home articles forum events
glossary horary quiz consultations links more


Extract from Primum Mobile

 By Placidus de Titis
 (Cooper translation), p.289

This commentary on a nativity reveals the diversity of techniques Placidus had at his disposal. Not only does it make early reference to the use of minor aspects (sesqui-quadrates and quintiles), Placidus considers mundane aspects as well as zodiacal aspects, parallels, mundane parallels, declinations, and even parallel declinations between planets in return charts and progressions!

p.289 He was born with his feet inverted, owing to the constitution of the Moon in the western hemisphere with the South Node in a mundane square of Mars,[1] who passed through Pisces, the sign of the feet, and in opposition of Saturn, in Sagittarius, the sign of the thighs.

On account of the friendship that susbsisted between us, he desired me.... to calculate the directions of his nativity, which I very gladly performed, and the calculation of past accidents appeared to a minute; but I afterwards observed to the year 52 a direction of the Moon, who is hyleg,[2] to a parallel of Saturn, ... the Moon, by a converse motion, applied to the mundane parallel of Mars, whilst both were carried away by the rapt motion of the primum mobile round the world. Lastly, the Moon, by a right direction, came to the sesqui-quadrate of Mars in mundo… it might be thought that these aspects would not prove fatal, yet he died on February 18, 1655, near the 17th hour, almost suddenly, having some days before received the holy sacrament. Conscious of his impending unfortunate directions, and the unfortunate revolution which happened the day he died, and I think of some inward accident which forewarned him of his death, he is said to have feared the 18th, because, perhaps, on that day, by calculation, a crisis or judgement of some consequence would fall, for it is said he was sick the night before; however it be, he died the day he had predicted, to the grief of the whole city of Felsina.

.... It is worth observing that the native died at the hour of the Sun's revolution, in which he had the declination of Saturn; and the Moon that of Mars; and the Moon was also in a parallel declination of Mars's progression, Mercury in opposition of Moon, square and parallel of the Sun's progression, also Moon in parallel declination of Saturn's progression, and Mars with the Moon's anaretic declination [3] .

The magistry in this nativity is denoted by Venus oriental,[4] in conjunction with Mars in the southern circle, both angular and in their dignities, and conciliated to the Moon by the ray quintile.... But it was the more excellent from the trine of Jupiter constituted on the cusp of the ascendant and oriental.

Notes on this chart:

This is the chart as it appears in John Cooper's 1814 translation. The closest computer match is for 18 Feb 1603 (GC) 12:46 am (LMT), Bologna, Italy.

Cooper has followed the original text in recording the time as 12:26 pm. Many historical astrologers recorded the first hour after midnight as a 'pm' hour.

The location of the chart is given as 'Bononia' - this is the Roman name for Bologna, Italy: 11e20/44n29. It was also used for other European cities such as Boulogne-sur-Mer in France.

There are two mistakes in this chart diagram which have been corrected in the modern reproduction above: the north node - south node axis has been inverted (Titi's text speaks of the north node on the ascendant, and the south node conjunct the Moon, so his judgement is not impeded by this error); and the zodiacal positions of the Sun and Mercury appear to have been mixed up - the closest computer-generated chart shows the Sun at 28°58 Aquarius, and Mercury at 22° Aquarius)

- End -

1] 'Mundane Aspects' are measured in right ascension and can be reckoned by the house cusps: the Moon on the 7th house cusp will be in a mundane square to any planet close to the MC or IC, even if, by zodiacal measurement, the planets are closer to a trine (as we have here with the Moon at 23 Taurus and Mars at 13 Pisces). Note that on the original reproduction of the chart, the degrees of right ascension are noted alongside the MC/IC, and the degrees of oblique ascension are noted alongside the asc/desc. See the glossary entry for more information on 'mundane aspects'.
Back to text
2] Since this is a nocturnal chart and the Moon is powerfully placed in the 7th house it is taken as the 'hyleg' - that is, the planet considered to have the greatest influence upon vitality and thus known as "the giver of life". See the glossary item for more on the hyleg and how it is determined.
Back to text
3] Anaretic means 'killing' or 'destructive' (see glossary item on anareta); Placidus may be referring to contra-antiscia here.
Back to text
4] The text reads 'oriental' but this is probably a typing error by Cooper since Venus is occidental, it's preferred state (Venus loses dignity by being oriental). The chart is that of an eminent physician, so Venus has been considered relevant as the ruler of the 6th house which has Taurus on the cusp.
Back to text

© Transcribed and annotated by Deborah Houlding, 2006

Historical Charts

Terms and conditions  
All rights on all text and images reserved. Reproduction by any means is not permitted without the express
agreement of Deborah Houlding or in the case of articles by guest astrologers, the copyright owner indictated