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Valens: equal houses not whole signs
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Larxene



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Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@waybread:

Indeed, if we use WSH, it would be possible for the Sun to be in the first house by day and night. However, by Equal House the first house is always under the horizon. Yet, the house system Maternus described was Equal House!

At this point, ways to explain this paradox will be speculative. Perhaps Liber Secundus and Liber Tertius were respectively compiled from two different sources.



Regarding Curtis's observation that Valens seemed to have used WSH for topics/places, I noticed something similar with Maternus's delineation of Albinus's chart. The ascendant and the planets were described as being in signs. Yet there were some instances where he made references to the houses, but it seemed like he had equated the nth House with the nth Sign, or at least, there was no differentiation between them.

To further investigate this, I checked out Albinus's chart in Astrodatabank to no avail, as the planetary positions were slightly but significantly different than what Maternus described.



@james_m

In practice, it makes a big difference. The differences are especially stark when dealing with Ascendants in the late degrees. Planets in the 9th sign may end up being in the 8th house, planets in 10th end up in the 9th, etc. In addition, you need to decide on whether to accept out of sign conjunctions. Aspects may also change if you compare WSH with Equal House.



One interesting thing to note is that Maternus also described the MC as being 90 degrees away from the Ascendant. Intriguingly, he states something that seems similar to Valens as well (see the part in bold):

Quote:
The Medium Caelum is the tenth house from the ascendant, but sometimes also the MC is found exactly in the eleventh sign from the ascendant. To understand this more clearly, compute, starting from the degree of the ascendant, through the other following signs, 270 degrees, and in whatever sign the 271st degree is found, this is allotted the Medium Caelum, which the Greeks call Mesuranima.


But if we interpreted the bolded part literally, it would be referring to the cases where the Ascendant is in the 30th degree of any sign, e.g. 29 degrees Aries. So it seems that this method of finding the MC is strictly used in conjunction with the Equal House system.
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Deb
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Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, to my own disadvantage I didn't take note of the link you provided in your second post of this thread. I knew some of these issues had been discussed before, but couldn't find that older thread myself (despite searching) so ended up retyping the quote from Antiochus. As you note, many issues relevant to this thread have been discussed before, and in greater depth, so let me give that link again, as there is no reason why that thread cannot be continued if anyone wants to add general points to it.

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6203&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=60

I don't want the discussion in this thread to drift away from its focus, which is specifically about the significance of passages in Valens work, and how they impact upon our understanding of his use of houses, or our understanding of the approach taken by other astrologers of that period. I think it is necessary to draw comparisons with other works to show ideas that were around in his time, that could have been influential on him, or influenced by him. Astrologers of his era would probably have had a better familiarity with his approach than we do.

It is very difficult for me to moderate and contribute, so hopefully everyone will understand my request to keep the discussion on topic.

A problem we have with Valens is that a great deal of his examples are intended to show the meaning of lots, and he didn't leave chart diagrams (or at least we don't have them), and he very rarely makes reference to the placement of planets in their radical houses. Examples where he does are worth looking at it in detail. One of the things I bear in mind is that in regions closer to the equator the houses would have been more proportional generally, and though we expect the astrologers to have been careful to distinguish between the terminology used for signs and houses, I'm not sure that they always were. I've noticed this over and over with traditional works - we expect the use of certain words to be loaded with particular meaning, but the more you investigate the more you discover that the special meaning you expect appears sometimes, and sometimes not.

Larxene - have you checked the Holden translation of those quotes you gave from Firmicus earlier? I noticed yesterday that Bram's translation of the Latin is so abbreviated as to be pretty useless. I was hoping to take a closer look today, but can already see I won't have time for that. If anyone else has the Holden translation it would be useful to compare.
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Deb
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Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larxene wrote:
Indeed, if we use WSH, it would be possible for the Sun to be in the first house by day and night. However, by Equal House the first house is always under the horizon. Yet, the house system Maternus described was Equal House!


The description of the Sun in the first house by day, or the 7th house by night allows two possibilities: one would be a whole sign approach, the other would be the expectation that within 5° of the asc-desc axis the Sun is counted as on the ascendant or descendant (or within the 1st or 7th house) even though the centre of its body has passed the horizon - the criteria by which, according to Ptolemy's definition, day turns to night and vice versa.

One of my close family members has the Sun just above the ascendant, and I wouldn't hesitate to refer to that as a 1st house Sun in a diurnal chart. We don't know the extent that the 5° allowance was recognized by Firmicus, but because there are various references to it in ancient works, we can't eliminate the possibility that it impacts on his work. A more persuasive example would be one where the Sun is seen to be more than 5° from the angle and defined in such a way that leaves only the possibility of whole-sign consideration.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the first book of Valens pg 2 Riley translation:

Quote:
Aries is by nature watery, with thunder and hail. From its first degree to the equinox, it is stormy, full of hail, windy, destructive.


It is important to keep in mind that Valens used a zodiac that set the vernal equinox point at 8 degrees Aries. Schmidt has said that this could be very likely a tropical zodiac with an 8 degree offset. Something to keep in mind when using WSH...
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Zagata



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Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

Before I give two ways to test whole signs (more correctly called topical places) let me direct your attention to something else.
As someone who has taken Robert Zoller's 2 Courses, I was taught to consider both house systems but in actuality Zoller uses pretty much Alcabitius only. So did I. So did Ben Dykes and Regulus Astrology and I am sure other students as well.
Then the above mentioned two people started using whole signs. (it would be interesting if they read this and decide to share with the forum why they switched, but having purchased the two books of Regulus Astrology and the translations and lectures of Ben Dykes, I know what they would most probably say).
Whole signs looked strange for me and too different, they changed many charts! I kept on using quadrant houses for a few years until I got my hands on Schmidt's translation of Valens. This was THE turning point for me even though I had read Ptolemy and Dorotheus before that.
I suggest that anyone really interested in this should read Valens, but the whole book and go over it at least 2 or 3 times and study it deeply with an open mind and contemplate on it. Giving quotes is not enough in my opinion.
My take, based on the Anthology itself and not on Schmidt or Hand or Brennan or Curtis, is that whole signs is implicit except for the length of life, the tweaking of the profections for the angles in some cases, and derived houses.

Anyway, one can only do so much with theory, it is best to see it in practice for themselves and in an objective way. So, to see that whole signs really are what Valens (and others) meant, here are two suggestions:

1) Take note of the Rulers of the Times in a given chart, especially the Distributor and Partner (easier seen when inferiors due to speed) ingressing into the the profected Asc and also the Lord of the Year ingressing in that zoidion or even the natal Asc or other key places. You will note that the significations start at the beginning of the zoidion and that intermediate house cusps mean nothing in terms of topics.
One can also note the ingresses of Jupiter and Saturn. They don't necessarily have to be Rulers of the Times (they could rule the SR for instance), they can rule an angle or be configured to those Rulers for their significations to be noted immediately having once entered a given zoidion.
Do this for many charts and see for yourselves whether intermediate house cusps have any role at all.


2) Valens introduces the so called Decennials technique which is extremely valuable and very peculiar. The technique, as with others, implies whole signs even though it does seem to mimic the Predomination/Apheta one.
So here is what you can test: take charts in which you have taken some time to study the whole life of the native, which have the Sect Light at least or better both Lights cadent in quadrant houses but actually angular in whole signs. See which version of chart delineation is true: the one with the Light/s angular in whole signs or the one with the first planet after the Ascendant in zodiacal order.
Again, study many charts and see whether the Decennials technique (or Zodiacal Releasing etc etc) really can work with a quadrant house system or not. My answer based on Valens and many charts I have examined is that whole signs is the only system, though as I said Decennials can be tricky (because of the two doctrines of busy places).

It is best and easiest to test this with the best program for Hellenistic and Medieval Astrology, namely Delphic Oracle. Smile
In fact Curtis did a good video (in the News section of the forum) a few days ago on Arnold Schwarzenegger's chart and is so happens that Arnie has a nocturnal chart with the Moon cadent in quadrant but actually in the angular 7th zoidion and the Decennials technique counts it as angular and starts the division from it. Of course, if one wants to test Decennials one can set Delphic Oracle so that the person chooses which planet to start the division with.
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, Curtis-- supported by Neugebauer and Van Hoesen, Greek Horoscopes (available as a google book.)

Deb wrote:
Quote:
I don't want the discussion in this thread to drift away from its focus, which is specifically about the significance of passages in Valens work, and how they impact upon our understanding of his use of houses, or our understanding of the approach taken by other astrologers of that period. I think it is necessary to draw comparisons with other works to show ideas that were around in his time, that could have been influential on him, or influenced by him. Astrologers of his era would probably have had a better familiarity with his approach than we do.


I wonder if Neugebauer & Van Hoesen is worth revisiting. They went through each of Valens's nativities and pegged their dates. It should be possible to cast these charts today, therefore, to see how Valens constructed the ones where houses or cusps are relevant. N & VH cast all of Valens's horoscopes, and shed some light on how there might be some slippage in Valens's house system/s.

1. Rising times vary according to latitude (called "clima"), and were calculated in different ways in the ancient world. Valens used both major arithmetic systems, but no trigonomic methods.

2. Valens's computations are all based on the latitudes of either Alexandria or Babylon, regardless of where the native was born. (N & VH, pp. 185-6) Valens doesn't give the birth location of most of his nativities, so this could introduce some error. Although Valens did note clima in 53 nativities ranging into the Levant and Rome, re-calculating the horoscopes shows that he actually used the latitude of Babylon for the most part.

3. Although Valens wrote ca. 150 CE and lived from ca. 120-175 CE, he gives horoscopes as early as 37 CE. (p. 166.) It is likely, though not conclusive, that he got earlier horoscopes from other earlier sources and followed their methods. (He approvingly cites the methods of a lost 1st century CE source, Critodemus (3:8, 5:11-12, 9-8 ) with some early horoscopes from these sections.)

N &VH say that Valens's latest horoscope comes from 188 CE, so there's an authorship discrepancy somewhere. I don't know if Riley or anybody else got into the question how how heavily the Anthology might have been edited subsequent to its first edition.

4. "Also, the accurate determination of the... [MC] is not yet of any importance in the Anthology. Although 'Midheaven' is often mentioned, it is generally simply the third sign from the Horoscopos." (p. 184) In 3 nativities where Valens gave an "accurate MC" he followed different methods. (Ibid.)

5. N & VH (88-9) also state that Valens gives two versions of the same horoscope from 74 AD (and elsewhere.) These might be worth checking for methods discrepancies, vs. simply as illustrations of different points.

There is so much contextual evidence of Valens as a compiler of various methods. If we look at the thematic contents of the houses within and between Hellenistic sources, then the variation becomes even more striking. Hellenistic astrology was clearly in a big state of flux.
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Larxene



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Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Deb:

I only purchased Holden's translation the other day. I'll have to wait for it to arrive to examine the passages.
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Zagata

Thanks for your post.
Quote:
I suggest that anyone really interested in this should read Valens, but the whole book and go over it at least 2 or 3 times and study it deeply with an open mind and contemplate on it. Giving quotes is not enough in my opinion.


That is good advice, although obviously in this forum, we have to work with quotes Smile

@ Larxene - look forward to that.

@ Waybread - I definitely think that Neugebauer and Van Hoesen's work should be considered, although some points they make do not stand up so well to close scrutiny now. Before Project Hindsight started I was riveted by that work - I have had to rebind it and there's barely any part of it that isn't highlighted over, scribbled across, with almost every page having a corner crease. There are lots of places where they haven't recognized a point of astrological significance, because their focus is in understanding the astronomy rather than the astrology - but the book gives a great overview and I think most of it is accessible now on Google preview.

When time allows I hope to start a new section in the members area to recreate the example charts - I expect it to be a slow project which will takes months rather than weeks, and won't be able to start until after the end of this month.

The first book of Valens doesn't include any chart examples and doesn't appear to say much about the houses. But this is where we are given the instruction for how to calculate the ascendant and midheaven. The techniques used to calculate the ascendant and then its degree don't appear to expect a time to be known, but to be derived astrologically by something similar to the Animodar and Trutine of Hermes technique. (This is worth pausing over - it might be difficult for an astrologer today to appreciate how seldom the time of birth was reliably known). We are then given a technique to calculate the MC roughly by reference to tables of rising times for the climes, and this is immediately followed by instruction on how to determine the length of the hours by day and by night and the rising times of the signs.

Although this gives the means to calculate the houses by a proportional method, we might argue that the lack of explicit reference to the calculation of all houses here, a natural place to include it, makes the matter noticeable only by its absence.

The other point to bear in mind is that the techniques used to calculate the ascendant are not reliable, especially in determining the correct degree. This is easily seen when the techniques are applied to charts where the time of birth is known. Valens, if he had tested the technique against well timed charts, could have been aware of this too.

So there are two reasons why I believe the charts that lack information on the ascending degree and midheaven should not be given the same level of attention as those where this information is included. The charts that lack this information generally offer demonstrations of the principles of techniques that are less dependent on astronomical precision (for example, the calculation and meaning of lots, is more of a symbolic principle that befits the calculation of an ascendant by somewhat mystical means - hence Ptolemy implies that this is nonsense upon which labour is wasted because it bears no relation to "primary natural causes").

However, the charts that give this information demonstrate techniques that require it. It is quite possible that better timed examples were selected for the latter; and it is also possible that in the former case the ascendant degree might not even have been calculated, or if it had there could still have been an element of uncertainty about it. Why bother adding in that detail when it might only complicate the point you want to get across, which doesn't rely on "primary causes" or astronomical precision, in an era when it was more difficult to obtain an accurate time of birth than it was to calculate the ascendant for it? It may well be that the whole sign approach is as good as any other for these purposes.
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Valens: equal houses not whole signs Reply with quote

Deb wrote:

What I find interesting is the lack of attention given to his clear description of the equal house method of division, which is obviously the system described by Firmicus, and the only system that fits the description of the places as described by Ptolemy. Here is the passage where Valens describes how the houses are calculated, and where he notes that it is a negative thing if the houses (i.e., "places") and signs do coincide:

Quote:
First of all, it is necessary to calculate the positions of the Places in degrees: count from whatever point has been determined to be the Ascendant until you have completed the 30° of the first Place; this will be the Place of Life. Then proceed until you have completed another 30°, the Place of Livelihood. Continue in the order of signs. Often two Places will fall in one sign and will indicate both qualities according to the number of degrees each one occupies. Likewise examine in which sign the ruler of the sign is and which Place it controls (according to its degree-position in the horoscope). With these procedures, the Place can readily be interpreted. If it is calculated that each Place exactly corresponds to each sign in the chart as a whole (a circumstance which is rare), then the native will be involved in confinement, violence, and entangling affairs.



Thanks for raising this discussion Deb, I was aware of this section from Valens and I always wondered was I in fact being a bit stupid about what was going on here as I couldn't see how it correlated with whole or porphyry houses. I remember at one point wonder if 30º was meant to be "third" as per prophyry, though there's no obvious way in which he might mean this unless of course the original greek suggests something more nuanced about this.

I wonder what you make of this section which, to my mind, seems to just flow along from the same idea of using equal houses.

Book IX, Riley's translation, p162
Quote:
First of all,it is necessary to observe with all accuracy the numbers of the sun, the moon, and the five stars, with the time’s/hour’s relationship to them being the referee of their mutual aspects, because it is from this that the Ascendant is known and the XII Places are positioned by degree.


(emphasis mine)

I always wondered about both of these two sections, though not enough to care about it too closely as it doesn't bother me whether Valens used equal or whole. I personally think he probably used both at varying times in his life or for varying reasons (whatever they may be). By itself it probably isn't that important but it's another example showing that clearly the 12 houses are positioned by degree by establishing first the ascendant, presumably in the only way we see him tell us how - by counting in increments of 30.

I'm not really invested in the "whole signs are oldest" debate, but thought I'd just throw out this one quote as another example which seems to support the idea that the cusps of the houses are more than just the beginning of their sign.
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that is a very relevant comment Paul, and the context - his call for accuracy to avoid error, seems to make its relevancy stronger.

Personally, I'm not invested in the "which house system is best" argument. I happen to think the system I use is best (or as good as) and I'm pretty certain it wasn't any of the original systems. I think Valens probably did use different approaches for different reasons, and we can hardly expect him to admit that although he's explained ways to calculate the houses, his own preference is to not bother calculating them at all.

For me, the value is in gaining better understanding of the historical development of house meanings, the extent of their history and their methods of division. What we have in this passage from Valens is one of the least ambiguous references to the fact that the ascendant initiates the division of the houses, which has been called into question lately, mainly from the assumption that Valens' text proves that houses didn't exist as a separate construct from the signs. Even though we might consider Firmicus shows it clearly, the meaning of his text has been disputed by Robert Hand, in a peer-reviewed academic paper which proposes that it really means to say that the 30° of the sign that holds the ascendant represents the first house, and not the 30° that follows the ascendant (ditto Ptolemy and others). Then further references to division, such as that given by Antiochus and Porphyry, are explained away as not really having relevance to the interpretation of house meanings (because we are to assume that those were only taken from the signs). Consequently, statements that all ancient astrologers only used whole-sign are getting reproduced all over the place, and the whole-sign approach has had such a massive upsurge in popularity that new astrologers that don't feel attracted to it seem to feel guilty.

So I think there is a value in this discussion, even though it is probably not going to influence anyone's practice. We only have to rewind about 200 years to find what we currently believe to be the oldest reference to the use of the ascendant, so obviously any description of the houses from this period should be treated as precious in terms of its historical importance.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you read the full chapter that the equal house reference comes from in the Anthology (book 9, chapter 3) one of the things that you notice is that Valens introduces it within the context of a discussion about derivative houses. In fact this is the first time that Valens explicitly goes out of his way to introduce the topic of derivative houses in the Anthology in a systematic way.

At the beginning of this discussion he specifically mentions a text on the houses attributed to Asclepius, which may have been what he was drawing on in compiling some of the subsequent delineations in this chapter. The Michigan Papyrus says that Asclepius was the author of the Eight-Place system (Octatopos), and if you read carefully you will notice that in the delineations Valens will only derive the first 8 places relative to whatever house he is talking about. To me this seems to imply two things:

1. Valens may be paraphrasing an earlier source (the Asclepius text) for the material in this relatively brief chapter. The rest of the chapter is kind of jumbled and not as clean as his earlier technical discussions in the Anthology, although this may partially be because the manuscripts of book 9 are in terrible shape. If he is paraphrasing the derivative house delineations then we don't really know when the paraphrase stops, or if it does actually even stop before he introduces equal houses only one paragraph later.

2. Valens (or his source) may be introducing equal houses specifically for the purpose of doing derivative houses. That is to say, he may not have introduced or used equal houses earlier in the Anthology because equal houses was specifically designed for use with the derivative house technique, as this sort of new and unique concept. While in modern times we are used to thinking of derivative houses as part of the fundamental makeup of the significations underlying the houses in general, in ancient times this may not necessarily have been the case. I get the sense that the fully worked out concept of derivative houses may have been introduced in this text attributed to Asclepius, and this passage in Valens makes me wonder if equal houses was introduced in that text as well.

This may be the same issue that we have with the quadrant house systems where a number of the Hellenistic authors first introduce them within the context of a discussion about the length of life technique, which leads people like me to think that quadrant houses were originally introduced and used primarily within the context of the length of life technique, and then later as the Hellenistic tradition went on they started being used more broadly.

Now, to be clear, the other passage in book 5 of Valens that Deb mentioned where he starts talking about the significations of the MC and the IC and how they can be imported into the whole sign house that they fall in clearly shows that those angles were not merely being used for "dynamic" purposes, which was Schmidt's early theory. That passage seems to make it clear to me that by the time of Valens there is some sort of transitional state going on where whole sign houses are being used at the same time as other systems, although it may be notable that Valens doesn't talk about calculating intermediate house cusps in that passage, but instead he is just focused on what whole sign house each of the four angles fall in.

Regardless of what Valens was doing, by the late Hellenistic tradition it seems clear to me that both Rhetorius and Olympiodorus were using whole sign houses and quadrant houses at the same time, so that the end result was a sort of hybrid approach rather than an either-or situation.
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Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The work of Neugebauer and his associates is no longer the last word on horoscopes, as Time Marches On, but their work is certainly foundational to the newer research that followed. They had to work out all kinds of problems like the different calendar systems in use in Antiquity, and they assembled all kinds of horoscopes from archaeological findings beyond the ones from our major literary sources.

I think the old astrologers would have had huge difficulties in giving an exact birth time, notably if we assume that some horoscopes were constructed long after the individual's birth. Despite the sophistication of whatever methods they developed, it is hard to see how anyone could have fact-checked their calculations for accuracy. The ancients knew that different signs take different amounts of time to rise, yet despite his mention of the clima, Valens apparently pegged his horoscope locations to Babylon or Alexandria, notwithstanding.

This makes me wonder whether they really understood the ascendant in exactly the same way we do today: it might have been more symbolic than strictly temporal.

I do not claim expertise here, merely a keen interest, but one recent publication of note is Greenbaum and Ross, 2010, "The Role of Egypt in the Development of the Horoscope," in Barres, L. et al., eds, Egypt in Transition.... (Prague, pp. 146-62)-- a conference proceding. I'll paraphrase some of it here because it isn't an easy text to come by, in case anyone is interested.

They make a case for the amalgamation of Egyptian decans with zodiac signs in the 3rd century BCE. The decans were extremely important to ancient astrologers, and apparently early astrology boards show them incised around the zodiac.

The decans stars were used for the Egyptian celestial calendar for centuries, and were well-known; although revised occasionally. The decans stars seem to have been both "time regulators" as well as possessors of certain thematic contents that were not only religious in origin but also said something about nativities.

Greenbaum and Ross argue that the rising decan star eventually became the horoscope point. Their system generally allowed for 12 "hours" for the sun "under" and "above" the earth, but these hours were obviously of varying temporal and spatial length, depending upon the time of year. They identified some Egyptian religious texts that compress the hours into two sets of six, very roughly corresponding to the 12 houses.

I find this intriguing, because a new decan star rose every 10 days, corresponding to 10 degrees (as the Egyptians added 5 inter-calculated days per year.) Someone correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe that if the astrologer had a valid birth date, he could calculate which degree/day of the decan it fell in, creating the horoscope point independently of an actual birth time. Ptolemy pegged rising times to 10-degree intervals.

[The "star" rising at a person's birth has an early history as a definer of character and life-course with parallels from other Near Eastern literatures, such as the Book of Judas. Probably the decans star later got converted to a degree.]

Greenbaum and Ross argue that the cardines developed as a separate system: a division of time, rather than of space. They note that ancient astrologers first determined the ascendant degree and then determined the other angles from this point, unlike the modern practice of first setting the MC.

If astrological houses were rooted in Egyptian religion (as Greenbaum and Ross indicate, and I believe they were) we are not initially looking at a precise system for determining house cusps because their primary meaning was metaphysical. Intriguingly, some demotic horoscopes identify the 4th house as the "dwat" (duat) which was the judgment hall of Osiris. This religious origin is also why I believe Ptolemy the "scientist" scarcely mentioned houses.

To the extent that Egyptian decans-- a calender system-- got paired with signs (also a calendar system) at a very early date, it is hard to see how they could have done other than a whole sign system. What houses introduce is a separate diurnal system that lends itself to variation apart from 30-degree pie sectors, as the sun takes different lengths of time to rise and as the MC moves north and south with the seasons.

I don't know how well known by astrologers Neugebauer's academic publications are, but I might also mention:

O. Neugebauer, 1942, Egyptian Planetary Texts,Trans. Am. Phil. Soc. 32 (2):209-250.
Interestingly, in dismissing ancient Egyptian astronomical texts as "purely mythological in character" he indirectly promotes the view that to get at Egyptian astrology, we are looking at Egyptian religion.

However, he has some interesting material on the origins of the planet glyphs, and how the Egyptian calendar, with its first month in late summer (or in one version autumn) did not necessarily begin with Aries as the first sign (p. 246-7).
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Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote:
The Michigan Papyrus says that Asclepius was the author of the Eight-Place system (Octatopos), and if you read carefully you will notice that in the delineations Valens will only derive the first 8 places relative to whatever house he is talking about.


Hi Chris, good to see you join in the conversation.

Can you expand a little on your comment here though? I am not sure why you consider that Valens only derives 8 places from a given place.

For example, in discussing the 12th place he says:
(Riley, pg 153)
Quote:
X. Concerning occupation and rank. Relative to the VII Place of women it concerns estates, property, religious undertakings, and the Place of Parents.
...
XII. Concerning enemies, slaves, and afflicting crises. Relative to the III Place of Brothers it concerns occupation and rank. Relative to the IV Place of Parents it concerns travel, the God, the King. Relative to the V Place of Children it concerns death. Relative to the VII Place of Women it concerns injuries and disease.


(emphases mine)

So I think it's clear from this that he assigns occupation and rank to the 10th house, and, importantly, suggests that the 12th house is the rank and occupation of the 3rd house - i.e. the 12th house is the 10th from the 3rd, which indeed it is.

So whilst Valens suggests he is referencing Asclepius, it appears not to be the Octatopos. For that matter whilst Asclepius is mentioned here, Valens appears to be implying that Asclepius wrote of the 12 houses, which isn't to say of course that he didn't write of other systems also.

Of course, as you say, equal houses may have only be meant for derivative houses though if so Valens is not at all clear on that.
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Deb
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Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris

Thanks for joining us. A couple of comments on your remarks:

Quote:
one of the things that you notice is that Valens introduces it within the context of a discussion about derivative houses. In fact this is the first time that Valens explicitly goes out of his way to introduce the topic of derivative houses in the Anthology in a systematic way.

I wouldn’t say he introduces that chapter within the context of derived houses, but that the meaning of derived houses is contained within it. This is the most detailed explanation Valens gives on the meaning of the radical houses, what they represent for derived houses, the need to note the planets within them and the nature of the signs they fall into, the planet which rules them, the place that ruler is in, how chronocratorship passes between them, as well as how to calculate them.
It is also where Valens gives the most information of all on how the ascendant can be calculated according to various means (disparaging as that is for showing how seldom he would have been working from known times of birth).

Quote:
At the beginning of this discussion he specifically mentions a text on the houses attributed to Asclepius, which may have been what he was drawing on in compiling some of the subsequent delineations in this chapter. The Michigan Papyrus says that Asclepius was the author of the Eight-Place system (Octatopos), and if you read carefully you will notice that in the delineations Valens will only derive the first 8 places relative to whatever house he is talking about.


I don’t see anything unusual in that – he shows how the radical houses become derived houses and demonstrates for (at most) brothers, parents, children and women. Sometimes he gives only two examples which is enough to demonstrate the principle. The reason we can see that he is not constrained by an 8-place system is because he shows what the derived 11th or 12th house, etc, will be for the examples he gives. So for example:
    “I. Life, the basis of years, the psychic spirit—i.e. the Ascendant itself. Relative to the III Place of Brothers this is the Good Daimon and the Place of Children and Friends [i.e., the derived 11th house]”

Quote:
If he is paraphrasing the derivative house delineations then we don't really know when the paraphrase stops, or if it does actually even stop before he introduces equal houses only one paragraph later.

I would assume it is almost certainly the case that he is paraphrasing earlier work, since he has mentioned sources, and almost all authors did this. He mentions Asclepius specifically, but also that “many Egyptians and Chaldeans did likewise”.
Quote:
2. Valens (or his source) may be introducing equal houses specifically for the purpose of doing derivative houses.

I think the text itself makes that possibility unlikely:
    “First of all, it is necessary to calculate the positions of the Places in degrees: count from whatever point has been determined to be the Ascendant until you have completed the 30° of the first Place; this will be the Place of Life.”

What is the 1st place, of life, being derived from, if not from the ascendant? Besides which, we need to adopt a whole new theory to consider this. It would be a real screw-up of a system to have radical houses calculated one way but derived houses calculated in another. Fair enough, we cannot project our expectations backwards onto ancient authors, but if a proposal doesn’t make much practical sense to begin with, and there is a complete lack of evidence for it in all other available texts then I think we should consider it very unlikely; especially since contemporary works demonstrate that the principle was applied to radical houses.

PS - after posting: I see Paul has made some similar points to me.
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Larxene



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Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your post Chris, that was interesting.



@Deb:

Can you point me to the peer-reviewed academic paper by Robert Hand? I am interested to see his reasons for interpreting Maternus in that way.



Perhaps this might not add much to the discussion, but I think it is interesting to note nonetheless. When dealing with Lots, Maternus assigned a whole sign as representing the Lot, rather than the exact degree of the Lot. In Bram's translation, it would be Liber Sextus, Chapter XXXII, page 219-225.

A small quote to demonstrate:

Quote:
3. If you wish to investigate the house of the father exactly, and if the chart is diurnal, compute from the degree of the Sun to the degree of Saturn...the sign in which the last degree falls is the house of the father.

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