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Date of a Balbillus nativity

 
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:32 am    Post subject: Date of a Balbillus nativity Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote, in another thread:

************

Quote:
This is only tangentially related to this thread, but I was having a discussion with someone the other day that involved the two Balbilus charts, and I was wondering what your thoughts are about the dating issue on the second chart, Martin?

The issue is basically that in what Neugebauer and van Hoesen called the A manuscript the Moon is listed as being in Scorpio, while in the P manuscript it is listed as being in Virgo. This creates a slight difference when attempting to date and recalculate the chart, with the Virgo chart being 5 days earlier.

This difference creates an interpretive issue in reading the chart example and trying to understand the point that Balbilus was trying to make, because the Moon is one of the candidates for releasing in the predomination argument he does.

In the text the summarist says that Balbilus discounted the luminaries from consideration because they did not fall in an angle. From a purely textual standpoint then this would seem to imply that the text that has the Moon in Scorpio is the correct one, because with Gemini rising that would place the Moon in the 6th whole sign house. This basically is the solution that Neugebauer and van Hoesen go with, saying that one of the benefits of following the A manuscript that puts the Moon in Scorpio is that it makes sense of the statement that the Moon is *not* angular, whereas if the Moon was in Virgo then it would be in an angular according to whole sign houses.

In Schmidt and Hand's translation of this passage they note the manuscript variation and Neugebauer's preference, but then state that they believe the other manuscript that puts the Moon in Virgo is correct. They do not explain why they think that this is the case, but in looking at the recalculated charts using modern software it looks like the issue is that the planetary positions for the date that is 5 days earlier when the Moon was in Virgo fit the positions reported by Balbilus slightly better. The issue though is that if the chart with the Moon in Virgo is correct, then it seemingly creates a discrepancy with the delineation where Balbilus says that the Moon is not angular.

I wonder if the seeming discrepancy that putting the Moon in Virgo creates might be reconciled if Balbilus was using some degree-based form of house division for the purpose of determining angularity here. In the chart the Moon would be at 4 Virgo, so the degree of the quadrant or equal house IC would just have to be somewhere later in Virgo, and then the statement about the Moon *not* being angular would make sense because the Moon would be on the cadent side of the degree of the IC. This would then make what Balbilus was doing similar to Valens and Ptolemy, who both first introduce their degree-based forms of house division when they start talking about primary directions and releasing from a predominator for the purpose of the length of life technique.

The primary issue the theory runs into is that the degree of the Ascendant and Midheaven are not mentioned in this chart, but only the sign of the Ascendant is given. However, the degree of the Ascendant and meridian-Midheaven are both given in the first chart example by Balbilus, which may imply that he was using those points normally, and perhaps the summarist who paraphrased these delineations simply omitted mention of those degrees in this fragmentary summary, even though it ends up providing an important piece of context when discussing the condition of the Moon.

Does this make sense? I'm not sure if it seems like a bit of a stretch. I understand that the simplest solution would be to just go with the Moon in Scorpio, although the slightly more accurate positions of the earlier chart with the Moon in Virgo make me think that there might be a good reason to attempt to reconcile the delineation with that chart. I'm not sure if there is anything that I am overlooking though.

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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, to reply: I have so say, first, that I haven't really considered the matter before. When I wrote on Balbillus, I was focused on his method of directing and didn't bother much about the precise dating.

Now that I am considering it, I find that I have to plead ignorance: I know too little of the computational procedures of this period to form a real opinion on how likely one or the other scenario would be. But I'll try to look into it over the day and see how it strikes me.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't had much chance to go deeper into this issue today, so for now I'll have to pass with respect to the planetary positions by degree. To address the crux of your question, though, I'd have to agree that it is certainly possible that Balbillus was using quadrant houses for determining angularity in connection with length of life (thus allowing for the moon in Virgo). As you say, other authors do the same. But as we have only the epitomist's version of the delineation, we can't know for certain. At least that is how it looks to me at present.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that is probably the most we can say really either way. I know sometimes in the past that I've overlooked important textual issues that could push the interpretation in one way or another, so I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't something glaring that I was overlooking here. Thanks for your comments!
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margherita



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Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting considerations both of you.
Hope to read it any update.
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