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Skyscript Astrology Forum

Valens: Schmidt, Riley and Gehrz
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Chris Brennan



Joined: 22 Sep 2005
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Location: Denver, Colorado, USA

Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something that might be worth mentioning here is that in Valens' own chart, or at least the chart that Pingree inferred to be Valens' chart, Saturn is right on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer. When Valens mentions the chart a few times he consistently says that Saturn was in Cancer. When the chart is calculated using tropical values Saturn ends up at 29°14 Gemini. It is only the sidereal values that put it in Cancer. Fagan-Allen puts it at 0°38 Cancer, and Lahiri puts it at 1°31. Obviously Valens' tables aren't as precise as our own, so one might be able to chalk this up to a calculation error, but the point still stands that for one of his own chart placements Valens was basically using a sidereal value, either deliberately or inadvertently.

Aside from that, Jones recently published an important paper in Ptolemy in Perspective where he tabulates all of the existing horoscopes and basically points out that the values were largely sidereal during the early Hellenistic tradition, and it wasn't until a few centuries after Ptolemy that a distinct transition took place where the charts became tropical. It seems like this is more or less the same conclusion that Dimityr Kojuharov came to in the thread that Therese quoted earlier, although in Jones' case his paper has been published, so it is open for review.
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Deb
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Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Martin I am presenting my own views here and try to make it clear when I am speculating - all we can do in this sort of informal exchange of ideas. But note I said "Any use of an equally divided zodiac which is centred upon the ecliptic has ceased to be fundamentally ‘sidereal’ as it was in the ancient systems that preceded identification of the equinoxes and solstices". If you drop off the latter part of my sentence it loses its relevance to the point I was making.

Thanks for responding to my request for clarification on the Greek word. Do you have the Greek text for all the bit that Schmidt has translated as "Aries is watery in nature, full of thunder, hail. More particularly, the first parts up to the equipartite [place] are full of thunderstorms, hail wind and destruction; the middle parts up to the 15th degree are temperate". If so, would you share? It does seem odd that Gehrz translates it so differently. Are there alternate manuscripts giving different versions of the text as there is with Ptolemy's work? Maybe I should write and ask Gerhz if she would stand by that translation after reconsideration (it could be a simple mistake - I'm sure all translators make them).
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Deb
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Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our posts crossed Chris. Thanks for reminding me, I have that - but it's also significant that Jones summarises that "the astrologers of Ptolemy's period did not distinguish between the tropical and sidereal year, and used a frame of reference that was assumed to be tropical but in fact was approximately sidereal. Ptolemy's tables assume a tropical frame while attributing a precessional motion to the fixed stars. Papyri show that for two centuries after his time, Ptolemy's tables were commonly used only together with a correction that brought computed positions into a standardization of the prevalent frame of reference". (p.xiii)

So it may be the case that even the computations that appear to support the use of a fixed zodiac are not down to the astrologer purposely adopting this perspective in principle - just the result of their trust in the tables they were working with. At that time it hardly mattered, but according to Jones they assumed that their frame of reference was the tropical one. It seems logical to me that the Greek astrologers at least would be doing that, since fixing the 0 Aries point at the equinox is so clearly described by Geminos as being the normal convention of the Greeks.
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handn



Joined: 02 Nov 2009
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Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello

Martin Gansten wrote:
There is nothing intrinsically sidereal or tropical about the ecliptic.


I sort of agree with this part.

I'm afraid I don't agree with the next part...

Martin Gansten wrote:
It is a great circle defined by the Sun's apparent motion against the background of the fixed stars (sidereal) and crossing the celestial equator at the equinoctial points (tropical).


I would say 'sky'. The background is arguably simply the sky itself, first and foremost. The fixed stars and/or the crossing and turning points can be used as reference points for seeing meaning, but there is no need to define the ecliptic in terms of either the stars or the crossing+turning points. The path of the Sun exists in and of itself, up there in the vault of the heavens.

I agree with the next part, but would add something....

Martin Gansten wrote:
Astrology in no way ceases to be fundamentally sidereal because it recognizes the ecliptic.


Agreed, however nor does astrology necessarily become or exist as fundamentally sidereal by recognising, measuring and seeing meaning in the sun's path. They are able to be discriminated. The Babylonians were a clever bunch.

Regards

handn
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handn



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Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello

Whether academics or 'amateurs', mainstream or fringe, unconscious assumptions can easily trip anyone up.

There is ample evidence that peoples long dead and buried had blazing clarity about many things which in later peopes' minds became foggy, and even amongst some became wholly lost.

I think it's problematical to point to dates and say 'precession wasn't known about before then' or 'they didn't distinguish between tropical zodiac and whatever sidereal-rooted system you wish to point to' and so on and so forth, based on texts alone. The fact is we don't know anything for certain (which is why it's so interesting as a topic of discussion).

What they wrote and what they did and what they knew about weren't necessarily all the same thing. This is stating the obvious and you all know it already, but I think it needs to be said as a reminder.

If something is simple, clear and obvious, then it's possible that it wouldn't need writing down in detail in great treatises. If something can easily be carried in the memory, or computed by one's mental 'ready reckoner', why waste a clay tablet on it? What is difficult for us could have been child's play for them, and vice versa.

There is no automatic linear progression of knowledge or skill or ability over centuries or millennia. The process of passing on and handing down is full of risks of mutation and loss, caused by various factors.

We live in an age when we can jot down any trivial nonsense that comes to mind, and so we do. They didn't.

We need to be careful what we assume, especially unconsciously.

My closing point is that academics can be as wrong as anybody else, as can mainstream opinions, and that whilst it is immature and stupid to refuse to deeply consider and deliberate over what the mainstream views are or what academics tell us, on the other hand we do not doff our caps automatically to mainstreamness, nor to academia. If we did, we wouldn't be doing astrology in the first place.

Regards

handn
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Quote:
I would like to know more about Kojuharov’s research – has he published? His work sounds very interesting, although without demonstration of data and argument it’s hard to know what to do with a comment like “all charts from Hellenistic period are calculated in the sidereal zodiac, including charts from the late Antiquity or many centuries after Ptolemy”...


I agree that we need more information. As for Kojuharov, I only know what he has posted on the ACT forum. Here is another small quote of his from ACT:
--------------------------------------------------

by Dimityr Kojuharov on Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:13 am

Q: Can you give an internet reference for Alexander Jones?

Alexander Jones, Astronomical Papyri from Oxyrchynchus, volumes 1 and 2, Philadelphia, 1999

The most impressive statement of A. Jones is on the p.49 of his book, where he says that the Greek astrologers(after Ptolemy) used Ptolemy's tropical longitudes from Handy tables and then they used a special formula (Theon's rule) to convert these tropical longitudes into the sidereal. So the final result is a horoscope in a sidereal zodiac.
Dimityr Kojuharov
-------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
...especially where he admits his conclusions may be erroneous.


The possible questioning of conclusions refers to exactly when and in what cultures zodiac calculations changed from the sidereal to the tropical. He is suggesting that further research could change what he's found so far.

Quote:
One point that struck me from his post is how much the calculation preferences probably fell down to convenience and the availability of tables – I wouldn’t be surprised if far fewer astrologers deliberated on the philosophical and astronomical principles involved than we assume would do that.


I tend to believe that whatever tables were available had the last word, and many (if not all) astrologers simply didn't think about the basis of the calculations. They used the tables at hand.

I tend to avoid getting into the mathematical discussions regarding ancient zodiacs. I simply note the positions of planets given in the texts and work from there. Then I test theories in modern day charts. (Which I will do a bit later with charts from Dorian Greenbarum's book on temperament.)

I know that Rumen Kolev and those who follow the Fagan-Bradley school swear by "the (one and only!) fixed Babylonian zodiac based on Spica at 29 Virgo and Aldebaran/Antares at 15 Taurus/Scorpio. But I reserve judgement on such specifics without more textual support.

Therese
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote:


Aside from that, Jones recently published an important paper in Ptolemy in Perspective where he tabulates all of the existing horoscopes and basically points out that the values were largely sidereal during the early Hellenistic tradition, and it wasn't until a few centuries after Ptolemy that a distinct transition took place where the charts became tropical. It seems like this is more or less the same conclusion that Dimityr Kojuharov came to in the thread that Therese quoted earlier, although in Jones' case his paper has been published, so it is open for review.


Whoa!! Checked it out on Amazon. Lowest price is $115 U.S. dollars. Amazon price is $189. Do you have the book, Chris? Is there a way we can get only the relevant section of the book?
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb: I've replied to you privately.

handn wrote:
I would say 'sky'. The background is arguably simply the sky itself, first and foremost. The fixed stars and/or the crossing and turning points can be used as reference points for seeing meaning, but there is no need to define the ecliptic in terms of either the stars or the crossing+turning points. The path of the Sun exists in and of itself, up there in the vault of the heavens.

Yes, but it is not measurable/plottable except with reference to something both visible and (relatively) unchanging. That's the fixed stars. Historically, therefore, the ecliptic was discovered and defined with reference to them.
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Wolfgang



Joined: 18 Feb 2008
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Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:

--------------------------------------------------

by Dimityr Kojuharov on Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:13 am

Q: Can you give an internet reference for Alexander Jones?

Alexander Jones, Astronomical Papyri from Oxyrchynchus, volumes 1 and 2, Philadelphia, 1999

The most impressive statement of A. Jones is on the p.49 of his book, where he says that the Greek astrologers(after Ptolemy) used Ptolemy's tropical longitudes from Handy tables and then they used a special formula (Theon's rule) to convert these tropical longitudes into the sidereal. So the final result is a horoscope in a sidereal zodiac.
Dimityr Kojuharov
-------------------------------------------------------

Therese


HERE (a part of) THE TEXT_SOURCE FOM THE BOOK
http://screencast.com/t/bKYQzJZc8xpk
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james_m



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Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this looks like one of those conversations that often plague astrologers - was it sidereal or tropical? i heard they used to use entrails to figure things out too.. maybe someone here can try that.. good luck sorting it out...
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wolfgang wrote:
HERE (a part of) THE TEXT_SOURCE FOM THE BOOK
http://screencast.com/t/bKYQzJZc8xpk


Thank you, but my computer stalled out on this link. This happens frequently with my aging XP computer. I stay with XP so I can continue to use the Rodden AstroDatabank for research.

Therese
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Konrad



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Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Wolfgang wrote:
HERE (a part of) THE TEXT_SOURCE FOM THE BOOK
http://screencast.com/t/bKYQzJZc8xpk


Thank you, but my computer stalled out on this link. This happens frequently with my aging XP computer. I stay with XP so I can continue to use the Rodden AstroDatabank for research.

Therese


Do you mean the Astrodatabank web-page?
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Konrad wrote:

Do you mean the Astrodatabank web-page?


No, I mean the entire program that's on my computer that allows searches for astrological traits and configurations. The program can also be upgraded with new data. But the program itself is "dead" now for new users and doesn't run on Windows 7. A sad loss because there is data in that program for more than 20,000 individuals.
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epurdue



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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Therese Hamilton"]
Konrad wrote:

No, I mean the entire program that's on my computer that allows searches for astrological traits and configurations. The program can also be upgraded with new data. But the program itself is "dead" now for new users and doesn't run on Windows 7. A sad loss because there is data in that program for more than 20,000 individuals.


If you buy Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate, you can download a free Windows XP virtual machine from Microsoft that allows to run any Windows XP program.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mithra6 wrote:
Quote:
If you buy Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate, you can download a free Windows XP virtual machine from Microsoft that allows to run any Windows XP program.


I think there might have been problems with AstroDatabank with that combination too, but I'll check the ADB forum for information. I surely would like to upgrade my circa 2003 computer. I have to hand it to Toshiba, however. Never had any problems, and it's still running!

Therese
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