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Why The Planetary Hours Are Hellenistic not ''Chaldean''

 
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:23 pm    Post subject: Why The Planetary Hours Are Hellenistic not ''Chaldean'' Reply with quote

I have long found the supposed 'Chaldean' origin of the planetary hours rather nebulous. I well remember raising this question over a decade ago on a long lost thread here on Skyscript but never received a satisfactory explanation.

However, I was recently going over over a very useful text by the 20th century academic Otto Neugebauer where I found the following interesting comments:

Quote:
The Greek system . . . follows the model which arranges the planets in depth according to their periods of sidereal rotation. This is reflected even in the arrangement of days of the planetary week which we still use today. Here the Sun is placed between Mars and Venus, and the Moon below Mercury. Every one of the 24 hours of a day is given a "ruler" following this sequence. Beginning, e.g., with the Sun for the first hour one obtains…......

The "ruler" of the first hour is then considered to be the ruler of the day and thus one obtains for seven consecutive days the following rulers: • Sun • Moon • Mars • Mercury • Jupiter• Venus • Saturn which is the sequence of the days of the week and also the arrangement of the planets in Hindu astronomy.

Here we have a system which is obviously Greek in origin not only because it is based on the arrangement of the celestial bodies according to their distance from the earth but also because it supposes a division of the day into 24 hours, a form of reckoning which is not Babylonian but a Hellenistic product of ultimately Egyptian origin.

It is totally misleading when this order is called "Chaldean" in modern literature

Otto Neugebauer, The Exact Sciences in Antiquity (New York: Dover, 1967), p. 169.


The following article also confirms the notion of planetary hours originated in a genuine fusion of Egyptian , Greek and Mesopotamian ideas.

Quote:
Ancient Egypt was the cradle of an extended system of assigning time
intervals to the domination of deities (chronokrators), but Egyptian chronokrators were not planetary gods (Bouche-Leclercq, 1899: 478). These time intervals formed nested hierarchies with chronokrators at all levels, up to the so called ‘‘spirits of hours’’. This complex system was mainly utilitarian, aiming to determine the most ‘‘favored’’ time for every activity. There is clear evidence that the system of chronokrators was combined with Chaldean astrology more than once during the period of Hellenistic and the Roman syncretism (e.g., in the system of Terms [lat. Termini], see Bouch-Leclercq, 1899: 206–215).

The planetary week seems to be the product of a convergence of three cultural traditions: Chaldean astrology, Egyptian Chronokrators, and Greek astronomy. The result is that the Chaldean planetary deities play the role of ‘‘spirits of hours’’, combined with the order of planets as provided by Greek astronomy. The division of day and night into twenty-four hours is also an Egyptian legacy. The Paradox of the Planetary Metals
Yannis Almirantis, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 31–42, 2005.


http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.493.6897&rep=rep1&type=pdf
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Last edited by Mark on Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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james_m



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Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark,

that is a good find on your part... thanks for sharing... now can you figure out the background on the terms or bounds and not take 10 years to do so? !!!!!! maybe we could have one or two less options to choose from!

https://altairastrology.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/more-on-the-terms-or-bounds/
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James wrote:
Quote:
Now can you figure out the background on the terms or bounds and not take 10 years to do so? !!!!!! maybe we could have one or two less options to choose from!

https://altairastrology.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/more-on-the-terms-or-bounds/

I think it was on Skyscript where there was a note or link to a paper by Alexander Jones and John M. Steele titled "A New Discovery of a Component of Greek Astrology in Babylonian Tables: The Terms"

https://archive.nyu.edu/handle/2451/49545

"Two cuneiform astrological tables in the British Museum provide the first evidence for Babylonian knowledge of the so-called "doctrine of the Terms" of Greco-Roman astology...."
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Last edited by Therese Hamilton on Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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james_m



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Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks therese,

can you paraphrase for me the conclusions gotten in the 16 page pdf?? either that, or i have to wait to get around to it in the next week.. cheers james
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James, I certainly understand that there simply isn't enough time to read everything we would like. Basically the quote in my post above is a good summary. Previously we didn't know that the Terms (Bounds) were known in Mesopotamia. But there are some differences in degree areas when compared to the "Egyptian" terms. The paper also summarized other sets of terms as well as the ones we know about. The final summary statement is interesting, however:

Quote:
"The fusion of Babylonian proto-horoscopic astrology into Greek, truly horoscopic astrology incorporating a horizon frame of reference and elements from Greek cosmology was accompanied from the onset by a fictitious account of the ancient Egyptian origins of astrology, most concretely embodied in the persons of Nechepso and Petosiris (and to a lesser extent Hermes-Thoth). By Ptolemy's day the spurious history had largely displaced the true."

Alexander Jones and John M. Steele, "A New Discovery of a Component of Greek Astrology in Babylonian Tablets: The Terms" (ISAW Papers 1, 2011)

In other words, the so-called Egyptian Terms aren't really Egyptian, and seem to have their roots in Mesopotamia. This would make Cyril Fagan very unhappy. (Italics in the quote are mine.)

It is commonly believed that India's Trimshamsha chart, which divides each sign into five degree areas belonging to the five planets, had its origin in Hellenistic Greek terms.

How did this page get so wide?? There aren't any large charts posted.
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james_m



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Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks therese!!
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese wrote:
Quote:
It is commonly believed that India's Trimshamsha chart, which divides each sign into five degree areas belonging to the five planets, had its origin in Hellenistic Greek terms.


Looks like its more than 5 degrees in some cases to assign just 5 planets to 30 degrees. https://srath.com/trimsamsa-d-30-chart/

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
Looks like its more than 5 degrees in some cases to assign just 5 planets to 30 degrees. https://srath.com/trimsamsa-d-30-chart/

Yes, I should have said five unequal parts or degree areas for the five planets. It seems obvious that this Indian division is patterned after the Hellenistic Terms which we now know had their origin in Mesopotamia.

Mark, do you know why this page is so wide?? I have to do a lot of scrolling to read posts as the text runs way off my computer screen.
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese wrote:
Quote:
Mark, do you know why this page is so wide?? I have to do a lot of scrolling to read posts as the text runs way off my computer screen.


Hello Therese,

As there were no charts to explain the over-expanded thread I tried removing each link individually by all the posters here to see who caused it. Ironically, it turns out it was you! Laughing

The long link you posted on August 24th to the British Museum tablets is what distorted the thread. Unfortunately, I had to remove the link to bring the thread back to normal size.

For future reference very long links like that can also distort the size of threads.

I actually lost the link you put up and would appreciate it if you could send it to me by PM.

Thanks

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Mark! Good to know. Good detective work! I don't mind that that the link is gone but I'll see if I can find a shorter link. As I remember there was more than one link to the paper. I don't have a copy of the link I used.

Yes, just checked and added the shorter link to my original post. When you go to the link, you can ask for the PDF which was the longer link I gave. Here is the shorter link:

https://archive.nyu.edu/handle/2451/49545
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Graham F



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Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Mark for delving into this question of the origins of the "Chaldean" order of planets and the planetary hours, and by extension, the modified version of that order which is the basis of the planetary rulership scheme, the "houses of the planets".
I've been reading around this for a while now, Neugebauer has a number of things of relevance, but the really interesting stuff has for me been in a book by Joanne Conman :
Ancient Egyptian Sky Lore : Rethinking the conventional wisdom, Decan Wisdom Books, 2013;
And a number of articles by Conman, available on her site, or Academia / Kepler College):
“Origins of Astrology: the Egyptian Legacy”;
“The Egyptian Origins of Planetary Hypsomata”;
“It’s About Time: Ancient Egyptian Cosmology”;
"Speculation on Special Sunlight and the Origin of the wSAw hour” .
Also various works by the French Egyptologist and curator at the Louvre, Christine Desroches-Noblecourt; a book by Roger Beck : Planetary Gods and Planetary Orders in the Mysteries of Mithras (Brill, 1988 - sizeable extract available on Google Books); and a hefty tome by Robert Powell : Hermetic Astrology, vol. I, Sophia Foundation Press, 1987/2007.

What I've read would definitely support Neugebauer's suggestion or implication that the "Chaldean" order is perhaps analogous to the division of the day into 24 hours: "a form of reckoning which is not Babylonian but a Hellenistic product of ultimately Egyptian origin" (my italics), and would tend to refute Jones and Steele's assertion, quoted by Therese, that Greek cosmology's derivation from ancient Egyptian origins is "fictitious" and "spurious". There were surely exchanges and interpenetration of Egyptian and Mesopotamian elements in Hellenistic astrology, as there were between Egypt and Mesopotamia, but it really looks like the origins of the principles, structure and symbols, though not of the predictive applications of astrology, are in Egypt.

In the article you refer and link to, by Yannis Almirantis, "Table 1 - Ancient Planetary Arrangements" sets out a more or less chronological sequence of planetary orders, the earliest being Egyptian: JU-SA-MA-ME-VE , which he notes to be "an arrangement by stellar brightness or according to the order of the corresponding planetary deity." This is not a satisfactory explanation (order of brightness?!), Conman has found a much more convincing one, which can easily be explored with a good astrology program (she also offers a pretty persuasive argument for the Egyptian origin of the exaltations, in the "honoured decans" of coffin texts from around 2000BC)..

In “The Egyptian Origins of Planetary Hypsomata”, Conman notes that in 1953 BCE, in late February and around the new moon on 3rd March (Julian dates), "the five planets visible to the naked eye formed a conjunction in the eastern sky before dawn. This is thought to be the closest massing of the planets in the last 5000 years. This dramatic conjunction has been linked with the origin of the Chinese calendar. [...] It is remarkable that the order of the planets at the time of the new moon closest to the conjunction is identical to the order found in all the New Kingdom tomb art and that remained the Egyptian order of the planets until Greco-Roman times. It is an arrangement that is unknown elsewhere and which makes little sense except to commemorate this conjunction [...] The planetary order of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Mercury and Venus [...] was maintained for over a decade of days, more than the first Egyptian week of the new month." I tested all this with Solar Fire, it's true, and what's more, it's happening in a year when the summer solstice was between Cancer and Leo, sidereally (Fagan's ayanamsa puts the solstice at just 2' out, with VP at 29°58' Aries.). The Egyptian new year was around or just after the summer solstice, which was followed shortly by the flooding of the Nile, and which once every 1460 years corresponded to the heliacal rising of Sirius (which was also different, of course, in upper and lower Egypt). (I've seen an affirmation by a research astronomer that this was one of those epochs in key locations in Egypt, but can't find the reference now).

This seems to be the order of the planets as observable objects, not invisible deities or whatever, it features for example in the Onomastica of Amenope, a textbook, from around C12th BC, of vocabulary and writing exercises for apprentice scribes, listing objective things in the real world. (That is, if Conman is right, against Neugebauer and others, that Meskhetiu = Saturn and not the Big Dipper, and Sah = Jupiter and not Orion. She's convinced me: for example, in the Onomastica they feature, in the 1953BC order, in a list of planets, not constellations, and she gives plenty of other supporting evidence from tomb art and astronomy).

But how interesting to encounter Conman's research just after reading Robert Powell's Hermetic Astrology. Powell, who has a background in Steiner's Anthroposophy, recognises major Babylonian contributions but proposes an essentially Egyptian, "Hermetic" astrology based on a hybrid geo- and heliocentric cosmology and chart (similar to Tycho Brahe's C16th model of the solar system) which Powell claims complements, on a more spiritual level, the geocentric chart. He uses the sidereal zodiac, Fagan ayanamsa, but I'm not convinced by this - the whole tenor of Egyptian cosmology and world-view seems to be about the local solar, seasonal and agricultural cycle. As both Desroches-Noblecourt and Cyril Fagan (in Astrological Origins) have shown in somewhat different ways, our images for the zodiac signs fit very strikingly with corresponding agricultural, seasonal or climatic features in Egypt around 2000 BC, with notably a typically Egyptian bestiary. So, perhaps a tropical proto-zodiac appropriate for Egypt, for an epoch when the solstice was between Cancer and Leo, with the images then creatively projected, perhaps much later, onto star patterns in the sky.

Powell's "Hermetic" chart calculates the ascendant, Moon and Sun geocentrically, then the other five planets heliocentrically. So, rather as most astrologers (unless they use lunar parallax) treat planetary aspects as impinging on the local place and time via the centre of the earth, so the "Hermetic" approach would have them affecting the locality on earth via the Sun.

I found this rather fanciful, but just out of interest I checked (using Solar Fire) the heliocentric positions of that conjunction of 1953 BC, and was surprised to find that the JU-SA-MA-ME-VE order becomes SA- JU-MA-VE-ME (followed by Earth, and therefore Moon its satellite, heliocentrically opposite the geocentric position of the Sun).

So "hermetically", the Chaldean order but with the Sun outside (or "first ", or "above"), as in the classical rulership scheme is already implicit in the earliest and traditional Egyptian planetary order, as listed by Almirantis in the article referred to by Mark.

Graham
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