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Exaltation Degrees of the Planets
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Sirius_and_Procyon



Joined: 25 Jul 2014
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Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:04 pm    Post subject: Exaltation Degrees of the Planets Reply with quote

As many of might know there is some differences between the exaltation degrees of the planets from the Indian and Western perspective.

Here is a sum up for reference:

Indian Astrology:

Sun - 10° Ari
Moon - 03° Tau
Mercury - 15° Vir
Venus - 27° Pis
Mars - 28° Cap
Jupiter - 05 ° Can
Saturn - 20° Lib

Western Astrology

Sun - 19° Ari
Moon - 03° Tau
Mercury - 15° Vir
Venus - 27° Pis
Mars - 28° Cap
Jupiter - 15 ° Can
Saturn - 21° Lib


There are three differences between the two traditions: Sun, Jupiter and Saturn.

If one looks into the older western source texts, within the Hellenistic astrology context most of them agree with these degrees.
While investigation this matter I found a text from Hephaistio of Thebes, quoting Dorotheus of Sidon, in his "Apotelesmatics - Book 1":

"At ten degrees plus nine exalts the Sun,
The Moon around the third degree of Taurus,
In Libra's twentieth degree does Kronos (Saturn),
Aegis-Bearing Zeus (Jupiter) in ten and five of Cancer,
Ares (Mars) four times seven degrees in Capricorn,
Cypris (Venus) three times nine degrees about in Pisces,
Hermes (Mercury) at three fives in Virgo.
Depressions are diameters of exaltations"

I found this text rather interesting as it could track the difference between both traditions.

I know the idea of the transmission and further influence of the Hellenic astrology to India is polemic and I'm not 100% sure myself, but let's take this idea for the sake of the argument.

Taking into consideration how the degrees are written , it might be the case that there was a mistake or a corrupted manuscript that was used in making copies of this text and that this mistake was propagated later on in India.

"At ten degrees plus nine exalts the Sun" -> it would be easy to make a mistake and make a copy that said : "At ten degrees exalts the Sun."

"Aegis-Bearing Zeus (Jupiter) in ten and five of Cancer" -> into "Aegis-Bearing Zeus (Jupiter) in five of Cancer"

With Saturn is a quite curious case, because it looks like Hephaistio of Thebes, is misquoting Dorotheus of Sidon. If one looks into Dorotheus's Carmen Astrologicum (Book1), he refers 21°:
"The ascent of the Sun, which is its exaltation, is in nineteen degrees of Aries, of the Moon in three degrees of Taurus, of Saturn in twenty-one degrees of Libra,..."

But the fact is that Hephaistio of Thebes writes "In Libra's twentieth degree does Kronos (Saturn)" and in Indian Astrology, Saturn is exalted in 20°Libra.

Pingree estimated that Hephaistio wrote his compilation in Egypt sometime around the year 415 CE. Does any one know what is the earliest Indian astrological text that mentions the degrees of exaltations? This could be really helpful in this investigation.

Looking forward to your comments and thoughts.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Exaltation Degrees of the Planets Reply with quote

Sirius_and_Procyon wrote:
Pingree estimated that Hephaistio wrote his compilation in Egypt sometime around the year 415 CE. Does any one know what is the earliest Indian astrological text that mentions the degrees of exaltations? This could be really helpful in this investigation.

The precise dating of Indian texts (astrological and otherwise) is notoriously difficult. Bill Mak has convincingly refuted Pingree's dating of the Yavanajātaka to 269/270 CE, but it still seems reasonable to assume that astrology had been present in India for a few centuries before Varāhamihira (mid-6th c.) The Yavanajātaka does mention the exaltations; I don't recall if the Vṛddhayavanajātaka does as well (and in any case, I'm not aware of any conclusive evidence regarding which is the earlier text). But making either text post-date Hephaestio sounds implausible to me.
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Sirius_and_Procyon



Joined: 25 Jul 2014
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Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Exaltation Degrees of the Planets Reply with quote

Indeed is a complex matter, and I'm aware of the amazing work of Bill Mak, it was a eye opener when I read it for the first time.
Don't get me wrong: Of course there was astrology in India for centuries before, but I believe there were influences in both directions, so I'm just trying to track this matter of the degrees of exaltation to see where it leads.

Martin Gansten wrote:
But making either text post-date Hephaestio sounds implausible to me.


I'm not sure if I understand you correctly.
Taking into consideration that Varāhamihira lived around 505–587 CE and looking into the new dating of the Yavanajātaka by Bill Mak to around 6th century, this makes Hephaistion older.
Pingree estimated that Hephaistio wrote his compilation in Egypt sometime around the year 415 CE. Besides this, he is quoting Dorotheus of Sidon that wrote his books on astrology around the last quarter of the 1st century.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Exaltation Degrees of the Planets Reply with quote

Sirius_and_Procyon wrote:
Don't get me wrong: Of course there was astrology in India for centuries before, but I believe there were influences in both directions, so I'm just trying to track this matter of the degrees of exaltation to see where it leads.

I'm not sure there is any evidence of astrological influences from India to the Greek-speaking world in the period we are discussing -- is there anything in particular to which you would draw my attention?

Quote:
I'm not sure if I understand you correctly.
Taking into consideration that Varāhamihira lived around 505–587 CE and looking into the new dating of the Yavanajātaka by Bill Mak to around 6th century, this makes Hephaistion older.

If the YJ should be 6th-century, yes. I haven't seen Mak propose that; in the paper I read, he just said it could be that late, based on the earliest quotations from it. I still think it looks earlier than the BJ.

In any case, my point is just that we don't know which of the extant Sanskrit works on astrology is the earliest, or when the earliest work was composed (just that it would have been prior to the 6th century). There is no doubt in my mind that the exaltations were among the astrological lore that reached India from the Hellenistic world, and I was intrigued by the discrepancy you pointed out in the Greek sources. I just don't think it's very likely that Hephaestio was the direct source of the Indian version of the exaltations; it seems more probable that they were transmitted a few centuries earlier. But to my knowledge there is no hard evidence either way.
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Sirius_and_Procyon



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Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Exaltation Degrees of the Planets Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:
I'm not sure there is any evidence of astrological influences from India to the Greek-speaking world in the period we are discussing -- is there anything in particular to which you would draw my attention?


No, sorry. It was just a way of speaking and me trying not to be "westerncentric " Wink

Martin Gansten wrote:

If the YJ should be 6th-century, yes. I haven't seen Mak propose that; in the paper I read, he just said it could be that late, based on the earliest quotations from it. I still think it looks earlier than the BJ.


Sure, we are talking about the same article. I also think it's earlier than BJ, by the simple fact that BJ quotes it.

Martin Gansten wrote:
There is no doubt in my mind that the exaltations were among the astrological lore that reached India from the Hellenistic world, and I was intrigued by the discrepancy you pointed out in the Greek sources. I just don't think it's very likely that Hephaestio was the direct source of the Indian version of the exaltations; it seems more probable that they were transmitted a few centuries earlier. But to my knowledge there is no hard evidence either way.


Yes, agree. I don't have enought bases to say for sure that Hephastion was the main source. Still I find the way the numbers are written on the case of the Sun and Jupiter more propitiatory to such mistakes. It's quite something that these are the only planets that have different degrees.

Pingree in his comments on the YJ mentions also the possibility of a scribal error in these two planets, as the Greek letters refering to the numbers could be misread.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sirius_And_Procyon wrote:

Quote:
"At ten degrees plus nine exalts the Sun,
The Moon around the third degree of Taurus,
In Libra's twentieth degree does Kronos (Saturn),
Aegis-Bearing Zeus (Jupiter) in ten and five of Cancer,
Ares (Mars) four times seven degrees in Capricorn,
Cypris (Venus) three times nine degrees about in Pisces,
Hermes (Mercury) at three fives in Virgo.
Depressions are diameters of exaltations"

Indian Astrology:

Sun - 10° Ari
Moon - 03° Tau
Mercury - 15° Vir
Venus - 27° Pis
Mars - 28° Cap
Jupiter - 05 ° Can
Saturn - 20° Lib

Western Astrology

Sun - 19° Ari
Moon - 03° Tau
Mercury - 15° Vir
Venus - 27° Pis
Mars - 28° Cap
Jupiter - 15 ° Can
Saturn - 21° Lib


Hephaistio's list is intriguing. A really basic point I have often wondered about. Since the Greeks did not originally rely on zeroes doesn't the 'third degree of Taurus'' relate to 02° as we use the term today rather than 03°?

Mark
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Sirius_and_Procyon



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Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:

Hephaistio's list is intriguing. A really basic point I have often wondered about. Since the Greeks did not originally rely on zeroes doesn't the 'third degree of Taurus'' relate to 02° as we use the term today rather than 03°?
Mark


Indeed this could explain some of the differences of 1° that show up in different texts. Pingree in his comment on this matter in the YJ mentions several variations: Sun in Air 18° , Sat in Libra 21°, Mars in Cap 29° and Venus in Pis 26°.
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

there are some variations in Latin astrological texts, even among their various manuscripts, but most of these differences may be explained as copyist failures. For example, the corrupt manuscript tradition of Firmicus Maternus gives the dejection of Mars as either Cancer 26 or 25 (depending on the manuscript branch), while the exaltation is the right Capricorn 28. In this case the number XXVIII corrupted to either XXVI or even to XXV, by the omission of final stroke(s). A similar corruption in Greek texts isn't always plausible, since Greek numerals are Greek letters used in a decimal system, so only omissions or misreadings of letters of positional notation may occur. For example, the numbers 21, 20, and 19 are represented in Greek as καʹ, κʹ, and ιθʹ, respectively; the only plausible way of corruption is that from 21 to 20. This accounts for the fact that in Greek texts the variations for the exaltation/dejection degree of the Sun are confined to 9 and 10, that is, θʹ and ιʹ, both being the result of the omission of either letter.

Dorotheus' values (of course, ordinal numbers) are beyond doubt owing to the fact that Hephaestio quotes the relevant verses verbatim, and the metre excludes variations. (It must be admitted, though, that a minor slip occurs in line 6, but this is purely a metrical issue in the unique manuscript.) This may have contributed to the fact that Dorotheus' Greek seems to have been translated flawlessly, at least this is reflected in the extant Arabic and Chinese translations.

These values may represent the Hellenistic tradition, but there is a minor but persistent difference: Libra/Aries 20 for the exaltation/dejection of Saturn, which is attested in Imbrasius of Ephesus, Pliny the Elder, Porphyry and Rhetorius (and presumably in their common source, Antiochus of Athens, or even in Thrasyllus), Paulus, and Martianus Capella.

One might argue that this is solely a corruption from XXI to XX in Latin and from καʹ to κʹ in Greek texts, but some doubt might arise. Actually, Libra/Aries 21 undoubtedly is only found in Valens, and in post-Hellenistic texts influenced by Arabic astrology. (The Michigan papyrus is too fragmentary to yield any kind of evidence, whereas Firmicus' corrupt Libra 20 / Aries 19 is inconclusive.) The manuscript tradition of Valens is also notoriously corrupt, and in this very case the text hinges on a 13th century codex, which is otherwise full of Arabic material. Moreover, tacit corrections of values are rather prevalent, which is the case with the augmented Rhetorius chapter and (only for the exaltation, not for the dejection) in some manuscripts of Paulus. Therefore, on the ground of the sources I examined, it isn't bold to claim that somehow Dorotheus himself was deviant from the tradition, but his Libra/Aries 21 for Saturn became the canon for Arabic astrologers.

Now, it's not "Westerncentric" or "Eurocentric" to assume that the values attested in the Yavanajātaka, in the works of Varāhamihira, and elsewhere in India are corruptions from Hellenistic values written in Greek letters: Aries 10 of the Sun and Cancer 5 of Jupiter are corruptions from ιθʹ to ιʹ and from ιεʹ to εʹ, respectively; or, alternatively but less probably, from ἐνάτη καὶ δεκάτη ("ninth and tenth", the Greek expression for "nineteenth") to purely δεκάτη and from πέμπτη καὶ δεκάτη to the simpler πέμπτη; this is just the most plausible explanation for me, just as it is attested also within Greek literature. As for Libra 21 of Saturn, the corruption might have happened independently from the Dorotheus version; but given that his version is somewhat isolated until the Arabic era, it is more likely that the Indian values were copied from a lost Greek text belonging to the "more conservative" branch, thus from neither Dorotheus' original nor Hephaestio's quote nor a later prosaic version.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Levente, for this lucid exposition!
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thank you, Martin! Smile

BTW, according to Pingree, Vṛddhayavanajātaka 1.43-46 has the exaltations, but this is totally confused. I wonder whether Mīnarāja is representative of an earlier, strongly genethlialogy-centered influx of Greek astrology, which was later appended by translations like Yavanajātaka.

Also, the theory of raśmi in Vṛddhayavanajātaka 56 might be interesting, as it also involves exaltations, possibly even their degrees.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Levente Laszlo wrote:
BTW, according to Pingree, Vṛddhayavanajātaka 1.43-46 has the exaltations, but this is totally confused.

I looked up the Vṛddhayavanajātaka section on the exaltations (it’s 1.44cd–46), and I don’t think it’s actually all that confused. The author seems to have been working from a list where a gratuitous number 27 had for some reason crept in (there’s a text-critical puzzle waiting to be solved!),* causing all subsequent numbers to be displaced. Once this has been corrected, the figures are the same as those found in other Indian texts. Here is the relevant passage:

uccaṃ raver ādyatamā daśāṃśāś candrasya saptāśvitamo vṛṣāc ca
mṛgodgamo bhūmisutasya tajjñais tṛtīyabhāgaḥ paramaḥ pradiṣṭaḥ
gajāśvisaṃkhyendusutasya ṣaṣṭhāj jīvasya karkāt tithisaṃkhya eva
syāt pañcamo bhārgavanandanasya mīnāt svarāśvis tu śanes tulasya
viṃśanmitaḥ pūrṇabalaḥ pradiṣṭaḥ arvāgatīte bhavane tu pātaḥ


‘The exaltation of the sun is the first ten degrees; of the moon, the twenty-seventh [degree] from [the beginning of] Taurus; for Mars, the third degree of Capricorn is declared supreme by experts; for Mercury, the number twenty-eight from the sixth [sign, Virgo]; for Jupiter, the [degree] numbering fifteen from Cancer; for Venus it will be the fifth from Pisces; for Saturn, the twenty-seventh of Libra. The twentieth [degree] is declared to be of full strength; earlier and later in the house, subtraction [is to be made].’

Putting these degrees in tabular format, followed by the Indian standard degrees in brackets, we get:

Sun 10 [10]
Moon 27 [3]
Mars 3 [28]
Mercury 28 [15]
Jupiter 15 [5]
Venus 5 [27]
Saturn 27 [20]
(Additional) 20

So all figures from Mars onwards just need to be moved up one step. This will also help resolve that last, odd sentence about the twentieth degree, which makes no sense as it stands.

* [For all the planets except the sun, the exaltation sign is given. Of course, the first ten degrees of Aries are also the first ten degrees of the zodiac as a whole, but it is tempting to imagine that some sort of shorthand for κριοῦ ‘of Aries’ has been misread as κζ ‘27’. Perhaps Levente or someone else with a knowledge of Greek palaeography can tell us whether that would be a plausible scenario.]
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Martin and everyone else,

I'm not sure that Greek manuscripts from between the 1st and, say, the 6th century employed any kind of shorthand for κριός or κριοῦ, but I wouldn't exclude the possibility that the middle uncial or cursive letters of the word ΚΡΙΟϹ became illegible in the original manuscript, resulting in Κ...Ϲ, whose sigma was misread as zeta, since, if it's interpreted as a number, sigma cannot stand after kappa, and this led to ΚΖʹ still within the Greek, which was incorporated in the VYJ text.

This would also suggest that, on one hand, YJ and BJ is based on a separate Greek tradition, which lacks this error. But, on the other hand, it still doesn't explain the uniform Indian deviation from Greek exaltation values. Maybe we should allow that a local astrological tradition existed in the Indian subcontinent during the Śaka era that produced works in the Greek language, and with the gradual abandonment of this language these works were translated / recycled into Sanskrit. But this is just a thought.

What do you think?
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Levente Laszlo wrote:
Maybe we should allow that a local astrological tradition existed in the Indian subcontinent during the Śaka era that produced works in the Greek language, and with the gradual abandonment of this language these works were translated / recycled into Sanskrit. But this is just a thought.

What do you think?

It certainly seems possible. In any case, you are right that the textual corruption that led to the Indian exaltation degrees found in the BJ and YJ must be different from and earlier than the one that led to the further deviation found in the VYJ.
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Michael Douglas Neely



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Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:52 am    Post subject: I wrote a paper and a book on this topic. Reply with quote

I have done extensive research on the spacial relationship between the exaltation degrees sighted in Hellenistic and East Indian sources. With the results of my research, I have a really hard time with the notion of typographical errors. If one analyzes the relationships between the numbers and quantifies them, one will see that the high mark of both traditions is at 3° of Leo and the low mark is at 3° Aquarius. This does not seem like a coincidence to me or a result of typos. I wrote a paper on this, which can be found at the following link: https://www.academia.edu/7293238/Meanings_of_the_Exaltation_and_Debilitation_Points_of_the_Planets_Based_on_the_Observable_Period_Cycles_in_Nature

I also wrote a book on the matter titled, Life Cycles: Astrology and Its Connection to Nature.
Here is a link to the book: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/MichaelDouglasNeely
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Vic DiCara



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Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO, the changes made by the Indian's were intentional.

They were coming from a nakṣatra-centered background, and wanted the exaltation degrees to make sense with the nakṣatras (using the then-current ayanamsha).

Here is a post with more information https://vicdicara.wordpress.com/2016/07/05/nakshatra-exaltations/
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