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I.1‑3

This webpage reproduces part of the
Tetrabiblos

by
Claudius Ptolemy

published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1940

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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II.1‑3

Ptolemy
Tetrabiblos

p35 Book I (end)

4. Of the Power of the Planets.

The active power of the sun's essential nature is found to be heating and, to a certain degree, drying.27 This is made more easily perceptible in the case of the sun than any other heavenly body by its size and by the obviousness of its seasonal changes, for the closer it approaches to the zenith the more it affects us in this way. Most of the moon's power consists of humidifying, clearly because it is close to the earth and because of the moist exhalations28 therefrom. Its action therefore is precisely this, to soften and cause putrefaction in bodies for the most part, but it shares moderately also in heating power because of the light which it receives from the sun.

It is Saturn's29 quality chiefly to cool and, moderately, to dry, probably because he is furthest p37removed30 both from the sun's heat and the moist exhalations about the earth. Both in Saturn's case and in that of the other planets there are powers, too, which arise through the observation of their aspects to the sun and moon, for some of them appear to modify conditions in the ambient in one way, some in another, by increase or by decrease.

The nature of Mars is chiefly to dry and to burn, in conformity with his fiery colour and by reason of his nearness to the sun, for the sun's sphere lies just below him.

Jupiter has a temperate active force because his movement takes place between the cooling influence of Saturn and the burning power of Mars. He both heats and humidifies; and because his heating power is the greater by reason of the underlying spheres, he produces fertilizing winds.

Venus has the same powers and tempered nature as Jupiter, but acts in the opposite way; for she warms moderately because of her nearness to the sun, but chiefly humidifies, like the moon, because of the amount of her own light and because she appropriates the exhalations from the moist atmosphere surrounding the earth.

p39 Mercury in general is found at certain times alike to be drying and absorptive of moisture, because he never is far removed in longitude from the heat of the sun; and again humidifying, because he is next above the sphere of the moon, which is closest to the earth; and to change quickly from one to the other, inspired as it were by the speed of his motion in the neighbourhood of the sun itself.

5. Of Beneficent and Maleficent Planets.

Since the foregoing is the case, because two of the four humours are fertile and active, the hot and the moist (for all things are brought together and increased by them), and two are destructive and passive, the dry and the cold, through which all things, again, are separated and destroyed, the ancients accepted two of the planets, Jupiter and Venus, together with the moon, as beneficent because of their tempered nature and because they abound in the hot and the moist, and Saturn and Mars as producing effects of the opposite nature, one because of his excessive cold and the other for his excessive dryness; the sun and Mercury, however, they thought to have both powers, because they have a common nature, and to join their influences with those of the other planets, with whichever of them they are associated.

p41 6. Of Masculine and Feminine Planets.

Again, since there are two primary kinds of natures, male and female, and of the forces already mentioned that of the moist is especially feminine — for as a general thing this element is present to a greater degree in all females, and the others rather in males — with good reason the view has been handed down to us that the moon and Venus are feminine, because they share more largely in the moist, and that the sun, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars are masculine, and Mercury common to both genders, inasmuch as he produces the dry and the moist alike. They say too that the stars become masculine or feminine according to their aspects to the sun, for when they are morning stars31 and precede the sun they become masculine, and feminine when they are evening stars and follow the sun. Furthermore this happens also according to their positions with respect to the horizon; for when they are in positions from the orient to mid-heaven,32 or again from the occident to lower mid-heaven, they become masculine because they are eastern, but in the other two quadrants, as western stars, they become feminine.

p43 7. Of Diurnal and Nocturnal33 Planets.

Similarly, since of the two most obvious intervals of those which make up time, the day is more masculine because of its heat and active force, and night more feminine because of its moisture and its gift of rest, the tradition has consequently been handed down that the moon and Venus are nocturnal, the sun and Jupiter diurnal, and Mercury common as before, diurnal when it is a morning star and nocturnal as an evening star. They also assigned to each of the sects the two destructive stars, not however in this instance on the principle of similar natures,34 but of just the opposite; for when stars of the same kind are joined with those of the good temperament their beneficial influence is increased, but if dissimilar stars are associated with the destructive ones the greatest part of their injurious power is broken. Thus they assigned Saturn, which is cold, to the warmth of the day, and Mars, which is dry, to the moisture of the night, for in this way each of them attains good proportion through admixture and becomes a proper member of its sect, which provides moderation.

p45 8. Of the Power of the Aspects to the Sun.

Now, mark you, likewise, according to their aspects to the sun, the moon and three of the planets35 experience increase and decrease in their own powers. For in its waxing from new moon to first quarter the moon is more productive of moisture; in its passage from first quarter to full, of heat; from full to last quarter, of dryness, and from last quarter to occultation,36 of cold. The planets, in oriental aspects only, are more productive of moisture from rising to their first station,37 of heat from first station to evening rising, of dryness from evening rising to the second station, of cold from second station to setting; and it is clear that when they are associated with one another they produce very many variations of quality in our ambient, the proper force of each one for the most part persisting, but being changed in quantity by the force of the stars that share the configuration.

p47 9. Of the Power of the Fixed Stars.

As it is next in order to recount the natures of the fixed stars with reference to their special powers, we shall set forth their observed characters in an exposition like that of the natures of the planets, and in the first place those of the ones that occupy the figures in the zodiac38 itself.

The stars in the head of Aries, then, have an effect like the power of Mars and Saturn, mingled; those in the mouth like Mercury's power and moderately like Saturn's; those in the hind foot like that of Mars, and those in the tail like that of Venus.

Of those in Taurus,39 the stars along the line where it is cut offa have a temperature like that of Venus and in a measure like that of Saturn; those in the Pleiades, like those of the moon and Jupiter; of the stars in the head, the one of the Hyades that is bright and somewhat reddish, called the Torch,40 has a temperature like that of Mars; the others, like that of Saturn and moderately like that of Mercury; those in the tips of the horns, like that of Mars.

p49 Of the stars in Gemini, those in the feet share the same quality as Mercury and, to a less degree, as Venus; the bright stars in the thighs, the same as Saturn; of the two bright stars in the heads,41 the one in the head in advance the same as Mercury; it is also called the star of Apollo; the one in the head that follows, the same as Mars; it is also called the star of Hercules.

Of the stars in Cancer, the two in the eyes produce the same effect as Mercury, and, to a less degree, as Mars; those in the claws, the same as Saturn and Mercury; the cloud-like cluster in the breast, called the Manger,42 the same as Mars and the moon; and the two on either side of it, which are called Asses,43 the same as Mars and the sun.

Of those in Leo, the two in the head act in the same way as Saturn and, to a less degree, as Mars; the three in the throat, the same as Saturn and, to a less degree, as Mercury; the bright star upon the heart, called Regulus, the same as Mars and Jupiter; those in the hip and the bright star in the tail,44 the same as Saturn and Venus; and those in the thighs, the same as Venus and, to a less degree, Mercury.

Of the stars in Virgo,45 those in the head and the one upon the tip of the southern wing have an effect like that of Mercury and, in less degree, of Mars; the other bright stars of the wing and those on the p51girdles like that of Mercury and, in a measure, of Venus; the bright star in the northern wing, called Vindemiator, like those of Saturn and Mercury; the so‑called Spica, like that of Venus and, in a less degree, that of Mars; those in the tips of the feet and the train46 like that of Mercury and, in a less degree, Mars.

Of those in the Claws of the Scorpion,47 the ones at their very extremities exercise the same influence as do Jupiter and Mercury; those in the middle parts the same as do Saturn and, to a less degree, Mars.

Of the stars in the body of Scorpio, the bright stars on the forehead act in the same way as does Mars and in some degree as does Saturn; the three in the body, the middle one of which is tawny and rather bright and is called Antares, the same as Mars and, in some degree, Jupiter; those in the joints, the same as Saturn and, in some degree, Venus; those in the sting, the same as Mercury and Mars; and the so‑called cloud-like cluster, the same as Mars and the moon.

Of the stars in Sagittarius,48 those in the point of his arrow have an effect like that of Mars and the moon; those in the bow and the grip of his hand, like that of Jupiter and Mars; the cluster in his forehead, p53like that of the sun and Mars; those in the cloak and his back, like that of Jupiter and, to a less degree, of Mercury; those in his feet, like that of Jupiter and Saturn; the quadrangle upon the tail, like that of Venus, to a less degree, of Saturn.

Of the stars in Capricorn,49 those in the horns act in the same way as Venus and, in some degree, as Mars; those in the mouth, as Saturn and, in some degree, as Venus; those in the feet and the belly, as Mars and Mercury; and those in the tail, as Saturn and Jupiter.

Of the stars in Aquarius, those in the shoulders exert an influence like that of Saturn and Mercury, together with those in the left arm and the cloak; those in the thighs, like that of Mercury in a greater degree and like that of Saturn in a lesser degree; those in the stream of water, like that of Saturn and, in some degree, like that of Jupiter.

Of the stars in Pisces,50 those in the head of the southern Fish act in the same way as Mercury and somewhat as does Saturn; those in the body, as do Jupiter and Mercury; those in the tail and the southern cord, as do Saturn and, in some degree, Mercury; those in the body and backbone of the northern Fish, as do Jupiter and, in some degree, p55Venus; those in the northern part of the cord, as do Saturn and Jupiter; and the bright star on the bond, as do Mars and, in some degree, Mercury.

Of the stars in the configurations north of the zodiac, the bright stars in Ursa Minor have a similar quality to that of Saturn and, to a less degree, to that of Venus; those in Ursa Major, to that of Mars; and the cluster of the Coma Berenices beneath the Bear's tail, to that of the moon and Venus; the bright stars in Draco, to that of Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter; those of Cepheus, to that of Saturn and Jupiter; those in Boötes, to that of Mercury and Saturn; the bright, tawny star, to that of Jupiter and Mars, the star called Arcturus; the star in Corona Septentrionalis, to that of Venus and Mercury; those in Geniculator,51 to that of Mercury; those in Lyra,52 to that of Venus and Mercury; and likewise those in Cygnus. The stars in Cassiopeia have the effect of Saturn and Venus; those in Perseus, of Jupiter and Saturn; the cluster in the hilt of the sword, of Mars and Mercury; the bright stars in Auriga,53 of Mars and Mercury; those in Ophiuchus, of Saturn and, to some degree, of Venus; those in his serpent, of Saturn and Mars; those in Sagitta, of Mars and, to some degree, of p57Venus; those in Aquila,54 of Mars and Jupiter; those in Delphinus, of Saturn and Mars; the bright stars in the Horse,55 of Mars and Mercury; those in Andromeda, of Venus; those in Triangulum, of Mercury.

Of the stars in the formations south of the zodiac the bright star in the mouth of Piscis Australis56 has an influence similar to that of Venus and Mercury; those in Cetus, similar to that of Saturn; of those in Orion,57 the stars on his shoulders similar to that of Mars and Mercury, and the other bright stars similar to that of Jupiter and Saturn; of the stars in Eridanus the last bright one58 has an influence like that of Jupiter and the others like that of Saturn; the star in Lepus, like that of Saturn and Mercury; of those in Canis, the others like that of Venus, and the bright star in the mouth,59 like that of Jupiter and, to a less degree, of Mars; the bright star Procyon, like that of Mercury and, in a less degree, that of Mars; the bright stars in Hydra,60 like that of Saturn and Venus; those in Crater, like that of Venus and, in a less degree, of Mercury; those in Corvus, like that of Mars and Saturn; the bright stars of Argo,61 like that of Saturn and Jupiter; of those in Centaurus, the ones p59in the human body, like that of Venus and Mercury, and the bright stars in the equine body like that of Venus and Jupiter; the bright stars in Lupus, like that of Saturn and, in less degree, of Mars; those in Ara, like that of Venus and, to a lesser degree, of Mercury; and the bright stars in Corona Australis, like that of Saturn and Mercury.

Such, then, are the observations of the effects of the stars themselves as made by our predecessors.

10. Of the Effect of the Seasons and of the Four Angles.

Of the four seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, spring exceeds in moisture on account of its diffusion after the cold has passed and warmth is setting in; the summer, in heat, because of the nearness of the sun to the zenith; autumn more in dryness, because of the sucking up of the moisture during the hot season just past; and winter exceeds in cold, because the sun is farthest away from the zenith. For this reason, although there is no natural beginning of the zodiac, since it is a circle, they assume that the sign which begins with p61the vernal equinox, that of Aries,62 is the starting-point of them all, making the excessive moisture of the spring the first part of the zodiac as though it were a living creature, and taking next in order the remaining seasons, because in all creatures the earliest ages,63 like the spring, have a larger share of moisture and are tender and still delicate. The second age, up to the prime of life, exceeds in heat, like summer; the third, which is now past the prime and on the verge of decline, has an excess of dryness, like autumn; and the last, which approaches dissolution, exceeds in its coldness, like winter.

Similarly, too, of the four regions and angles of the horizon, from which originate the winds from the cardinal points,64 the eastern one likewise excels in dryness because, when the sun is in that region, whatever has been moistened by the night then first begins to be dried; and the winds which blow from p63it, which we call in general Apeliotes,65 are without moisture and drying in effect. The region to the south is hottest because of the fiery heat of the sun's passages through mid-heaven and because these passages, on account of the inclination of our inhabited world, diverge more to the south; and the winds which blow thence and are called by the general name Notus are hot and rarefying. The region to the west is itself moist, because when the sun is therein the things dried out during the day then first begin to become moistened; likewise the winds which blow from this part, which we call by the general name Zephyrus, are fresh and moist. The region to the north is the coldest, because through our inhabited world's inclination it is too far removed from the causes of heat arising from the sun's culmination, as it is also when the sun is at its lower culmination; and the winds which blow thence, which are called by the general name Boreas, are cold and condensing in effect.

The knowledge of these facts is useful to enable one to form a complete judgement of temperatures in individual instances. For it is easily recognizable that, together with such conditions as these, of seasons, ages, or angles, there is a corresponding variation in the potency of the stars' faculties, and that in the conditions akin to them their quality is purer and their effectiveness stronger, those that are heating by nature, for instance, in heat, and those that p65are moistening in the moist, while under opposite conditions their power is adulterated and weaker. Thus the heating stars in the cold periods and the moistening stars in the dry periods are weaker, and similarly in the other cases, according to the quality produced by the mixture.

11. Of Solstitial, Equinoctial, Solid, and Bicorporeal Signs.

After the explanation of these matters the next subject to be added would be the natural characters of the zodiacal signs themselves, as they have been handed down by tradition. For although their more general temperaments66 are each analogous to the seasons that take place in them,67 certain peculiar qualities of theirs arise from their kinship68 to the sun, moon, and planets, as we shall relate in what follows, putting first the unmingled powers of the signs themselves alone, regarded both absolutely and relatively to one another.

The first distinctions, then, are of the so‑called solstitial, equinoctial, solid, and bicorporeal signs.69 p67For there are two solstitial signs, the first interval of 30° from the summer solstice, the sign of Cancer, and the first from the winter solstice, Capricorn; and they have received their name70 from what takes place in them. For the sun turns when he is at the beginning of these signs and reverses his latitudinal progress, causing summer in Cancer and winter in Capricorn. Two signs are called equinoctial, the one which is first from the spring equinox, Aries, and the one which begins with the autumnal equinox, Libra; and they too again are named from what happens there, because when the sun is at the beginning of these signs he makes the nights exactly equal to the days.

Of the remaining eight signs four are called solid and four bicorporeal. The solid signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius, are those which follow the solstitial and equinoctial signs; and they are so called because when the sun is in them the moisture, heat, dryness, and cold of the seasons that begin in the preceding signs touch us more firmly, not that the weather is naturally any more intemperate at that time, but that we are by then inured to them and for that reason are more sensible of their power.

The bicorporeal signs, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces, are those which follow the solid signs, p69and are so called because they are between the solid and the solstitial and equinoctial signs and share, as it were, at end and beginning, the natural properties of the two states of weather.

12. Of Masculine and Feminine Signs.

Again, in the same way they assign six of the signs to the masculine and diurnal nature71 and an equal number to the feminine and nocturnal. An alternating order was assigned to them because day is always yoked to night and close to it, and female to male. Now as Aries is taken as the starting-point for the reasons we have mentioned, and as the male likewise rules and holds first place, since also the active is always superior to the passive in power, the signs of Aries and Libra were thought to be masculine and diurnal, an additional reason being that the equinoctial circle which is drawn through them completes the primary and most powerful movement of the whole universe.72 The signs in succession after them correspond, as we said, in alternating order.

Some, however, employ an order of masculine and feminine signs whereby the masculine begins with the sign that is rising, called the horoscope.73 For just as some begin the solstitial signs with the moon's p71sign because the moon changes direction more swiftly than the rest, so they begin the masculine signs with the horoscope because it is further to the east, some as before making use of the alternate order of signs, and others dividing by entire quadrants, and designating as matutinal and masculine signs those of the quadrant from the horoscope to mid-heaven and those of the opposite quadrant from the occident to the lower mid-heaven, and as evening and feminine the other two quadrants. They have also attached other descriptions74 to the signs, derived from their shapes; I refer, for example, to "four-footed," "terrestrial," "commanding," "fecund," and similar appellations. These, since their reason and their significance are directly derived, we think it superfluous to enumerate, since the quality resulting from such conformations can be explained in connection with those predictions wherein it is obviously useful.

p73 13. Of the Aspects of the Signs.

Of the parts of the zodiac those first are familiar75 one to another which are in aspect.76 These are the ones which are in opposition, enclosing two right angles, six signs, and 180 degrees; those which are in trine, enclosing one and one-third right angles, four signs, and 120 degrees; those which are said to be in quartile,b enclosing one right angle, three signs, and 90 degrees, and finally those that occupy the sextile position, enclosing two-thirds of a right angle, two signs, and 60 degrees.

We may learn from the following why only these intervals have been taken into consideration. The explanation of opposition is immediately obvious, because it causes the signs to meet on one straight line. But if we take the two fractions and the two superparticulars77 most important in music, and if the fractions one-half and one-third be applied to p75opposition, composed of two right angles, the half makes the quartile and the third the sextile and trine.78 Of the superparticulars, if the sesquialter and sesquitertian be applied to the quartile interval of one right angle, which lies between them, the sesquialter makes the ratio of the quartile to the sextile and the sesquitertian that of trine to quartile.79 Of these aspects trine and sextile are called harmonious because they are composed of signs of the same kind, either entirely of feminine or entirely of masculine signs; while quartile and opposition are disharmonious because they are composed of signs of opposite kinds.

14. Of Commanding and Obeying Signs.

Similarly the names "commanding" and "obeying"80 are applied to the divisions of the zodiac which are disposed at an equal distance from the same equinoctial sign, whichever it may be, because they ascend81 in equal periods of time and are on equal parallels. Of these the ones in the summer p77hemisphere82 are called "commanding" and those in the winter hemisphere "obedient", because the sun makes the day longer than the night when he is in the summer hemisphere, and shorter in the winter.

15. Of Signs which Behold each other
and Signs of Equal Power.

Again they say that the parts which are equally removed from the same tropical sign, whichever it may be, are of equal power,83 because when the sun comes into either of them the days are equal to the days, the nights to the nights, and the lengths of their own hours84 are the same. These also are said to "behold" one another both for the reasons stated and because each of the pair rises from the same part of the horizon and sets in the same part.

16. Of Disjunct Signs.

"Disjunct" and "alien" are the names applied to those divisions of the zodiac which have none whatever of the aforesaid familiarities with one another. These are the ones which belong neither to the class of commanding or obeying, beholding or of equal power, and furthermore they are found p79to be entirely without share in the four aforesaid aspects, opposition, trine, quartile, and sextile, and are either one or five signs apart; for those which are one sign apart are as it were averted from one another and, though they are two, bound the angle of one, and those that are five signs apart divide the whole circle into unequal parts, while the other aspects make an equal division of the perimeter.

17. Of the Houses of the Several planets.

The planets also have familiarity with the parts of the zodiac, through what are called their houses, triangles, exaltations, terms,85 the like. The system of houses is of the following nature. Since of the twelve signs the most northern, which are closer than the others to our zenith and therefore most productive of heat and of warmth are Cancer and Leo, they assigned these to the greatest and most powerful heavenly bodies, that is, to the luminaries, as houses, Leo, which is masculine, to the sun and Cancer, feminine, to the moon. In keeping with this they assumed the semicircle from Leo to Capricorn to be solar and that from Aquarius to Cancer to be lunar, so that in each of the semicircles one sign might be assigned to each of the five planets as its own, one bearing aspect to the p81sun and the other to the moon, consistently with the spheres of their motion86 and the peculiarities of their natures.87 For to Saturn, in whose nature cold prevails, as opposed to heat, and which occupies the orbit highest and farthest from the luminaries, were assigned the signs opposite Cancer and Leo, namely Capricorn and Aquarius,88 with the additional reason that these signs are cold and wintry, and further that their diametral aspect is not consistent with beneficence. To Jupiter, which is moderate and below Saturn's sphere, were assigned the two signs next to the foregoing, windy and fecund, Sagittarius and Pisces, in triangular aspect89 to the luminaries, which is a harmonious and beneficent configuration. Next, to Mars, which is dry in nature and occupies a sphere under that of Jupiter, there were assigned again the two signs, contiguous to the former, Scorpio and Aries, having a similar nature, and, agreeably to Mars' destructive and inharmonious quality, in quartile aspect90 to the luminaries. To Venus, which is temperate and beneath Mars, were given the next two signs, which are extremely fertile, Libra and Taurus. These p83preserve the harmony of the sextile aspect;91 another reason is that this planet at most is never more than two signs removed from the sun in either direction.d Finally, there were given to Mercury, which never is farther removed from the sun than one sign in either direction and is beneath the others and closer in a way to both of the luminaries, the remaining signs, Gemini and Virgo, which are next to the houses of the luminaries.

18. Of the Triangles.

The familiarity by triangles is as follows. Inasmuch as the triangular and equilateral form is most harmonious with itself,92 the zodiac also is bounded by three circles, the equinoctial and the two tropics, and its twelve parts are divided into four equilateral triangles. The first of these, which passes through Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, is composed of three masculine signs and includes the houses of the sun, of Mars, and of Jupiter. This triangle was assigned to the sun and Jupiter, since Mars is not of the solar sect.93 The sun assumes first governance of it by day and Jupiter by night. Also, Aries is close to the equinoctial circle, Leo to the summer solstice and p85Sagittarius to the winter solstice. This triangle is preëminently northern because of Jupiter's share in its government, since Jupiter is fecund and windy,94 similarly to the winds from the north. However, because of the house of Mars it suffers an admixture of the south-west wind95 and is constituted Borrolibycon, because Mars causes such winds and also because of the sect of the moon and the feminine quality of the occident.96

The second triangle, which is the one drawn through Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, is composed of three feminine signs, and consequently was assigned to the moon and Venus; the moon governs it by night and Venus by day. Taurus lies toward the summer tropic, Virgo toward the equinox, and Capricorn toward the winter tropic. This triangle is made preëminently southern because of the dominance of Venus, since this star through the heat and moisture of its power produces similar winds; but as it receives an admixture of Apeliotes because the house of Saturn, Capricornus, is included within it, it is constituted Notapeliotes97 in contrast to the first triangle, since Saturn produces winds of this kind and is related to the east through sharing in the sect of the sun.

p87 The third triangle is the one drawn through Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius, composed of three masculine signs, and having no relation to Mars but rather to Saturn and Mercury because of their houses. It was assigned in turn to these, with Saturn governing during the day on account of his sect and Mercury by night. The sign of Gemini lies toward the summer tropic, Libra toward the equinox, and Aquarius toward the winter tropic. This triangle also is primarily of eastern constitution, because the sect of Jupiter has familiarity with Saturn, inasmuch as it is diurnal.

The fourth triangle, which is the one drawn through Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces, was left to the only remaining planet, Mars, which is related to it through his house, Scorpio; and along with him, on account of the sect and the femininity of the signs, the moon by night and Venus by day are co‑rulers. Cancer is near the summer circle, Scorpio lies close to the winter one, and Pisces to the equinox. This triangle is constituted preëminently western, because it is dominated by Mars and the moon; but by admixture it becomes south-western through the domination of Venus.

p89 19. Of Exaltations.

The so‑called exaltations98 of the planets have the following explanation. Since the sun, when he is in Aries, is making his transition to the northern and higher semicircle, and in Libra is passing into the southern and lower one, they have fittingly assigned Aries to him as his exaltation, since there the length of the day and the heating power of his nature begin to increase, and Libra as his depressione for the opposite reasons.

Saturn again, in order to have a position opposite to sun, as also in the matter of their houses,99 took, contrariwise, Libra as his exaltation and Aries as his depression. For where heat increases there cold diminishes, and where the former diminishes cold on the contrary increases. And since the moon, coming to the conjunction in the exaltation of the sun, in Aries, shows her first phase and begins to increase her light and, as it were, her height, in the first sign of her own triangle, Taurus, this was called her exaltation, and the diametrically opposite sign, Scorpio, her depression.

Then Jupiter, which produces the fecund north winds, reaches farthest north in Cancer and brings p91his own power to fullness; they therefore made this sign his exaltation and Capricorn his depression.

Mars, which by nature is fiery and becomes all the more so in Capricorn because in it he is farthest south, naturally received Capricorn as his exaltation, in contrast to Jupiter, and Cancer as his depression.

Venus, however, as she is moist by nature and increases her own proper power all the more in Pisces, where the beginning of the moist spring is indicated, has her exaltation in Pisces and her depression in Virgo.

Mercury, on the contrary, since he is drier, by contrast naturally is exalted, as it were, in Virgo, in which the dry autumn is signified, and is depressed in Pisces.

20. Of the Disposition of Terms.

With regard to the terms two systems are most in circulation; the first is the Egyptian,100 which is chiefly based on the government of the houses, and the second the Chaldaean, resting upon the government of the triplicities. Now the Egyptian system of the commonly accepted terms does not at all preserve the consistency either of order or of individual quantity. For in the first place, in the p93matter of order, they have sometimes assigned the first place to the lords of the houses and again to those of the triplicities, and sometimes also to the lords of the exaltations. For example, if it is true that they have followed the houses, why have they assigned precedence to Saturn, say, in Libra,101 and not to Venus, and why to Jupiter in Aries and not to Mars? And if they follow the triplicities, why have they given Mercury, and not Venus,102 first place in Capricorn? Or if it be exaltations, why give Mars, and not Jupiter, precedence in Cancer;103 and if they have regard for the planets that have the greatest number of these qualifications, why have they given first place in Aquarius to Mercury, who has only his triplicity there, and not to Saturn, for it is both the house and the triplicity of Saturn? Or why have they given Mercury first place in Capricorn at all, since he has no relation of government to the sign? One would find the same kind of thing in the rest of the system.

Secondly, the number of the terms manifestly has no consistency; for the number derived for each planet from the addition of its terms in all the signs, in accordance with which they say the planets assign years of life,104 furnishes no suitable or acceptable argument. But even if we rely upon the p95number derived from this summation, in accordance with the downright claim of the Egyptians, the sum would be found the same, even though the amounts, sign by sign, be frequently changed in various ways. And as for the specious and sophistic assertion105 about them that some attempt to make, namely that the times assigned to each single planet by the schedule of ascensions in all the climes add up to this sum, it is false. For, in the first place, they follow the common method, based upon evenly progressing increases in the ascensions, which is not even close to the truth. By this scheme they would have each of the signs Virgo and Libra, on the parallel which passes through lower Egypt, ascend in 38⅓ times,106 and Leo and Scorpio each in 35, although it is shown by the tables107 this these latter ascend in more than 35 times and Virgo and Libra in less. Furthermore, those who have endeavoured to establish this theory even so do not seem to follow the usually accepted number of terms, and are compelled to make many false statements, and they have even made use of fractional parts of fractions in the effort to save their hypothesis, which, as we said, is itself not a true one.

p97 However, the terms most generally accepted on the authority of ancient tradition are given in the following fashion:—

Terms according to the Egyptians.108

Aries ♃ 6 ♀ 6 ☿ 8 ♂ 5 ♄ 5
Taurus ♀ 8 ☿ 6 ♃ 8 ♄ 5 ♂ 3
Gemini ☿ 6 ♃ 6 ♀ 5 ♂ 7 ♄ 6
Cancer ♂ 7 ♀ 6 ☿ 6 ♃ 7 ♄ 4
Leo ♃ 6 ♀ 5 ♄ 7 ☿ 6 ♂ 6
Virgo ☿ 7 ♀ 10 ♃ 4 ♂ 7 ♄ 2
Libra ♄ 6 ☿ 8 ♃ 7 ♀ 7 ♂ 2
Scorpio ♂ 7 ♀ 4 ☿ 8 ♃ 5 ♄ 6
Sagittarius ♃ 12 ♀ 5 ☿ 4 ♄ 5 ♂ 4
Capricornus ☿ 7 ♃ 7 ♀ 8 ♄ 4 ♂ 4
Aquarius ☿ 7 ♀ 6 ♃ 7 ♂ 5 ♄ 5
Pisces ♀ 12 ♃ 4 ☿ 3 ♂ 9 ♄ 2

p99 21. According to the Chaldaeans.

The Chaldaean method109 involves a sequence, simple, to be sure, and more plausible, though not so self-sufficient with respect to the government of the triangles and the disposition of quantity, so that, nevertheless, one could easily understand them even without a diagram.110 For in the first triplicity, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, which has with them the same division by signs as with the Egyptians, the lord of the triplicity, Jupiter,111 is the first to receive terms, then the lord of the next triangle, Venus, next the lord of the triangle of Gemini, Saturn, and Mercury, and finally the lord of the remaining triplicity, Mars. In the second triplicity, Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, which again has the same division by signs, Venus is first, then Saturn, and again Mercury, after these Mars, and finally p101Jupiter. this arrangement in general is observed also in the remaining two triplicities.112 Of the two lords of the same triplicity, however, Saturn and Mercury, by day113 Saturn takes the first place in the order of ownership, by night Mercury. The number assigned to each is also a simple matter. For in order that the number of terms of each planet may be less by one degree than the preceding, to correspond with the descending order in which first place is assigned, they always assign 8° to the first, 7° to the second, 6° to the third, 5° to the fourth, and 4° to the last; thus the 30° of a sign is made up. The sum of the number of degrees thus assigned to Saturn is 78 by day and 66 by night, to Jupiter 72, to Mars 69, to Venus 75, to Mercury 66 by day and 78 by night; the total is 360 degrees.

Now of these terms those which are constituted by the Egyptian method are, as we said, more worthy of credence, both because in the form in which they have been collected by the Egyptian writers they have for their utility been deemed worthy of record, and because for the most part the degrees of those terms are consistent with the nativities which have been recorded by them as examples. As these very writers, however, nowhere explain their arrangement of their number, their failure to agree in an account p103of the system might well become an object of suspicion and a subject for criticism. Recently, however, we have come upon an ancient manuscript, much damaged, which contains a natural and consistent explanation of their order and number, and at the same time the degrees reported in the aforesaid nativities and the numbers given in the summations were found to agree with the tabulation of the ancients. The book was very lengthy in expression and excessive in demonstration, and its damaged state made it hard to read, so that I could barely gain an idea of its general purport; that too, in spite of the help offered by the tabulations of the terms, better preserved because they were placed at the end of the book.114 At any rate the general scheme of assignment of the terms is as follows. For their arrangement within each sign, the exaltations, triplicities, and houses are taken into consideration. For, generally speaking, the star that has two rulerships of this sort in the same sign is placed first, even though it may be maleficent. But wherever this condition does not exist, the maleficent planets are always put last, and the lords of the exaltation first, the lords of the triplicity next, and then those of the p105house, following the order of the signs.115 And again in order, those that have two lordships each are preferred to the one which has but one in the same sign. Since terms are not allotted to the luminaries, however, Cancer and Leo, the houses of the sun and moon, are assigned to the maleficent planets because they were deprived of their share in the order, Cancer to Mars and Leo to Saturn;116 in these the order appropriate to them is preserved. As for the number of the terms, when no star is found with two prerogatives, either in the sign itself or in those which follow it within the quadrant, there are assigned to each of the beneficent planets, that is, to Jupiter and Venus, 7°; to the maleficent, Saturn and Mars, 5° each; and to Mercury, which is common, 6°; so that the total is 30°. But since some always have two prerogatives — for Venus alone becomes the ruler of the triplicity of taught, since the moon does not participate in the terms — there is given to each one of those in such condition, whether it be in the same sign or in the following signs within the quadrant, one extra degree; these were marked with dots.117 But the degrees added for double prerogatives are taken away from the others, which have but one, and, generally speaking, from Saturn and Jupiter p107because of their slower motion. The tabulation118 of these terms is as follows:—

Terms according to Ptolemy.

Aries ♃ 6 ♀ 8 ☿ 7 ♂ 5 ♄ 4
Taurus ♀ 8 ☿ 7 ♃ 7 ♄ 2 ♂ 6
Gemini ☿ 7 ♃ 6 ♀ 7 ♂ 6 ♄ 4
Cancer ♂ 6 ♃ 7 ☿ 7 ♀ 7 ♄ 3
Leo ♃ 6 ☿ 7 ♄ 6 ♀ 6 ♂ 6
Virgo ☿ 7 ♀ 6 ♃ 5 ♄ 6 ♂ 6
Libra ♄ 6 ♀ 7 ♃ 8 ☿ 6 ♄ 3
Scorpio ♂ 6 ♀ 7 ♃ 8 ☿ 6 ♄ 3
Sagittarius ♃ 8 ♀ 6 ☿ 5 ♄ 6 ♂ 5
Capricornus ♀ 6 ☿ 6 ♃ 7 ♄ 6 ♂ 5
Aquarius ♄ 6 ☿ 6 ♀ 8 ♃ 5 ♂ 5
Pisces ♀ 8 ♃ 6 ☿ 6 ♂ 5 ♄ 5

p109 22. Of Places and Degrees.119

Some have made even finer divisions of rulership than these, using the terms "places" and "degrees." Defining "place" as twelfth part of a sign, or 2½°, they120 assign the domination over them to the signs in order. Others follow other illogical orders; and again they assign each "degree" from the beginning to each of the planets of each sign in accordance with the Chaldaean order of terms. These matters, as they have only plausible and not natural, but, rather, unfounded, arguments in their favour, we shall omit. The following, however, upon which it is worth while to dwell, we shall not pass by, namely, that it is reasonable to reckon the beginnings of the signs also from the equinoxes and solstices,121 partly because the writers make this quite clear, and particularly because from our previous demonstrations we observe that their natures, powers, and familiarities take their cause from the solstitial p111and equinoctial starting-places, and from no other source. For if other starting-places are assumed, we shall either be compelled no longer to use the natures of the signs for prognostications or, if we use them, to be in error, since the spaces of the zodiac which implant their powers in the planets would then pass over to others122 and become alienated.

23. Of Faces, Chariots, and the Like.

Such, then, are the natural affinities of the stars and the signs of the zodiac. The planets are said to be in their "proper face"123 when an individual planet keeps to the sun or moon the same aspect which its house has to their houses; as, for example, when Venus is in sextile to the luminaries, provided that she is occidental to the sun and oriental to the moon, in accordance with the original arrangement of their houses.124 They are said to be in their own "chariots" and "thrones"125 and the like when they p113happen to have familiarity in two or more of the aforesaid ways with the places in which they are found; for then their power is most increased in effectiveness by the similarity and co-operation of the kindred property of the signs which contain them. They say they "rejoice"126 when, even though the containing signs have no familiarity with the signs themselves, nevertheless they have it with the stars of the same sect; in this case the sympathy arises less directly. They share, however, in the similarity in the same way; just as, on the contrary, when they are found in alien regions belonging to the opposite sect, a great part of their proper power is paralysed, because the temperament which arises from the dissimilarity of the signs produces a different and adulterated nature.

24. Of Applications and Separations and the Other Powers.

In general those which precede127 are said to "apply"128 to those which follow, and those that follow to "be separated" from those that precede, when the interval between them is not great.129 Such p115a relation is taken to exist whether it happens by bodily conjunction130 or through one of the traditional aspects, except that with respect to the bodily applications and separations of the heavenly bodies it is of use also to observe their latitudes, in order that only those passages may be accepted which are found to be on the same side of the ecliptic.131 In the case of applications and separations by aspect, however, such a practice is superfluous, because all rays always fall and similarly converge from every direction upon the same point, that is, the centre of the earth.132

From all this then, it is easy to see that the quality of each of the stars must be examined with reference both to its own natural character and that also of the signs that include it, or likewise from the character of its aspects to the sun and the angles, in the manner which we have explained. Their power must be determined, in the first place, from the fact that they are either oriental and adding to their proper motion133 p117— for then they are most powerful — or occidental and diminishing in speed, for then their energy is weaker. Second, it is to be determined from their position relative to the horizon; for they are most powerful when they are in mid-heaven or approaching it, and second when they are exactly on the horizon or in the succedent place;134 their power is greater when they are in the orient, and less when they culminate beneath the earth or are in some other aspect to the orient; if they bear no aspect135 at all to the orient they are entirely powerless.


The Editor's Notes:

27 In this chapter and elsewhere Ptolemy makes use of the four Aristotelian principles, hot, cold, wet, dry (e.g. De generatione et corruptione, II.2, 3). Cf. Boll-Bezold-Gundel, p50.

28 It was a doctrine as old as Thales that the moisture arising from the earth nourished the heavenly bodies; cf. (p35)Diels, Doxographi Graeci (Berlin, 1879), p276; J. Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy (London, 1920), p49.

29 Ptolemy ordinarily says "the (star) of Saturn," "the (star) of Jupiter," etc. (ὁ τοῦ Κρόνου, ὁ τοῦ Διός), and less often merely "Saturn," "Jupiter," and the like, a form of speech which tends to identify the planet and the divinity whose name it bears. On the other hand, he does not use the older Greek names such as Φωσφόρος, Φαίνων, etc. (though Πυροείς occurs for Ἄρης in one of the MSS.). See F. Cumont, "Antiochus d'Athènes et Porphyre," Annuaire de l'Inst. de Philologie et d'Histoire Orientale, II.139, and "Les noms de planètes et d'astrolatrie chez les grecs," L'Antiquité Classique, IV.1, pp5‑43; Boll-Bezold-Gundel, p48.

30 The order of the heavenly bodies followed by Ptolemy is Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon; cf. Bouché-Leclercq, pp107‑108.

31 Or matutine; that is, stars which are above the earth when the sun rises, as evening, or vespertine, stars set after the sun. Cardanus (p127) says that whatever planet is (p41)less than 6 signs removed from the sun in the order of the signs is feminine and occidental; any that is more than 6 signs distant, masculine and oriental.

32 Cardanus (l.c.) remarks that some do not accept this statement but count all stars from the inferior to the superior mid-heaven (4th to the 10th house) masculine and from the superior to the inferior mid-heaven (10th to the 4th house) feminine. Planets may also become masculine or feminine in consequence of occupying a masculine or feminine sign; see Bouché-Leclercq, p103.

33 These are the sects (αἵρεσις, conditio, secta) of the sun and moon respectively; cf. Vettius Valens, II.1, III.5; Rhetorius, ap. CCAG, I.146.

34 I.e. that "birds of a feather block together," in various forms a proverbial expression in Greek; e.g. Odyssey, 17.218, ὡς αἰεὶ τὸν ὁμοῖον ἄγει θεὸς ὡς τὸν ὁμοῖον; Plato, Republic, 329A, Phaedrus, 240C, etc.

35 Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; a gloss to this effect has been incorporated into the text of certain MSS. and of Camerarius' editions (see the critical note).

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

Post πλανωμένων add. ὄ τε τοῦ Κρόνου καὶ ὁ τοῦ Διὸς καὶ ὁ τοῦ Ἄρεως AFCam., om. VPLMDE.

36 I.e. new moon.

37 By "rising" heliacal rising is meant. The stations are the points in the motion of the planets at which they appear to stand still before beginning retrograde movement. Ptolemy explained these irregularities of movement by the theory of epicycles. Cf. Bouché-Leclercq, pp111‑123.

38 Strictly, "around the ecliptic itself." Properly, the zodiac is ὁ ζωδιακὸς κύκλος, and the ecliptic, the path of the sun through its middle, is ὁ διὰ μέσων (sc. τῶν ζῳδίων) κύκλος or ὁ διὰ μέσου (sc. τοῦ ζῳδιακοῦ) κύκλος, "the circle through the midst of the signs" or "through the middle of the zodiac."

39 Taurus was represented as the head and fore parts only of a charging bull.

40 Aldebaran.

41 These are Castor ("in advance") and Pollux.

42 Praesepe; more popularly, Beehive.

43 Asinus Borealis and Asinus Australis.

44 β Leonis.

45 Virgo was represented as a winged woman bearing in her left hand a stem of wheat, the head of which was marked by the bright star Spica.

46 "Of the garment" is added in the Nuremberg MS., by Proclus, and in the printed editions; see the critical note.

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

Post σύρματι add. τοῦ ματίου NProc.Cam.; om. VPMADEFH.

47 "Claws of the Scorpion" was the earlier name of Libra (Ζυγός); the latter came into general use in the first century before Christ. Ptolemy uses both names.

For detailed discussion and further references in ancient literature, see Allen's Star Names, s.v. Libra, passim.

48 Represented as a centaur preparing to shoot an arrow; a mantle flies above and behind his shoulders.

49 Represented as a monster with a goat's head and fore feet and a fish's tail.

50 The southern Fish (not to be confused with the extra-zodiacal constellation Piscis Australis, mentioned later) is toward Aquarius; the two fishes are represented as being conjoined by a cord from tail to tail.

51 I.e. Hercules.

52 The bright star Vega is in Lyra.

53 Capella is the brightest in this constellation.

54 Altair is in this group.

55 Pegasus.

56 The bright star is Fomalhaut.

57 Rigel and Betelgeuse are the brightest stars here.

58 The "last bright star" in Eridanus is Achernar.

59 Sirius, which is in Canis.

60 The brightest star is Alphard.

61 These are Canopus and Var.

62 Cf. Almagest, III.1 (p192, 19‑22), where Ptolemy defines the year as the return of the sun to the points fixed by the equinoxes and solstices. The sign of Aries, defined as the 30° beginning with the vernal equinox, is, of course, very different from the sign considered as the actual constellation. This gave rise to an argument against astrology, first expressed by Origen. Cf. Boll-Bezold-Gundel, (p61)pp131‑132; Bouché-Leclercq, p129, n1: Ashmand, Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, p32, n.

63 Ptolemy here enumerates four ages of man, as do also many Pythagorizing arithmologists, when they praise the number 4, as, for example, Theologoumena Arithmetica, p20 Ast, Diogenes Laertius, VIII.1.10, Martianus Capella, VII.734, etc. Ptolemy later (IV.10) speaks of seven ages, assigning one to each planet; the arithmologists have also a series of seven ages which they cite in praise of the number 7; e.g. Philo, De mundi opificio 36. There are also lists in which the ages are merely made up of hebdomadic groups of years.

64 Proclus' paraphrase for οἱ καθ᾽ ὅλα μέρη πνέοντες ἄνεμοι is οἳ καθολικοὶ ἄνεμοι, which is closer than the Latin translations, totas illas partes occupantes venti (Gogava), and venti, qui totas illas partes occupant (Melanchthon). Ptolemy means the winds from the cardinal points and around them.

65 This is the usual Attic form; the alternative, ἀφηλιώτης, shows more clearly its derivation from ἥλιος, "the wind that blows from the sun."

66 κράσεις, "mixtures"; astrologically used to designate the resultant qualities derived from the mingling of various influences. Cf. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Bk. I, Chapter 11, "who . . . seemed not to have had one single drop of Danish blood in his whole crasis."

67 That is, when the sun is in these signs.

68 οἰκείωσις, also translated "familiarity," is a common astrological term denoting the various relationships of affinity derived from the positions of signs or planets with reference to the universe or to each other, as, for example, through the aspects (c. 13).

69 All but Virgo are represented as bicorporeal in fact. Ptolemy, as a learned writer, pays less attention to the fanciful and mythological classification of the signs into terrestrial, aquatic, four-footed, etc. (although he refers to them in 1.12), and gives greater prominence to the astronomical classification.

Thayer's Note: Neither the note nor Ptolemy himself is as clear as they could be. In modern astrological language, what follows is a discussion of the quadruplicities: cardinal (solstitial and equinoctial), fixed ("solid"), and mutable ("bicorporeal"), in which what matters is their participation in the cardinal point that initiates the quadrant, with the mutable or "bicorporeal" signs, last in each sequence, starting to participate in the next one. Since three of the four mutable signs happen to correspond to two-bodied constellations, "bicorporeal" is used as a convenient tag for the fourth as well, but Virgo is not to be imagined as having two bodies; nor, as the editor's note almost manages to say, is Ptolemy concerned with the fact that the others are two-bodied, which is anecdotal, as it were: when he comes to the "bicorporeal" signs, in fact, he will impose his own explanation on the term, as meaning a sharing in the two quadrants.

70 I.e. τροπικόν, "having to do with turning (τροπή)." Astronomers to‑day usually call them "solstitial" instead of "tropical," since "tropic" generally refers to the terrestrial circles, the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

71 The signs of the zodiac, as well as the planets, are divided between the two sects (cf. I.7).

72 I.e. the general revolution of the heavens, carrying the fixed stars and the other heavenly bodies (according to the Ptolemaic and other ancient systems).

73 Obviously, in a system like this, a given sign would not always belong to the same sect.

74 For this type of classification, cf. Bouché-Leclercq, pp149‑152. Vettius Valens, pp5 ff. (Kroll), attaches many epithets to the signs; cf. also Antiochus, ap. CCAG, VIII.112; Rhetorius, ap. CCAG, I.164 ff. Some of them figure in II.7, below.

75 Cf. the note on οἰκείωσις (I.11). οἰκειοῦσθαι is the corresponding verb.

76 The aspects are geometrical relationships between the heavenly bodies. Ptolemy recognizes here only four — opposition, trine, quartile, and sextile — as having significance, and does not class "conjunction" as an aspect, although it is treated as such throughout the Tetrabiblos. (p73)Kepler is said to have invented several others, based on other aliquot parts of 360°, the semiquadrate, quintile, sesquiquadrate, biquintile, etc. (cf. Ashmand, pp40‑41, nn.); these have been employed by modern astrologers, but the Ptolemaic doctrines of this and the 16th chapter are inconsistent with their use. The intervals between bodies in aspect in the four ways here mentioned can be measured in whole signs.

77 Nicomachus of Gerasa, Introduction to Arithmetic, I.19, defines the superparticular as "a number that contains within itself the whole of the number compared with it, and some one factor of it besides." The "two superparticulars most important to music" are the first two in the series, the sesquialter (3/2) and the sesquitertian (4/3), which correspond to the diapente and diatessaron respectively (cf. Nicomachus, op. cit., II.26).

78 That is, ½ of 180° = 90° (quartile) and ⅓ of 180° = 60° (sextile). All the MSS. and Proclus add here "and trine," which perhaps we should, with Camerarius (ed. 2), discard. The trine, however, could be regarded as ⅓ of 360° or as twice the sextile.

79 That is, the sesquialter = 3/2 = 90°/60° and the sesquitertian = 4/3 = 120°/90°.

80 Cf. Bouché-Leclercq, pp159‑164, on this and the following chapter. The pairs which "command" and "obey" (the "commanding" sign first) are: Taurus-Pisces, Gemini-Aquarius, Cancer-Capricorn, Leo-Sagittarius, Virgo-Scorpio. Aries and Libra are left out of the scheme, being the equinoctial signs from which the start is made; so Manilius, II.485, 501. The original notion seems to have been that these signs "heard" (ἀκούειν) each other, and the idea of "obeying" (ὑπακούειν) was a pseudo-scientific elaboration.

81 Cf. the note on III.10 (pp286 ff.) for the ascension of the signs.

82 In the summer hemisphere are the signs Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo; Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, (p77)Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces are in the winter hemisphere; see the diagram in Bouché-Leclercq, p161.

83 These pairs are Gemini-Leo, Taurus-Virgo, Aries-Libra, Pisces-Scorpio, and Aquarius-Sagittarius; Cancer and Capricorn are left without mates (ἄζυγα).

84 "Their own hours" are "ordinary" or "civil" hours (καιρικαὶ ὦραι; cf. p286, n3), which are always one-twelfth of the day (sunrise to sunset) or night (sunset to sunrise). Of course, they are equal if the days and nights are equal.

85 ὅρια, termini, literally "boundaries"; see c. 20. The triangles or triplicities are treated in c. 18 and the exaltations in c. 19.

86 That is, they are in the order of their distance from the centre of the universe, the earth.

87 Cf. c. 4.

88 Capricorn opposes Cancer and Aquarius Leo.

89 Sagittarius is triangular to Leo, the sun's house, and Pisces to Cancer. Cf. c. 13 on the "harmonious" nature of the trine and sextile, in contrast with quartile and opposition.

90 Aries is quartile to the moon's house, Cancer, and Scorpio to the sun's house, Leo. They are, however, also triangular to these houses, Aries to Leo and Scorpio to Cancer.

91 Taurus is sextile to Cancer and Libra to Leo.

92 This statement savours of Neo-Pythagoreanism; cf., for example, the demonstration by Nicomachus (Introduction to Arithmetic, II.7.4) of the proposition that the triangle is the most elementary plane figure, which is also Platonic doctrine (Timaeus 53C ff.); note likewise the much repeated statement that the number 3 is the first plane surface; Theon of Smyrna, p46, 14 (ed. Hiller), Macrobius, Somnium Scipionis, I.6.22, etc.

93 See c. 7.

94 Cf. c. 4.

95 Africus, Lips.

96 In c.10 the west is characterized as moist, which is regarded as a feminine quality (cf. c. 6).

97 I.e. south-east.

98 These have nothing to do with aphelion or perihelion; the planets are exalted or depressed in power in these positions: Boll-Bezold-Gundel, p59; Bouché-Leclercq pp192‑199.

99 Cf. c. 17; the houses of Saturn are the signs in opposition to the houses of the sun and moon.

100 Probably the system of the mythical Nechepso and Petosiris; it is the system of Dorotheus of Sidon, Firmicus Maternus, and Paulus Alexandrinus. Cf. Bouché-Leclercq, pp206‑210, who discusses Ptolemy's criticism of the Egyptian termini.

101 Libra is the solar house of Venus; Saturn's houses are Capricorn and Aquarius. Similarly Mars is at home in Aries, Jupiter's houses being Pisces and Sagittarius.

102 Cf. c. 18; Venus and the moon govern the second triangle.

103 Cf. c. 19; Mars' exaltation is in Capricorn.

104 For the doctrine that the sum of the terms of each planet determines the life-time of those born under its influence, cf. Bouché-Leclercq, p408.

105 This perhaps means that the sum of the times of ascension of the two signs assigned as houses to each planet gave, according to the theory of these unnamed astrologers, the number of years of life which they assigned to those born under them; cf. Bouché-Leclercq, p209.

106 A "time" is the period taken by one degree of the equator to rise above the horizon.

107 In Almagest, II.8.

108 The Greek tables on p96 show also, within each sign, the cumulative totals up to 30°; these have been omitted in the translation. Cf. p107, n1, and for the symbols p. xxv.

109 This method, as Bouché-Leclercq remarks (p210), is less "optimistic" than the Egyptian or the Ptolemaic method, because it assigned to the maleficent planets a larger number of terms and more first places in the various signs.

110 The Paraphrase of Proclus, by connecting the ὥστε (p99)clause solely with the expression οὐχ οὕτω δὲ αὐταρκῆ κ.τ.λ., interprets this sentence to mean that because of the lack of self-sufficiency mentioned one cannot readily understand the Chaldaean system without a diagram. Against this view two considerations are to be urged: (1) the Chaldaean system actually is simplicity itself compared with those of the Egyptians and of Ptolemy; (2) the adversative μέντοι ("nevertheless," "in spite of all this") and the intrusive καί have no meaning in Proclus' interpretation of the passage. The ὥστε clause is really dependent upon all that precedes, not merely a portion of it. The anonymous commentator (p41, ed. Wolf) agrees with the present interpretation. What Ptolemy misses in the Chaldaean system is the elaborate accompaniment of justifying reasons, dear to his heart even in a pseudo-science.

111 The sun is the diurnal ruler of this triplicity (see c. 18), but no terms are assigned to the luminaries. Similarly the moon is disregarded in the second and fourth triangles.

112 I.e. the order of the planets is always the same, but the leader (or pair of leaders, in the case of Saturn and Mercury) in one triangle is shifted to the last position when one comes to the next triangle. Hence, since the number of terms in each sign are also always 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, the Chaldaean system makes the assignment of terms exactly the same in the corresponding signs of each triangle.

113 I.e. in a diurnal nativity.

114 Ptolemy's ancient manuscript, therefore, if it really existed, was probably in the form of a roll, for there the last pages would be protected. The first and last pages of a codex would be liable to damage, since they would be outermost.

115 I.e. in the order Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc., which the Greeks called "the order of the following signs" and regarded as proceeding to the left.

116 According to the anonymous commentator (p42, ed. Wolf), this is because Mars belongs to the nocturnal sect and Saturn to the diurnal, the leaders of which are, respectively, the moon and the sun.

117 In Ptolemy's ancient manuscript; so says the anonymous commentator (p44, ed. Wolf).

118 The Greek tables contain, under each sign, (1) the name of the planet, (2) the number of its terms in this sign, and (3) the cumulative totals of terms, up to the 30° of the sign. The third detail has been omitted in the English tables. The anonymous commentator (pp44‑47, ed. Wolf) demonstrates in detail how the assignment of terms is made.

119 After the tables and before this chapter-heading some of the MSS. have: "There result from the addition of these, of Saturn, 57°; of Jupiter, 79°; of Mars, 66°; of Venus, 82°; of Mercury, 76°; the total is 360°."

120 One MS. and the printed editions insert here, "begin with the sign in which the star is and"; cf. the critical note.

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

ἀρχομενοι ἀπὸ τοῦ δωδεκατημορίου καθ᾽ ὄ ἐστιν ὁ ἀστηρ add. NCam.; om. VPLMDEProc.; ἁπερχόμενοι ἀπὸ τοῦ //// καὶ διδόντες A.

121 That is, Ptolemy's zodiac, made up of 12 divisions of 30° each, measured on the ecliptic from one of the solstices or equinoxes, is entirely different from the zodiac made up of signs determined by the actual constellations. Because of the precession of the equinoxes the two by no means coincide; and because the powers of the signs are derived from their relations to the solstitial and equinoctial points, says Ptolemy, the former definition of the zodiac is preferable. Cf. cc. 10‑11, and the distinction between solstitial, equinoctial, solid, and bicorporeal signs, as an example of what he means.

122 Just as, with the precession of the equinoxes, the fictive sign Aries is now almost entirely in Pisces.

123 The scholiast on Ptolemy says that, in addition to the conditions laid down by Ptolemy, a planet, to be in proper face, must also be in its own house and must be in the necessary aspect with both the luminaries (not with one of them, as Ptolemy says).

124 Venus' solar house, Libra, is sextile dexter (i.e. toward the west) to Leo, the sun's house, and her lunar house, Taurus, is sextile sinister (i.e. toward the east) to the moon's house, Cancer.

125 Ptolemy pays little attention to the thrones and chariots, which were apparently, as Bouché-Leclercq (p244) asserts, not to his taste as a scientific astrologer. In the Michigan astrological roll (P. Mich. 149, col. 3A, 22‑34) the "thrones" are identified with the (astrological) exaltations and the depressions of the planets are called their "prisons" (φυλακαί); upon the thrones the planets have "royal power," in their prisons they "are abased and oppose their own powers." Sarapion (CCAG VIII.4, p228, 25, and p231, 13) and Balbillus (ibid., p237, 8) use the word ἰδιοθρονεῖν.

126 Vettius Valens uses this word several times in a broader sense than that of this definition.

127 I.e. are more occidental.

128 συνάπτειν, applicare (noun συναφή, applicatio) is used of planets which are on or are closely approaching the same meridian. κόλλησις is a similar term. "Separation," (p113)ἀπόρροια, defluxio, on the contrary, refers to the movement apart of two bodies after "application." ἀπόρροια is also used by astrologers to designate the "emanations" of the heavenly bodies which affect the earth and its inhabitants, as for example in Vettius Valens, p160, 6‑7; 249, 3; 270, 24 ff.; 330, 19 ff.

129 Ashmand says this is generally understood to mean, when the heavenly bodies are within each other's orbs (Saturn 10°, Jupiter 12°, Mars 7°30′, sun 17°, Venus 8°, Mercury 7°30′, moon 12°30′). The anonymous commentator mentions 15° as the maximum distance (p51, ed. Wolf).

130 That is, when the planets themselves come to the same meridian, as opposed to the conjunction of one planet with the ray projected by another from the sextile, quartile, or trine aspect.

131 The ecliptic bisects the zodiac longitudinally. Planets, to "apply" in the "bodily" sense, must both be to the north, or to the south, of it; that is, in the same latitude. Cf. the anonymous commentator (pp50‑51, ed. Wolf).

132 See the note on III.10 concerning the projection of rays (ἀκτινοβολία). To judge from the remarks of the anonymous (p115)commentator, the thought is that, while the rays of planets closely approaching each other but in different latitudes would miss each other, the rays of those in aspect in any case mingle at their common meeting-place, the centre of the earth.

133 The theory of epicycles assigns to each planet at least one epicycle, on which it moves from west to east, while the centre of the epicycle likewise moves from west to east on the orbit, or deferent. Thus when the planet is in the outer semicircle of its epicycle (away from the earth) both motions will be in the same direction and the planet will be "adding to its motion"; conversely on the inner semicircle (toward the earth) the motion on the epicycle is in the opposite direction to that on the deferent and the apparent speed of the planet is diminished.

134 That is, the space of 30° ("place," or "house") immediately following, or rising next after, the horoscopic sign (cf. III.10, p273). This place is called the ἐπαναφορά of the horoscope.

135 That is, if they are disjunct (cf. c. 16).


Thayer's Notes:

a For exactly which stars are meant, see Allen's Star Names, s.v. Taurus.

b The customary modern astrological term is "square".

d The maximum elongation of Venus, as viewed from Earth, is 48° and, a bit further on, Mercury's maximum elongation is 28°.

e The proper astrological term in modern English is "fall".


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