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Ancient Astrological Geography

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Joined: 30 Sep 2005
Posts: 5241
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

petosiris wrote.
Hephaistio, following certain Odapsos and other Egyptians says that the breast of Sagittarius signifies Syria (probably meaning the Levant). I am pretty sure that is the place of Mars and Saturn at the moment. I am also noticing that Saturn is making a station there and Ptolemy says to pay attention to those.

Thanks for your contribution. I have to say though that the astrological geography set out in the ancient sources for countries is all over the place!

A summary of some ancient astrologers associations for Syria by sign:

Teucer of Babylon (1st century BCE? Babylon in Egypt not modern Iraq!) -Capricorn

Manilius (early 1st century CE)-Aries

Claudius Ptolemy-Scorpio. 2nd century CE)-Scorpio

Vettius Valens (2nd century CE)-Scorpio

Paulus of Alexandrinus (late 4th century CE) -Capricorn

Hephaistio of Thebes-(5th century CE)-Sagittarius and Aquarius. It looks like the coastal areas (Levant) were under Sagittarius while the interior and much of modern Iraq under Aquarius.

The older sources seem to have aligned a variety of constellations (outside the zodiac) as paranatéllonta), stars 'rising alongside' (or 'rising simultaneously') with signs of the zodiac. These were especially bright individual stars, which become visible or invisible at the same time as certain degrees or decanal sections (segments of 10 degrees) of the ecliptic. This approach is explicitly mentioned by Teucer of Babylon and Vettius Valens.

Other ancient astrologers may have been following this approach or aligning the constellations with the climata or terrestrial latitude. Most Greek sources before Ptolemy were using Rhodes as the centre of the world in terms of calculating sign directions.

Ptolemy, as the worlds greatest source on geography in his time sets about designing a typically logical approach utilising a comprehensive system of astro-cartography in his Tetrabiblos with the world divided into four quarters. The major quarters based on quadruplicities (triangles); the outlying areas of each section are assigned to the 3 signs of 1 element (and their governing planets), while the inner, closer-to-home (i.e. Alexandria, Egypt) areas are assigned to 3 signs of contrary element (& their planets): fire is combined with earth for the NW & SE; air with water for the NE & SW.

In his Geographia, Ptolemy was the first to set out a consistent prime meridian for longitude. He used as his basis the "Fortunate Isles", a group of islands in the Atlantic which are usually associated with the Canary Islands (13° to 18°W), although his maps correspond more closely to the Cape Verde islands (22° to 25° W). The main point is to be comfortably west of the western tip of Africa (17.5° W) as negative numbers were not yet in use.

Ptolemy literally invented latitude and longitude - he was the first to place a grid system on a map and use the same grid system for the entire planet. His collection of place names and their coordinates reveals the geographic knowledge of the Roman empire in the second century.

The final volume of Geography was Ptolemy's atlas, featuring maps that utilized his grid system and maps that placed north at the top of the map, a cartographic convention that Ptolemy created. Unfortunately, his gazetteer and maps contained a great number of errors due to the simple fact that Ptolemy was forced to rely upon the best estimates of merchant travelers (who were incapable of accurately measuring longitude at the time).

As thou conversest with the heavens, so instruct and inform thy minde according to the image of Divinity William Lilly
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Joined: 08 Oct 2017
Posts: 142

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark and thank you for the list of all authors. I will just note that Vettius Valens 1.2. has additions from various authors including Hephaistio and Ptolemy (the countries by sign are of Ptolemy, and by part are of Hephaistio). Riley notes that the addition of Ptolemy of Valens' Scorpio in particular comes from Ms Laurentianus.

Also Ptolemy does not use four classical elements with the triplicities, but assigns directions by winds, which of course ties well with his mundane geography.

The approach of Ptolemy is interesting and indeed tied with his proficiency in geography, although Hephaistio notes that it includes too many countries under one sign, and he writes down the one given by Odapsos and unnamed others because by part it is easier and more useful for such prognostication according to him. It is not clear what are the rationales or if there is some empiricism involved with Odapsos choices.

I have problem with Hellenistic mundane astrology, as it contains only Old World geography, so I do not know whether there should be change, or only addition of the Americas and a little bit of differentiation of Asia and Ethiopia (Africa). I am interested if anyone has done traditional 7 planets research in this area.

Hephaistio is a tropical astrologer, although the descriptions he gives by Odapsos appear strictly constellational. There are some omens later, likely of Nechepso and Petosiris that also mention certain parts of the constellations. This eclipse material might have been influenced by Babylonian omens. They also contain wind, rain, storms, comets, shooting stars significations. I highly recommend the translation of Book I of Hephaistio by Robert Schmidt, it is one of my favourite books from Hellenistic astrology.
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Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ancient Egyptian says that if the Moon is eclipsed in Capricorn, one can expect grain, great winds and harm to kings (especially if a shooting star comes over the eclipsed part of the Moon, which indicates besiegement, or if thunder arises during the immersion, which indicates fall of tyrants).

He says that if the eclipse begins at the third hour in Egypt, one can expect the results after the second month, and that the effect of the eclipse will be felt within Egypt and Syria (I think he means the Levant). He says that the matter will be cleared within 5 months after the eclipse if it is purified within 3 hours, unless specified otherwise.

He also says to examine the winds. For if an eastern wind blows during the immersion, it will be worse for the regions to the east, but if it does not blow during the immersion, but only after the purification, it will be good for those regions. He says that if a separate wind blows from another direction of the horizon during the purification, it will conquer the land by being superior.

He says that if the lunar eclipse in Capricorn begins at the first, second or third hour, one can expect war and rule of the masses in Egypt and cutting down of principals, and he says that an eclipse at the fourth, fifth and sixth hour will signify intermittent diseases and an unsuccessful siege of Phoenicia.
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