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IV.1‑4

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.
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IV.8‑10

Ptolemy
Tetrabiblos

p393 Cam.2 p182 Book IV

5. Of Marriage.

As the subject of marriage comes next in order to these matters, the following is the method whereby the lawful association of man and wife must be investigated. For men it is necessary to observe the position of the moon in their genitures.30 For, in the first place, if she chances to be in the eastern quadrants, she makes men marry young or marry women younger than themselves; but if she is in the western quadrants 183they marry late or marry older women. And if she is under the rays of the sun31 and in aspect with Saturn, they do not marry at all. Then again, if the moon is in a sign of a single p395figure, or is applying to one of the planets,32 she makes them men of one marriage; but if she is in a bicorporeal or multiform sign, or applies to several planets in the same sign, she makes them marry more than once. And if the planets to which she applies, either by propinquity, or by testimony,33 are beneficent, the men get good wives; but if they are maleficent planets, the opposite. If she applies to Saturn, he makes the wives hardworking and stern; Jupiter, dignified and good managers; Mars, bold and unruly; Venus, cheerful, beautiful, and charming; Mercury, intelligent and keen. Further, Venus with Jupiter, Saturn, or Mercury makes them thrifty and affectionate to their husbands and children, but with Mars, easily roused to wrath, unstable, and unfeeling.

In the case of the wives one must observe the sun in their genitures; for if he, again, chances to be in the eastern quadrants, he makes those who have him in this position in their genitures either marry young or marry men younger than themselves, but in the western quadrants, 184he makes them marry late or marry husbands older than themselves. And if the sun is in a sign of a single figure, or applies to one of p397the oriental planets, he makes them marry but once; but, again, if he is in a bicorporeal or multiform sign, or in aspect with several planets in the east, they marry more than once. If Saturn is similarly in aspect with the sun, they marry sedate, useful, industrious husbands; if Jupiter is in aspect, dignified and magnanimous; Mars, men of action, lacking in affection, and unruly; Venus, neat and handsome; Mercury, thrifty and practical; Venus with Saturn, sluggish and rather weak in sexual relations; Venus with Mars, ardent, impetuous, and adulterous; Venus with Mercury, infatuated with boys. In this connection we mean by eastern quadrants, in the case of the sun, the signs which precede the rising sign of the zodiac, and those which precede the setting sign; with reference to the moon, the signs from new and full moon to the quarters; and by western quadrants the signs opposite these.

Marriages for the most part are lasting when in both the genitures the luminaries happen to be in harmonious aspect, that is, in trine or in sextile with one another, and particularly when this comes about by exchange;34 and even more when the p399husband's moon is in such aspect with the wife's sun. Divorces on slight pretexts and complete alienations occur 185when the aforesaid positions of the luminaries are in disjunct signs, or in opposition or in quartile. And if the beneficent planets regard the luminaries when the latter are in harmonious aspect, they keep the marriage pleasant, agreeable, and profitable, but if the maleficent planets so regard the luminaries, the marriage will be quarrelsome, unpleasant, and unprofitable. Similarly, when the luminaries are in inharmonious positions, the beneficent planets testifying to the luminaries do not completely terminate the marriages, but bring about renewals and recollections, which preserve kindness and affection; but the maleficent planets cause divorces with abuse and violence. If Mercury is alone with them, they are involved in notoriety and recriminations; and along with Venus, in adultery, poisonings, and the like. Marriages which come about in any other manner whatsoever must be judged by looking to Venus, Mars, and Saturn. For if they are with the luminaries in familiarity, we must decide that the marriages also will be domestic and the relationship lawful. For the marriage relationship will follow the relation which Venus holds to each of the planets mentioned, p401toward Mars, that of persons of the same age, since they have their exaltations in signs that are in trine to one another;35 toward Saturn, that of the older person, 186since again they have their houses in signs which are in trine to each other.36

Therefore Venus, with Mars, produces merely amorous dispositions, but if Mercury is present, notoriety also; in the common and familiar signs,37 Capricorn and Pisces, unions with brethren or kindred. If in the case of men Venus is with the moon, she makes them unite with two sisters or kinsfolk, and if in the case of women Venus is with Jupiter, with two brothers, or kinsfolk.

Again, if Venus happens to be with Saturn, she produces merely pleasant and firm unions, but if Mercury is present, they are also beneficial. But if Mars also is present the marriage will be unstable, harmful, and full of jealousy. And if she is in the same aspect to them, she brings about marriages with equals in age; but if she is further to the east than they, marriages with younger men or women, and if she is further to the west, with older women or men. But if Venus and Saturn are also in the common signs, that is, in Capricorn or Libra,38 they p403portend marriages of kin. If the moon is present with this aforesaid combination when it is at the horoscope or at mid‑heaven, she makes men wed their mothers, orº their mother's sisters, or their stepmothers, and women wed their sons, their brothers' sons, or their daughters' husbands. The sun, particularly if the planets are setting, makes men wed their daughters, 187daughters' sisters, or sons' wives, and the women wed their fathers, fathers' brothers, or stepfathers. But if the aforesaid aspects chance not to be composed of signs of the same gender, but are in feminine places,39 thus they produce depraved individuals, ready in every way for both active and passive participation, and in some formations utterly obscene, as for instance in the forward and hinder parts of Aries, the Hyades, and the Pitcher, and the hind parts of Leo, and the face of Capricorn. But if the configuration is angular, on the first two angles, the eastern and mid‑heaven, they make a complete display of their abnormalities and bring them forward even in public places; on the last two, that is, the western and northern, they produce spades and eunuchs or sterile women and p405those without passages; if Mars is present, men who have lost their genitals, or the so‑called tribades.40

In general we shall, in the case of men, investigate through Mars what will be their disposition with respect to matters of love. For if Mars is separated from Venus and Saturn, but has the testimony of Jupiter, he produces men who are cleanly and decorous in love and who aim only at its natural use. But if he is accompanied by Saturn alone, he produces men cautious, hesitant, and frigid. If Venus and Jupiter are in aspect with him, 188he will produce men easily roused and passionate, who are, however, continent, hold themselves in check, and avoid unseemliness. With Venus alone, or if Jupiter also is with her, but Saturn is not present, he produces lustful, careless men, who seek their pleasures from every quarter; and if one of the planets is an evening and the other a morning star, men who have relations with both males and females, but no more than moderately inclined to either. But if both are evening stars, they will be inclined toward the females alone, and if the signs of the zodiac are feminine, they themselves will be pathics. If both are morning stars, they will be infected only with love of boys, and if the signs of the zodiac are masculine, with males of any age. If Venus is further to the west, they will have to do with women of low degree, slaves, or p407foreigners; if Mars is further west, with superiors, or married women, or ladies of high station.

In the genitures of women one must examine Venus. For if Venus is in aspect with Jupiter or likewise with Mercury, she makes them temperate and pure in love. If Saturn41 is not present, but she is associated with Mercury, she makes them easily aroused and full of desire, but generally cautious, hesitant, and avoiding turpitude. But if Venus is together with Mars only, or is in some aspect to him, she makes them lustful and depraved and more heedless. If Jupiter too is present with them, and if Mars is under the sun's rays, they have commerce with slaves, men of lower classes, or foreigners; 189but if Venus is in this position, they consort with men of superior rank or masters, playing the part of mistresses or adulteresses; if the planets are made feminine by their places or aspects,42 they are inclined only to take the passive part, but if the planets are made masculine they are so depraved as actively to have commerce with women. However, when Saturn is brought into association with the aforesaid configurations, if he is himself made feminine, he is by himself the cause of licentiousness, but if he is rising and in a masculine position, he makes them the objects of censure or lovers of such; but combination with p409Jupiter, again, always gives a more seemly appearance to these faults, and with Mercury makes them more notorious and unsafe.

6. Of Children.

As the topic of children follows upon that of marriage, we shall have to observe the planets that are in the mid‑heaven or in aspect with it or with its succedent,º that is, the house of the Good Daemon,43 or, in default of such planets, those connected with the diametrically opposite places; and we must take the moon, Jupiter, and Venus to portend the giving of children, the sun, Mars, and Saturn to indicate few or no children. Mercury must be taken as common, with whichever group of planets he chances to be in aspect, and to give children when he is a morning star, and to take them away when he is an evening star.

190Now, the donative planets, when they are merely in such a position and are by themselves, give single offspring, but if they are in bicorporeal and feminine signs, and similarly if they are in the fecund signs, such as Pisces, Scorpio, and Cancer, they give two or even more. If they are of a masculine nature, because they are in masculine signs or in aspect to the sun, they give male children; but female, if they are of a feminine nature. If the maleficent planets overcome them, or if they are found in sterile places,44 such as Leo or Virgo, p411they give children, but for no good nor for any length of time. When the sun and the maleficent planets govern the aforesaid regions, if they are in masculine signs or in sterile signs, and if they are not overcome by the beneficent planets, they signify complete childlessness, but if they are in feminine or fecund signs or have the testimony of the beneficent planets, they give offspring, but it will suffer injury and be short-lived. If both the sects45 bear some relation to the signs which signify the begetting of children, there will be losses among the children given, either of all of them or of a few, depending upon the superiority of the planets of either sect that bear witness, whichever we find to be more in number, or greater in power, because they are further to the east, or are closer to the angles, or are superior, or are succedent. If, then, the planets which rule the aforesaid signs are rising, and are givers of children, if they are in their own places, they will make famous and illustrious the children which are garden; but if they are setting and are in places belonging to the other sect, 191the children will be humble and obscure. And if they are found to be in harmony with the horoscope and with the Lot of Fortune, the children will be dear to their parents, they will be attractive, and will inherit their parents' estates; if however they are disjunct or opposed, they will be p413quarrelsome, trouble-makers, and injurious, and will not succeed to their patrimony. And similarly, if also the planets which give children are in harmonious aspect one to another, the children which they give continue in brotherly affection and mutual respect; but if they are disjunct or in opposition to one another, the disposition of the children will be quarrelsome and scheming. Particular details, again, one could conjecture by using in each case as a horoscope the planet which gives children, and making his investigation of the more important questions from the rest of the configuration, as in a geniture.

7. Of Friends and Enemies.

With regard to friendly dispositions and the opposite, the deeper and more lasting of which we call sympathies and hostilities, and the lesser and occasional acquaintances46 and quarrels, our investigation will follow this course. In inquiries regarding matters of importance we must observe the places in both nativities which have the greatest authority, that is, those of the sun, the moon, the horoscope, and the Lot of Fortune; 192for if they chance to fall in the same signs of the zodiac, or if they exchange p415places,47 either all or most of them, and particularly if the horoscopic regions are about 17° apart, they bring about secure and indissoluble sympathy, unbroken by any quarrel. However, if they are in disjunct signs of opposite signs, they produce the deepest enmities and lasting contentions. If they chance to be situated in neither of these ways, but merely in signs which bear an aspect to one another, if they are in trine or in sextile, they make the sympathies less, and in quartile, the antipathies less. Thus there come about occasional spells of silence and of disparaging talk in friendships, whenever the maleficent planets are passing through these configurations, and truces and reconciliations in enmities at the ingress of the beneficent planets upon them. For there are three classes of friendship and enmity, since men are so disposed to one another either by preference or by need or through pleasure and pain; when all or most of the aforesaid places have familiarity with each other, the friendship is compounded of all three kinds, even as the enmity is, when they are dissociated. But when the places of the luminaries only are in familiarity, the friendship will result from choice, which is the best and surest kind, and in the case of enmity the worst and faithless;º 193similarly, when the places of the p417Lots of Fortune are familiar, through need; and when the places of the horoscopes are familiar, through pleasure or pain.

One must observe, of the places in aspect, their elevations48 and how the planets regard them. To the nativity in which an elevation of the configuration occurs, whether it is the same sign as the succedent place or the one closest to it,49 must be assigned the greater authority and direction over friendship and enmity; and to those nativities in which the regard of the planets is more favourable50 for benevolence and power, we must allot the greater benefit from the friendship and the greater success in the enmity.

In the occasional acquaintances and oppositions that arise from time to time between individuals, we must pay attention to the movements of the planets in each of the nativities, that is, at what times the prorogations of the planets of one nativity reach the p419places of the other.51 For partial friendships and enmities take place in these times, prevailing at the shortest up to the completion of the prorogation, and at the longest until some other of the approaching planets reaches the place. Now if Saturn and Jupiter approach each other's places they produce friendships through introductions, agriculture, or inheritance; Saturn and Mars make intentional quarrels and schemings; Saturn and Venus, 194associations through kinsfolk, which, however, quickly cool; Saturn and Mercury make marriage and partnerships for the sake of giving and receiving, trade, or the mysteries. Jupiter and Mars cause associations through dignities or the management of property; Jupiter and Venus friendships through women, religious rites, oracles, or the like; Jupiter and Mercury associations for learned discussion, based upon philosophic inclination. Mars and Venus cause associations through love, adultery, or illegitimate relations, but they are unsure and flourish only briefly; Mars and Mercury produce enmities, noisy disputes, and lawsuits which arise through business or poisonings. Venus and p421Mercury give associations based upon some art or domain of the Muses, or an introduction by letter or through women.

Now then we must determine the degree of the intensity or relaxation of acquaintances and oppositions from the relation between the places which they assume and the four principal and most authoritative places,52 for if they are upon the angles or the Lots of Fortune or the houses of the luminaries, their portent is the more conspicuous, but if they are removed from them, they are insignificant. Whether the association will be more injurious or more beneficial to the associates is to be determined from the character for good or bad of the planets which regard the places named.

The special topic or account of slaves53 and the sympathy or antipathy of their masters to them 195is elucidated from the house of the Evil Daemon54 and from the natural suitability of the planets which regard this place both in the nativity itself and in their ingresses and oppositions to it, particularly when the lords of the sign are either in harmonious aspect to the principal places of the nativity, or the opposite.55


The Editor's Notes:

30 The text has, literally, "their moon," but this, of course, means the moon as found in the genitures of the subjects. Cf. P. Mich. 149, VI.31‑32, τούτων Ἀφροδείτη εὑρεθήσεται κτλ., "Venus in the genitures of these men will be found," etc.

31 Within 15° of the sun; cf. Bouché-Leclercq, p309.

32 The "bicorporeal" signs (δίσωμα) precede the solstistial and equinoctical signs and follow the "solid" signs; see I.11. Ptolemy explains the name on the ground that they (p395)share in two kinds of weather, rather than that the constellations represent more than one figure (e.g. Gemini, Pisces), or a figure of a mixed nature (διφυής; e.g. Sagittarius, Capricorn); it is characteristic of him to prefer scientific explanations to those based on mythology or fancy. The anonymous commentator says that he means by "signs of a single figure" the tropical and solid signs, with the exception of the fecund (πολύσπερμα), which are akin to the bicorporeal. For "application," cf. I.24.

33 Synonymous with "aspect."

34 The anonymous commentator (p154, ed. Wolf) says, on this passage: "And if (sc. the aspects) are harmonious, either both the luminaries (sc. are in aspect), or in both the genitures, or one with the other; and if one (sc. with the other), either sun with sun, or moon with moon, or alternately (ἐνηλλαγμένα) the sun with the moon and the moon with the sun." By the expression "one with the other" he seems to mean "the luminaries in one geniture with those in the other," and this would be his interpretation of Ptolemy's ἐναλλάξ (Proclus, κατ᾽ ἐναλλαγήν). This is more likely to be correct than Bouché-Leclercq's assumption (p449) of an exchange of houses, especially as the houses of the sun and moon, Leo and Cancer, are disjunct (ἀσύνδετα).

35 More properly, their exaltations are in trine with their houses; for the exaltation of Mars (Capricorn) is in trine (p401)with the house of Venus (Taurus), not with her exaltation (Pisces). The latter is in trine with Scorpio, the house of Mars.

36 This is literally so; Taurus, the house of Venus, and Capricorn, the house of Saturn, both belong to the second or south-eastern triangle.

37 Capricorn is the house of Saturn and Pisces the exaltation of Venus.

38 Capricorn is the house of Saturn; Libra the house of Venus and the exaltation of Saturn.

39 Cf. I.6, according to which positions following the sun, or in the two quadrants from mid‑heaven to occident and from lower mid‑heaven to orient are feminine. The anonymous commentator in his explanation (p157, ed. Wolf) apparently has I.6 in mind, but his account seems somewhat confused.

40 Female perverts; see Cumont, pp182‑183.

Thayer's Note: or, more neutrally, lesbians. Although in the only other passage (III.14, § 171) where he mentions them, Ptolemy clearly views lesbians as a distasteful and aberrant species, "pervert" is not his term: it's the language of the mid‑20c translator. The attentive reader will note that, where "perversion" is used in the translation, it is to characterize "morbid perversion" (νοσηματικὴ παραλλαγή) not only excessive "unnatural" sexual activity, but "natural" as well: in keeping with his Aristotelian views, what Ptolemy brands as perversion is the unrestrained and immoderate character of sexual activity, of whatever kind.

41 The reading of the better MSS. and Proclus is restored here. Camerarius (see the cr. n.) read "Jupiter" with (p407)some plausibility, to be sure, because Jupiter and Mercury have been associated with Venus in the preceding sentence; but this very plausibility would have been a good reason for substituting "Jupiter" for an original "Saturn." Furthermore, the effect of the absence of Saturn, in this sentence, is not unlike what it is said to be in the preceding paragraph, that is, to make the subjects more lustful.

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

Κρόνου VPLDProc., Διὸς MAECam.

42 Cf. I.6.

43 The eleventh place, or house.

44 Some of the MSS. at this point read "places," some "signs," and some (with Proclus) "places or signs"; see (p409)the critical note. Probably the less usual term, "places" (τόποις), is the more original; "signs" (ζῳδίοις) was added as a gloss, and thus came into the text.

The critical note to the Greek text reads:

τόποις VD; τόποις ἢ ζῳδίοις PLProc.; ζῳδίοις MAECam.

45 The Anonymous (p159, Wolf) says that Ptolemy here does not mean the ordinary sects, diurnal and nocturnal, but the donative and destructive planets.

46 συναστρία is an uncommon word. The anonymous commentator says that Ptolemy uses it of the "second and moderate" type of friendship.

47 See Bouché-Leclercq, p241, n1.

48 A star to the right is elevated above, or "overcomes," a star to the left, that is, one which follows it in the diurnal motion. Cf. Porphyry, Introd., pp188‑189, Wolf.

49 Rather obscure, but apparently he means whether the preceding and the succeeding places, which might be, e.g. the horoscopes of the two genitures, are in the same sign or in successive ones. The latter is possible, for in unbroken friendships, as he said above, the horoscopes should be within 17° of each other, and hence could be in successive signs. Proclus paraphrases thus: "For that place will have the greater authority over the friendship or the enmity to which the elevation or the succedent place is near, either in the same sign or closest by" (ἐκεῖνος γὰρ ὁ τόπος ἔξε· τὸ δυνατώτερον τῆς φιλίας ἢ τῆς ἔχθρας πρὸς ὃν ἐγγίζει ἡ καθυπερτέρησις ἢ ἐπαναφορά, ἢ κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ ζῴδιον ἢ ἔγγιστα).

50 As, for example, trine is generally more favourable than quartile.

51 The method of prorogation explained at length in III.10 is used, with a point of departure in one nativity and point of arrival in the other.

52 I.e. those named at the beginning of the chapter: horoscope, Lot of Fortune, sun, and moon.

53 Camerarius and one or two of the MSS. here insert the heading of a new chapter, Περὶ δούλων ("Of Slaves"). The prominence given to the subject reflects the importance of slavery in ancient society.

54 The twelfth house, immediately preceding the horoscope.

55 This passage has difficulties, as Bouché-Leclercq points out (p454, esp. n4). Apparently we are to observe, as (p422)he says, whether the planets that are actually in the twelfth house, or are in aspect to it, or in opposition to it, are of the same natural temperament; but in the following clause Bouché-Leclercq confesses himself not to be sure of the meaning of αὐθεντικοῖς, rendered praecipuis by Cardanus, (p423)locis dominii et potestatis eorum by Junctinus, and cum dominatore nativitatis by Melanchthon. It may be noted that Proclus has πρὸς τοὺς κυρίους τόπους τῆς γενέσεως. The anonymous commentator gives no help.


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