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Equal House System in Renaissance Astrology?
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Margherita, just what I was looking for - can you give me the source for those two charts? Were they both published by Cardan himself?
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margherita



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Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Thanks Margherita, just what I was looking for - can you give me the source for those two charts? Were they both published by Cardan himself?


Generally I go to the work late so I had all the time to search it. Smile

Both from Cardano. The first one is from De exempliis centum geniturarum, the second from Ptolemei IIII De Astrorum Iudiciis (1554 edition)

margherita
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Mark
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Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margherita wrote:
Quote:
Nothing strange. Just he switched system in the second part of his life, maybe after having read the new translation of Tetrabiblos during his travel in Scotland.


Here is Cardano’s chart in modern style:
http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Cardan,_Jerome

Cardano seems to have travelled to Scotland in 1552 to offer medical assistance for the Bishop of St Andrews.

http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Cardan.html

Cardano appears to have travelled to England before returning to Italy later in 1552 and met with the English astronomer, mathematician, astrologer and occultist John Dee:

http://psychicinvestigator.com/Occult/Dee.htm

So I wonder if Dee was an influence on Cardano changing his thinking on house systems? It certainly would be fascinating to know what these two great renaissance figures discussed. There are some intriguing suggestions on this in the link above.

Mark
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Mark
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Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The influence of the leading mathematician, and astronomer Johannes Müller of Königsberg, Bavaria (aka Regiomontanus derived from Königsberg ie ‘King's Mountain’) (1436 – 1476) was clearly immense from the late 15th until the end of the 17th century.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regiomontanus

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/496038/Regiomontanus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6nigsberg_in_Bayern

It was evident by this period that older astronomical tables such as the Alfonsine and the Toledan Tables were seriously outdated and contained substantial errors. Regiomontanus was a prolific compiler of tables and ephemerides and offered astronomers and astrologers much needed revised tables. While he did not live to produce tables of his own, he did issue almanacs and calendars from his press in Nuremberg. The calendars included the times of new and full moons and eclipses for the years 1475-1531; the almanacs gave mean planetary positions, true positions for the sun and moon, and eclipse times for 1475-1506. Both were extremely popular, and an edition of the almanacs was used by Christopher Columbus.

The Tabulae directionum, produced with the assistance of the Polish astrologer Martin Bylica, were primarily for astrological use and seem to have been correspondingly extremely popular: they were first printed in 1490, and went through eleven editions up to 1626. In addition to tables for calculating horoscopes, the collection included a table of the declination of the sun for every degree of longitude in the ecliptic, and introduced, probably for the first time in the Latin West, a table of tangents.

http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/starry/regioastrol.html

http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/starry/regiotables.html

Regiomontanus proposed his house system as the ‘rational house system’ and believed he had revived the method proposed by Ptolemy. As we have seen above astrologers throughout history have repeatedly sought to recruit Ptolemy as the inspiration for their favoured house system.

Numerous factors seem to help explain why the Regiomontanus system quickly established itself as the predominant house system in Europe from the 16th century onwards:

1 The intellectual status of Regiomontanus as amongst the greatest mathematicians and astronomers of his era.

2 His production of more accurate astronomical information for astrologers,

3 The production of up to date tables of houses for the Regiomontanus system. Something often lacking for other quadrant systems of the time.

4 The philosophical rationale that this was the system of Ptolemy himself.

5 The fact that Regiomontanus established a printing press in Nuremberg which published in numerous editions the arguments and tables for his house system across Europe. Hence the ideas of the system were being circulated long after Regiomontanus himself had died.

Earlier quadrant systems that held sway in the medieval period such as Alcabitius were eclipsed.

This whole change mirrors what happened in the late 17th to early 19th century in England where Placidus houses gradually replaced Regiomontanus as the most popular house system. No need to go over the history of that here as Martin Gansten has written an informative article on that specific issue:

www.martingansten.com/pdf/WorsdaleOxley2011.pdf
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margherita thank you for providing the source of both charts. I never knew about the first, drawn in equal house.

I think you are right about the combination of factors Mark, and possibly the better accessibility to Regiomontanus tables. It is in his autobiography that Cardan talks about the relevance of his Moon in the 12th and Sun in the 6th, and he says there that he published it in his commentary on Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos. It is impossible to read his autobiography and not expect the Moon to be in the 12th rather than the 11th, as Morin suggests. Cardan dwells upon how unfortunate and luckless it is, and how it accurately depicts his life and character traits. Even from before he was born; since his mother tried various ways to abort him. He characterises himself as a very unpleasant man, full of faults, with few friends and many enemies. He delights when he talks about living long enough to see the downfall of his many personal rivals.

Perhaps when he was younger, he wanted to be able to identify with an 11th house Moon; but as he reflected on his life as an older man, it seems he had no doubt that the quadrant division described him better.

I am really fond of Cardan, because of his autobiography. Although he often makes himself out to be odious, the story about how he desperately tried - in vain - to save his son from execution is heartbreaking. It really is worth the read for anyone with an interest in astrology and medieval culture. (Would make a better drama than the Borgias IMO Smile)
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pankajdubey



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Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
....

Perhaps when he was younger, he wanted to be able to identify with an 11th house Moon; but as he reflected on his life as an older man, it seems he had no doubt that the quadrant division described him better.

...
But why would he(and Morin) choose to ignore the effect of partile square of mars (lord of the 12th and 7th ,on the Moon (as mentioned in the footnote of AG 17 translation) ?

PD
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only Morin omitted to reference this, not Cardan. He describes how Mars casts an evil influence on each luminary, and especially the Moon because of the square. The footnote observation to Morin's work, that even by equal house "the indications were actually more bad than good" doesn't come close to the sorrowful account that Cardan gives of his own temperament as reflected in his nativity. He is ugly, sickly, full of vices, lustful, jealous, held back, vengeful, and very arrogant because he knew he was a genius and supremely intelligent. (He had a lot of resentment about the fact that he was born illegitimate, and so was often denied positions that he felt should have been his).

He obviously refers to Ptolemy's rules when he refers to the square of Mars to the 12th house Moon as one of the reasons why he says "consequently, I ought to have been a monster; and indeed was so near it that I came forth, literally torn from my mother's womb".
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
You mentioned Manilius describing Equal in his Astronomica awhile ago. Were you able to locate the reference? I would really appreciate it.


Mark replied:
Quote:
I don’t recall doing that. If I did it was an error. I clearly meant Firmicus Maternus in his Mathesis. As the Astronomica is really a poetic description of astrology its often hard to decipher what Manilius is describing in more technical areas like house systems. As I recall Deborah Houlding thinks his decription of the houses would be consistent with a space based system like Campanus. However, in a thread debating the origin of house systems a few years ago on Skyscript Chris Brennan argued the system being described was more likely to be whole sign houses.


Hi Mark,

The error is probably my own. I thought I had read something regarding Manilius and Equal not long ago, but I will need to further look for the reference. However, your comments regarding the Astronomica are interesting in their own right.

Mark wrote:
Quote:
The majority of astrologers that have examined the sources seem to take the view that Whole Sign was the likely default of all the latter systems.


They are mostly basing following Robert Schmidt's interpretations, I suppose.

Quote:
Its wise though to retain an open mind on the subject of house system development. Once we think we know the answers we stop asking questions.


I totally agree with you on that.

Mark wrote:
Quote:
The basic truth is that Ptolemy says extremely little about houses and seems rather uninterested in using them. His exceedingly few references are rather cryptic. Different astrologers attempt to ‘fill the void’ with different explanations. Frequently, these theories say more about the astrologers presenting them than Ptolemy himself.

For example, as early as the 3rd century CE the astrologer Pancharius suggested in his commentary on the Tetrabiblos (Book II) that he could detect Ptolemy was using a time based system of houses. Pancharius seems to have been the first proponent of Alcabitius houses. This reminds me of the early modern astrologer Placidus de Titis (1603–1668) who thought Ptolemy was using a time based house system and proposed the house system that carries his name. In both instances these astrologers seem to have considered Ptolemy’s method of primary directions was an indicator of his preferred house system. However, there is really no logical reason why this has to be the case.

Amongst contemporary astrologers George Noonan and Benjamin Dykes have supported the notion Ptolemy was probably using equal houses ( with an idioyscratic variation starting 5 degrees before the ASC). Chris Brennan has argued Ptolemy was using whole sign houses in a short article.


I'm sure you know that in one place Ptolemy does describe Equal clearly (with the idiosyncratic variation you mention) – however, this is in regard to a special technique, and it is ambiguous if Ptolemy would have applied this house system in general (as you say, he hardly mentions houses at all).

To my knowledge, Equal was also in use in antiquity for erecting house systems starting from a point other than the Ascendent (i.e. from the Lot of Fortune, the Sun, the Moon, the MC...) – but, again, there may be cases where it's not clear if WSH was meant, really.

Your observations on Pancharius and Placidus are noteworthy. There doesn't seem anything to support the assumption that Ptolemy knew a time-based house system at all! These systems may have been simply inspired by the description of primary directions in the Tetrabiblos, whether their inventors were aware of it or not.

To those who would like to have some information on the astronomical foundations of many different house systems, I recommend this excellent summary:
http://www.uraniatrust.org/astrology-articles/the-astronomy-of-houses.html

Could you give me the references for Noonan, Dykes, and Brennan, please?

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
Then let's not forget that India seems to have taken over Equal from Hellenistic astrology, even though in a variation with the house cusps off-set by half a sign (to compensate for their off-set sidereal zodiac, I wonder? Just kidding... )


Mark replied:
Quote:
I don’t think that is correct Michael. Ancient Indian astrology seems to have adopted Whole Sign and Porphyry houses. In the middle ages a variant on porphyry was adopted called Sripati. In Sripati the porphyry house cusps are the centre of the houses. The 20th century Indian astrologer B.V. Raman did seem to adopt an approach to equal hoses identical to the German astrologer Vehlow. However, I have yet to see any evidence confirming that approach to houses is that old in India.


All I can say at the moment, Gettings writes in the Arkana Dictionary (entry Modus Equalis):

Quote:
It is recorded that this system was in use in the 3rd millenium BC in India, and it was certainly one of the methods used prior to Ptolemy's day by Greek and Roman astrologers.


It's too bad that Gettings doesn't reveal his sources on this.

Mark wrote:
Quote:
I explored the topic of what I call the Raman-Vehlow equal house system in this thread on the Indian Forum:

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7598&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0&sid=f515ed4224c0b426d089b1f417db7a9e


I read the whole thread. Interesting information, thanks.

Michael


Last edited by Michael Sternbach on Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ciao Margherita,

The Equal House System must have had a certain popularity still in Morin's time. Why would he care otherwise to refute it before any other? In this context, he writes (Astrologia Gallica, Book 17, S. 42, emphasis my own):

Quote:
Among the various methods handed down by the ancients for the division of the Caelum into the astrological houses, it seems to us that this one must be particularly examined, because it was particularly cultivated by the ancients down to our times, so that Cardan strove to demonstrate the truth of astrology by 100 nativities erected in that system, and there are still some who, having scorned the truly Rational System of Regiomontanus, think that the Equal House System should be adhered to.


The (pretty long Smile ) link is:
http://books.google.ch/books?id=SZlr29Xo1igC&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=Nicolas+de+Bourdin+Charles+E.+O.+Carter+Margaret+E.+Hone&source=bl&ots=IwWhbQF79J&sig=VkcpjbBUqpF3RubPy8z_5qt1E9k&hl=de&sa=X&ei=K-uQU4DSKeKC4gS_x4G4AQ&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Nicolas%20de%20Bourdin%20Charles%20E.%20O.%20Carter%20Margaret%20E.%20Hone&f=false

Interestingly, the editor mentions in footnote 3 that Morin's contemporary Nicolas de Bourdin, Marquess of Villenne, used Equal houses – together with Cardano that makes two of them we know by name, already.

I wonder, what is known about this fellow Nicolas de Bourdin?

Michael
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Quote:
Only Morin omitted to reference this, not Cardan. He describes how Mars casts an evil influence on each luminary, and especially the Moon because of the square. The footnote observation to Morin's work, that even by equal house "the indications were actually more bad than good" doesn't come close to the sorrowful account that Cardan gives of his own temperament as reflected in his nativity. He is ugly, sickly, full of vices, lustful, jealous, held back, vengeful, and very arrogant because he knew he was a genius and supremely intelligent. (He had a lot of resentment about the fact that he was born illegitimate, and so was often denied positions that he felt should have been his).


Maybe I am totally misreading you but in a subtle way I seem to detect an implicit agreement here that equal houses dont as accurately capture the real hardships of this nativity? I do note you use Regiomontanus houses yourself........

Personally, I think the exceptionally tight square of a malefic Lord 12 + 7 (Mars) to the natal Moon can explain many of the natal issues without recourse to a 12th house Moon. The Moon (for me the likely hyleg here) is also in a square to Saturn (Lord 9 +10) which is the malefic out of sect. But then I use whole sign houses with equal cusps myself......

Considering all the suffering caused by Cardano's children it is intriguing to examine the different planetary rulers of the 5th house in Regio (Sun in 6th) and Equal or Whole sign (Mercury Rx in the 6th).

Mark
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james_m



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Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

re cardans chart - mercury at the moon/mars midpoint. mercury has turned retro in the 6th sign and rules the 5th equal house. mercury is stationary retro with the exact station 4 days prior to his birthdate.. my own observation is stationary planets seem to have undue influence in a persons life. the other prominent stationary planet neptune is conjunct the midheaven.. it seems to show up frequently on angles in ''illegitimate' births, although the term 'illegitimate' doesn't get used much today..
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
All I can say at the moment, Gettings writes in the Arkana Dictionary (entry Modus Equalis):

Quote:
It is recorded that this system was in use in the 3rd millenium BC in India, and it was certainly one of the methods used prior to Ptolemy's day by Greek and Roman astrologers.

It's too bad that Gettings doesn't reveal his sources on this.

For the best of reasons, I think: there are none. There was no horoscopic astrology in India, and therefore no house systems, prior to the Hellenistic era.
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
All I can say at the moment, Gettings writes in the Arkana Dictionary (entry Modus Equalis):

''It is recorded that this system was in use in the 3rd millenium BC in India, and it was certainly one of the methods used prior to Ptolemy's day by Greek and Roman astrologers.''


Firstly, I am not aware that Gettings is a particular authority on the topic of early house systems. Secondly without references a statement like this is of little intrinsic value. Thirdly, and possibly most crucially, this book was written back in 1990. In intervening period we have had the Project Hindsight translations and other authors writing on the likely significance of whole sign houses in ancient astrology by astrologers such as James Holden, Robert Schmidt, Robert Hand and Chris Brennan. It is now believed by many that what might previously have been assumed to be references to equal houses in ancient astrology were in fact more likely to be describing whole sign houses.

We do obviously have what appears to be Firmicus using equal in the 4th century CE. There is also the school of thought that Ptolemy may have been using a variant of equal for length of life calculation. However, I suspect the jury will alsways be out on that question due to lack of definitive evidence. Deborah Houlding has also highlighted Vettius Valens use of equal houses (as well as porphyry and whole sign).

But do we have evidence of equal being used before the 2nd century AD?

I think the evidence of use of equal before then in scant. I have to pose the same kind of practical question Deb posed to to me regarding whole sign houses. You may assume equal houses were being used but what evidence do you have to support your view?

I think the strongest source to bolster your position is Dorotheus of Sidon (1st century CE). He suggests the influence of the ASC extends 15 degrees into the next sign. Note he mentions degrees not signs or zoidia.

For what it is worth, my personal, view is that the ancient astrologers seem to have incorporated whole sign with other systems from a very early stage. While Schmidt and Dykes seem to think equal or porphyry developed as simply planetary strength indicators to support whole sign Deb is quite right that the ancient sources often provide little support for that view and sometimes openly contradict it.

Certainly, the rationale that Dorotheus of Sidon used to extend the influence of the ASC by degrees is fully consistent with the the logic of equal houses we find in Valens and Firmicus.

I think part of the problem is that people often adopt a last man standing approach to early house systems with the view that people had to be working exclusively with one system. I suspect the reality was often more complex and messy. In the general sense I think it is clear astrological praxis was not monolithic across the Mediterranean in the early centuries. Moreover, in a source like Valens we see a willingness and capacity to incorporate different house systems.

Mark
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
All I can say at the moment, Gettings writes in the Arkana Dictionary (entry Modus Equalis):

Quote:
It is recorded that this system was in use in the 3rd millenium BC in India, and it was certainly one of the methods used prior to Ptolemy's day by Greek and Roman astrologers.

It's too bad that Gettings doesn't reveal his sources on this.


Martin replied:
Quote:
For the best of reasons, I think: there are none. There was no horoscopic astrology in India, and therefore no house systems, prior to the Hellenistic era.


Martin,

Ack, I actually found the statement a little queer myself. It did seem in line with other claims I read as to the antiquity of the Indian Equal system, but they apparently don't get support by historical evidence.

Mark wrote:
Quote:
I think part of the problem is that people often adopt a last man standing approach to early house systems with the view that people had to be working exclusively with one system. I suspect the reality was often more complex and messy. In the general sense I think it is clear astrological praxis was not monolithic across the Mediterranean in the early centuries. Moreover, in a source like Valens we see a willingness and capacity to incorporate different house systems.


Mark,

I agree with you, and I think we should learn from the ancients' example and - instead of arguing about which house system is the "right" one - start figuring out each system is showing us, and what it can be used for.

In this regard, I do hope for further discussion on the thread "Equal verses unequal house systems"
http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8233&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=60
where I opened up a "blackboard" for this purpose.

Michael
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astroart



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Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The English astrologer Roger of Hereford (circa 1170 A.D.) in his book Liber de Astronomice iudicandi used whole- sign house system. More info:


Nicholas Whyte, Roger of Hereford’s Liber de Astronomice iudicandi:A Twelfth-Century Astrologer’s Manual,M.Phil Dissertation, 1991, p.18
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