.

However, many Hellenistic astrologers acknowledge certain Egyptians as the founders of the science. I consider the pseudigrapha, probably compendiums, of these authors to have held great value and enthusiasm, hence the user name. These authors (whether an individual, a school or else) had to come up with the domicile scheme, twelve place system, configurations, the Lot of Fortune, length of life technique, profections, other handy chronocrator systems and other things, in other words they developed technical stuff that helps the craft. It also helped that it was firmly based on Aristotelian cosmology. This is what we call Hellenistic astrology as distinct from the Babylonian.
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

petosiris wrote:
Quote:
To test out my theory.

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


What theory? Considering that the vital components of astrology come from Mesopotamia, I consider the inventor hypothesis untenable - things include like the benefic and malefic powers of the wandering stars, and the areas they influence, the twelve-fold circle, the groupings of triplicities and assigning them to planets, the exaltations, the Egyptian terms, the dodekatemoria, heliacal risings and settings etc. Mundane astrology was also adapted without change.

However, many Hellenistic astrologers acknowledge certain Egyptians as the founders of the science. I consider the pseudigrapha, probably compendiums, of these authors to have held great value and enthusiasm, hence the user name. These authors (whether an individual, a school or else) had to come up with the domicile scheme, twelve place system, configurations, the Lot of Fortune, length of life technique, profections, other handy chronocrator systems and other things, in other words they developed technical stuff that helps the craft. It also helped that it was firmly based on Aristotelian cosmology. This is what we call Hellenistic astrology as distinct from the Babylonian.


I couldn't agree more. Maybe the only thing I would add is that I'm also fairly convinced that the works attributed to semi-legendary figures like Nechepso weren't necessarily written by the same author and in the same era.
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Paul
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Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well there goes that theory Wink
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now as the debate about how to interpret Manilius's description of the houses is over, I turn back to the titular topic of the thread.

Paul wrote:
I made the comment that whole sign aspects were the least important, not the most important, in Hellenistic astrology. Aspects by zodiacal degree were the most important aspect types in Hellenistic astrology, with aspects in mundo next in importance.

A major source who makes this explicit is Antiochus. Both Robert Schmidt and Robert Hand refer to Antiochus as one of the most influential of ancient astrologers(1). Antiochus himself gives a very detailed account of the aspect doctrine and goes to the pain of making sure that the priority of the aspect doctrine is clearly established.
He says (2) of the aspects:
"the first and greater differentia [of all] is that being taken by degrees" (i.e. aspect by zodiacal degree)
"the second is the temporal differentia...[based on] ascensions of the zoidia" (i.e. in mundo)
"The third is the zodiacal or common and universal differentia. in relation to which we all are in doubt" (i.e. by sign)


The passages Paul is referring to here is from an anonymous text titled Explanation and interpretation of the entire astrological craft from Antiochus's Treasuries, translated by Schmidt (PH vol. 2B, pp. 17-19) and James Holden (Rhetorius, pp. 14-16) as chapter 15, also copied into the "Porphyry" manuscripts as chapter 51 (translated by Holden in Porphyry, pp. 44-46). The text was compiled after 505 but before, say, the eleventh century, and scholars attribute it to Rhetorius on the ground that some texts (the so-called Epitome IIb and another short epitome in a Berlin codex), apparently extracted from this Explanation and interpretation, give Rhetorius as their author. It is, however, not impossible that the shorter texts are remnants of Rhetorius's genuine writings, which would then be used as a basis to assemble Explanation and interpretation. In any case, this very chapter is not found in the attributed Rhetorius material, and therefore can be really late.

"Rhetorius" describes three approaches to aspects, but my interpretation differs from Paul's, as I take these all three approaches as different definitions of what makes a degree-based aspect:
(1) calculating by exact degrees on the equator using Ptolemy's tables for right ascensions - this is called "portional" or "ascensional";
(2) using the rising times, which is an approximation of right ascensions, in the manner of Antigonus, Phnaës, and others - this is called "temporal";
(3) taking the degrees on the ecliptic as everybody does - this is called "zodiacal" or (rather misleadingly) "platical".

And here comes a sentence, which I re-translate:

"For when the sun was in Leo around the 1st degree, and Jupiter was in Sagittarius around the 5th degree, (the configuration) was often acknowledged to be Jupiter's trine to the sun, but (these planets) were configured as unproductive toward each other, since neither (3) platically were they posited within the 120 degrees, nor (2) temporally did they turn to be within the 120 time units, nor even (1) ascensionally within the 120 degrees."

I don't know what exactly this unproductivity means, but it's clear that for "Rhetorius" sign-based aspects were generally inferior to degree-based aspects; in this respect I agree with Paul.

But following others, I don't think Manilius implies the same: he simply describes how to count sign-based aspects correctly. To paraphrase Richard Bentley, an 18th-century editor of Manilius (via Housman): "What the author explains in so many verses is simply this. He says, you'll make a mistake if you count five full signs for the trine since the trine consists of 120 degrees, but five signs give 150 degrees. The same happens if you count four signs for a square because a square is 90 degrees, but four signs give 120 degrees. So count from the beginning of the first sign to the beginning of the last sign, not from the beginning to the end or from the end to the beginning, because in the latter cases the result will be greater or fewer than the right number."

Of course, it sounds stupid, but the Romans counted inclusively and didn't have a zero, so they really needed drilling. Using Housman's words: it was such a difficulty to teach the Roman nation how much two multiplied by two was.
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petosiris



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Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't know what exactly this unproductivity means, but it's clear that for "Rhetorius" sign-based aspects were generally inferior to degree-based aspects; in this respect I agree with Paul.


Hellenistic aspect doctrine confirmed Gobsmacked
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

petosiris wrote:
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.


Well, that sounds interesting. Where do Firmicus and Rhetorius explicitly equate constellations with signs? I would appreciate it if you could provide me with links.
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petosiris



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Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Well, that sounds interesting. Where do Firmicus and Rhetorius explicitly equate constellations with signs? I would appreciate it if you could provide me with links.


Quote:
I shall show what degrees you should look for in the signs. All the 30
degrees are distributed through all the bodies of the signs. So that you
may know where the first degree is, and where the second, and the others,
I shall give a whole list briefly. The first and second degrees of Aries are
located in the horns; the third, fourth, and fifth in the head; the sixth and
seventh in the face; the eighth, ninth, and tenth in the mouth; the
eleventh and twelfth in the breast; 13th, 14th, and 15th in each shoulder;
16th and 17th in the heart; 18th and 19th in the right arm; 20th, 21 st, and
22nd in the left arm; butt the 23rd in the belly, and also the 24th and 25th;
the 26th and 27th are in the feet; the 28th and 29th in the kidneys, and the
30th in the tail. This is the way the 30 degrees are distributed in the body
of Aries. - 8.4 - Bram, J. R. (1975). Ancient Astrology. Theory and Practice (The Mathesis of Firmicus Maternus)(Noyes, Park Ridge, NJ 1975), 75-78 http://www.astrologiahumana.com/firmicusmaternustheoryandpractice.pdf


Quote:
''There arises from the 1st degree to the 3rd the boundary of the sign, from the 3rd to the 7th the head, from the 8th to the 10th the neck, from the 11th to to the 13th the chest, from the 14th to 18th the waist, from the 19th to the 21st the hips, from the 22nd to the 24th the back, from the 25th to the 27th the tail, and from the 28th to the 30th the feet.'' - Holden's translation of Rhetorius, this is of Aries too (he attributes the signs to Teucer, but there are many interpolations)


These degrees were probably related to melothesia, presumably a malefic in these points would harm the relevant part. The parts are obviously related to the constellations (risings). These are very different from the constellations described in the Almagest.

However, even if the constellations had different sizes, all authors treat them as interchangeable with the signs associated with them, even Ptolemy for example, in 1.12 and 3.8 he refers to ''shapes'' of the images (μόρφωσις - http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Ptol.+1.12&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2008.01.0636). There is almost no chapter in the Tetrabiblos that does not apply some constellational consideration - for example he refers to fecund and barren signs in 4.6, to terrestrial in 4.8, to quadrupedal and cutting in 3.8 and 4.9, to large, small and graceful in 3.11, to injurious, humpbacked etc. in 3.12, to terrestrial, aquatic and human in 4.4.

He also mentions the images that are extra-zodiacal, he refers to human, quadrupedal, creeping, winged, watery etc. in mundane astrology - 2.7. which is not much different approach from Dorotheus 1.1. ''When we have thus reckoned the stars that share in causing the event, let us also consider the forms of the signs of the zodiac in which the eclipse and the dominating stars as well happened to be, since from their character the quality of the classes affected is generally discerned. Constellations of human form, both in the zodiac and among the fixed stars, cause the event to concern the human race.'' - Robbins, F. E. (1940). Tetrabiblos (Vol. 435). Loeb Classical Library.

It is clear that Ptolemy is speaking of the forms of the twelfth-parts as interchangeable with the forms of the images (dodekatemoria = zoidia), at least in 1.12.

I wonder if this can be even argued and what is Levente's opinion on this:
1. Are the constellations interchangeable with the signs in most authors, and isn't this plain clear from the term zoidion?
2. If no, why would they apply the aforementioned indications to the twelfth-parts rather than the constellations, whatever boundaries they had?

I also wonder if the Odapsos source in ''Valens'' and Hephaistio is related to the constellations of the Almagest and other Greek star maps, or to the signs, since Hephaistio and Valens treat them under the twelfth-parts exclusively? I interpret these texts as related to equal sized constellations.
https://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/vettius%20valens%20entire.pdf

Also Dorotheus says that eclipse in Aries harms sheep. Why does no author ever specify he means the constellation?

I really like how those whole sign considerations line up, as if there is conspiracy behind it.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not so much a conspiracy as a different perspective perhaps? I just can't help thinking our ancient astrological heroes wouldn't have understood what our modern 21st century fuss about their methods is about. They were simply not as exacting as us!

However, they were in effect using (dare I say: inventing) what we moderns call the sidereal zodiac (which moreover coincided with the tropical zodiac at the time - but that's yet another story).

As astrologers supposedly were still looking at the sky once in awhile in those days, they must have been aware of the actual extension of the individual constellations, though. And morphing Libra constellation's 18 degrees into a sign of 30 degrees is certainly, well, quite a stretch! Laughing

Moreover, let's consider that those fellows were commonly including the fixed stars in their readings. What if then, say, one of the outermost stars of Virgo (48 degrees in extension) was conjunct a planet that was (in an alternative view?) in an adjacent sign?

If there ever was a 'conspiracy', it was one simply meant to create a more rigorous framework of reference. Something that we top-heavy moderns should be able to appreciate, really. Don't you think?
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petosiris



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Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And morphing Libra constellation's 18 degrees into a sign of 30 degrees is certainly, well, quite a stretch!


I don't know, I personally use 30 degree constellations and whole signs for angularity, and I have considered, but ultimately abandoned different approaches. I also regularly look at the sky. I think I have made my points clear, so take it or leave it.

Quote:
Moreover, let's consider that those fellows were commonly including the fixed stars in their readings. What if then, say, one of the outermost stars of Virgo (48 degrees in extension) was conjunct a planet that was (in an alternative view?) in an adjacent sign?


There are various sources that are focused on individual fixed stars like Ptolemy and the Anonymous, but Dorotheus and Valens rarely mention any. This is probably owing to the fact that they hardly computed degrees back in the day. However, everyone used the ''nature of the image'' which I mentioned, and many of these natures seemed to have come up from the duh, image.

Quote:
They were simply not as exacting as us!


Does anyone ever say that what they are doing is provisional? They definitely found their methods effective, and, if they were not, they would be ineffective if the opposite ''exacting'' method is more correct. Doesn't that make sense? I also have trouble understanding what is so troubling about the general method, after all ''the particular always falls under the general'' (Ptolemy 1:3).

For example, many astrologers would consider Venus at 30 Libra and Mars at 1 Scorpio to be disjunct because they are in different signs, but when it comes to whole sign aspects or house system, they require ''degree exactitude'', it seems to me contrived that way. It seems to me that the latter is an intensification (particular) and of the general which is productive enough by itself, and if the general is not present then things like sign boundaries follow naturally (or artificially some may say).

It seems to me inconsistent to disagree with whole sign houses and aspects, but not considering out of sign aspects and things like that, it is illogical in that it changes general and particular. Another example is house cusps, why should only the ruler of the cusp be considered, rather than say the two houserulers that influence the particular equal or quadrant house. I think the answer lies in the fact that those things were not meant to be used that way.
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Paul
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Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Levente

Thanks for segueing to the issue of aspects. Allow me to pick your brains for a bit, because I'm not sure I totally follow you - please correct me where I'm mistaken here.

Levente Laszlo wrote:

The passages Paul is referring to here is from an anonymous text titled Explanation and interpretation of the entire astrological craft from Antiochus's Treasuries, translated by Schmidt (PH vol. 2B, pp. 17-19) and James Holden (Rhetorius, pp. 14-16) as chapter 15, also copied into the "Porphyry" manuscripts as chapter 51 (translated by Holden in Porphyry, pp. 44-46). The text was compiled after 505 but before, say, the eleventh century, and scholars attribute it to Rhetorius on the ground that some texts (the so-called Epitome IIb and another short epitome in a Berlin codex), apparently extracted from this Explanation and interpretation, give Rhetorius as their author. It is, however, not impossible that the shorter texts are remnants of Rhetorius's genuine writings, which would then be used as a basis to assemble Explanation and interpretation. In any case, this very chapter is not found in the attributed Rhetorius material, and therefore can be really late.


When you say it can be very late, I'm not following why it wouldn't just be Antiochus himself. My understanding of the history of all these texts is really lacking so it would be good to get a better understanding of this.

I understood it that we mostly know what Antiochus wrote by examining Porphyry and Rehtorius and the synopsis of Antiochus's definitions (Schmidt, Defintions and Foundations) and in doing so attempting to retrospectively work out what the actual Antiochus might have written. In what sense is this unique to Rhetorius (am I understanding you right)? Is it that this section doesn't appear in the attributed material of Rhetorius and so the idea is someone else added it in later? That it's in Porphyry should suggest that actually they're both copying some other author (ie the actual Antiochus), no? I think I'm missing something.

Quote:
"Rhetorius" describes three approaches to aspects, but my interpretation differs from Paul's, as I take these all three approaches as different definitions of what makes a degree-based aspect:
(1) calculating by exact degrees on the equator using Ptolemy's tables for right ascensions - this is called "portional" or "ascensional";
(2) using the rising times, which is an approximation of right ascensions, in the manner of Antigonus, Phnaës, and others - this is called "temporal";
(3) taking the degrees on the ecliptic as everybody does - this is called "zodiacal" or (rather misleadingly) "platical".


Ah, I was seeing all of these works as distinct, or, rather, as distinct in Antiochus and Rhetorius etc. draws on this work or is inspired by it. At least that's how I read the translations that are available to me. I can only go by what authors like Schmidt translate. It seems, from Schmidt's translation, that he's using aspects by ecliptic degree, aspects by ascensional time which I'm calling in mundo, and aspects by sign last. One of the reasons I hadn't realised that Schmidt's Antiochus translation was meant to be the exact same as, say, Porphyry, is explicitly because Schmidt doesn't mention Ptolemy's right ascensional tables and so on where Porphyry does etc.

I had thought, perhaps, that this wasn't in the original Antiochus and the subsequent authors, now also impressed by Ptolmey, adjusted this section with inspiration from Ptolemy.

It seems, correct me if I'm wrong, that you're suggesting that Schmidt's translation of Antiochus could be much later than Porphyry or Rhetorius and that the original, whatever that might be, was aspect along the equator, aspect via time periods and finally degree based aspects of the zodiac. Am I following?

Quote:
But following others, I don't think Manilius implies the same: he simply describes how to count sign-based aspects correctly. To paraphrase Richard Bentley, an 18th-century editor of Manilius (via Housman): "What the author explains in so many verses is simply this. He says, you'll make a mistake if you count five full signs for the trine since the trine consists of 120 degrees, but five signs give 150 degrees. The same happens if you count four signs for a square because a square is 90 degrees, but four signs give 120 degrees. So count from the beginning of the first sign to the beginning of the last sign, not from the beginning to the end or from the end to the beginning, because in the latter cases the result will be greater or fewer than the right number."


I re-read what I wrote and realised you could take it that I was saying that Manilius also counts aspects by ascensional time etc. I wasn't trying to imply that. What I was trying to demonstrate with the Antiochus quote was that whole sign aspects had less confidence and that Antiochus describes them as being in doubt. It's this part I was saying Manilius was in agreement with. In other words both Antiochus and Manilius prefer aspects by degree to aspects by sign. Keep in mind the argument I was making was against the comment someone made that aspects by sign were primary, degree secondary. And also that aspects by degree cannot be seen outside Antiochus, Porphyry and Rhetorius. I was just trying to provide an example demonstrating something pretty explicit that aspects by degree were in fact preferred. I realise how I've written this may be confusing.
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Paul
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Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

petosiris wrote:

I don't know, I personally use 30 degree constellations and whole signs for angularity, and I have considered, but ultimately abandoned different approaches. I also regularly look at the sky. I think I have made my points clear, so take it or leave it.


Can you explain further? It's not clear to me here. Do you mean that you use a sidereal zodiac of 30 degrees per sign and you regularly look at the sky and see this zodiac and moreover witness which of these zodiacal signs is rising? That's pretty difficult to do considering the boundary of this zodiac may not have any stars whatsoever. Are you saying you do this? I'm just trying to follow what you mean here, maybe you just mean something more general.

Quote:
Moreover, let's consider that those fellows were commonly including the fixed stars in their readings. What if then, say, one of the outermost stars of Virgo (48 degrees in extension) was conjunct a planet that was (in an alternative view?) in an adjacent sign?


Quote:
However, everyone used the ''nature of the image'' which I mentioned, and many of these natures seemed to have come up from the duh, image.


We've already opened a can of worms with the houses, I'm hoping we can avoid doing that with the zodiac as well! But just to ask, are you saying by extension that the image is found in the stars themselves? The nature of Aries is found in the sign Aries, and specifically the constellation of Aries depicts the ram? I am not sure if I'm adding links where you weren't expecting or just filling in the blanks in sequitor.
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petosiris



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Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Can you explain further? It's not clear to me here. Do you mean that you use a sidereal zodiac of 30 degrees per sign and you regularly look at the sky and see this zodiac and moreover witness which of these zodiacal signs is rising? That's pretty difficult to do considering the boundary of this zodiac may not have any stars whatsoever. Are you saying you do this? I'm just trying to follow what you mean here, maybe you just mean something more general.


Quote:
But just to ask, are you saying by extension that the image is found in the stars themselves? The nature of Aries is found in the sign Aries, and specifically the constellation of Aries depicts the ram? I am not sure if I'm adding links where you weren't expecting or just filling in the blanks in sequitor.


Yes, to all. I explain how exactly I see them here (by ecliptical projection) - https://www.astrologyweekly.com/forum/showpost.php?p=920579&postcount=1

I do not agree with the IAU arrangement of the constellations, nor with the 25 degrees Ram in the Almagest. Note that Ptolemy's images are different from the constellations by lines, they are much more closely to what I use, these are nicely depicted in Bouché-Leclercq, A. L'astrologie grecque, starting from page 131. Generally though, the texts by Firmicus and Rhetorius as well as the striking realization of dodekatemoria = zoidia, with their natures, made me convinced that the constellations should be depicted as such, and:

Quote:
If anyone examines the images I give, he should find them most apparent in the sky.


Remember that we are talking about images and living beings, not simply drawn lines and abstractions. Ptolemy thought lowly of numerical methods and lots since they have only plausible explanations, but he regularly employed the constellations since these have natural and perceivable explanations (mostly owing to the grouping of stars, but also their colours).

It is true that boundary will sometimes not have bright stars (like the tip of the horn, Z Tauri for the Bull or the head of the second twin, Pollux, or the sting of the Scorpion, Shaula, or the tail of the Lion, Denebola), but generally it is clear that if you continue the tail and the back of the human or animal, you will get the complete picture.

Quote:
We've already opened a can of worms with the houses, I'm hoping we can avoid doing that with the zodiac as well!


Well, I did not mention it for no reason. It seems to me at least, easier to imagine that one could make an association between the Crab being the Ascendant and the entire first place, if it is actually one, and in the same way, as a planet can. As David Cochrane mentions naturally the group of stars making the Ram (and I would include every presence of a planet) is naturally copresent and in assembly with other stars in the Ram, or having aspect and configuration (schema) with the third, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth, tenth or eleventh images from the Ram, and the stars present in those images. The geometrical rays of the stars reach these images, it is true they are most powerful when exact (something that no one could contest), but they are operative even without exactitude since the rays always fall in the signs in question. (cf. the affinity explanations of why sign aspects work in Manilius or Ptolemy 1.13 - http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Ptolemy/Tetrabiblos/1B*.html#13)
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, this is going to be very long, complicated, and exhausting. First I'll describe the situation for the "Rhetorius" text, then I'll answer your questions in a separate post.

No original manuscript written by astrological authors in the first millennium CE has survived, only copies of copies of copies. These manuscripts also teach us that every astrological work, including the ones written by highly regarded scientists like Ptolemy, was always subjected to alterations: omissions, additions, rephrasings, added remarks, etc. Also, works were often mistakenly attributed to certain authors. So, when we read a given author's work, say Valens's, we need to keep in mind that certain passages aren't bound to be genuine. Sometimes these can be spotted, sometimes not.

Things are further complicated by the fact that several works simply didn't survive, and we have little to no information about them. The pieces of information can be classified as fragments (verbatim quotations or paraphrases in later works or scraps of a once complete manuscript) and testimonies (specific or general information, or just a passing remark on the author or the work).

Now, let's see Antiochus ("of Athens", as Hephaestio tells us) first. Apart from the very few testimonies and fragments found in "Porphyry", Firmicus Maternus, the Anonymous of 379, and Hephaestio, three texts are associated with Antiochus:

1. an incomplete poem on the significations of the planets in the houses ("the Poem");
2. a summary of Antiochus's Introductory books ("the Summary"); and
3. different versions of a text that claims to have been epitomized from Antiochus's Treasuries ("the Epitome").

The Poem has been only translated to Spanish, but it doesn't really concern us now; the Summary is translated by Schmidt in his Definitions and Foundations, pp. 43-56. So far so good.

The Epitome has several versions but only two concern us:

3A. the most substantial one, a long version divided into 118 chapters, without authorship ("Long Epitome" or LE);
3B. a short version of a dozen or so chapters (corresponding to chapters 0-1, 3-4, 7-10, 16-17, 21, 23-44, and 46-47 of the LE), which gives its author as Rhetorius ("Short Epitome" or SE).

What I said previously is that the current scholarly consensus attributes the Epitome to Rhetorius, because they think the SE is an extract from the original work, and somehow it was the only one which preserved the name of the author. The SE looks indeed as if it is a sort of selected chapters from the LE, but I fancy whether the SE is only by Rhetorius himself, and the LE is only an extended version of it by a later author.

The SE is untranslated, but the LE is the very text that is translated by James Holden in his Rhetorius of Egypt, pp. 1-163, who acknowledges its scholarly attribution to Rhetorius. (To be precise, it's not exactly the LE that is translated there, but a text conflated from different versions of the LE; this is also not very relevant now, though.)

The LE, as a whole, couldn't have been extracted from Antiochus, as it contains material dated to the fifth (chapters 62 and 113-117) and sixth (chapter 58 ) centuries, whereas Antiochus must have lived before Firmicus, that is, before the fourth century. Nevertheless, scholars believe that the beginning of the LE (chapters 0-53), which is a kind of general introduction to astrology, is extracted from Antiochus's Treasuries, even if in the LE it's interpolated with some later material, namely from the late fourth-century Paulus of Alexandria (chapter 18 ).

To sum up, the current view holds that, apart from the Poem they consider spurious, Antiochus wrote two works:

1. one titled Introductory books, of which we have the Summary; and
2. another one titled Treasuries, of which we have an interpolated version supplemented with some foreign material in chapters 0-53 of the LE, compiled by Rhetorius, and the SE is an abbreviated version of this.

Schmidt, initially accepting this consensus, translated chapters 0-53 of the LE, and published it as "Antiochus of Athens, The Thesaurus", pp. 1-39. If you compare Schmidt's translation with Holden's, you'll see that they translate the same text, although Holden continues it until the end of the LE. But later Schmidt realized, quite rightly as I believe, that there never existed a second work of Antiochus titled Treasuries. I don't want to repeat his arguments here; it's enough to say that the contents of the Introductory books and Treasuries largely overlap, and writing two different sets of basic definitions doesn't sound very sensible decision, so we'd better take the Treasuries (or, more precisely, the chapters of the LE that correspond with the chapters of the Summary) as "Rhetorius" rendering of Antiochus's material. (I'm writing "Rhetorius" between quotation marks because, as I've mentioned, I have my doubts whether the LE is really by Rhetorius; I'm going to write a paper on this issue later this year.)

And here comes "Porphyry" into play. We have a text of 55 chapters titled Introduction to Ptolemy's Apotelesmatics, which claims Porphyry as its author; it was also translated by Holden. However, there are many suspicious chapters in it, some of which (chapters 17-19 and 53-55) turn to be copied from Greek translations of Arabic works. Moreover, chapters 47-52 are obviously copied from the LE, that is, from "Rhetorius"; it's made clear by the fact that the more or less intact cross-references in "Rhetorius's" LE become broken links in "Porphyry". In other words, "Porphyry's" chapters 47-52 constitute a selection from the LE.

As I've already written, "Porphyry" has a reference to Antiochus (in chapter 38 ), and from a comparison with the summary, it also turns out that many of P's "genuine" chapters (chapters 4-16, 20-40, and 44-45) are in fact directly adapted from Antiochus's Introductory Books. (The reason why I'm using quotations again is that I have my doubts that this section of the Introduction was really authored by Porphyry; I wrote a lengthy and rather technical paper on the structure, content, and authorship questions of the Introduction, which is about to appear in Classical Philology. Still, this authorship question is again not relevant here.) This enabled Schmidt to reconstruct the content of Antiochus's Introductory books; he used the following sources:

1. the Summary;
2. "Porphyry's" selected and adapted chapters (chapters 4-16, 20-40, and 44-45);
3. the corresponding chapters from "Rhetorius" (that is, the LE);
4. the corresponding fragments given by Hephaestio.

He omitted a number of testimonies and fragments (those from Firmicus Maternus and the Anonymous of 379, and some from Hephaestio), though, and didn't take notice of the different versions of "Porphyry" and the Epitome.

(Just a marginal note: Chris Brennan in a recent interview with Demetra George pointed out that he, Demetra and Schmidt have had differing opinions on how to interpret Antiochus's instructions on "maltreatment". The texts they relied on are found on pp. 266-267 of Definitions and Foundations: they are chapter 18 of the Summary, chapter 28 of "Porphyry", and chapter 27 of the LE. However, they haven't taken into account the fact that there are three more versions: another version of "Porphyry", the SE, and a version of the Epitome written by Isaac Argyrus. The consideration of these texts may or may not cast more light on this issue.)

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? Well, it's just the tip of the iceberg of the entire problem. But let's see the chapter on the aspects now. As I said before, and you also know it, it is from chapter 15 of the LE, which was copied into "Porphyry" as chapter 51. If you check the index of your copy of Definitions and Foundations (p. 380), you won't find "Rhetorius 15" there. Why? Because there's no corresponding chapter in the Summary, "Porphyry's" section related to Antiochus, or among Hephaestio's fragments from Antiochus; which suggests it's not from Antiochus.

(to be continued)
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Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
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Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(continued)

Paul wrote:
In what sense is this unique to Rhetorius (am I understanding you right)? Is it that this section doesn't appear in the attributed material of Rhetorius and so the idea is someone else added it in later? That it's in Porphyry should suggest that actually they're both copying some other author (ie the actual Antiochus), no?


As I wrote before, this chapter 15 of "Rhetorius" (that is, the LE) doesn't find its parallels in the Summary, in "Porphyry's" section related to Antiochus, or among the Antiochus fragments preserved by Hephaestio. It is found, however, as chapter 51 of "Porphyry", but the chapters of this section in "Porphyry" were directly copied from a "Rhetorius" manuscript into the original manuscript of this version of "Porphyry"; therefore it doesn't qualify as an independent witness. All this implies it's very probably not from Antiochus but "Rhetorius".

Paul wrote:
Quote:
"Rhetorius" describes three approaches to aspects, but my interpretation differs from Paul's, as I take these all three approaches as different definitions of what makes a degree-based aspect:
(1) calculating by exact degrees on the equator using Ptolemy's tables for right ascensions - this is called "portional" or "ascensional";
(2) using the rising times, which is an approximation of right ascensions, in the manner of Antigonus, Phnaës, and others - this is called "temporal";
(3) taking the degrees on the ecliptic as everybody does - this is called "zodiacal" or (rather misleadingly) "platical".

Ah, I was seeing all of these works as distinct, or, rather, as distinct in Antiochus and Rhetorius etc. draws on this work or is inspired by it.


I can't understand what you mean by "works" here; it's the three definitions "Rhetorius" describes.

Paul wrote:
It seems, from Schmidt's translation, that he's using aspects by ecliptic degree, aspects by ascensional time which I'm calling in mundo, and aspects by sign last. One of the reasons I hadn't realised that Schmidt's Antiochus translation was meant to be the exact same as, say, Porphyry, is explicitly because Schmidt doesn't mention Ptolemy's right ascensional tables and so on where Porphyry does etc.


I'm a bit confused regarding what you mean by "Schmidt's Antiochus translation was meant to be the exact same as, say, Porphyry"; chapter 15 of "Rhetorius" and chapter 51 of "Porphyry" is exactly the same text, apart from expectable but negligible various readings of the manuscripts.

I'm also a bit puzzled of you writing "Schmidt doesn't mention Ptolemy's right ascensional tables" because in his translation (The Thesaurus, p. 17) he writes "in accordance with the Handy Canon of Ptolemy". It seems that Schmidt and Hand indeed struggled with understanding the intention of the text, and interpreted it in the same way as you do. Incidentally, Isaac Argyrus, who rewrote the introductory section of the LE in the late 14th century, also understood the text in the same way and made his changes accordingly; nevertheless, I find this interpretation wrong. I have the following arguments:

Definition 1 includes a reference that the degrees must be taken in accordance with Ptolemy's Handy Tables. Now, for ecliptical degrees, Handy Tables or any kind of tablets are hardly needed. Also, there is a cross-reference that is mistranslated by Schmidt and in Holden's Rhetorius (the right translation is found in Holden's Porphyry), which says that the author ("Rhetorius") has already referred to this type of calculation. The referred section must be chapter 13 of "Rhetorius", where he alludes to Ptolemy's exact calculations of the right ascensions.

If we interpret definition 1 in this way, we'll also understand the structure of the example I re-translated here: the second and third of the three perspectives ("platically", "temporally", "ascensionally") given there correspond to definitions 1 and 2 in inverse order, which suggests the "platical" 120 degrees should correspond to definition 3, which therefore must be understood as referring to ecliptic degrees. (Note that Hand admits in a footnote that he doesn't really understand the text, which is a consequence of a wrong initial interpretation; and Argyrus had to rewrite the example completely to fit in his interpretative scheme.)

To sum up, "Rhetorius" has this order of priority:

1. calculating the aspects in right ascensions (the best scenario);
2. calculating the aspects in rising times (only an approximation);
3. calculating the aspects in ecliptic degrees (the common but criticized way).

Actually, this constitutes the so-called problem of "projecting the rays", which was extensively discussed and debated among Arabic astrologers. Just an interesting detail: according to the 10th-century Ibn Hibintā, it was "Hermes" who said in his Book of the Latitude that the trine, sextile, and quartile aspects are to be calculated in equal degrees (that is, in right ascensions) and Dorotheus agreed with him. I don't know about anything like this in the extant Dorotheus material, so the reference may well be spurious, and so may be the reference to "Hermes", by whom we can understand virtually anyone living before the 10th century, not just a really early author. Perhaps it was this lost "Hermes" book that inspired "Rhetorius"; perhaps not.

Paul wrote:
It seems, correct me if I'm wrong, that you're suggesting that Schmidt's translation of Antiochus could be much later than Porphyry or Rhetorius [...]


No, Schmidt and Holden (both in his Rhetorius and Porphyry are translating exactly the same text, which was published in volume 5.4 of CCAG. What I say is this text may easily be much later than the early 6th century.

Paul wrote:
[...] and that the original, whatever that might be, was aspect along the equator, aspect via time periods and finally degree based aspects of the zodiac.


There's no reconstructable original. The text itself is difficult to interpret, and I provide a new interpretation that I find sensible and coherent with the structure of the text.

Paul wrote:
I re-read what I wrote and realised you could take it that I was saying that Manilius also counts aspects by ascensional time etc.


No, I didn't take it like that. I think what Manilius says is simply something like "when we count the trine we look at the fifth sign, but five signs are 150 degrees, whereas a trine is 120 degrees, so don't be a fool etc."; it's as simple as that. I don't find any indications that his description has anything to do with the preference of sign-based or degree-based calculations; in fact, Manilius seems to be describing sign-based aspects only.
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Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 206
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've skipped this:

petosiris wrote:
1. Are the constellations interchangeable with the signs in most authors, and isn't this plain clear from the term zoidion?


They are, it is. Smile
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