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The origin of Exaltations and Rulerships
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Eddy



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Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:42 pm    Post subject: The origin of Exaltations and Rulerships Reply with quote

Recently and a couple of months ago the subject of exaltations, whether or not with the question what to do with them on the Earth's southern hemisphere, comes up. I thought this interesting historical background would deserve an own thread.

The threads where some (related) issues were discussed are for example:
http://www.skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2978&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=90
http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4471&start=30
http://www.skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4532&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

A couple of weeks ago Gavin White's interesting article on exaltations in Babylonian astrology appeared on Skyscript.
http://www.skyscript.co.uk/exaltations.html

About a year ago I also had thought several things out on the subject which might be of some additional value to Gavin White's article.

It's a bit long and I believe to see links between several classical issues but I believe exaltations and rulerships may have originated somewhat like this.
****

The astrology/astronomy in its oldest Babylonian form was rather crude, and a zodiac of 12 equal signs of 30° didn’t appear until the 5th century BC. According to Michael Baigent’s “From the omens of Babyon” the first Babylonian astronomy depicted the motions of sun, moon and planets in diurnal paths. There were three main paths. The paths of the gods Enlil, Anu, EA. The northern the middle and the southern path. These were related to the solstices and the equinoxes. In http://www.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0279(198801%2F03)108%3A1%3C51%3AEOTBCT%3E2.0 .CO%3B2-8&cookieSet=1 (unfortunately this website can only be read when registered or in university libraries) it is stated that the Babylonians had attributed the planetary exaltations to signs, which still are the same we use now. According to the article this was done in the 7th century, even before the equal division of the zodiac. Sun –Aries, moon – Taurus, Mercury – Virgo, Venus – Pisces, Mars – Capricornus and Saturn – Libra. The Babylonians, connected their gods to the planets, a thing that the Greeks didn’t do. Later some Greco/Roman characteristics of the gods were attributed to the planets, yet the Babylonians gave some gods different meanings. Jupiter was as the Babylonian Marduk the ruler of the heavens and resemble with the later meanings, but Mars/Nergal was the god of death and the underworld. Saturn was related to storms. Venus/Ishtar had different attributes depending on the visibility after sunset or before sunrise, the latter being more auspicious. Precession was not known until Hipparchus discovered it in the 2nd century BC. So the symbolism attributed to the signs would be both tropical and sidereal, there was no question of a tropical vs. sidereal discussion. The Babylonians believed the earth to be flat. Life was above earth, death/underworld was below earth. The sun moon and stars were believed to ‘die’ when setting, to be (re)born when rising. The three paths would be different, the winter path longer below the horizon than above and vice versa for the summer path. The middle path equal time. What I assume is that it would be a reasonable choice to let the god of the underworld, Mars/Nergal be exalted in the southernmost sign Capricornus. After all here the path was longest under the earth. Jupiter/Marduk the ruler of the heavens would obviously be exalted in the path wich remains longest above earth. The planet Jupiter with it’s wonderful resemblance with the lunar or luni-solar year would get this place. Twelve lunar months are one solar year and twelve years are one Jupiter cycle. I would believe it an expression of uttermost divineness in the eyes of the Babylonians.

As the year started with the first new Moon close to the spring equinox, the Sun/Shamash would be exalted in Aries. The first appearance of the new Moon/Sin would give an exaltation in the next sign Taurus. Ptolemy gave similar explanations to the Sun and Moon but had climatological explanations of the exaltations of the other planets. Venus/Ishtar, auspicious as a morning star would get the sign before the spring equinox, Pisces. Saturn/Ninurta as the storm planet gets Libra, announcing autumnal rains and storms. I don’t know what to think about Mercury/Nebu, perhaps announcing the autumn. These exaltations were all placed at the four colures. One to every solstice point, two to every equinox point which probably were considered to be more important than the solstice points. The spring equinox being the more important of the two would get the moon supplied. Another interesting thing is the very old concept of the Sun, moon, Venus triad. (‘From the omens of Babylon’ / M. Baigent) This triad could have some resemblance with the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity. The placement of these three gods at the spring equinox is a logic one from this point of view. The name Marduk was (according to an encyclopedia I have) derived from Amar Ut, the son of the Sun, a royal title used more often throughout history. Jupiter would deserve such a royal ‘second’ place high in the sky.

From Greek astrology we have the rulerships we still use today. The placement of the planets as rulers in the signs Cancer to Capricorn is a depiction of the Thema Mundi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thema_Mundi. It was believed that the seven ‘planets’ were in these signs when the world was created. There have been several ‘creation charts’. Indian astrology based calculations on a year in which Sun, Moon, planets and nodes (Lunar and planetary) were said to coincide in 0° Aries. Kepler also mentions a ‘creation chart’ with Sun, Mercury, Venus North lunar nodes in 0° Libra and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in 0° Aries while the Moon was placed in 0° Capricornus. (Jean Kepler, “Le secret du monde” translation by Alain Segonds p.189).

The seven ‘lights’ in this order, Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn was one of several ideas of orders of planets. This one (moon being closest to earth) was called the ‘Egyptian’ order. There was also a version with Mercury and Venus swapped. The more known ‘Chaldean’ order was, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. (Jim Tester, “A History of Western Astrology p.166). I believe that there are some links of the Egyptian (rulerships) order with some other ancient Greek thoughts. In Richard Hinckley Allen’s “Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning”, Cancer “according to Chaldean and Platonist philosophy, it was the supposed Gate of Men through which souls descended from heaven into human bodies p. 107. The opposed sign Capricornus was the “Gate of the gods” through wich the souls returned after death, p.136.
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Mark
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Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Eddy,

Thanks for putting all that up. A lot to discuss and debate there. Personally, I would like to focus first on our prior discussion about the origin of the exaltations. Our discussion should be better informed now Gavin White's article has now appeared on skyscript.

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/exaltations.

The debate has been focusing lately on whether the exaltations are actually a Babylonian development or whether they really owe their origin to hellenistic astrology. We did get into quite a bit of discussion on this in a rather obscure part of the forum a few months back. However, we all agreed then it was best to await the publication of Gavin's article here. I am therefore repeating some of that discussion here for forum members that might have missed it.

For example, take a look at this recent article by Chris Brennan:

http://horoscopicastrologyblog.com/2008/11/16/the-questionable-origins-of-the-exaltations-in-astrology/

No doubt influenced by Chris Brennan (or maybe vice versa) Demetra George has also recently raised the topic on the ACT forum and suggested the exaltations may not have a Babylonian origin after all. As you will notice Rumen Kolev has mounted a spirited response to rebutt this idea.

http://actastrology.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=108

One of the pieces of research stimulating this discussion is an article by the noted Babylonian scholar Francesca Rochberg, entitled ''Elements of the Babylonian Contribution to Hellenistic Astrology''. Its very interesting and available on JSTOR. Rochberg has also written one of the most recent studies of Babylonian Astrology in her book 'Babylonian Horoscopes'.
Deb has previously commented on Chris Brennan's thesis in an earlier thread and I am quoting some of it it here for the benefit for other forum members:

Quote:
I now wonder if the bit nisirti were linked to the preceding lunation, which was associated with darkness (secrets) and was seen as the conception point for the things that came into materialisation that month. I don't feel that the bit nisirti have been established as the Mesopotamian planetary exaltations, so for me a more productive investigation would focus on establishing what their purpose was, without doubt.


I have also taken the liberty of copying Deb's reply to Chris Brennan on his blog:

Quote:
Hi Chris,

Quite a controversial post but I think Gavin has this right – the billion dollar question is not whether the exaltations are Mesopotamian in origin, but whether the bit nisirti are referring to the exaltations. Francesca Rochberg does not seem to think so, stating that the meaning of the term ‘but nisirti’ is “utterly obscure” and pointing out that “the position implied by the bit nisirti is never stated” (Babylonian Horoscopes p.46-7). I did once float with her the possibility of whether the bit nisirti might be referring to what Valens calls ‘the exaltation of the Sun and Moon in relation to Happiness’, which he introduces with a phrase “We have found a certain place to be mystical” (II.19), perhaps tying into the idea of a ‘secret house’? We tried to check this out but unfortunately it is quite a generic formula and the lack of specific details in the existing Babylonian horoscopes made it impossible to rule this in or out. The point is, that the possibility exists that the bit nisirti are describing something entirely different and presently poorly understood, whilst on the other hand we have good evidence (not relying only on Pingree’s opinion) that the exaltations are indeed a Mesopotamian tradition.

Another comment I would question is your suggestion that “the exaltations are one of the few techniques that were directly inherited and incorporated into the Hellenistic system from the Mesopotamian tradition of astrology”. Perhaps you meant to place more emphasis upon the word ‘directly’ than comes across in the reading of your text? In my opinion the Hellenistic reliance upon Mesopotamian techniques is presently vastly underestimated, but thankfully this is currently being corrected by authors such as Rochberg, with comments such as “Babylonian horoscopes and nativity omens may represent the end of the development of the Mesopotamian genethlialogy, but they constitute the source of the genethlialogical branch of astrology that emerged in the Hellenistic Greek world”. (BH, 16). Hellenistic astrology made important developments of course, but let’s not forget that it made those developments upon Mesopotamian foundations.

This is an interesting topic, so I hope your blog brings more attention to this intriguing and - as yet - unsolved mystery.

Deb


Gavin White's post on the blog is also instructive:

Quote:
Hi Chris,

The Gu-text lists the constellations in very rough North-South columns. The text is incomplete but does explicitly mention Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn as follows:

String E – ‘Jupiter behind the Crab [Cancer] in front of the Lion [Leo]’
String K – ‘Mercury with the Furrow [eastern half of Virgo] in front of the Raven [Corvus]’
String L – ‘Saturn in front of the Scales [Libra]’

As to what the ‘bit nisirti’ refer to, that seems to be the billion dollar question. The connection between the secret houses and the exaltations seems to have been made by David Pingree in his Astronomical Commentary on Mul-Apin (page 147) where he lists the Gu-text attributions above plus Venus in Anunitum [northern fish of Pisces] as certain examples alongside the remaining unattested attributions. When you dig around for the basis of the association between the exaltations and bit nisirti the only concrete evidence he mentions is an inscription of Esarhaddon in which Venus is said to have ‘appeared in the west in the Path of Ea reached her secret place and disappeared’. These events have been dated to 679 BCE and the computation of Venus’ position reveals 27 degrees Pisces. It strikes me that the identification of the secret places and exaltations relies on this single piece of data.

..... Just for the sake of completeness there is another pertinent occurrence in another one of Esarhaddon’s inscriptions. Jupiter approached the place where the sun lights up in the month of Simanu…and ‘reached its asar nisirti in the month of Pet-babi’. Pingree assumes a date of 2nd October 679 BCE for it reaching its secret place and computes a longitude of 91 degrees ‘close to delta Cancri.

These two references certainly seem to support a Mesopotamian origin for the exaltation system later known in Greece. Quite how the proliferation of attributions found in late Babylonian horoscopes came about remains confusing. One possible factor is suggested by Ulla Koch Westenholz in her ‘Mesopotamian Astrology’ where she states that Venus has two asar nisirti - the familiar one one in Pisces and a second one in Leo! So maybe the other planets also had multiple attributions so far undiscovered.

Gavin


Mark
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gavin



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Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark, the replies that you quoted from the Chris Brennan site were my off the cuff remarks closely based on David Pingree's commentary to Mul-Apin. In many respects this, and some subsequent mail exchanges with Deb, made me realise that the whole subject needed to be revisited. Since then I have gone back to the sources (Esarhaddon's inscriptions) and have worked through them again. The original inscriptions are simply too vague to draw specific conclusions about the locations of Venus' and Jupiter's 'secret houses' (as F Rochberg-Halton rightly concluded).

My more mature conclusions are summarised in the (more recent) skyscript article you refer to. The relevant part of which is as follows:

"The first inscription only indicates that Venus' 'secret place' was located somewhere between Aquarius and Scorpius; the second inscription states that Jupiter reached its 'secret place' in the month of Pet-babi. This month name is a rather obscure Elamite formation and there is conflicting evidence over its Babylonian equivalent - some sources identify it with the Babylonian month of Simanu (May-June), others with Du-uzu (June-July). Naturally these conflicting identifications generate different solutions. The first identification correlates with a location in Gemini, the second places Jupiter in the middle of Cancer. So although these two inscriptions are potentially compatible with what we know concerning the Exaltations they do not constitute a definitive proof of their usage at this time".

Apologises for any confusion deriving from this. All the best, Gavin
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Eddy



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Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

While I don't agree with all of Rumen's ideas in the other forum (like the idea that exaltations were there thousands of years before Homer) I think the following remark sounds reasonable:
Rumen Kolev in ACTastrology wrote:
There is a text from around 1120 BC in which Jupiter is the star of the 4th Month and the northern Path (En.Lil).
This text is called 'Astrolabe B' and is first published by Ernst Weidner.
Now, we understand that the 4th Month is associated with the 4th zodiacal sign.

I think that where the Babylonians initiated the techniques in a somewhat vague way, the Greeks developed them to a rational concrete system with another rationale.
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GR



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Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddy wrote:
I think that where the Babylonians initiated the techniques in a somewhat vague way, the Greeks developed them to a rational concrete system with another rationale.


That seems quite reasonible, though I would not count out the Egyptians, though the matter on their end is still clouded. I wouldn't be surprised if the Egyptians contribute as much as Babylon, or whatever version of the Babylonian material they were exposed to through the Persians.
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am assuming Robert Schmidt has been a strong influence on Chris Brennan and Demetra George. He certainly seeks to dismiss the Babylonian origin of the exaltations too.


Quote:
''Then there is the intriguing observation, found in Porphyry excerpt related to paragraph 2, that the exaltation signs of the diurnal planets are trigonal ( ‘’trine’’) to one of their domiciles , while the nocturnal planets hexagonal (‘’sextile’’) to one of their domiciles. This pattern ( and its consistency with the sect doctrine) makes it hard to believe that the exaltation signs were of separate Bablylonian origin and simply incorporated into the Hellenistic system.''

The Astrological Record of the Early Sages, Antiochus with Porphyry, Rhetorius, Serapio, Thrasyllus, Antigonus et al, Definitions and Foundations, p10, Translation and commentary by Robert Schmidt.


Whatever, your view on this it is an interesting connection between the domicile and exaltation rulers of the signs.
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GR



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Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MarkC wrote:
I am assuming Robert Schmidt has been a strong influence on Chris Brennan and Demetra George.


More like Schmidt influenced George, who then influenced Brennan as he was her student at Kepler College.

MarkC wrote:

He certainly seeks to dismiss the Babylonian origin of the exaltations too.


No, I think you're misreading, or reading into it a denial of what the Babylonians did or didn't do regarding the exaltations. Note the bolded portion.

Quote:
This pattern (and its consistency with the sect doctrine) makes it hard to believe that the exaltation signs were of separate Babylonian origin and simply incorporated into the Hellenistic system.''


Whether or not the Babylonians devised the exaltations, or some sort of exaltation scheme (I can't really say anything about that as it is a subject I have never looked into), the founders of Hellenistic astrology wouldn't have simply taken them up without having a coherent rationale for them.

When you get to the part in Antiochus were the exaltations are mentioned (I think under the 3rd or 4th definition), you'll see Porphyry’s explanation (and then Bob's commentary) on the exaltations.
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Gabe,

Quote:
No, I think you're misreading, or reading into it a denial of what the Babylonians did or didn't do regarding the exaltations. Note the bolded portion.


From your previous posts here on skyscript I get the impression you are very close to Project Hindsight. Perhaps you have an insiders insight on some of this.

Still, I dont think I have completely misinterpreted or misrepresented what Robert Schmidt is saying as you seem to be suggesting. Ok I accept the word 'dismiss' was a little strong in this context. However, on the essential point there can surely be little doubt that Schmidt's take on this strongly favours a Hellenistic origin. Take a look at this post on the subject of the exaltations by Robert Schmidt on the ACT forum. Note the bolded portion:


Quote:
Given the problems of interpreting and dating Babylonian texts, I would like to suggest another way of going about this investigation into the origins of the exaltations. Let me first make three observations.

1) Porphyry pointed out an important relationship between the distribution of exaltations and domiciles—namely, that the exaltation image of a diurnal planet is trigonal to one of its domiciles, while the exaltation image of a nocturnal planet is hexagonal to one of its images.

2) I have noted elsewhere that the exaltation images are the good places in the thema mundi—namely, the ascending image (the Crab) itself, and the images hexagonal, tetragonal, trigonal, and diametrical to the Crab. The only exception to this rule is that no planet is exalted in the Scorpion, which is the trigonal on the left of the Crab; instead, the exaltation of Hermes is in the Virgin, the hexagonal on the left of the Crab and normally considered the least bad of the bad places. However, it is said by Rhetorius (presumably citing earlier remarks) that where Selēnē is depressed, there no planet can be exalted.

3) The two domiciles of the five planets are regularly and symmetrically placed around the Crab and the Lion.

Notice that in this scheme that concepts of sect, exaltation, and domicile are tightly interconnected in a rather astonishing way. I find it incredible to believe that the exaltations were introduced in Babylonia for reasons unbeknownst to us (with their otherwise somewhat irregular distribution), and that it just happened that they were so distributed as to be compatible with the Hellenistic doctrine of sect and at the same time the very regular geometrical distribution of domiciles. To me, this bespeaks a Hellenistic origin.

The other alternative, of course, is that both the sect distinction and domicile rulership were part of Babylonian astrology. However, to my knowledge there is no evidence of this.

Robert Schmidt


Mark
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GR



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Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Mark!

MarkC wrote:
Perhaps its too strong to suggest that Schmidt totally 'dismissed' a Babylonian origin but its clear what his slant is on this strongly favours a Hellenistic origin.


Well, it wouldn't be false to say he is biased toward such a view, only that he is being unreasonable about it, or that it is devoid of feeling. From what I could gather looking at Gavin White's article, it seemed like the Babylonians had something like exaltations, though it doesn't appear, at least to my reading, that the full set up that we've inherited was in place during that time. But who knows, maybe there's a tablet collecting dust somewhere that has it.
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GR wrote:
Quote:
...I would not count out the Egyptians, though the matter on their end is still clouded. I wouldn't be surprised if the Egyptians contribute as much as Babylon, or whatever version of the Babylonian material they were exposed to through the Persians.


Has anyone else come across the work of the American researcher Joanne Conman? Intriguingly she argues the origins of the Exaltations ie Hyposomata are originally neither Babylonian or Greek but Ancient Egyptian!

She sets out her case in her article The Egyptian Origins of Planetary Hypsomata," Discussions in Egyptology Volume 64 2006-2009

I stumbled upon a reference to this piece online and after emailing the author she kindly sent me a copy of the article. Its certainly a different take on things!

Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:11 pm; edited 2 times in total
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waybread



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Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: The origin of Exaltations and Rulerships Reply with quote

Eddy wrote:
. In http://www.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0279(198801%2F03)108%3A1%3C51%3AEOTBCT%3E2.0 .CO%3B2-8&cookieSet=1 (unfortunately this website can only be read when registered or in university libraries) it is stated that the Babylonians had attributed the planetary exaltations to signs, which still are the same we use now.


Eddy, I couldn't get this link to come up: can you cite the reference? I have access from home to one university library's on-line jstor collections, so hopefully I can find it. Actually, everyone can if you can just get to a U. library & use their computers.

Fascinating thread, everyone. I am learning a lot!
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Eddy



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Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are the title and author. So probably you will find the article now with the search option.

Elements of the Babylonian Contribution to Hellenistic Astrology
F. Rochberg-Halton
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waybread



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Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddy, thanks. I did a search on "babylonian astrology" via Scholars Portal (humanities) and came up with just a few sources. A search in an archaeological data base might be more revealing, but I post these just in case anyone is interested.

Bock, Barbara, 2000, "An esoteric Babylonian commentary" revisited. Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 120, no. 4, pp. 615-20.
Descriptors: Tablets (Paleography); Akkadian language -- Texts; Babylonian astrology
Abstract
This paper aims at interpreting a previously published Babylonian
commentary. It is suggested that the tablet provides a further example
of a later corpus of texts that reveal the predominance of astrology
over other divinatory techniques.

Rochberg, Francesca 1996, Personifications and metaphors in Babylonian celestial omina. Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 116, pp. 475-85,
Descriptors: Omens; Babylonian astrology; Metaphor; Anthropomorphism in literature
Abstract:
The writer explores the nature of the tropes found in the Babylonian
celestial omen protases and its implications for understanding the
Babylonian conception of the relation of the divine to the celestial
bodies and their phenomena, the signs. She argues that metaphor and
its implications for abstract relational thought in the language of
Babylonian divination can be established on the basis of the function
of the attested metaphorical expressions, which was to represent a
physical phenomenon deemed ominous. She contends that establishing
the existence and identifying the function of metaphorical language in
Mesopotamian celestial divination introduces evidence that moderates
dichotomous schemes of culture and thought, such as
ancient/traditional and modern/scientific thought.

Greenfield, J. C; Sokoloff, M. 1989 Astrological and related omen texts in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 48, pp. 201-14.
Descriptors: Astrology -- Manuscripts; Omens; Moon in literature; Aramaic manuscripts; Jewish astrology; Babylonian astrology.

Rochberg-Halton, F. 1988. Elements of the Babylonian contribution to Hellenistic astrology. Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 108, pp. 51-62,
Descriptors: Babylonian astrology; Greek astrology; Greece -- Civilization --Babylonian influences.

Lambert, W. G. 1987. Babylonian astrological omens and their stars. Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 107, pp. 93-6. Descriptors: Reiner, Erica 1926-; Pingree, David Edwin 1933-; Enuma Anu Enlil; Babylonian astrology; Tablets (Paleography)

Reiner, Erica. 1985. The uses of astrology. Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 105, pp. 589-95.
Descriptors: Babylonian astrology; Magical medicine; Divination; Babylonian medicine

Rochberg-Halton, F. 1984. New evidence for the history of astrology. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 43, pp. 115-40.
Descriptors: Greek astrology; Babylonian astrology; Greece -- Civilization --Babylonian influences.
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Posted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good explanation why exaltations of the planets occurs in these signs and degrees can be found in Abu Mashar's Great Introduction, book V, chapter 7(Abu Ma’sar Al-Balhi, Liber Introductorii Maioris ad Scientiam Judiciorum Astrorum, Napoli, 1996 )
Abu Mashar claims that these statements are according to Hermes and he says that he quoted Hermes verbatim.
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Posted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Astroart,

It would be interesting to see exactly what Abū Maʿshar said. So beyond attributing to Hermes does he suggest what the reason for the exaltations was? Any chance of a quote please?

Even if Abū Maʿshar did have access to a now lost text it may not explain the origin of the exaltations. After all he was writing in the 9th century CE. Supporters of a hellenistic origin to the exaltations suggest this might have developed in the 1st -2nd century BCE. Thats over 1000 years from the time of Abū Maʿshar. It was not uncommon for anonymous astrological texts or ideas to be attributed to the legendary/mythical Hermes Trismegistus.

The suggestion of people like Chris Brennan, Robert Schmidt and Demetra George is that the exaltations are more likely hellenistic in origin. This explanation has two basic supports. Firstly, the relationship of the exaltations to the domicile rulers. The is mentioned by Porphyry, who points out that all of the diurnal planets have their exaltations in signs which are configured to one of their domiciles by trine, while all of the nocturnal planets have their exaltations in signs that are configured to one of their domiciles by sextile.

The second argument links the exaltations to the Thema Mundi. This was the mythical creation chart for the world which appears to have been used by hellenistic astrologers as a teaching aid. Robert Schmidt has pointed out that when the exaltation signs of the planets are superimposed on the Thema Mundi, they all fall in signs that are configured to the ascendant, which is in Cancer in the Thema Mundi. The houses which are configured to the ascendant by one of the accepted aspects (sextile, square, trine, opposition) are considered to be the ‘good houses/places’ in the Hellenistic tradition. Hence Sun (square), Moon (sextile), Mercury (sextile), Venus (trine), Mars (opposition), Jupiter (conjunction), Saturn (square). No planetary exaltation is configured in aversion to the ascendant of the Thema Mundi. The signs in aversion to Cancer are Gemini, Leo, Aquarius, and Sagittarius. All lack an exaltation ruler.

Mark
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‘’As thou conversest with the heavens, so instruct and inform thy minde according to the image of Divinity…’’ William Lilly
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