you too can write a book on it! but first you will have to learn a few languages and study all the current documents available in numerous languages and if you haven't died by then, come to some conclusions which you can embody in a copyrighted manner, via videos, podcasts or what have you!!! don't delay.. the world is your oyster and the folks at skyscript are waiting for you to take the astrological world by storm!


Much as I like and respect Deb this thread should not be a loyalty test on that. Deb's involvement in this should be detached from a cool, rational, discussion on this issue. Frankly, I would favour starting this whole discussion again in a completely new thread.

I do think some of the social media abuse Deb has had to endure has been thorougly despicable. The Star Wars video being a rare light interlude. :D

However, I think we need to step back from turning this into some Houlding vs Brennan soap opera which is how most people have viewed this on social media.

While I do still disagree with some of the content of Deb's presentation I do think one good thing to come out out of all this is that people are being compelled to seriously reconsider the sources. I think that was the original motivation for the talk in the first place. In that respect maybe it has been a catalyst to allow something positive to emerge from all this apparent discord.

Ultimately, though I dont think the real challenge is coming from Deb's video but rather from Martin Gansten's Brill paper. Martin has systematically challenged the academic and astrological consensus that has emerged over the last few decades in the translations and research of James Holden, Robert Schmidt, Robert Hand, Dorian Greenbaum, Demetra George, Chris Brennan and more recently Levente László. Its a root and branch critique as I see it. So far the only academic response I have seen respond to Martin's paper is Levente László on social media. However, this response was quite accusatory and ad hominem and not set out in a structured, professional way. A full academic response is promised by Levente Lászlo at some undetermined point. I will look forward to seeing his detailed objections to Martin's paper.

I am not a philologist in Latin, Greek, Arabic or Sankrit so I cannot read the primary sources. The people that should be leading this debate should ideally be those people rather than astrologers with strong convictions either side of this. Still, it could be asserted that academic credentials do not necessarily guarantee full detached objectivity. As we all know academics can have strong disagreements on what primary sources do in fact say.

So I still think those of us on the sidelines still have a useful contribution to move the debate along. Just as long as it is expressed in a respectful way.

Any opinions I do express here will be based on my own research into translations of the primary sources or articles by leading academics. But I see no reason to rush to do this. I am still working my way through Martin's paper and several other papers on hellenistic astrology. I also want to reaquaint myself with several of the hellenistic texts. There has already been a lot of over impetuous chatter on this subject that has been a discredit to the whole traditional astrological community (assuming such a thing still exists!).

As Gilbert and Sullivan said in the Gondoliers 'quiet calm consideration will untangle every knot'

Last edited by Mark on Tue Feb 21, 2023 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
As thou conversest with the heavens, so instruct and inform thy minde according to the image of Divinity William Lilly

Moderator notice

Hi all,

The way I see it, this thread is turning into a mud fight real fast. :-?

Bear in mind that Skyscript isn't Facebook. Its purpose is discussing ideas and concepts pertinent to astrology - not people's personal issues.

Be free to find fault with anyone's views and methods, as long as you remain factual and present arguments. But do refrain from ad hominems, please.

Any further posts that this moderation sees as inflammatory - regardless of who presents them (!) - will be removed.

Peace out,


Visit my blog:

Adding to Michael’s post above.

I’ve deleted some posts that were off topic or were serving to only criticise either astrologers or scholars.

There has been some great discussion here so let’s keep that going without devolving into endless argument by authority, bashing scholars, or calling astrologers pejorative names.
"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" - Socrates


I agree with you Mark and also think it would be a good idea to start a new thread soon - but this thread started with promotion of Chris Brennan's 7 hour rebuttal of my presentation - and because of the widely publicised points he made I have had a mass of points to deal with in the wake of that. I have said this thread will be the one and only place that I centralise responses to any points put to me regarding that. I still have some points to make, but this week other pressures must take priority. So I would like a little more time to deal with some of the remaining rebuttal points I am aware of. Then I can index those points for easy reference if they get brought up again. In the meantime, this is probably serving as nothing more than a scratchboard for ideas. Let's play it through a bit longer, and then I'd like to start a new thread with a different angle, based more on Martin's paper and the most relevant details that have come out of this thread and the general discussions so far.
I'll need to be quiet myself for a few days as I catch up with the other deadlines. I agree 100% that the discussion here should concern astrological arguments, and not arguments with or between astrologers.

I would like to share with the astrological community Emperor Hadrian's horoscope from Hephaistion Book II as preserved by a Byzantine manuscript (XIV Century) that is stored at the National Library of Venice under name Marc. gr. Z. 324. As in Hephaistion's text in Book II, as well as in the horoscope itself, both the degree of the Asc and of the MC are written, but no intermediate house cusps are given. This is another proof that they did not use quadrant house cusps, at least during the time when the horoscope was calculated and interpreted.


astroart wrote:As in Hephaistion's text in Book II, as well as in the horoscope itself, both the degree of the Asc and of the MC are written, but no intermediate house cusps are given. This is another proof that they did not use quadrant house cusps, at least during the time when the horoscope was calculated and interpreted.
I really don't know why you think that this example shows us anything about the house system that was employed.
Just at a glance we know that this chart could be using Whole Sign Houses, Equal Houses or Porphyry Houses - all the data needed is literally provided for all three of those house systems.

You are hardly suggesting, I hope, that if someone was using Equal Houses, let's say, that they would need to write:
1st House: 0 Aquarius
2nd House: 0 Pisces
3rd House: 0 Aries

I mean that's what it would be in Equal Houses right? No more than they had to write that for WSH, they didn't need to write it for EH. And if they wanted Porphyry houses it's the kind of mathematics we might expect from an 8 year old today.
"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" - Socrates


On astro.com, they say that "The Placidus system of houses, also formerly known as the Ptolemaic Method, is a system that can be described as "Time-proportional House System of Movement". This is in contrast to the space-based systems that are built on astronomical great circles, rather than on time curves."
Do we have an explanation as to why Placidus is linked to Ptolemy?
Similarities and differences.

Let's take the second horoscope from Hephastion book II attributed to Antigonus of Nicaea which corresponds to about noon of 5 April 40 CE. Robert Hand’s opinion is that this chart is of one of the family of the emperor Hadrian.The figure below is from Greek manuscript preserved in the Library in Florence under name Laur. 28,13 (XIV Century), ff.128v.

According to the text the Ascendant is on 24th degree of Cancer and Medium Coeli is on 10th degree of Aries. In the chart the positions of the planets are as follows:
-Sun on 19 degree Aries
-Mars on 15 degree Aries
-Venus on 5 degree Aries
-Mercury on 6 degree Aries
And the author of the horoscope, probably he was court astrologer of emperor Hadrian, in his interpretation says something very important:
“ [He will be] distinguished because of the 4 stars that chance to be in the Midheaven.??? (see Hephastio of Thebes, Apotelesmatics book 2, Project Hidnsight, 1998, p.63).
Because MC is on 10th of degree of Aries, neither in quadrant house system (Porphyry) nor in equal house system is possible Venus and Mercury to be found in tenth house.
One important remark. In Hellenistic astrological terminology Greek term “mesouranema??? means not only the degree of Midheaven but also it is the name of 10th house !

Last edited by astroart on Wed Feb 22, 2023 10:06 am, edited 5 times in total.

Here I will give the original Greek text of the second horoscope from Hephastion book II as published in CCAG VIII.2, p.84.
The passages highlighted in blue mark the positions of the Sun, Mars, Venus and Mercury respectively, while the first two passages highlighted in red refer to the position of the Ascendant and Midheaven. The last text highlighted in red and marked with an asterisk refers to the text which says that the native will be prominent because there are 4 planets in the tenth place/house.


Hi Astroart

I agree with Paul that the 14th century reproduction of Hadrian horoscope tells us nothing, except that the provision of the Asc and MC shows ancient astrologers had all the means they needed to calculate quadrant cusps by whatever method they preferred as they made personal use of the chart.

Your second example would be more relevant as an example of WS application in practice, except for the fact that the term used to describe the placement of the planets in the middle of the heavens mesouranema has various potential interpretations: upon the MC, within the 10th house, in the middle part of the sky generally, or the ???midst of heaven???. It is literally describing the middle and elevated part of the sky, and so only context can tell us if this was being stated to describe the planets as within the 10th house, or to demonstrate that they are elevated and highly visible, and so ‘proud’ in the scheme.

It is a definitely a principle in traditional astrology that planets have a more pronounced and manifest effect when they are elevated and near to the midheaven – even if they are in the 9th house. This is the reason why the 9th house, although cadent, is not a particularly destructive or weak house, because the elevation of the planets there makes them strong.

But even setting that aside, many historical astrologers employ a 5° orb for house csups, as I do myself, so if the MC is at 10° Aries, this example would have 2 of the 4 planets within the 10th house and the other two strongly placed upon its cusp. I would describe all four planets as angular and associated with the 10th house here (as would Lilly and many historical astrologers who clearly used quadrant houses).

So whilst I can understand why you would find this example interesting, I hope you can understand why I don’t.

To clarify though, the argument in this thread is not that a WS approach was never taken but that we are unable to find any of the historical astrologers recommending it as a preferred approach.