skyscript.co.uk
   

home articles forum events
glossary horary quiz consultations links more

Read this before using the forum
Register
FAQ
Search
View memberlist
View/edit your user profile
Log in to check your private messages
Log in
Recent additions:
Can assassinations be prevented? by Elsbeth Ebertin
translated by Jenn Zahrt PhD
A Guide to Interpreting The Great American Eclipse
by Wade Caves
The Astrology of Depression
by Judith Hill
Understanding the mean conjunctions of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle
by Benjamin Dykes
Understanding the zodiac: and why there really ARE 12 signs of the zodiac, not 13
by Deborah Houlding

Skyscript Astrology Forum

Ibn Ezra and House System
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Forum Index -> Traditional (& Ancient) Techniques
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Andrew



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 360

Posted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great discussion.

Quote:
I have been increasingly convinced that ancient (pre-Ptolemaic) astrology was much more integrally bound to concepts of time than we currently make allowance for. The tropical zodiac was designed to represent the year; the zodiac signs were designed to represent the months of the year; the degrees were intended to represent the days of the month; and therefore it seems quite possible that, even from the start, houses were intended to represent the 2-hourly divisions of the day.


This captures it perfectly.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 206
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Posted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb

Just a short reply to the sources regarding division.

Quote:
Rhetorius “How one has to find by degree the 12 loci” CCAG 8.1, p.221,1 to p.222,28 (translated in Greek Horoscopes p.138)


That's which I described in the asterisked section: it's Chapter 12 of Epitome IV of Rhetorius whose editor was Demophilus in the 10th century. As I pointed out, the nativity itself might or may not have come really from Rhetorius, but having compared the chart to the other surviving versions, I'm rather convinced that the step-by-step instructions come from Demophilus himself. I hypothesise in the domification Demophilus relied upon a Greek translation of On Solar Revolutions of Abū Ma‘shar. This means not even one chart using a quadrant section method is known from the period before the Arabs!

Quote:
Valens “concerning the notable degrees of the pivot points” (ascribed to Orion), at the end of III.2


Yes, and there are at least two more similar statements from Valens. Indeed, he plays an important role in the history of domification.

Quote:
Antiochus Thesaurus, I.46 (Schmidt translation p.32-33)


In fact, this is not the Thesaurus of Antiochus but a part of the Treasuries of Rhetorius, more correctly, Chapter 46 of Epitome II of Rhetorius which was copied to the archetype of the surviving form of the Introduction of Porphyry by Demophilus as Chapter 53. The transmission of Rhetorius and its connection to Antiochus and Porphyry, who seems to have plagiarized the former without acknowledgement, are the most deeply complicated issues I know about, but it's almost certain that Epitome II used to form the introductory part of Rhetorius' Book V (chapters 1-53) which partly but not exclusively utilized the Introduction of Antiochus. Probably, it reflects Rhetorius' understanding of Ptolemy.
(I relied on two articles by David Pingree: Antiochus and Rhetorius and From Alexandria to Baghdād to Byzantium: the Transmission of Astrology.)

Regards,

Levente
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Eddy



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 922
Location: Netherlands

Posted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Eddy, with regard to Schmidt’s article, (and taking into consideration that it is quite old now, and possibly he would choose to update some of his points), my view is that some of those conclusions are overly dramatic and not supported by the available evidence. In particular I am unconvinced by the suggestion that early astrologers used a quadrant division to obtain angular placement which determined planetary strength, whilst using a whole sign approach for house meaning. Not only is there no evidence to support this, it is also contrary to the very clear evidence we have that house meanings - to a large extent - convey the sense of strength or weakness of the angular placement!

Then we have comments where he makes dramatic statements such as
Quote:
“Paulus still uses whole-sign houses exclusively in his topical delineations, despite his admiration for Ptolemy”.


We don't have the evidence to determine that Paulus used whole-sign houses exclusively. And this sort of comment ignores the very passionate plea in the scholia of chapter 28 of Paulus' work, which states that he discusses the division of the places, stressing .............

Hi Deb
There is some vagueness in Schmidts articles. Perhaps it would be better to say that it remains unknown what some astrologers did. In Andrew's Moon exaltation thread I mentioned an article in which I believe the whole signs are used http://www.skyscript.co.uk/triplicities.html Perhaps many people used whole signs and it is very conveniant because in that case the planets that are in a house are also in just one sign.

Deb wrote:
I have been increasingly convinced that ancient (pre-Ptolemaic) astrology was much more integrally bound to concepts of time than we currently make allowance for. The tropical zodiac was designed to represent the year; the zodiac signs were designed to represent the months of the year; the degrees were intended to represent the days of the month; and therefore it seems quite possible that, even from the start, houses were intended to represent the 2-hourly divisions of the day.
Astronomy and civil time seems to have been time oriented but I'm not sure about if this means that it was used in astrology.

The following remark may be a brain rack but I don't believe the 'Placidus' system is a time system but it is a place system just like any other house system.

In this Astrodienst article three ways of calculating a Placidus lie system is demonstrated. http://www.astro.com/swisseph/swisseph.htm#_Toc226863998 §6.5
only the third can be classified as a time system, because it takes a point/moment in between two fixed moments. The other methods are defined differently. Further they remark that the culmination of a planet may be not in the south any more. Somewhere else a few weeks ago I gave an example of the possibility of the Sun rising in the south west, culminating in the west, setting in the south west and having the lowest culnination somewhere in the north north west. But this only occurs a couple kilometres of the poles and it is rather a theoretical question. However for me a reason not to use it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Deb
Administrator


Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Levente, there are one or two points in your reply that are of interest to me. At the moment I am working on something else, so I would like to return to this when I have a bit more time at my disposal.

Hi Eddy, I am not sure if you have read Mike Wackford’s collection of articles on division in the Polar regions, but if not, it is well worth reading as it answers those sorts of questions and more. http://www.skyscript.co.uk/polar1.html

Personally, I would never try to pick out one house division method as more reliable than another, but his conclusion (from a technical angle) was very favourable for the Placidean system – the only one to stand up to scrutiny in the polar regions.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Martin Gansten
Moderator


Joined: 05 Jul 2008
Posts: 1268
Location: Malmö, Sweden

Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Personally, I would never try to pick out one house division method as more reliable than another, but his conclusion (from a technical angle) was very favourable for the Placidean system – the only one to stand up to scrutiny in the polar regions.

The same claim has been made for several house systems. Alcabitius tables are available (or at least used to be, when people still used printed tables of houses) for 0-90 degrees. The fact is, however, that all ascendant-based house systems go a bit weird in the polar regions, simply because the ascendant does.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
PFN



Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 393
Location: Ouro Preto, Brasil

Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I think that it's because life will hardly sustain itself in a place where the AC (place of life) swaps/becomes the MC (where we should go).

But then again, let's see if astrologer's will have problems and solutions when we decide to colonize the polar region...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Eddy



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 922
Location: Netherlands

Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Hi Eddy, I am not sure if you have read Mike Wackford’s collection of articles on division in the Polar regions, but if not, it is well worth reading as it answers those sorts of questions and more. http://www.skyscript.co.uk/polar1.html
Hi Deb, Yes I'm familiar with Mike Wackford's collection. I read it a year ago. While it is an intelligent treatise based upon the proposal of Otto Ludwig, I'm sorry, I can't accept the system on several grounds. Perhaps I gave this thread a twist to this polar issue because of my remark of the poles. However I meant that remark as an illustration of the concept of a 'time system'.

Martin Gansten wrote:
The fact is, however, that all ascendant-based house systems go a bit weird in the polar regions, simply because the ascendant does.
This is why I'd rather use the Meridian system or Equal MC or even Whole Sign based on the MC. Perhaps you know what Swedish astrologers usually use to cope with this, Martin.... or other members over here from the Northern areas of the world?

Now I got myself in hot water because I made that remark related to time vs. space Embarassed . Here I too gave a twist to the thread, sorry François.

A very short explanation of what I tried to say. I'll give an example which will clarify a lot I hope.

If we take for instance an exact Sun Mercury inferior conjuntion at the moment of Sunrise and at the same moment when both are in 0° Aries. This for 'normal' latitudes like London. In this example Mercury is exactly on the ecliptic just like the Sun (or we just use the projected points on the ecliptic). This means that both are exactly in the east at that moment.

12 hours + some dozens of seconds later they both will set in the west. However there are slight differences. At the start both are in 0°Aries with 0°declination. The Sun moves further into Aries and after 12 hours will have a slightly positive declination. Inferior conjunct Mercury is of retrograde and therefore moves backwards into Pisces and will get a slightly negative declination. So instead of setting ecactly in the west, the Sun sets slightly north of it and Mercury slightly south.

Viewed this way, the 'paths' of the planets aren't parallels but rather 'spirals'. Those of the Sun and Mercury 'diverge' in the example. However what we usually do when we calculate planets in their (Placidian) mundane positions (whether for the use of mundane aspects or for primary directions is pure geometrical or 'space' based. The position of a planet is taken at one moment, not as the moment between rising and setting. In this way 'real' parallels therefore are used. Even comparing it with a position of a few hours later, like in primary directions, it is the same. Two 'snapshot' moments are compared in which space is the measuring factor.

This may be difficult to grasp but the result is that at extremely high latitudes over 89° the differences are noticeable. However even at London's latitude the difference between the crossing of the Meridian of a planet and its culmination can be half a minute (if I remember my calculations well). Not much, just a few arc minutes but for me worth considering it from a theoretical point of view. And for Primary direction users who use exact positions also because this difference would be about 6 weeks.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Deb
Administrator


Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I realised that my life will come to an end before the discussion does, I lost all impetus to defend one system of houses over another. I like the philosophy of Placidus and its association with planetary hours, but I personally stick to using Regiomontanus, with the lazy argument that if it is good enough for the mathematician Regiomontanus, and the astrologer Lilly, then it is good enough for the likes of me.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Eddy



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 922
Location: Netherlands

Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
When I realised that my life will come to an end before the discussion does, I lost all impetus to defend one system of houses over another. I like the philosophy of Placidus and its association with planetary hours, but I personally stick to using Regiomontanus, with the lazy argument that if it is good enough for the mathematician Regiomontanus, and the astrologer Lilly, then it is good enough for the likes of me.
A year ago I got myself in an intensive debate on different reference frames. Not really a house system discussion but as different reference frames are the basis of the houses the heart of the discussion is the same. The discussion indeed probably won't come to an end and I think it's better for myself and debating partners not to try to convince others of my views. As I like the ecliptic and the aspects based upon it, a simple ecliptic based system would be the most attractive to me but maybe we will never know which one is the best.

Is it still possible to discuss a chart when the discussing members use different house systems or does it makes things unnecessarily more complicated?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 206
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb and fellows,

as I see the conversation has turned to restart a debate about which we should take as favourable and which as dismissed house system. Personally, I'm much more interested in historical facts because, while there are endless arguments and counter-arguments in favour of several systems, we still possess relatively little information about the history of domification. And it ought not to be overlooked. Don't forget that the emerge of modern astrology stems back to the overall rule of reason that in turn wasn't rooted enough in tradition. Sorry, I don't want to critisize; I'm almost indifferent when it comes to modern astrology or favourable house system. Even then, I must say, without any evaluation, that Regiomontanus chose a system later named of him not because it was good for him, but because in a certain geometrical ground this system (originally devised by al-Jayyānī in the 11th century) seemed to be more logical to him than the so-called Gazulus-Campanus system. That's why he calls it methodus rationalis. And, if I'm entitled to do that, I'd also challenge a widespread legend about Lilly: he seems to have used Regiomontanus' system not because he had experienced each system and this was the one that worked; simply he followed the practice of his age, using the only available tables, those of Regiomontanus, supported by the authority of a reknown astronomer, or in other words, he adapted for the fashion. Of course, not only he was the one who did so, and it doesn't mean that he was mistaken. It's only a plausible historical assumption, nothing more.

Now I'd reply to the terminological issue.

Deb wrote:
I have a different perspective because, for some time now, I have been increasingly convinced that ancient (pre-Ptolemaic) astrology was much more integrally bound to concepts of time than we currently make allowance for. The tropical zodiac was designed to represent the year; the zodiac signs were designed to represent the months of the year; the degrees were intended to represent the days of the month; and therefore it seems quite possible that, even from the start, houses were intended to represent the 2-hourly divisions of the day.


Well, I can agree that, in a certain form, the zodiac with its portions represents a clockface. It may be true in the case of a year, a month or a day, but if we turn to the day as a 24-hours unit, we are perhaps supposed to use the celestial equator instead of the ecliptic. So while in a sense it can be similar to a regular clock with a face and two hands, in this case actually we should assume that there are two clockfaces: the first is the zodiac for the "hour" (i.e. month) hand while the second is the equator for the "minute" (i.e. double-hour) hand. But it's only theory and the pantry is always full of theories. Smile

Deb wrote:
There seems to be a number of ancient references where terminology related to houses and hours is used interchangeably (just as words related to days and degrees are often used interchangeably too).

Deb wrote:
Dorotheus – 1.8 (Pingree p.167). Pingree translates the word as 'days' but includes a bracket to show that 'degrees' are meant. (The same section is possibly interchanging terminology for hours and houses. It is entitled ‘Knowledge of the masculine and feminine “hours” of the nativity’).


This section is highly problematic. It's hardly understandable, the terms (sā‘a or “hour” which also means “time” and yaum or “day”) used in this environment are awkward and, as a matter of fact, there's no corresponding Greek testimonium. While Pingree cites the Greek sources, Rhetorius V 18 (known both from Epitome II and III) and the anonymous commentary to Ptolemy I 22, they only say that, at counting the twelfth-division (dōdekatēmorion), Dorotheus preferred multiplication by 12. This is similar to but not identical with the Arabic description. Moreover, in this section the text gives uses the word-by-word expression, al-ajzā’ for ‘division’ albeit in other parts, namely in Book V, the translator, ‘Umar exclusively uses Persian bahrī. It makes me suspicious about the originality of the whole section which seems to have been inserted later and this appears on folio 4 of the older manuscript, Yeni Cami 784. But I may be mistaken.

Deb wrote:
Liber Hermetis, XII (Robert Zoller’s Latin translation reads “on the 13th degree of February” and is corrected by Robert Hand’s footnote 2 (p.31) where he says that clearly the text means “the day of February, not the ‘degree’”).


This text (which is sometimes also called Epitome V of Rhetorius) is a translation of Valens V, 4, 18 (Pingree, p. 205,9-10). It's oldest, 13th century manuscript, Vaticanus graecus 191 which is also the only surviving hyparchetypus, contains this text on folio 97: estō de epi hupodeigmatos Hadrianou etos d’, Mecheir ig’, hōra nukterinē a’ (Pingree emends “Mecheir” to the orthographically more correct “Mechir”). The translation: “let it be as an example the 4th year of the era of Hadrian, the 13th month Mechir, the 1st nighly hour”. The text contains neither “portion” (moira) nor “day” (hēmera) but it doesn't mean it couldn't.
Comparing to it, the sole surviving manuscript, Harleianus 3731 of the Latin translation writes neither gradus nor dies. On folio 6vb the manuscript reads: uerbi gracia adriani est in tertio decimo g februarii hora prima nocturna. The letter “g” is out of place, so the first editor, Gundel suggested to supply it as gradus while Pingree uses dies; however, the latest critical edition (Feraboli, p. 31,30-31) gives the text as “verbi gratia Hadriani [annus quartus] est in tertio decimo Februarii hora prima nocturna”, having adopted a completion suggested by Kroll.
What happened? One scenario is that this “g” is an abbreviation. In this case it should have existed in the original but the manuscript tradition doesn't support it. Certainly, it could have been dropped in an earlier stage of transmission. But there's another scenario: the Latin translator who transscribed the Greek digits to Latin words of numerals, by mistake put a “g” after “decimo” as a partial repeating of the Greek digit for 13. Nobody knows which is correct but I'd prefer the latter one.

I'm going on later.

Levente
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Deb
Administrator


Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Sat May 30, 2009 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Levente

I’m not sure if your final comment meant that you have more to add, but as I have little time over the weekend I want to thank you now for the minefield of information in your post. I am going to carefully read your comments – some of them I will probably wish to discuss when I have more time, and some of them, I think, will be better as separate threads in their own right. As I only have a little time this morning I just want to make a couple of quick and (hopefully) non-controversial comments.

Quote:
And, if I'm entitled to do that, I'd also challenge a widespread legend about Lilly: he seems to have used Regiomontanus' system not because he had experienced each system and this was the one that worked; simply he followed the practice of his age, using the only available tables, those of Regiomontanus, supported by the authority of a reknown astronomer, or in other words, he adapted for the fashion. Of course, not only he was the one who did so, and it doesn't mean that he was mistaken. It's only a plausible historical assumption, nothing more.


I absolutely agree, but then I wasn’t aware of any legend to the contrary. Surely people don’t think that Lilly was a mathematical genius? He admits that he struggled with some of the technical concepts. He also, without doubt, followed Regiomontanus because at that time all the intellectual impetus in astrology came from that region and that group of German scholars. Lilly states this in the foreword of his work. What I meant, by saying if it was good enough for Regiomontanus and Lilly then it is good enough for me, is that the former committed more to the study of its technicalities than I ever could, and Lilly made great use of the system in practice.

On the theory in your pantry Smile (And I know you were being free-flowing with your thoughts …)

Quote:
but if we turn to the day as a 24-hours unit, we are perhaps supposed to use the celestial equator instead of the ecliptic.


This is where I see the matter as relevant to this thread. Because whilst the civil hours relate to the equator, the planetary (or seasonal hours) are more related to the ecliptic, and that is one of the important points of connection between Ptolemy’s Almagest passage and the system we call Placidus. The seasonal hours are integrally bound to the order of the planetary rulership of days and the order of the decans (faces), so they were much more than mere markers for time – they were deeply symbolic and the system as a whole was a fundamental astrological concept.

Again, thank you for the extra information you have provided in your other comments. I appreciate you going to this much trouble, and obviously want to give those historical remarks the attention they deserve.

Regards
Deb
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 206
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb,

Deb wrote:
I absolutely agree, but then I wasn’t aware of any legend to the contrary.


Well, then it means the legend isn't as widespread as I thought. Smile

Deb wrote:
This is where I see the matter as relevant to this thread. Because whilst the civil hours relate to the equator, the planetary (or seasonal hours) are more related to the ecliptic, and that is one of the important points of connection between Ptolemy’s Almagest passage and the system we call Placidus. The seasonal hours are integrally bound to the order of the planetary rulership of days and the order of the decans (faces), so they were much more than mere markers for time – they were deeply symbolic and the system as a whole was a fundamental astrological concept.


That's true but there's a real problem with time: a day is either a sidereal day or a solar day, and the latter loses its sense passing through the polar circles. Its a deeply complicated issue.

But now I'll go back to the terminological issue.

Deb wrote:
Haly, ‘Judgements’; Pars Sexta, p.295


If I understand it well, you point to Chapter 15 of Book 6 in Kitāb al-bāri‘ of Abū 'l-Hasan ‘Alī. Perhaps I'm mistaken but it seems to be a description how to count the months and days in a solar revolution. I don't really know what you mean.

Deb wrote:
Masha’allah: Chapter IV: A question from a sick man


I checked two editions of De receptione of Māshā’allāh (1491 and 1549). The texts run as follows (interpunction omitted):

1491 edition by Boneto Locatello wrote:
Aspexi ergo quis planetarum septem iungeretur ei uel quis eorum separaretur ab eo a Saturno scilicet qui erat in infirmitate dignior inuenique Venerem separatam a Saturno qui erat dominus domus infirmitatis septem diebus a domo infirmitatis qui erat Venus in domo infirmitatis. Significauit igitur Venus diminutionem morbi eo quod separaretur a Saturno qui erat dominus domus infirmitatis per septem gradus et iungebatur Marti qui eam recipit et ipsa recipit eum.


1549 edition by Joachim Heller wrote:
Aspexi ergo quis planetarum septem iungeretur ei uel quis eorum separaretur ab eo a Saturno scilicet qui erat in infirmitate dignior inuenique Venerem separatam a Saturno qui erat dominus domus infirmitatis septem diebus a domo infirmitatis quia erat Venus in domo infirmitatis. Significauit igitur Venus diminutionem morbi eo quod separaretur a Saturno quia erat dominus domus infirmitatis per septem gradus et iungebatur Marti qui recipit eam et uicissim ab ea recipitur.


I marked the differences in words and phrases with bold. Assuming that the Heller version is a stylistically improved one, the ending must have been changed. But even then, the first “qui” should be emended so as to be grammatically correct. (This isn't the case with the second one which was corrected ineptly.) Any further emendation ought to be carried on the ground of manuscripts but as there's neither critical edition nor access to the manuscripts, I'd risk it on my own.
This short portion is very garbled: it refers to the “house of infirmity” no less than five times and it mentions Saturn being the “lord of the house of infirmity” three times, whilst it's already been announced at the beginning of the paragraph as well. On this ground I'd seclude several phrases in the text, to emend it to this form (asterisks for the missing phrases):

Aspexi ergo quis planetarum septem iungeretur ei uel quis eorum separaretur ab eo * inuenique Venerem separatam a Saturno *, qu[ae] erat * in domo infirmitatis. Significauit igitur Venus diminutionem morbi eo quod separaretur a Saturno, qui erat dominus domus infirmitatis, per septem gradus et iungebatur Marti, qui eam recipit et ipsa recipit eum.

This gives an acceptable translation (based on Dykes):

Therefore I looked to see which of the seven planets was being joined to him, or which of them was being separated from him, and I found Venus, separated from Saturn, who (i.e. Venus) was in the house of infirmity. Therefore Venus signified the decrease of the disease, because she was being separated from Saturn, the lord of the house of infirmity, by seven degrees, and she was being joined to Mars, who received her, and she herself received him.

Perhaps it's too much abridgement but even then I'm convinced that the text severely suffers from dittography which is the case in the seven degrees, mistakenly written days in the first instance.

Deb wrote:
Lilly – Look at the text under his picture in the frontispiece, where the 1st of May is written as 1 (degree symbol) May.


Well, “1º MAŸ” seems to be an abbreviation for “primo Maii”. This little ring isn't a degree symbol but a so-called masculine ordinal indicator.

Regards,

Levente
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Deb
Administrator


Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Levente

Quote:
That's true but there's a real problem with time: a day is either a sidereal day or a solar day, and the latter loses its sense passing through the polar circles. Its a deeply complicated issue.


I agree that time is a complicated issue - ancient time-keeping systems are really quite fantastic mathematical and astronomical achievements, bursting with symbolic consequence! But I would suggest that the problems connected to polar circles are modern concerns and were not of relevance to ancient astrologers working around the Mediterranean region. They also had a much more essential view of the Sun as being (or at least being representative of) 'the day'. This is one of the reasons why ancient astrologers were happy to use a measure of 1 degree per day, because of the philiosophical connection between the two.

With regard to the Masha’allah quote, I had made my own (quite literal) translation from the Joachim Heller edition. Unabridged, it reads:


Quote:
Therefore I considered which of the seven planets were joining to him, or which of them were separating from him, that is from Saturn, who was dignified in [the matter of] infirmity. I found Venus separating from Saturn, who was the lord of the house of sickness, seven degrees from the lord of sickness, because Venus is in the house of sickness. Venus therefore signifies the diminishing of the sickness, because of her separation from Saturn, who was the lord of the house of sickness, by seven degrees, and because of her joining with Mars who receives her, and in turn is received by her. Indeed, he receives her from his exaltation, and she receives him from her house.


I take your point about the dittography, but I would need much more experience and confidence in Latin before I dared to make the kind of abridgement that you have done (and even then I'm not sure that I ever should). Comparing the two we seem to have come to the same place regarding the essential meaning of this little piece of text (however, I am open to improvement on the Latin).
My main interest in this passage is to suggest the word diebus, found in both Latin sources, translated as 'days' by Hand and Dykes, should, in this context, mean 'degrees'. This is how you have translated it, although you say:

Quote:
Perhaps it's too much abridgement but even then I'm convinced that the text severely suffers from dittography which is the case in the seven degrees, mistakenly written days in the first instance.


This is my point – that it was not necessarily a mistake, but that the word could have an extended meaning because of the identification between the concepts of the day and the ecliptic degree. The word appears in both Latin editions so it would have had to have been overlooked twice. However, a great deal of explanation is necesary for me to illustrate my full argument, or support little points such as this, so as I said at the start, in this thread I am only offering a few speculative thoughts that others may wish to keep in mind. (But I do hope to come back to some more of your points when I have finished the piece of work that I am currently struggling to get finished).

Quote:
Well, “1º MAŸ” seems to be an abbreviation for “primo Maii”. This little ring isn't a degree symbol but a so-called masculine ordinal indicator.

- Yes, I agree with that. I had noted this as something I wanted to check, and you have spared me the trouble. (looking into this briefly this morning, I am now intrigued by how little is known about the history of the degree symbol).

Thanks again for your comments,
Deb
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Eddy



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 922
Location: Netherlands

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Well, “1º MAŸ” seems to be an abbreviation for “primo Maii”. This little ring isn't a degree symbol but a so-called masculine ordinal indicator.


Perhaps interesting to know that the Germans write "Der 1. Mai". They use a point, maybe this is related to that 'degree' like mark.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 206
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb and fellows,

Deb wrote:
But I would suggest that the problems connected to polar circles are modern concerns and were not of relevance to ancient astrologers working around the Mediterranean region.


I couldn't agree more.

Deb wrote:
They also had a much more essential view of the Sun as being (or at least being representative of) 'the day'. This is one of the reasons why ancient astrologers were happy to use a measure of 1 degree per day, because of the philiosophical connection between the two.


Yes, it's clearly true. I would also say that this frame is based upon the reason of Egyptian calendar which used 12 months, each having 30 days. Only the epagomenal days were missing.

Deb wrote:
I take your point about the dittography, but I would need much more experience and confidence in Latin before I dared to make the kind of abridgement that you have done (and even then I'm not sure that I ever should). Comparing the two we seem to have come to the same place regarding the essential meaning of this little piece of text (however, I am open to improvement on the Latin).
My main interest in this passage is to suggest the word diebus, found in both Latin sources, translated as 'days' by Hand and Dykes, should, in this context, mean 'degrees'. This is how you have translated it, although you say:
Quote:
Perhaps it's too much abridgement but even then I'm convinced that the text severely suffers from dittography which is the case in the seven degrees, mistakenly written days in the first instance.

This is my point – that it was not necessarily a mistake, but that the word could have an extended meaning because of the identification between the concepts of the day and the ecliptic degree. The word appears in both Latin editions so it would have had to have been overlooked twice. However, a great deal of explanation is necesary for me to illustrate my full argument, or support little points such as this, so as I said at the start, in this thread I am only offering a few speculative thoughts that others may wish to keep in mind.


Oh yes, I'm ready to admit that I was a sort of audacious to suggest textual corrections on the sole ground of printed editions. That's only a suspicion of mine which could be strenghtened or disapproved by the examination of manuscripts. It's a pity that the original Arabic isn't extant. I'll see what I could do and if it's possible, I'll try to obtain copies of the manuscripts of the surviving Latin translation. The On Receptions of Māshā’allāh is a very important source (I think only On Questions by Sahl ibn Bishr can be compared to it in importance), so I really deserves a good edition. The late David Pingree planned to make a full publication of the works of Māshā’allāh but I don't know if anyone assumed the project. BTW a good edition of Bonatti would be also welcomed but it's a gigantic enterprise. I say it because, to my mind, there is a severe confusion with the exact rules of radicality, if I want to give an example.
The only thing I say is that a single, perhaps garbled passage by Māshā’allāh and a somewhat dubious section from the ‘Umar Dorotheus makes the proof of your theory about interchangeability of “day” and “degree” in astrological context really difficult.

Deb wrote:
I am now intrigued by how little is known about the history of the degree symbol


Wikipedia says it comes from the glyph of Sun but no reference is added.

Eddy wrote:
Perhaps interesting to know that the Germans write "Der 1. Mai". They use a point, maybe this is related to that 'degree' like mark.


Yes, it's possible. However, the usage of full stop is quite common in Central and Northern Europe, for instance, in the orthography of my mother tongue, too.

Just one addition: I checked the references to a Paulus scholium and a part of the Olympiodorus commentary which Deb shared with me generously. It's again about the question whether quadrant system was used by the Greeks.

Deb wrote:
We don't have the evidence to determine that Paulus used whole-sign houses exclusively. And this sort of comment ignores the very passionate plea in the scholia of chapter 28 of Paulus' work, which states that he discusses the division of the places, stressing
Quote:
“the Horoscopos is primary for every inception and nativity … both foundation and prelude, not only of the pivots, but also the rest of the places”. (Greenbaum p. 61)


This is scholium 82 referring to chapter 28 of Paulus, and the only manuscript containing it is Marcianus graecus 303 which was copied in 14th and 15th centuries. Probably it was made in the circle of Isaac Argyrus in the 14th century.

Deb wrote:
This passage then leads into a discussion on the principles of quadrant division. Olympiodorus elaborates further, admitting that there is ambiguity and difference of opinion, but stating that those who define the place as the sign use a reckoning that causes faults. And he states:
Quote:

But one of the ancients, whose name time has handed down in the depths of forgetfulness, taking as a starting point what has been said by the most divine Ptolemy, that one must take the hour-marking place from 5 degrees of those pre-ascending the hour-marking degree, sets out a method that seems better than all the others (Greenbaum, p.119).

Olympiodorus is quite late, but we find a similar passage, informing the astrologer not to rely upon the signs to define the houses, in the text of Valens, Rhetorius, and others. Hence I personally find it hard to believe that of all the astrologers who wrote out this passage, not one of them took it seriously.


I found that this passage doesn't come from Olympiodorus but from the school of John Abramius which existed in late 14th and early 15th centuries. The only whole and uncontaminated manuscript of Olympiodorus is Vindobonensis philosophicus graecus 115 whose folio 191v has the end of chapter 23 and the beginning of chapter 24 but this very portion, typed in smaller size on pages 75-78 of de Boer's edition, belongs to class β which is a product of the school of John Abramius.
To conclude, I still haven't found any instance of using a quadrant method in Greek literature. The exceptions are, of course, Valens and the interpreters of Ptolemy.

Regards,

Levente
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Forum Index -> Traditional (& Ancient) Techniques All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Page 2 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
. Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group

       
Contact Deborah Houlding  | terms and conditions  
All rights on all text and images reserved. Reproduction by any means is not permitted without the express
agreement of Deborah Houlding or in the case of articles by guest astrologers, the copyright owner indictated