Persian Nativities Vol. I
This is the first of a three volume paperback set, which features five works on natal astrology and predictive techniques by leading and famous astrologers from the early Arabic period (especially the late 750s - 850s AD). All of these astrologers were Persian or drew on key Sassanian Persian texts and methods. They were important for transmitting traditional astrology not only to the Arabs but also to the Latins centuries later.
Volume I was released in January 2010 and includes:
- The Book of Aristotle, a lost work by Masha'allah, translated into Latin in the 12th Century and immediately forgotten, the only two surviving copies were saved by the astrologer-magician John Dee. Now available in translation for the first time in 900 years, this presents a full treatment of nativities drawing extensively on Valens, Rhetorius, Masha'allah's more complete version of Dorotheus, a lost work by al-Andarzaghar on annual predictions, and more. Has previously unknown material from Dorotheus on Lots, friendship, and travel. Takes the source material and breaks it down into highly-organized and digestible chunks. Learning level: intermediate-advanced.
- On the Judgments of Nativities by Abu 'Ali, a student of Masha'allah's. This new English translation corrects problems in Holden's edition. The relationship of Abu 'Ali to Masha'allah's works (including the Book of Aristotle) is explained in detail. Learning level: beginner.
- The Introduction gives a historical and textual introduction to the Book of Arisotle, a description of new material, some cosmological ideas of Masha'allah, a possible alternative Rhetorius, a new interpretation of sect and its delineation, an outline of the annual predictive methods, and extensive notes on Latin, Arabic and Persian vocabulary.
The free PDF extract offers Skyscript readers a generous helping of introductory material and translated extracts. Included in the 36-page PDF are portions of the Introduction, portions of Masha'allah's treatment of wealth in the Book of Aristotle, and portions of Abu 'Ali's treatment of prosperity and wealth from the Judgments of Nativities.
Published in May 2010, this volume includes:
- Three Books on Nativities, by 'Umar al-Tabari, a colleague of Mash'allah's. A new translation which supersedes the partial Project Hindsight edition and uses the Book of Aristotle and Abu Bakr to reorganize the text into a seamless, coherent approach to rearing, profections and annual directions. Learning level: beginner-intermediate.
- On Nativities by Abu Bakr. The first English translation of this famous and lengthy work from the 9th Century. Highlights include dozens of delineations for character and behavior, medical issues, and numerous professions. Learning level: intermediate.
The free PDF extract offers Skyscript readers a generous helping of introductory material and translated extracts. Included in the 36-page PDF are portions of the Introduction, reorganized material on rearing, annual predictions and prosperity from 'Umar's Three Books on Nativities, and delineations of character, prosperity, and profession from Abu Bakr's On Nativities.
Volume III: On Solar Revolutions
Published July 2010; this is a stand-alone volume containing:
Abu Ma'shar (787-886 AD) was among the most famous of the medieval astrologers, both in the Arabic East and the Latin West. His On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities is among the lengthiest discussions of the annual predictive techniques among the Persians and Arabs, with comprehensive treatments of profections, transits, directions through the bounds, planetary periods (firdariyyat), the "Indian" ninth-parts, and the chart of the solar revolution itself.
- On the Revolutions of Nativities, by Abu Ma'shar. First complete English translation, from the Latin edition attributed to "Hermes." Project Hindsight's out-of-print edition had only been of the latter half, translated from Greek. This work also describes a complete method of annual predictions, with many extras, including how to distinguish events affecting the mind versus the body, and how to combine profections, transits, and solar returns. Learning level: intermediate.
This translation draws on the surviving medieval Latin and Greek versions of the more complete Arabic text, accompanied by over 50 pages of introductory notes and explanations by the translator, Dr. Benjamin Dykes. Along with Book IV of the Book of Aristotle by Masha'allah (in Persian Nativities I), this work is indispensible for traditional predictive techniques in natal astrology.
Appendices include additional texts by pseudo-Ptolemy, a guide to natal topics across all volumes of Persian Nativities, and a preview of the new Essential Medieval Astrology translation cycle. (238 pages)
The free PDF extract offers Skyscript readers a generous helping of introductory material and translated extracts. Included in the 23-page PDF are portions of the Introduction, and portions of Abu Ma'shar's treatment of Directions in Revolutions.
Benjamin N. Dykes PhD
received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has eight years' experience as a college instructor, concentrating on the ancient and medieval philosophy that informs much ancient and medieval astrology, and many years' experience in ritual practice in the Western Mystery Tradition, including the Golden Dawn, Wicca, and Thelema.
Since earning his Diploma of Medieval Astrology studying with Robert Zoller, Ben has been active in translating and publishing works that focus upon medieval astrological techniques. His own text, Using Medieval Astrology is available through his website at www.bendykes.com
. He has also recently translated The Book of Astronomy
by Guido Bonatti and The Works of Sahl and Masha'allah
The articles/extracts made available for download are copyrighted to Benjamin N. Dykes PhD and are offered here for private, non-commercial use. They may not be reproduced without permission. Published online December, 2009; latest update: July, 2010.