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Skyscript Astrology Forum

History of Sign Attributes

 
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
Posts: 1168
Location: California, USA

Posted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:26 am    Post subject: History of Sign Attributes Reply with quote

HISTORY OF SIGN ATTRIBUTES

The topic of whether Tropical sign meanings have become changed or modified from ancient to modern times has come up on several Skyscript threads in recent years. I don't know if there are Skyscript members who want to pursue this topic, but I've been thinking of how a discussion might be organized. We have to begin at the beginning, so there are two excellent historical overviews that anyone interested in this topic would find helpful and probably necessary:

(1) Robert Schmidt's Catalogue of Hellenistic Astrologers And Their Writings (8 pages) http//www.projecthindsight.com/reference/catalog.html

This can be printed from the Project Hindsight web site. Periods covered are from the pre-Hellenistic period through the 8th to 9th centuries. 20 pages

(2) Robert Hand's Chronology of the Astrology of the MIddle East and West by Period. This is an ebook priced at $4.95 USD and can be purchased at
http//www.arhatmedia.com/bookstore.html

There are three primary early sources of sign descriptions:
(1) Valens
(2) Ptolemy
(3) Teucer of Babylon

Robert Schmidt states that Teucer was an early compiler of Hellenistic astrology, and that he may have been the primary source for delineations of planets and signs found in Valens, Rhetorius and others. The copy we have is found in an appendix in James Holden's Rhetorius the Egyptian (American Federation of Astrologers, 2009, available on Amazon). This isn't pure Teucer as Holden says that Rhetorius apparently added material from Ptolemy. These sign descriptions are more comprehensive than either Ptolemy or Valens.

I thought it would be easier to begin with only one sign, probably Aries, and trace it through history from ancient to modern using the translations we now have available to us. I hope others may want to contribute from sources they have or add their own understanding. This isn’t a zodiac contest, but a trace of sign attributes from recognized texts. Text suggestions are welcome.

This is a sidereal forum, but a historic topic can be placed elsewhere if that seems like a better idea.

Therese
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Last edited by Therese Hamilton on Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
Posts: 1168
Location: California, USA

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been distracted on the Solunars forum for now....will get back to this forum when there is time.
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Levente Laszlo



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 173
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Therese,

let me add some quick corrections. I can further elaborate if you wish but now I'm without my notes.

Firstly, your wording suggests Olympiodorus and Rhetorius lived in the 8th and 9th centuries, while it seems Olympidorus lectured on Paulus' Introduction in the summer of 564 and Rhetorius made his compilation around 620. It's true, however, that Schmidt's catalogue finishes with the 10th century, but this doesn't save it to be slightly outdated.

Secondly, Teucer of Babylon is widely assumed to have been the author of a text on sign descriptions, but this is a shaky issue. There is, in fact, a manuscript on signs, whose author is written to be Teucer, but another version of this text is anonymous, and it turns out to be an augmented version of a more concise text by Rhetorius. Unfortunately, its editor in CCAG, Franz Boll printed a never-existed conflated text of these three different versions, attributing it to Teucer, which is taken granted by many, and is published as an appendix to Holden's Rhetorius. (There's an even further supplemented text, compiled by Isidore Cardinal of Kiev in the late middle ages, which in turn he attributes to Hermes. All this casts serious doubts on the authorship of Teucer, with the attribution probably done by a later copyist.)

This leaves us with two early astrologers, Ptolemy and Valens, to whom Hephaestio of Thebes should be added; all these descriptions seem to stem back to the Nechepso/Petosiris tradition. (I recall I had a conversation in this forum on Andrea Gehrz's Valens translation some time ago, which touched this issue.) But one shouldn't forget about later authors who may have preserved some early ideas. For a survey Die Eigenschaften der Tierkreiszeichen in der Antike by Prof. Wolfgang Hübner would be a good starting point; see an English review here.
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
Posts: 1168
Location: California, USA

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply, Levente.

Quote:
Firstly, your wording suggests Olympiodorus and Rhetorius lived in the 8th and 9th centuries...

I removed 'Olympiodorus and Rhetorius' from that sentence.

Thanks very much for the update on Teucer. That explains my confusion as I re-read and tried to solidity in my mind the concepts in the manuscript. I'm going to print your notes and place them in my copy of Holden's Rhetorius.

Quote:
This leaves us with two early astrologers, Ptolemy and Valens, to whom Hephaestio of Thebes should be added; all these descriptions seem to stem back to the Nechepso/Petosiris tradition.

These three it is then. I have all of Hephaestio, the first two volumes from Project Hindsight and the third published by Cazimi Press (the Gramaglia translation). I have Schmidt's Ptolemy and also his translation of Valens. Also Gehrz's Valens Book I and a few pages of the Riley translation. I was hopefully waiting for Dave Roell's hard copy of Riley.

Quote:
For a survey Die Eigenschaften der Tierkreiszeichen in der Antike by Prof. Wolfgang Hübner would be a good starting point; see an English review here.

I'll read the review, but as is typical of most Americans, I can read only one language!

I really appreciate having this additional information, Lavente. Many thanks.

Therese
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