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Gehrz responds to The Aries Question

 
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agehrz



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
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Location: portland, Oregon

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:42 pm    Post subject: Gehrz responds to The Aries Question Reply with quote

Hey Everyone!

Here is a video response to the Aries question.

Warmly,

Andrea (Gehrz)
moirapress.org

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7j_5y0C3kg&feature=youtu.be
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a wonderfully clear and generous explanation Andrea. I do admire original thinkers and you are certainly showing us new ways to approach things here! It was great to not just read your words but hear your explanations and view the documents you used in your translation.

Note to readers: this video clip is 18 minutes long, so make sure you have a cuppa and more than 2 minutes to view it!

For new readers: below is a short summary of the original question that led to Andrea's explanation. The full background discussion can be read on this link:

Valens: Schmidt, Riley and Gehrz
http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6546


Summary background:

Therese Hamilton pointed to an example of an important translation difference between your new translation of the work of Vettius Valens and that produced by Robert Schmidt and Mark Riley. I cut into her post where she illustrates the difference in the Aries passage (Anthology, I.2):

Quote:
Riley:
"Aries is by nature watery, with thunder and hail. From its first degree to the equinox, it is stormy, full of hail, windy, destructive. The middle degrees up to 15 degrees are mild and fruitful...."

Schmidt:
"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..."

Schmidt includes this note: "Obviously here we are not dealing with a tropical zodiac in which zero Aries is assigned to the vernal point." (Rob Hand follows with more extensive notes on that point.)

But, here is Gehrz: "In regards to the nature of the weather, the constellation of Aries is watery. It produces thunder and can at times produce granular like hail. If we divide the constellation of Aries in half, then the first half would indicate a more windy and thundery rain, the kind that can be destructive and deadly. The middle degree through the last fifteen degrees are more temperate..."

We can easily see in Gehrz: No mention of the equinox! This is a curious omission and a critical point in the translation. This passage in Schmidt and Riley leaves no doubt that at least in this part of the text, a zodiac is indicated that doesn't begin at the spring equinox.


My personal response - I think we have a few members here who are quite proficient in ancient Greek and I am not one of them. However, it struck me as a very credible explanation with a legitimate argument and sufficiently detailed to satisfy anyone's curiosity about the rationale you applied. If other's want to argue a case for a different interpretation they can do so being fully informed on your own approach to this. Since alternate opinions exist, I for one am very grateful to be able to be able to understand yours and know that it was a carefully considered one. So thank you for this. It is exactly the kind of fully detailed explanation that non-translators like myself hope for ! Thumbs up
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Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
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Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After watching the video response (which I found a bit effusive, sorry) I'd like to have 3 remarks.

1. The third Aries paragraph is certainly about its qualities regarding the weather. Its structure is also clear: first the general attributes, then the ones of its different parts. In this regard, translating κατὰ μέρος as 'regarding its parts...' or with an equivalent phrase (like you did) is just okay.

2. The interpretation of ἰσημερινόν. Andrea, you seem to advocate to derive it from μέρος 'part'. However, it comes from ἡμέρα 'daytime': thus ἰσημερινός must mean 'belonging to the same (length of) daytime' (that is, 'equinoctial'), the neuter definite article τό makes it a noun ('the equinox'), or it may be an ellipsis for τὸ ἰσημερινὸν (μέρος) 'the equinoctial part (i.e., of the zodiac)'. (From μέρος it could only be ἰσομερινός; words like ἰσομέρεια 'equality' do exist.) Valens uses ἰσημερινός meaning 'equinoctial' several other places, as "equinoctial hours" (e.g. I 6.2 and in Book IX) or "equinoctial images", that is, Aries and Libra (e.g. II 17.33 and VIII 7.290). So the translation must run without doubt something like

"...and, regarding it parts, the first ones up to the part of the equinox..., then the middle ones..."

- which is wholly strenghtened by a parallel text of Hephaestio I 1.3.

3. τὰ σομάτα which appears in the video as an illustration is unintelligible; τὰ σώματα, with omega and an acute accent on the antepenultimate would be the right form. I know it's a mistake very easy to make but doesn't look very nice on the video.
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Seiko



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Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

καταπληκτικό!
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margherita



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Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Levente Laszlo wrote:

"...and, regarding it parts, the first ones up to the part of the equinox..., then the middle ones..."

- which is wholly strenghtened by a parallel text of Hephaestio I 1.3.



In fact Bezza puts in note both Ptolemy and Hephaistio for parallel texts.

I'm happy to see you can confirm. Unfortunately I should struggle with Latin, next life for Greek I'm afraid.

margherita
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epurdue



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Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I don't read Greek, but I read Latin, and frankly Andrea's video seems perfectly reasonable to me.
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agehrz



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Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:29 pm    Post subject: good morning! Reply with quote

Good Morning to the Skyscript Forum,

Thank you all for your comments. This forum is proving to be a great place to share knowledge!

To Levente:

Re: ἱσημερινον

Thank you for this!!! Fascinating. I learned something today. This also makes me wonder if the word day is somehow connected to the word "part" as the days are parts of the month, etc.

A question for you. If Valens is using the word "equinox" here, then what exactly is he meaning? As in, what does this mean visually, mathematically, etc? I know what the equinox is of course, but why is he using it here? I need to understand this so I can revise my translation if need be.

Do you read Greek? How exciting!

Alright, until tomorrow.

Warmly,

Andrea (Gehrz)
The Moira Press
www.moirapress.org
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margherita



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Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:03 pm    Post subject: Re: good morning! Reply with quote

For what I understand Bezza and Schmidt Aries is divided into three parts.

1) from the beginning to the Equinox thunderstorms and hail
2) the middle parts temperate
3) the following degrees scorching and pestilential.

I see that both Schmidt and Bezza puts the same note, and Bezza adds "see Kroll" .

Moreover I want to say that traditionally constellations are divided into head, middle degrees, tail, so the threefold division is perfectly congruent.

We see this for example in Teucer, or in Albumasar about paranatellonta. This threefold division is what is called decans, Mark maybe wants to say something about.

margherita
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My computer locks up with vidoes, so I'm trying to follow the conversation without having watched the video. If anyone can give a quick summary of the points Andrea made for the equinox part of the translation, I'd appreciate it.
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Last edited by Therese Hamilton on Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:30 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
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Location: Budapest, Hungary

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andrea,

sorry for the delayed answer but I've been a little busy.

In 9.12.10 Valens says he uses the solar and lunar tables of Apollinarius with 8 degrees in correction, and at the end of Book 8 he inserts some tables utilizing the equinox at the 8th degree of the tropical signs which shows he used the so-called Babylonian System B that put the vernal equinox on this degree and not on the 1st degree as Hipparchus and Ptolemy did. Valens isn't alone with this approach: scientific writers of astronomy and agriculture also often refer to this degree (Geminus 1.9, extant only in the Latin version; Vitruvius 9.3.1; Pliny 2.17.81 and 18.59.221; Columella 9.14.12 and 11.2.31), therefore we can say it was fairly widespread in this era. (Agricultural writers and Germanicus [fr. 3.1 Le Boeuffle] also know that the spring equinox brings thunderstorms.) So did some astrologers like Manilius (3.257 and 680, the latter refers to an equinox at the 10th degree too); Thrasyllus (test. 27.2 Tarrant = Rhetorius 6.57.2, which was published in CCAG 8.3: 99.7), Manetho (2.72-74), and the author of the Michigan papyrus 149 (2A.27-31). To sum up, astrological writers before Ptolemy either used this "Chaldean" method or left aside the zodiac question altogether. Anyway, in the antiquity precession seems not to have been really known or to have been taken only as a factor of computation.

But for the sake of better clarification I must also remind that these passages constitute a compilation from one or two earlier texts. It can be proven by a comparision with Ptolemy and Hephaestio, both giving parallel texts which contain almost the same expressions, whereas a direct link between either Ptolemy and Valens or Valens and Hephaestio is excluded.

The one of all these three authors who is the most copious is Hephaestio, therefore I will compare Ptolemy and Valens to them. The Hephaestio text survives in two primary manuscripts and an epitome (1.1.4 = Ep. 4.1.4); the latter mistakenly omits the description of the middle part of Aries and replaces an adjective for a synonym, but apart from these it seems to be reliable.

Hephaestio seems to follow Ptolemy (2.11.2) but a close reading reveals four differences:
(1) Describing Aries as a whole, Ptol. (following the common source) says it is full of thunder and hail, and gives the reason as it is because of "equinoctial indication" (dia tēn isēmerinēn episēmasian). Heph. ties this rationale to the preceding part of Aries (cf. Valens), using a slightly altered phrase, "indication of the equinox" (dia tēn tēs isēmerias episēmasian).
(2) Ptol.'s explanation for the different qualities of the different parts in Aries refers to fixed stars; Heph. doesn't mention them.
(3) Heph. refers to the preceding and middle part as barren (oligosporos) and fruitful (polusporos), while neither of the others do.
(4) Heph. gives a reference to quadrupeds, which is missing in Ptol. but not in Valens.

As there is virtually no alternatives in Ptolemy's text (comparing the standard version to the so-called Proclus Paraphrase and the Latin version translated from Arabic by Plato of Tivoli), in spite of the similarities Hephaestio didn't simply copy Ptolemy but did have an access to the original. (Compare that we know he sometimes also contrasted Ptolemy with material from Nechepsos-Petosiris and others.)

The differences between Hephaestio and Valens are greater but still less than between Ptolemy and Valens. Moreover, what we read as Valens is a highly convoluted texts with a conspicuous gap; unfortunately, there are neither epitomes nor a surviving Arabic version (to my knowledge). The differences:
(1) Aries is watery (hudatōdēs) only in Val.
(2) Heph. (like Ptol.) speaks about "preceding (part)" (ta proēgoumena) contrasting "first (part)" (ta prōta) in Val.
(3) Among the attributes of the preceding part Heph. says it is barren (oligosporos) while in Val. it is said to be full of hail (chalazōdēs) and destructive (phthartikos). The former adjective is applied the whole Aries in all authors, whereas the latter one is used in the description of the northern part, which, together with the southern one, is fully missing in Val.
(4) The middle parts are said to be fruitful (polusporos) by Heph., which is missing in Val. However, it might have fallen out of the text.
(5) The references in Ptol. and Heph. to the northern and southern part of Aries are wholly missing in Val.
(6) Only Val. gives the borders of the various parts.

I think despite being the latest author, Hephaestio is the most faithful to the original. (However, I will also give an alternative explation later.*) If so, Ptolemy (1) moved the reference to the equinox to the general description of Aries to explain its nature; (2) referred to the fixed stars to explain why the parts of Aries are different in nature; (3) omitted some attributes which didn't fit into his scheme. On the other hand, Valens (1) muddled up the text a little, regarding the usage of attributes; (2) omitted some parts, which could simply be due to the faulty manuscript tradition (see the brevity of the descriptions from Virgo to Sagittarius as another example); (3) gave the divisions for the three parts.

Now, two questions remain: (1) whether the division in Valens is genuine, and (2) what exactly we should do with the reference to the equinox. I will start with the first one as having it answered is a prerequisite to address the second one.

If the division of Aries is genuine, then Ptolemy and Hephaestio omit it for unknown reason. This stance for Ptolemy could be explained as his reference to fixed stars might be enough to ascertain how to divide Aries but this is not the case for Hephaestio: he should insert the original division (as he does with some adjectives) or should not delete the allusion to fixed stars (which he not only does but also moves the reference to the equinox to the right place). If Hephaestio was ready to correct Ptolemy and accessed the original, why didn't he yield the division? I must conclude that since there was no clear-cut division, at best some allusions to the different parts of the constellation, which also make it understandable why there are references to northern and southern parts. Then in Valens the division must be an innovation by himself or something drawn from a different source or a result of a later editiorial intervention: somebody (not necessarily Valens himself) is likely to have tried to ascertain how to divide Aries and other signs properly.

Now I will turn to the second question. Let's see first what our authors say:

Ptol.: "Aries is characterized by thunder and hail because of the equinoctial indication (dia tēn isēmerinēn episēmasian)"
Val.: "The first parts of Aries "up to the equinoctial (part?)" (mechri tou isēmerinou) are characterized by thunderstorms etc."
Heph.: "The preceding parts of Aries are barren and characterized by thunderstorms and wind because of the indication of the equinox (dia tēn tēs isēmerias episēmasian)."

All of these three Hephaestio's formulation is the smoothest: he uses the standard expression for the equinox (isēmeria), and seems to mean as if the equinox indicates thunderstorms and winds are coming. Ptolemy is a little clumsier as he uses an adjective for "equinoctial" (isēmerinos) which can be conceived as meaning "equatorial" as well. As this is the very same adjective that Valens uses as a noun or in an elliptical phrase, I believe isēmerinos must be the word used in the original. In this case Hephaestio simpifies the wording while not really altering the meaning, and the text in Valens must some misunderstanding or update.

* Another possible explanation is that while Hephaestio did have the original, its usage of language was so obscure and easily misunderstandable that he used Ptolemy as a reference and only altered his text when he had changed or omitted something obvious. Even in this scenario we don't have to allow there was a division in the original since the numbers must stand out even in the most shadowy mess, yet we may subscribe to the idea that regarding the equinox Valens contains something resembling the original, whilst Ptolemy adapted the original phrase to his fashion and relocated it, finally Hephaestio emended Ptolemy to give a better understanding. The only question then remains that if Hephaestio likes simplification, why does he prefer "the ones toward north/south" (ta pros borran/noton) to Ptolemy's "the northern/southern ones" (ta boreia/notia)?

Since Valens' reference to the equinox is the most obscure, let's have a look at it now. As I have said, the adjective isēmerinos is used either as a noun or in an elliptical structure. As a noun it should mean the equinox as a point in the zodiac but why not the usual isēmeria then? In an ellipsis my best guess is isēmerinos kuklos, that is the celestial equator, which would mean "up to (the junction point with) the celestial equator" (mechri tou isēmerinou [kuklou]). Anyway, Valens seems to have tried to preserve the original adjective but employs it connecting to the first part of Aries.

Now the only question remains where this description of the signs originated from. As some has observed, both Valens and Hephaestio lists Carthage (Val. 1.2.17 and Heph. 1.1.27 = Heph. Ep. 4.1.26) and Corinth (Val. 1.2.65 and Heph. 1.1.182 = Heph. Ep. 4.1.168), both ruined in 146 BCE, which is also the tentative terminus ante quem for at least a part of the Nechepsos-Petosiris collection, based on N-P fr. +32 Heilen (= CCAG 7: 149.4-5). Moreover, Hephaestio himself refers to "ancient Egyptians" which he must mean as Nechepsos and Petosiris. Therefore it is plausible that this description of the signs comes from their collection. This would also explain why several characteristics are known not only for astrological but for agricultural writers like Pliny the Elder who was also aware of Nechepsos and Petosiris.

Regards,

Levente
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agehrz



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
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Location: portland, Oregon

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:01 pm    Post subject: Ayanamsa madness! Reply with quote

Hi to Levente and the Skyskript forum,


You bring up many interesting points!

Am I understanding correctly that if there is in fact an ayanamsa in play here, then we are looking at 8 degrees? So the sentence could literally mean:

Aries is by nature watery, thundery and haily, and as taken by parts, the first parts up until the isemerinou are haily and windy, while the middle parts/degrees up until the 15th degree are well-traveled, yet dangerous for four-footed creatures.

This could very well mean:

The first degrees up until the "8 degree mark" are haily and windy, and from 8 degrees until 15 degrees are well-traveled, yet dangerous...

Very interesting!

Warmly,

Andrea (Gehrz)

www.moirapress.org
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Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andrea,

I think that's correct. Valens uses a tropical zodiac where there is an 8 degree "ayanamsha", that is, the equinoxes (and consequently the solstices) fall on the 8th degree of the cardinal signs. The exact amount is only implicit here, but other passages from Books VIII and IX can confirm this.

But let me revisit the final part of this passage. In its sole manuscript it runs τὰ δὲ μέσα μέχρι ιε μοίρας εὔκρατα τετραπόδον, "and the middle degrees up to the 15th degree are temperate regarding a quadruped". This is not only a nonsense; the final degrees are also missing. Having compared to the parallel versions of Ptolemy and Hephaestio I would emend the text to τὰ δὲ μέσα μέχρι ιε μοίρας εὔκρατα, [τὰ δὲ λοιπὰ καυσώδη καὶ λοιμικὰ μάλιστα] τετραπόδων, "and the middle degrees up to the 15th degree are temperate, [and the remaining degrees are boiling and harmful, especially] for quadrupeds". It is a typical omission error: the scribe omitted the second τὰ δὲ... clausule up to μάλιστα, which has a certain amount of similarity in Greek handwriting with εὔκρατα. I believe καυσώδη and μάλιστα are both genuine, and while I'm not certain about λοιπὰ, this or something similar must have been in the text.

Regards,

Levente
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margherita



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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Levente Laszlo wrote:


Having compared to the parallel versions of Ptolemy and Hephaestio I would emend the text to τὰ δὲ μέσα μέχρι ιε μοίρας εὔκρατα, [τὰ δὲ λοιπὰ καυσώδη καὶ λοιμικὰ μάλιστα] τετραπόδων, "and the middle degrees up to the 15th degree are temperate, [and the remaining degrees are boiling and harmful, especially] for quadrupeds".

Levente


Giuseppe Bezza gives your same interpretation, three parts and the danger of quadrupeds in the last third of the sign.

margherita
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agehrz



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
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Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:03 pm    Post subject: Ancient Webinar Reply with quote

To everyone at the Skypskript Forum,


I will be doing a webinar tomorrow afternoon through Kepler college.

This event is free!

More info at:

http://www.kepler.edu/

Warmly,

Andrea (Gehrz)
moirapress.org
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agehrz



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
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Location: portland, Oregon

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:39 pm    Post subject: Aries Question; resolved Reply with quote

Levente and the Skyscript forum:

I look forward to including a footnote about this sentence in the next edition of Book One! What you have proposed makes a great deal of sense!

The information that you all are sharing with me is quite valuable and is helping me as I continue on with Valens.

Thank you and I look forward to more discussions!

Warmly,

Andrea
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