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Tropical or sidereal zodiac
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miguel wrote:
Quote:
I will quote again from Al Biruni to confirm this:

"...the nature of pecularities which are attributed to the first [Mansion]...are peculiar to the first part of Aries and never leave this place, although the star (or stars which form the Lunar [Mansion]) may leave it. In a similar way all that is peculiar to Aries does not move away from the place of Aries, although the constellation of Aries does move away." Chronology of the Ancient Nations Sachau, trans. at 338.

In a way this is a rather strange statement as no "pecularities" were given to the mansions in Al-biruni's time. So it seems to be a theoretical statement only. We really have to begin with the historical picture of when and how characteristics became associated with the tropical mansions in later centuries.

It's certainly a topic of research as to whether the characteristics of tropical signs have remained the same through the centuries. This has been discussed on Skyscript before with quotes from Valens. There are opinions and observations on both sides of the question!
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This looks like a good historical review of the tropical mansions, but I don't have time to read it carefully at the moment. I would welcome posts by anyone who has studied the history of what are known as the "Arabic mansions."

http://www.yeatsvision.com/Mansions.html

I'm puzzled. I see references to Dorotheus on lunar mansion sites, but I've never read anything about Dorotheus in relation to lunar mansions. Can anyone help??
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Last edited by Therese Hamilton on Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Miguel



Joined: 31 Dec 2017
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Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In a way this is a rather strange statement as no "pecularities" were given to the mansions in Al-biruni's time.


What are your sources for this? You say you are not familiar with the Arabic Moon mansions, but instead use the Vedic Nakshatras.

However, Al Biruni is writing as if they existed in Arabic culture, althought it's indeed possible he invented the concept of Arabian Manzil drawing from Indian sources. I am not an scholar on the subject, so I will leave this to others.


Quote:
It's certainly a topic of research as to whether the characteristics of tropical signs have remained the same through the centuries. This has been discussed on Skyscript before with quotes from Valens. There are opinions and observations on both sides of the question!


This is true, I doubt it can be properly tested. It's a matter of philosophy, do you take the meanings of the constellations in themselves or tied to the seasons? Either way the first option is a little misleading.

Some siderealists recognize there is some seasonal signification in their zodiac.
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Miguel



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Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
This looks like a good historical review of the tropical mansions, but I don't have time to read it carefully at the moment. I would welcome posts by anyone who has studied the history of what are known as the "Arabic mansions."

http://www.yeatsvision.com/Mansions.html

I'm puzzled. I see references to Dorotheus on lunar mansion sites, but I've never read anything about Dorotheus in relation to lunar mansions. Can anyone help??


Thanks for the link. I agree it would be a good idea to have the opinion of scholars on this issue.

Dorotheus is clearly a pseudonym, but you should know this. You are a scholar, right?
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just found an excellent discussion of the Arabic mansions in Ben Dykes' Choices and Inceptions (Cazimi Press, 2012), pages 39-47. It would help if I'd find time to actually read the books I purchase! It will take a while to get my thoughts and research together before posting further on this topic. Thank you for your patience, Miguel.

According to Ben Dykes, "Dorotheus" (when mentioned as a source for material on the lunar mansions) isn't a pseudonym. Mansion material related to Dorotheus was apparently taken from Book 5 of Carmen. Dykes writes:

"But did the original Dorotheus use signs, mansions or even decans? My view is that he probably used the mansions or decans, since in a couple of places he mentions specific degrees before which or after which it is all right to undertake an action." (Choices and Inceptions, p. 45)

Ben Dykes has just given us a new translation of Carmen Astrologicum (2017). Another treasure from Ben who seems to be a magician in his ability to provide numerous translations of historic texts for astrologers!!
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Miguel



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Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surprising find. More scholarship would be needed on this issue.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miguel, before I post further I want to be sure I understand your meaning here:

Quote:
Therese wrote:
You can't adjust the stars to always remain in the same place in the tropical zodiac. That is a contradiction in logic.

Miguel wrote:
Why not? It has been done with the zodiac signs by Ptolemy, while the Arabs did it with the Arabic moon mansions. Why not with the fixed stars?

Then Miguel posted this quote from Al-biruni:
"...the nature of peculiarities which are attributed to the first [Mansion]...are peculiar to the first part of Aries and never leave this place, although the star (or stars which form the Lunar [Mansion]) may leave it. In a similar way all that is peculiar to Aries does not move away from the place of Aries, although the constellation of Aries does move away." Chronology of the Ancient Nations Sachau, trans. at 338.

So Miguel, are you saying that what the "Arabs did with the Arabic Moon" is that the meaning of each mansion remains the same today as it did centuries ago (beginning with Aries and the spring equinox) even though the original mansion stars have moved to entirely different locations in the tropical zodiac? (Now approximately 24 degrees removed from the original sidereal positions)
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miguel wrote:
Quote:
Some siderealists recognize there is some seasonal signification in their zodiac.

As the sidereal astrologers I know make it a point to divorce their zodiac from the seasons, I am curious about your source for this statement? I'm referring to modern times as many factors were combined in Ptolemy's time when there was little awareness of which zodiac was referenced.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miguel hasn’t replied, so perhaps he’s re-thinking his conclusions on the lunar mansions or has lost interest in the topic. In the meantime, I’ve obtained al-Biruni’s best known three books and studied what he says on the lunar mansions.

As Benjamin Dykes notes in Choices and Inceptions (p. 41):
Quote:
However al-Biruni is not wholly consistent in this approach [to the lunar mansions], or at least does not tell us where he is merely reporting others’ views and offering his own. For on p. 353 he describes how the Moon’s relation to the actual mansion stars is favorable or unfavorable–but if we are supposed to reckon the mansion according to the tropical zodiac, when what would be the point of tracing the Moon’s conjunction with the stars...? [referencing Chronology of Ancient Nations]

This dilemma is repeated in Al-Biruni’s Instruction written 29 years later in 1029 where he states:
Quote:
Just as the signs are called after the constellations, so the mansions are called after the fixed stars in which the moon is stationed for the night. They begin as in the case of the sun with the vernal equinox.” (p. 81)

Clearly al-Burini hasn’t thought this problem through as hundreds of years of precession had accumulated between Ptolemy’s time and his own time period.

Also it should be noted that al-Biruni was Persian; He wasn’t an Arab. In Chronology the translator Edward Sachau notes:
Quote:
Al-Biruni] betrays a strong aversion to the Arabs, the destroyers of Sassanian glory, and a marked predilection for all that is of Persian or Eranian nationality. (p. xiii)

In other words, al-Biruni’s comment about the Arabs relying on the visual clues of stars can be seen more as a criticism of the deficient scholarship of Arabs (in his view) rather than a particular truth regarding the lunar mansions.

Even today there is conflict between those of Persian descent and Arabs, though they share the religion of Islam. (Just do an Internet search for “difference between Persians and Arabs,” and note the current political situation in the Middle East.) It is understood by Persians that they have a millennia of sophisticated culture behind them that Arabs lack.

(Continued below: more on al-Biruni)
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Last edited by Therese Hamilton on Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:47 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(continued from previous post)

Al-Biruni, the Zodiacs and Mansions

Another surprising find in reviewing al-Biruni’s books is that in the short period of time between Abu Mashar (d. 886) and al-Biruni (973-1049), the concept of a fixed zodiac seems to have disappeared into the mists of time except in India. Al-biruni seems unaware that such a zodiac even existed, and instead comments on the ignorance of the Hindus:

Quote:
The scantiness of the knowledge of the Hindus regarding the motion of the fixed stars is sufficiently illustrated by the following passage from the Samhita of Varahamihira [lengthy text passage quoted]...This passage shows that Varahamihira had no knowledge of the motion of the fixed stars toward the east. He considers them...as fixed, immovable stars, and represents the solstice as moving towards the west....The solstice has kept its place, but the constellations have migrated, just the very opposite of what Varahamihira has fancied. (India, p. 493-494)

Biruni also seems mystified by records of the solstice’s location near the stars in other mansions in earlier times:

Quote:
...I have found in some books of Hermes, the vernal equinox coincides with the rising of the Pleiades. This statement must have been made about three thousand and more years before Alexander. God knows best what they intended! (Chronology, p. 342)

This last comment of Biruni’s is very interesting because it seems to indicate that thousands of years earlier the sources for “the books of Hermes” were aware of the equinox and that it precessed against the stars.

At any rate through the centuries the mansions have become associated with the stars within their boundaries. A century after al-Biruni, John of Seville, Spain (c.1150) keeps the stars in their mansions, and 10 degrees of precession are mentioned. (See Dykes, Astrology of the World I, p. 223.)

By the time of Johannes Schoener (1477-1547, Renaissance) the stars were firmly entrenched in the lunar mansions and were precessed with the zodiac. Schoener begins the first mansion (Horns of Aries) at tropical Aries 19 deg 56 minutes. Schoener relates the mansions to weather, and each mansion was considered to be either fortunate or unfortunate. Schoener writes: “[Ancient writers] divided the whole zodiac in 28 mansions and they imposed names, natures and properties on them from the fixed stars.” (Opusculum Astrologicum, Golden Hind Press, 1994, p. 63)

Then in contemporary times Robson places the 27th Arabic mansion at the beginning of tropical Aries (1920) and follows the 28 mansions through the zodiac from there. (Vivian E. Robson, The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1969, now available in reprint)

Probably beginning in the Renaissance, the Arabic mansions have been considered mainly for elections, much of the interpretation coming from India’s sidereal nakshatras or from “Dorotheus,” early Hellenistic texts. The problem persists of interpretations based on India's 27 sidereal mansions (with some confusion due to misplaced nakshatra stars) applied to 28 tropical mansions in combination with (sidereal or tropical?) garbled Hellenistic sources.

As a postscript for those familiar with Indian texts, Biruni quotes from Brahmagupta, Aryabhata, Varahamihira and Vitesara. There is some mention of Kalyana Varma (Saravali), but no mention of Parashara at this early date. Biruni died in 1048.

Al-Biruni’s books:

The Chronology of Ancient Nations (trans. Dr. Edward Sachau), Forgotten Books.com, 2017. (Very nice inexpensive re-print)

Al Biruni’s India (trans. Dr. Edward Sachau), Rupa Publications, India, 2002-2016).

The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology (trans. R. Ramsay Wright), London: Luzak & Co., 1934. (Now available in facsimile reprint from several publishers.)
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Last edited by Therese Hamilton on Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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petosiris



Joined: 08 Oct 2017
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Posted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those books of Hermes could have been written by anyone (in the Medieval ages there were hundreds of Hermes floating around) and that statement seems a bit legendary to me, even though it does acknowledge precession.

There is another statement, that is much more worth investigating. The formula of Theon of Alexandria, who exposits a very accurate sidereal frame which is ascribed to ancient astrologers. Note that Alexander Jones (1999) and Dorian Greenbaum and Alexander Jones (2017) claim:

''Abundant evidence exists that when Ptolemy’s tables were used for astrological purposes during the third and fourth centuries, the tropical longitudes obtained from the tables were generally converted to sidereal by adding 8° minus one-eightieth of a degree for every year since 158 BCE, a formula explicitly reported by Theon of Alexandria as employed by the “astrologers of old.''

Sources:
Greenbaum and Jones (2017) ISAW Papers 12 (2017) P.Berl. 9825: An elaborate horoscope for 319 CE and its significance for Greek astronomical and astrological practice -
http://dlib.nyu.edu/awdl/isaw/isaw-papers/12/

Jones, Alexander (1999) Astronomical Papyri from Oxyrhynchus, American Philosophical Society, pg. 343

That formula is much more accurate in equinox measurement than the one of Hipparchus and Ptolemy, which add a degree per century, an approach that was followed by Hephaistio of Thebes and Anonymous of 379 who place Aldebaran at 15 Taurus in their tropical zodiac.

With this statement and evidence in mind, it appears easier to explain the accurate charts in Valens and others who used a Aries 8 VP in the second century, they probably applied a formula like the above and used Babylonian sidereal measurements I argued for here - http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9812 .

Keeping the VP stationed at that degree and using a formula instead of just changing it, does favor the theory that many thought it was a trepidation and that it will return to it at some point. One of the ''ancients'' might have been Valens as a result.

Accepting the trepidation theory as the most prevalent theory at the time helps explain sidereal measurements and statements with Aries 1, 8, 10, 15 VP confusions in early Hellenistic astrology.
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