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When did Round Charts Replace the Square Ones?
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Cornelia



Joined: 18 May 2009
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Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:06 pm    Post subject: When did Round Charts Replace the Square Ones? Reply with quote

Can someone tell me when the round charts we now use for Western horoscopes took the place of the older, square ones? Might the square chart still have been used in England around 1820?
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:46 pm    Post subject: Re: When did Round Charts Replace the Square Ones? Reply with quote

Cornelia wrote:
Can someone tell me when the round charts we now use for Western horoscopes took the place of the older, square ones? Might the square chart still have been used in England around 1820?

Round charts have been around (no pun intended) since classical times, but I believe that they became the norm only towards the late 19th century. Square charts were definitely used in England in the 1820s; cf. Worsdale's 1828 Celestial Philosophy.
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Cornelia



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Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin,

Thanks so much. I had seen both charts used earlier but wasn't sure where the crossover was. With that date, I'd have to wonder if the round chart becoming standard was another Theosophical thing.
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BogdanKr



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Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.radio.cz/en/article/97520

it seems that in seventeenth century the shift into round charts was on the move...
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spirlhelix



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Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kepler was widely credited with popularizing circular charts.

I like square better because they are easier to draw by hand. I use a computer to calculate a chart, but I always draw a chart by hand when I study it. For people who are "hands-on" learners, it helps us focus on the chart one piece at a time.

I don't care for the fuss of duplicating a round chart by hand; in my opinion it's also more difficult to distinguish visually between one house and another with a computer-drawn round chart, once the house system has shifted the positions around the circle.

I can read circular charts, but I prefer to study a square chart.

Best,

Pam
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Philip Graves



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Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further to Martin's reply,

Simmonite uses square charts in his 'The Celestial Philosopher' and 'The Astro-Philosopher and Meteorologist' (both published in the mid-to-late 1840s)

Oxley uses round charts in his 'The Gem of the Astral Sciences' (1848) - for example 'Napoleon Natus' (p. 36). Blavatsky was only 17 years old when this was published. In fact he also uses round charts in his 'The Celestial Planispheres' (1830) which predates the work of Simmonite above and predates Blavatsky's birth, comprehensively disproving the theory that theosophical influence might be behind the change.

Zadkiel (Commander Richard Morrison) uses a round chart in his 'The Hand-Book of Astrology Volume 2' (1863), which was still 12 years before the establishment of the Theosophical Society in 1875 (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosophy).

Pearce uses round charts in his 'The Text-Book of Astrology Volume One' (1879) and 'The Science of the Stars' (1881).

Parkes (writing as Ebn Shemaya) uses square charts in his 'The Star' (1839).

On this basis it would appear that the major permanent shift among astrological book authors to round charts happened in the mid-late 1840s, with Simmonite penning the last major works using square charts and everyone since Oxley in 1848 using round, although Oxley had consistently pushed in this direction since at least 1830, at first meeting resistance before Zadkiel and all other major astrological authors were converted by the early 1860s.

PS: My hunch that Oxley was behind the intellectual movement towards round figures is given very strong support by his own words. I quote from 'The Celestial Planispheres' pp. 38-9 (original 1830 printing in hand):

Quote:
There is also another very great impediment to the perfect attainment of this science, which is the absurd figure, or diagram almost always used, and very improperly called a figure of the heavens; which figure consists of a square and a number of half squares, or triangles cornered and dovetailed into one another like a mosaic pavement. In the name of reason I would ask in what respect can such a tesselated pavement be compared to a figure of the heavens! The orbits of the planets are nearly circular, the planets themselves are globular, and the lines distinguished by the names of ecliptic and equator, etc., are perfect circles. How excessively absurd then must it be, to represent the figure of the heavens under the similitude of a broken pavement, or of a square of board made up of a number of other squares, cut through their diagonals and clumsily glued together again. Surely it could never have been a man of science who invented so absurd a figure, but some sordid miser, with the view of saving half an inch of paper. I have indeed heard some careful persons say, when I have spoken to them of its absurdity, that they thought it took less paper for a square figure of the heavens, than for a round one; but let us ask why the saving of a bit of paper should be regarded, when it serves no other purpose than to perplex and mislead the understanding; for with the square figure before the eyes of the student, it is impossible to explain, in an intelligible manner, the positions of the heavens, and the revolutions of the planets; but by using a circular figure, divided into twelve parts by lines tending towards a centre like the radii or spokes of a wheel, whereon to mark the degrees which occupy the cusps of the celestial houses, and the circle in the middle to represent the globe of the earth, the difficulty immediately vanishes, and we may then explain in a more easy and familiar manner, the mundane and zodiacal motions, both direct and converse, as I shall now endeavor to do in the following chapter.


Last edited by Philip Graves on Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:03 am; edited 2 times in total
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent piece of detective work, Philip! Thank you.
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johannes susato



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
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Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Philip,
just reading your very interesting "piece of detective work" I find that Ebenezer Sibly used 'nearly circular' oval shaped charts in his

The Celestial Science of Astrology, London, 1776

as you can see here:
http://www.skyscript.co.uk/sibly.html
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johannes susato



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Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meanwhile I find in a posthumous (new?) edition,

A New and Complete Illustration of the Celestial Science of Astrology, London 1826

square charts only - until now.

Now it would be most interesting to know whether the charts are changed in this (last?) edition. It seems very unprobably because the engravings had certainly been very expensive.
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Arihant



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Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting to delve when/what was the origin of Square charts.!! Secret
My guess is something to do with mystical ;Shri -Yantra/Talisman type of things , capable of invoking Kundali (literal meaning has to do with Yogic Kriya, but in vedic system , Kundali is what a Horscope is called)
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Philip Graves



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Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Johannes!

Firstly, Sibly's work was published originally in four parts from 1784 to 1788, and I am not aware of any evidence for 1776 (but please someone correct me if I am wrong).

I have an original printing of a mixed edition spanning 1784-1790 here in my hand. On p. 156 of Part I, Sibly introduces 'FIGURE of the HOROSCOPE, or TWELVE HOUSES of HEAVEN'. This is the standard square chart that Oxley would later deride as a 'broken pavement'. Sibly's exposition of the figure spanning pp. 155-6 does not in any way call it into question as the de facto standard.

In Part II, we find Sibly consistently uses square charts in his actual text: eg on pp. 337, 340, 342, 344, 346, 348, 349, 351, 353, 355, 356, 359, 362, 365, 367, 369, 371, 624, 696, 781, 801, 807, 813, 817, 821, 834, 837, 839, 841, and 911.

It is only when plates appear apart from the text with portraits of their subjects in the centre that the oval format is used. My impression is that this is above all an application of artistic licence, since portraits look better in non-square frames, and consequent adaptation of the usual format for the drawing of each figure. We find this first in the plate opposite p. 391.

But see also the plate opposite P. 619. Again, artistic licence has been used, but this time a curved-line variant on the square chart format appears for the nativity of Mr. George Wichell, Astronomer. This is pure art. The same chart recurs within the text on p. 624 in its traditional square format with no central portrait.

Further in the plate opposite p. 792 we find a variation on the oval-format chart; this time, a nested set of circles, with central portrait within eight parallel circles allowing for the printing of several lines of text between them, and artistic adornments to the outer ring. Another application of artistic licence, for the sake of variety in the visual appearance of the plates in the book, it would seem to me.

Next in the plate opposite p. 844 we find yet another artistic variation, a partly curved-line, partly straight-line variant on the traditional square chart, this time with no central portrait.

Now we come to the oval charts reprinted at Skyscript. All are on one of six plates. On the original pages, they appear five per plate, with one in the centre and four around the outside. So we get thirty portraits spread over six plates (in my copy). The effect is pleasant visually, five oval-framed portraits neatly nested together, and also saves space compared with four square diagrams. Again, artistic licence.

Next, the plate opposite p. 891 is an artistically embroidered traditional square chart with central portrait. Another variation to make the artwork in the book attractively varied.

A further example of the nested circles style appears opposite p. 892 (for the Nativity of Jesus Christ), while opposite p. 910 we find two entirely traditional square charts side by side representing the times of the Apprehension and Crucifixion (respectively) of Christ.

In Part III of the book, as before, within the text the only figures to appear are in square format. See for example p. 1036. Part IV is not chiefly concerned with matter conducive to the drawing of astrological figures.

The evidence from Sibly's work is that he used square charts throughout in his working text, without exception, but an artist or artists working on the production of plates for the book deployed a variety of alternative artistic devices to frame portraits of subjects under study. Whether Sibly himself was directly responsible for any of this artwork I would not pretend to know, but it was in any case just that.

Philip
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Philip Graves



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Posted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:55 pm    Post subject: Footnote to Zadkiel's place in the history of the reform Reply with quote

Further to my original response to this topic,

It appears increasingly to me that Zadkiel was in fact a convert to Oxley's cause much earlier than I previously presumed, since in the first edition of his 'Grammar of Astrology' (1833) both Figure 2, the schematic of the twelve houses on p. 152 and Figure 3, the nativity of Lord Byron's Daughter on p. 153 adopt the modern circular chart format.

Oxley in his plea for this movement in his 1830 publication as quoted above appears to mention that he frequently tried to persuade others of the preferability of the circular format. It would appear to me reasonable to conjecture that Zadkiel was among these. The alternative hypothesis, that Zadkiel and Oxley independently of each other campaigned to reform the process for the drawing of nativities and abolish the use of square charts altogether in perhaps the late 1820s or at least the very early 1830s, would require, I believe, some firmer evidence in its support. So far I can find direct evidence only for Oxley launching this campaign.

It also strikes me as somewhat plausible that if had not been for Zadkiel's consistent adoption of Oxley's cause célèbre in his writings from the 1830s to the 1860s, Oxley's cause might not have carried the day in the long run, since Oxley's work was technical and only likely to be of interest to serious astrologers, whereas Zadkiel's was marketed at a broader public, and his works were printed in large numbers and were therefore sure to influence a whole generation of later 19th century students of astrology.

PS: As if to firmly underline that history is rarely simple, I find that in the first edition of the first volume (1877) of Raphael VI (Robert Thomas Cross)'s two-volume Guide to Astrology (1877-9), he uses the traditional square schematic and figures throughout, albeit slightly squashed to fit the more oblong format of the pages. It seems slightly ironic that a mass-populariser in the form of the prolific later Raphael might have been the last example writing from British shores of the square-chart old guard, while simultaneously his technically high-brow rival Alfred Pearce (who had eventually taken over the title of Zadkiel from Morrison; the Zadkiel / Raphael rivalries of the 19th century are well-documented) was representing the modern circular figure format. But if as seems to be the case it was a high-brow astrologer in the form of Thomas Oxley who advocated this change, who in the last quarter of the century could be more fitting than Pearce to carry the baton of Oxley's revolution into the future? The mere fact that Pearce was, like Morrison before him, a Zadkiel, should not in my view be sufficient to explain his preference for circular charts, since he penned his major works under his own real name, and reserved the Zadkiel moniker for Zadkiel's almanac etc.. I think on the contrary Pearce's reasoning was ideological in a similar vein to that of Oxley. Both were very fond of primary directions, and Oxley had argued the case for circular figures chiefly with a view to their preferability in the demonstration of primary directions.

The overall historical picture emerging from all this is that Oxley's proposed reforms, launched in his 1830 publication 'The Celestial Planispheres' on strongly argued ideological grounds, were consistently adopted by one of the leading astrologers of the mid-19th century in the form of the first Zadkiel (Morrison), and in turn by Morrison's successor as Zadkiel (Pearce), but were resisted by some other astrologers for at least 50 years following this publication.


Last edited by Philip Graves on Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:04 am; edited 3 times in total
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johannes susato



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
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Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip Graves wrote:
Hi Johannes!

Firstly, Sibly's work was published originally in four parts from 1784 to 1788, and I am not aware of any evidence for 1776 (but please someone correct me if I am wrong).
Hi Philip,

the year 1776 is given in the article under the same link as above (here again): http://www.skyscript.co.uk/sibly.html

The quote:
"He became a Freemason in 1784, and it was to the 'Fraternity of Free Masons' that he dedicated his most famous work, from which these horoscopes are extracted: The Celestial Science of Astrology. (London: 1776); to be revised as The New and Complete Illustration of the Celestial Science of Astrology, (1817)."

In the later edition of 1826 (facsimile in the internet) I can't find any of the 'artistic' charts. But my search was not very systematically as yet.
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Philip Graves



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Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Johannes!

Agreed that 1776 is given in the article, but where is the evidence for this date, please? It is a new one to me, and I can find no copies of Sibly's work in British libraries predating the usually agreed date of 1784 for Part I. Please see:

http://copac.ac.uk/search?&au=Sibly&ti=Celestial+science+of+astrology&sort-order=ti%2C%2Ddate

OCLC also finds no copies predating 1784: please see:

http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=Sibly+Celestial+Science+of+Astrology&fq=&dblist=638&fc=yr:_25&qt=show_more_yr%3A

Furthermore, if he became a Freemason in 1784, why would he have dedicated his work to the Fraternity of Freemasons eight years prior to this date?

Unless evidence is presented for a date of 1776, I am not at the present time inclined to believe it at all likely.

I have no idea whether or not some of the plates might have been removed from later editions, but they are certainly present in the edition of the 1780s (to 1790) that I have to hand.

Best wishes,

Philip
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johannes susato



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Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Philip,

I'm sure that we see a typing error in the linked Skyscript article. All your research suggests this strongly.

I'll search for the artistic charts in the 1826 edition systematically very soon.

Best wishes
Johannes
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