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Valens: Schmidt, Riley and Gehrz
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Quote:
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.



Indeed the tradition seems to long pre-date Geminos (1st century BCE).

Most general astronomical histories state that Hipparchus (2nd century BCE) was the first to propose a tropical zodiac starting at 0 Aries. While most of the writings of Hipparchus are lost we do still have a surviving text which is his Commentary on the Phenomena of Aratus and Eudoxus.

One fascinating comment by Hipparchus in the text is that the tropical zodiac is an ancient tradition even in his time:

Quote:
‘’First of all it, must be considered that Aratus so divided his zodiac, that the tropical and equinoctial points should form the commencement of signs…and in this way almost all the old astronomers divided their zodiac’’ Commentary on the Phenomena of Aratus and Eudoxus, by Hipparchus.


Who were these 'old astronomers'? Were they all Greek or could some have been Babylonian?

Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote:
Quote:
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.


I dont think its strictly accurate to describe it as a 'sidereal' approach. Where is the fiducial star? There is none in Greek astrology. Instead what we find are differing traditions of where the equinox lay with ideas asserting 0, 8 , 10 or even 15 degrees Aries as the equinox point.

As cited in my post above above the Greek astronomers seem to have relied more on 0 Aries as their fiducial point. However, the Greek astrologers seem to have tended to borrow the values of 8 or 10 Aries as the equinox point from Babylonian astrology. Ptolemy wasn't taking a revolutionary approach in adopting 0 Aries as the start of the zodiac but rather introducing the mainstream position of Greek astronomy dating back centuries and applying it to Greek astrology.

What James Holden calls the 'Alexandrian zodiac' clearly didn't coincide with 0 Aries. That doesn't mean its fiducial point was a fixed star. The basic reference point was still the assumed equinox point. However, before an understanding of precession became widespread the equinox pont was assumed to be fixed.

Two Babylonian traditions (8 or 10 Aries) in terms of the equinox point were used by the early hellenistic astrologers according to Otto O. Neugebauer and H.B. Van Hoessen in their book 'Greek Horoscopes'.

Quote:
Babylonian astronomy of the Seleucid period uses two different methods for the description of the Sun and related phenomena. These two ‘Systems’ , called A and B respectively find a continuation in Hellenistic astronomy. For our purposes the following facts are characteristic for the two Systems:

(a) The venal equinox is assumed to correspond to a solar longitude of 10 degrees Aries, but 8 degrees Aries in System B (whereas Almagest uses 0 Aries). Especially the norm of system B is very frequently found in astrological writings into the Middle Ages.

(b) The rising times of the zodiacal signs are in both systems computed according to simple arithmetical schemes ( in contrast to the tables in the Almagest which are based on spherical trigonometry) Greek Horoscopes, p13 , O. Neugebauer and H.B. Van Hoessen


The western siderealist Cyril Fagan was spot on in his following comment:

Quote:
''….nowhere in the literature of Greece or Rome is mention made of any fiducial or marking star.'' Zodiacs Old and New, page 26, Cyril Fagan, 1951


Mark
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I dont think its strictly accurate to describe it as a 'sidereal' approach. Where is the fiducial star? There is none in Greek astrology. Instead what we find are differing traditions of where the equinox lay with ideas asserting 0, 8 or 10 degrees Aries as the equinox point.

This strikes me as a somewhat hair-splitting objection. If the equinoxes and solstices had been perceived as the real defining points, what possible reason could there have been for removing them from the beginnings of the signs by 8 or 10 degrees? The original definitions of the zodiac obviously included some other element which was considered more important than the tropical points, and if not one or more fixed stars, then what? (Besides, the fact that the twelve equal signs were named after the unequal constellations to which they most closely corresponded might give us a clue.) In my view, preserving this displacement of the tropical points amounts to giving priority to the fixed relation of the signs to the constellations, whether an actual fiducial star is named or not.

Incidentally, Indian astrologers today typically work in a similar way, deducting the ayanāṃśa from tropical positions. They do not find that this compromises the sidereal nature of their astrological practice, as their zodiac remains fixed with regard to the constellations. I agree with them.
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin wrote:
Quote:
This strikes me as a somewhat hair-splitting objection.


I don’t think so but I understand why a siderealist like yourself might look at it differently. My point is that these astrologers perceived the fixed point in their zodiac as the equinox not a fixed star. The word sidereal relates to a star does it not? Of course there was no knowledge of precession amongst the early Greek and Roman astrologers so it clearly wasn’t a tropicalism based on 0 Aries. However, their fiducial point appears to have been where they perceived the equinox to be located. Later astrologers like Ptolemy just provided greater astronomical sophistication to allow the exact calculation of the equinox point.

Martin wrote:
Quote:
If the equinoxes and solstices had been perceived as the real defining points…


They were amongst most Greek astronomers. Did you see my quote from Hipparchus above? Like it or not the majority of Greek astronomers DID use 0 Aries (tropical) as the starting point of their zodiac.

Martin wrote:
Quote:
If the equinoxes and solstices had been perceived as the real defining points , what possible reason could there have been for removing them from the beginnings of the signs by 8 or 10 degrees?


Its rather the distinction between Greek astronomy and popular astrological usage. The Greek astrologers seem to have adopted these points (especially 8 Aries) as where the equinox lay directly from Babylonian sources which were already outdated due to precession. They were also relying on often innaccurate astronomical tables passed down to them. So with the best will in the world their attempts to calculate the zodiac were never going to coincide with the actual tropical zodiac at that time. Plus they had no knowledge of precession. As I see it they were calculating a zodiac from what they perceived as the equinox point. It just didn’t coincide with the actual one because their astronomical understanding of where it lay was less advanced.

Martin wrote:
Quote:
Incidentally, Indian astrologers today typically work in a similar way, deducting the ayanāṃśa from tropical positions. They do not find that this compromises the sidereal nature of their astrological practice, as their zodiac remains fixed with regard to the constellations. I agree with them.


I rather thought you would. Wink However, I don’t see what possible relevance this has to a discussion of ancient astrology. After all these ancient astrologers were on the whole completely unaware of precession so the whole analogy is irrelevant.

Plus they had no fiducial star like the Indians. If you have evidence to the contrary please do post it....

Considering what a key point the fiducial star is in any version of a sidereal zodiac (Fagan, Lahiri etc) I find your lassez faire approach to the term difficult to fathom. You seem content to exchange the standard definition of the word for one based on a fixed zodiac derived from the assumed equinox point. This seems very different from a sidereal zodiac in most people's use of the word.

I think it is unfortunate that such lax use of the term 'sidereal' is widespread in contemporary academic circles too.

Mark
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I don’t think so but I understand why a siderealist like yourself might look at it differently.

And I quite understand why a tropicalist like yourself might like to make as much of astrology's history as possible look tropical. However, let's not play the motive game.

Quote:
My point is that these astrologers perceived the fixed point in their zodiac as the equinox not a fixed star.

As long as they did not know about or understand precession, this may have been (and, I believe, probably was) entirely a matter of practical convenience. The point is that there was something else that defined the beginning of the signs. That something was the fixed constellations (all made up of stars!), whether or not a particular fiducial star was named.

Quote:
Later astrologers like Ptolemy just provided greater astronomical sophistication to allow the exact calculation of the equinox point.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Saying that the sign Aries begins at the equinox point is a stipulative definition. It is neither more nor less sophisticated than saying that Aries begins 8 degrees prior to the equinox point; it is just different.

Quote:
Quote:
If the equinoxes and solstices had been perceived as the real defining points…

They were amongst most Greek astronomers. Did you see my quote from Hipparchus above? Like it or not the majority of Greek astronomers DID use 0 Aries (tropical) as the starting point of their zodiac.

And did you see me referring to the same fact earlier in this thread? As I said there, astronomers and astrologers seem generally not to have been the same people, or to have shared the same objectives. Hipparchus and Geminus are only tangentially relevant to Greek astrology as such.

Quote:
The Greek astrologers seem to have adopted these points (especially 8 Aries) as where the equinox lay directly from Babylonian sources which were already outdated due to precession.

They were; but then, as you say yourself, most astrologers didn't know about precession.

Quote:
As I see it they were calculating a zodiac from what they perceived as the equinox point. It just didn’t coincide with the actual one because their astronomical understanding of where it lay was less advanced.

I have read this several times over, but I admit I cannot grasp your reasoning. 'More or less advanced' doesn't enter into it. If someone measures the equinox as falling 15° or 10° or 8° into the sign Aries, then there must be a starting point to Aries which is not dependent on the equinox. You can't measure something without reference points. And the only possible reference points in this case are the fixed stars (one or more). A zodiac which uses the fixed stars as reference points is a sidereal zodiac. What else could it be?

Regarding Indian astrology:

Quote:
However, I don’t see what possible relevance this has to a discussion of ancient astrology. After all these ancient astrologers were on the whole completely unaware of precession so the whole analogy is irrelevant.

I don't think it is. The point is that you don't need a named fiducial star in order to have a sidereal zodiac. It is enough that the zodiac remain fixed in relation to the constellations. (In fact, the Sanskrit word used – nirayaṇa – is not strictly related to the stars. It means 'unprecessed'.)

Quote:
Plus they had no fiducial star like the Indians. If you have evidence to the contrary please do post it....

You are the one insisting on named fiducial stars, not I.

Quote:
I find your lassez faire approach to the term difficult to fathom. You seem content to exchange the standard definition of the word for one based on a fixed zodiac derived from the assumed equinox point. This seems very different from a sidereal zodiac in most people's use of the word.

I think it is unfortunate that such lax use of the term 'sidereal' is widespread in contemporary academic circles too.

On the contrary, I think that most people who use the phrase 'sidereal zodiac' at all (a minuscule fraction of humanity!) use it in precisely the same sense that I and other academics do, namely, a zodiac fixed in relation to the stars/constellations. It seems perfectly natural and uncontroversial to me. If it doesn't to you, then we just feel differently on a point of semantics. However, it will be easier to communicate if we all stick to established usage.
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theresa, the book Ptolemy in Perspective is very expensive but Alexander Jones’s research surpasses anything else that has been published on the matter of tropical/sidereal calculations to date. So as old fashioned as the idea is, I strongly recommend that you order a copy from your local library – it takes a few weeks of patience but this is the best way to save yourself a fortune and support these areas of academic research. It’s especially valuable to have academics who have no allegiance to any working system exploring these issues and Jones knows his stuff.

Only the first few pages of his article ‘Ancient rejection and adoption of Ptolemy’s frame of reference for longitudes’ are available on Google Books preview ( see the link here); but the whole of the short preceding chapter can be seen online, and that’s an important primer for understanding how an the ancient astrologer who was working out the maths of the longitude calculations could draw from sidereal values in order to arrive at what was perceived to be a tropical solution. The major part of the article that is not visible on Google books demonstrates this and gives us a great deal to think about. Jones has examined the work of Valens and shows how we need to exercise caution before assuming that because the calculations were closer to sidereal values than tropical values at that time, this was purposely driven by principle rather than the effect of calculation methods and available tables. For example, on p.29 Jones writes:

Quote:
There is nothing in the papyri to suggest that their authors or users thought of the frame of reference primarily as sidereal. Like Valens, they probably computed the ascendant and other cardinal points of their horoscopes on the assumption that the vernal equinoctial point was fixed at Aries 8°, which would make the frame of notation ostensibly tropical.


This reinforces the conclusion that Cyril Fagan came to, and also Neugebauer who Jones reports had concluded that Valens frame of reference was “simply Ptolemy’s”. Jones shows it is not as simple as that, but also demonstrates that even the later horoscopes whose values show closer affiliation with sidereal values than tropical values, were pursuing the attempt to obtain the correct placement according to tropical zodiac principles.

Jones’s work is mathematically challenging and requires a lot of attention and careful reading. There is certainly a lot of sidereal significance to the calculations but it doesn't relate directly to modern sidereal practice; it presents a much more complex situation than what could be described as one fundamental sidereal/tropical split. The article needs to be read in its entirety because it would be too easy for anyone to cherry pick comments out of the article to give an impression of the matter being far more simplified and conclusive than it really is. I see this as an absolutely essential piece of work to understand the kind of issues we need to consider, though ultimately it leaves a lot of questions hanging in the air. We end up a lot more informed about what we don't know than what we do know. I doubt it will make one jot of difference to any contemporary astrologer’s practice anyway, but researchers get just the kind of careful analysis of data that is needed to take these issues forward.

I need to spend a lot more time on this before I’d feel confident about summarising the issues that are more important to astrological debates. But I’m reminded that I was sent a copy of this book for review so although it will take a while, I’m going to pause on this discussion until I can make a careful reading of the whole book and give a formal review of what this book covers and what within it comprises the most significant and groundbreaking points of research for astrologers. Before that I am committed to a review of another book which – co-incidentally – is themed on sidereal astrology. I use the tropical zodiac myself (for theoretical reasons as much as any other) but I’m glad that we are getting well written explorations of how the sidereal system differs, why Indian practitioners maintain it and why some practitioners in the west prefer it. I don't think the sidereal argument is stronger than the arguments made in favour of the tropical zodiac but I definitely think the sidereal argument is currently not getting the representation and effective explanations it deserves.
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Astraea



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Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Theresa, the book Ptolemy in Perspective is very expensive but Alexander Jones’s research surpasses anything else that has been published on the matter of tropical/sidereal calculations to date.

This sounds excellent, I'm going to look into getting it, as well.

Deb wrote:
...I’m glad that we are getting well written explorations of how the sidereal system differs, why Indian practitioners maintain it and why some practitioners in the west prefer it. I don't think the sidereal argument is stronger than the arguments made in favour of the tropical zodiac but I definitely think the sidereal argument is currently not getting the representation and effective explanations it deserves.

That's my view, too. Some time ago I was researching Rudolf Steiner's thoughts on astrology. Though not an astrologer, Steiner favored a sidereal approach for the purposes of his spiritual science, which spurred me to write Bill Johnston at Project Hindsight and ask for his input. He kindly wrote back that the thinking at Hindsight is that tropical and sidereal systems work equally well for discrete purposes, and were probably used simultaneously (though of course the beginning points were not very different in times past). Johnston wrote that he thinks we will probably end up using both, in some fashion yet to be determined.

At any rate, I'm very glad to see this subject discussed and addressed in a forum - and through texts - of this calibre.
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agehrz



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Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:29 pm    Post subject: Hello! Reply with quote

To Everyone at the Skyscript Forum,

Deb has so kindly asked me to join this forum, and I am delighted to be asked!

While it is challenging to respond to questions in regards to translation specifics in this virtual format, I would like to mention my excitement at the growing number of translations of these ancient astrological texts.
This body of ancient work is a testament to the deep history of our field.
Moreover, it is my belief that any important historical book deserves a few good renderings, so that the modern student can compare the various translations.

I also send out respect and good vibes to anyone who has attempted to render an ancient text into a modern mind-frame, as it can be a bear of a task. I look forward to the day when Mark Riley, Robert Schmidt, and I can be in the same room in order to compare the details of these three translations. Surely together these three renderings can shed some light upon the meaning of this text, in order that the ideas of Valens can be remembered for two thousand years to come.

In other news...I am excited to be involved in this forum!
Thank you in advance for a lively discussion.


Warmly,

Andrea (Gehrz)

The Moira Press
www.moirapress.org
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Astraea



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Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome, Andrea, it's lovely that you're here!
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, very happy that you're here with us, Andrea.
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the discussion Andrea and thanks for joining us.

I haven't seen your translation of Valens but am aware that you take a different approach to Riley and Schmidt - for example, the number of words that your rendering of the text has produced has been commented on as surprising long. I wonder if you would mind making a little comment to explain something about your own approach. This was obviously a conscious decision on your part and I'm quite certain that your motivation was to achieve a greater sense of accuracy in the reader's understanding of the principles involved.

BTW, my own view is that alternate translations are a good thing, and that we shouldn't be thinking about one translation 'versus' another, because each has a specific merit which is best understood when the reader is aware of what drives the translator's style. Hence my question - it is not expected to be challenging.

I would also love to hear your view on that passage about Aries which was quoted on page 1 of this thread. The significance of that turned the focus of the thread towards the question of sidereal/tropical calculation, and because of its implications on that matter it has attracted a lot of attention - possibly more than you anticipated or gave to that particular passage yourself? Or would you still translate it the same? I'm curious on that, but again, not trying to challenge you, just very interested in hearing your view.

Best regards
Deb
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waybread



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Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting discussion, everyone!

Just a bit of embroidery on what has already been stated....

1. In terms of what Valens meant by Aries or the other signs, in the passages cited above, he seems to be using them much as we would describe months. We might say that the early part of March is wintery, but the latter part is warmer ("in like a lion, out like a lamb.") The Greeks' (and others') use of constellations as a grand calendar in literary sources goes back to Hesiod, and shows up in Aratus, Phaenomena. The Greeks also had devices called peripegmata, used to track phenology via star positions.

What fascinated me about the weather lore attributed to different portions of signs was that Valens was living in Alexandria, yet (at least today) it is a very dry area, with most of the scant preciptation [200 mm/ or about 8"year] that it does get falling in autumn and winter. [We can jog its months back to allow for precession.] I wondered whether his weather lore might have come from some source other than his direct observation.

It is hard to make out current weather patterns for Alexandria from Valens's descriptions, even allowing for precession. But maybe I am not following his meaning correctly! It is possible that by describing weather as "hot and causing plagues" or "worthless and destructive" he means the hamsin (sirroco) winds. But "rains and constant thunderstorms" for Egypt during the month of Cancer really doesn't sound right! The Mediterranean region in general has rainless summers and rainy winters. You might find thunderstorms up in the mountains, but no where near northern Egypt. Then you wouldn't expect to find mid-Capricorn to be "firey".

Then Pisces, coming just before the Aries weather lore posted above, should somewhat match up with Aries, yet its latter part is "destructive and worthless." He doesn't say why. Rain was generally considered beneficial to ancient Mediterranean farmers.

2. Even more curious, if we read onto the next section (I:3) Valens gives the 50 terms, with a fresh look at weather patterns, inter-digitated with personal character traits. These weather patterns are different than the ones he just gave in sec. 1:2! In 1:2, the first part of Aries is "Stormy, full of hail, windy, destructive." In 1:3, the first part of Aries is fine, but degrees 7-15 are "windy, stormy, full of thunder and lightning." Siminlarly, for Gemini in 1:2, "the first 3 degrees are worthless and destructive" yet in 1:3, the first 6 degrees of Gemini are "temperate, with fine weather."

This suggests (a) that Valens compiled his weather lore from other sources developed outside of northern Egypt; and (b) that weather lore just wasn't his thing.

3. I am pretty sure that Valens would have known about precession. The only question, really, is what ancient astrologers decided to do about it. The ancient Egyptians oriented some of their temples to the rising sun and Sirius at key times of the year, and would have known that they were getting out of alignment after a few centuries. Intriguingly, a relatively unimportant ram-headed god named Ammon became extremely important after the spring equinox moved from Taurus to Aries.

Once you sit down with the book of Revelation in the Bible and a backyard astronomy field guide to the constellations, you can see this debate about whether to move the equinox back into Pisces playing out with encrypted references to constellations encoded as heavenly visions.

I've got the Riley preliminary translation of Valens, which says re: Aries "from the first degree to the equinox" which sounds like a Babylonian equinox embedded within the sign, to me.

4. Neugebauer and Van Hoesen calculated all of the horoscopes (by hand!) mentioned in Valens, in their monograph Greek Horoscopes. My recollection is that these horoscopes all, or nearly all, panned out as consistent with planetary positions for actual dates during or just prior to Valens's time. I don't think this could have worked had their calculations been way off.
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agehrz



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Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:10 pm    Post subject: Meaning-Based Translation and more! Reply with quote

Good Morning to the SkyScipt Forum,

This is a very interesting discussion in regards to Valens!


While I don't have time this morning to answer all the questions at hand, I would like to at least make a post to address Deb's question in regards to my "lens" as a translator.

In general, it has been my goal to provide access the deepest layer of meaning possible in my translations, without incidentally adding any meaning that was not embedded within the source text. I feel as though it is my duty as a translator to write down the text in a manner through which it will be understood by the reader in the same manner as I have understood it by reading it in the original language.

Essentially, this means that I have rendered the Source Text into a modern Astrologer's English so that the modern reader will glean the same information and concepts that I have absorbed from reading the text in its original language. In order to convey the breadth and depth of meaning that lies within the words of a text such as Valens, I have used certain "translation tools" such as but not limited to: Framing, Tagging, Phonetical Rendering of Terms, Explicitization, Chunking, and many more.

Because I have in all circumstances attempted to provide the deepest layer of meaning that can be gleaned from the text, my translation is naturally going to become longer than the Source Text. The reason for this is that in order to convey the true meaning of the ancient concepts, certain "concept gaps" must be bridged along the way.

For the purpose of understanding the idea of "concept gaps", as well as the function and fashion of a "meaning-based translation", let us do a little translation exercise. This exercise will also show the exact reason that a true "meaning-based" translation will be longer than the source text itself.


In the case our Translation-Example exercise, we will be translating from:

Source Language: Technical Astrological English

Target Language: Explicit and Non-Astrologically Jargoned English


Example: Scene at an Astrology Conference


There are three astrologers chatting at the dinner table. One of the three astrologers is married to a non-astrologer, who is also present at the table.

At some point in the conversation, one of the three astrologers says:

"Oh man, this girl I dated had a "Venus Mars Neptune Saturn Uranus Mercury Pluto conjunction. In the eighth house! In Aries!"

The other two astrologers then of course begin to gasp and weep at the horror of such an aspect.

The non-astrologically-inclined partner becomes lost at this point, not knowing why the other two astrologers are responding in this manner. The reason for this is that the partner does not understand the "embedded meaning" in the technical phrase:

Venus Mars Neptune Saturn Uranus Mercury Pluto conjunction in the Eighth House

There exists a "concept gap" here between the Astrologers and the non-Astrologer.



When the partner says, "What!?" "What does that mean?", there are a few ways to "translate" the true meaning of this sentence.

Here are a few examples, each one differing in the amount of meaning that is actually conveyed to the non-astrologer.


Level One meaning 1. Never mind it is too complicated


Level Two Meaning 2. Oh her chart was just really hard to handle!

Level Three Meaning 3. "Well, it means that her ability to communicate was both sweet yet highly highly hot and energized. Her mental quality also tended to be confused yet highly charged up, intense, and constricted all at the same time."

Level Four Meaning 4. In Astrology, the planets represent energies. The signs show the filter through which those energies are expressed, and the houses show the areas of life into which those energies are expressed. There is something in Astrology called "aspects". Aspects are the angles between two planets in the chart, showing how the vibrations of each planet mix and mingle.

In this particular chart, the following energies were combined all together, meaning that their vibrations also mixed:

Mercury = Communicative and talkative
Venus = sweet
Mars = Rawr!!!!
Neptune =confusing
Uranus = Jacked up
Pluto = Deeply intense

In this girl's Astrological Chart, all of these energies mixed together!!! Always. Every time!! A conjunction is a special kind of aspect that means two planets are on top of each other. And in this case she had 6 planets on top of each other, mixing energies all the time.

Moreover, the filter that these energies all simultaneously squeezed out through was the sign of Aries, which is hot-headed and brash. And the eighth house is also intense! It is all about death and rebirth and other people's money and resource sharing.

Anyway, point is, that girl was intense!!!! Ultra Mega intense.




Now let us look at Valens. Here are a few examples from Valens in order to see how certain Translation Tools have been at work in my translation:



Vettius Valens of Antioch, Book One


Source Language: Eloquent yet Technical Astrologically-Learned Ancient Greek

Target Language: Eloquent yet Technical Astrologically-Learned English


Translation Tool Number One; Explicitization:

Allows the reader access to an explicit understanding of meaning that lies implicit within the Source Language.

Example from Valens in Greek: Jupiter rules "Gnosis".

Explicitization: Jupiter rules Gnosis, a specific kind of
knowledge that is gained through direct experience.


Translation Tool Number Two; Phonetical Rendering of Greek Terms:

Allows the reader to directly experience a word or concept that exists in the Source Language but does not exist in the Target Language.

Example from Valens in Greek: Mars is attributed to the flavor that is called "pikros".


Translation: Mars is attributed to the flavor that is called "pikros", a flavor which is sharp and pungent, especially when the food eaten was expected to be pleasant and is instead unpleasant and bitter.


These are just two examples of the many Translation Tools I have used in order to ensure that the most detailed form of meaning is provided to the reader of Valens.



In reference to someone's mention in the forum as to why I do not put these expanded meanings in the footnotes, my response is as follows:

When there is implicit meaning in the Greek text, I have chosen in all cases to put the explicated meaning into the body of the text. The reason for this is that within the scope and framework of a "Meaning-Based Translation", to leave out meaning is technically considered to be an omission.

A second reason for this decision is that I have reserved the footnotes for commentary about the Source Text itself, such as a mention of places in which the text is unclear, is marred, or could have multiple meanings. It is within the footnotes that I make mention of these things. And it is also within the footnotes that I included direct quotations from texting with Vettius Valens on the Ouija board......... (I'm joking! We all know that translating is an extremely Saturn endeavor.)


In other news...As soon as I have some more time, I will respond with an explanation of my translation choices on the Aries quote.

A Tiny Explanation: (it has to do with the grammatical gender and the Genitive ending of the word "iseimerinos", which could be said to mean "Equinox", but could also be said to simply mean "to be divided into exactly two parts. As is the day of the Equinox = half day, half night. To be continued....)

Also, I have a question to the readers on this forum: How many of you know ancient Greek, can read the language, etc? Your responses to this question will help me know how best to clearly explain my translation decisions, now and into the future.

Warmly,

Andrea (Gehrz)
The Moira Press
moirapress.org
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 960
Location: Canada

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not I! But I (and I imagine other members of this forum) have studied other languages, and can conceptualize more generally some issues faced by translators. Some of the members of this forum are not native English speakers, for one thing.

Thanks for your interesting post, Andrea. One thing I got from it is that there is a body of scholarship out there on translation issues that the average astrologer probably wouldn't realize. Stuff like "concept gaps" and how the "target language" may be far more nuanced than simply assuming a plain meaning of the text.
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Deb
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Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for responding Andrea. I've been wondering whether the word translated as 'equinox' could have an alternative meaning which might affect the translation of that passage. If it could then it's important to know this, even if it is a controversial view.
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