Updated: May 19, 1981
Initial Release Date: May 19, 1981

The following chapter, which is now the only known Hellenistic exposition of how to interpret nativities systematically, is extant in three versions.

Version X

Revision

The Byzantine version

An exposition of instructions on how to interpret births

22. Instructions on how nativities must be interpreted

218. How to examine (nativities)

(1) After you have ascertained the positions of the stars to the degree, the natures of their signs, their bounds according to the Egyptians, their trigons, participations,X1 exaltations and depressions, their decans and the faces of these decans, their individual degrees and bright degrees, their twelfth-parts, their latitudes in reference to the winds and the steps, their obliquities — that is, their distances from the Ecliptic, just as from the Meridian — their appearances, additions or subtractions or stationing, and, according to the degree, the co-risings of the fixed stars that are close to them, with reference to their magnitude, winds, and temperaments, then come to the Hour-Marker and the Midheaven, and the pivots, succedents, and declines to the degree. (2) And when you have already ascertained the seven stars in respect of their places, cast the seven lots that are subjoined in the introduction of the book,X2 and ascertain the appearances of Selene — that is to say, the conjunction or whole moon before birth — her third, seventh, and fortieth days, and her applications and separations by longitude and latitude. 1) After you have ascertained the positions of the stars to the degree, the naturesR1 of their signs, their bounds according to the Egyptians and Ptolemy, their trigons, participations, exaltations and dejections, their decans and the faces of these decans, their individual degrees and bright degrees, their twelfth-parts, the latitudes of their winds and steps, the obliquities, the appearances and stationing, and, according to the degree, the co-risings of the fixed stars that are close to them and their temperaments, then come to the Hour-Marker, the Midheaven, and the pivots of the twelve places to the degree — as you have learned in chapter 15R2 — then to the seven lots and the appearances of Selene — that is, the conjunction or whole moon before birth — her third, seventh, and fortieth days, and her applications and separations by longitude and latitude. (1) After you have set out the Hour-Marker and the remaining places of the chart, fixed the stars in these places — that is, signs — where they are making their journey, and written down their longitudinal positions, you must examine their domiciles, trigons, exaltations, and bounds; that is, who of the stars is on his own throne, exalted, in his bounds or those of a benefic, additive, out of the beams; or the opposite, who of them is in the domicile, exaltation, or trigon of another star, or opposing his own domicile — that is, himself — depressed, and whether he is under the beams and subtractive. (2) Then examine their decans — that is, the faces — participations, individual degrees, bright degrees, twelfth-parts, the latitudes of their winds and the steps, their appearances and stationing, and, according to the degree, the co-risings of the fixed stars that are close to them and their temperaments, the familiarities and antipathies — that is, belonging to the same and the other party — then examine the appearances of Selene — that is, the conjunction or whole moon before birth — her third, seventh, and fortieth days, and her applications and separations by longitude and latitude.
(3) Then, after setting the general fixity of the birth and the pivots, succedents, and declines to the degree, examine the domicile-master of the birth according to the aforementioned methods.X3 (4) Then, after considering and calculating the conception, cast the leading and following trigonal, tetragonal, and hexagonal sides of every star to the degree, note them down separately, and keep them at hand in order that when during the interpretation of the circumambulations of the stars, we are making the adherences, we should not only take the trigonal, tetragonal, and hexagonal sides according to the sign but also to the degree; for they are more forceful, especially in the signs of short and long ascension.X4 (5) After noting down all these said sides, examine the lifetime from the domicile-master of the selected releaser, but when you are making the circumambulations of all the stars, do not forget that the adherences of the stars, the Hour-Marker,X5 the Midheaven, and the lots that occur with the fixed stars have enormous performance in accordance with their temperaments, especially if both of them have the same wind. (2) Then examine the domicile-master of the birth and consider the conception based on the writings of ValensR3 in the manner we shall teach you after these instructions.R4 (3) Consider the trigonal, [tetragonal,] and hexagonal sides to the degree — as you learned them in chapter 16R5 — both the right and left ones. (4) Keep these separately after noting them down in order that when, during the interpretation of the circumambulations of the stars, you are making the adherences, you should not only take the sides according to the sign and place but also to the degree; for they are more forceful, especially in the signs of short and long ascension. (5) Then examine the matters of the lifetime based on the writings of Ptolemy and Valens.R6 (6) And in the circumambulations of the stars, the adherences of the stars, the Hour-Marker, the Midheaven, and the lots occurring with the fixed stars have enormous performance in accordance with their temperaments as long as they have the same latitude. (3) Also, examine the Hour-Marker of the conception as the ancient Egyptians do, the domicile-master of the birth, and the trigonal, tetragonal, and hexagonal sides to the degree, both the right and left ones. (4) Keep all these separately after noting them down in order that when, during the interpretation of the circumambulations of the stars, you are making the adherences, you should not only take the sides according to the sign and place but also to the degree; for they are more forceful, especially in the signs of short and long ascension. (5) For in the circumambulations of the stars, the adherences of the stars, the Hour-Marker, the Midheaven, and the lots occurring with the fixed stars have enormous performance in accordance with their temperaments as long as they have the same latitude.

X1 ‘Participation’ (μετοχή) is a concept rarely encountered in astrological literature. I am aware of three different usages, of which the one probably originating from Antiochus of Athens (Summary of Antiochus’s Introductory Matters 1.16; “Porphyry”, Introduction 26; Hephaestio 1.13; “Rhetorius”, Explanation 5.30) is best known; however, the context suggests that either of the two other versions must be understood here. According to one definition, which is implicitly embedded in the birth chart of Eutocius of Ascalon (dated to 28 October 497, found in “Rhetorius”, Explanation 6.52), the participating star is the out-of-sect triangular lord, while only the in-sect triangular lord is considered as the lord of the trigon. The other version appears in an undatable birth extant in a late second-century or early third-century papyrus (P. Oxy. 4277); here Kronos is the participating star in the Goat-Horned One, the Bull, and the Water-Pourer, Ares in the Lion, and Zeus in the Scorpion, but the logic of this system remains unclear in the absence of its description.

X2 A reference to “Rhetorius”, Explanation 5.47.

X3 Perhaps referring to the original of what is now chapter 16 of the Revision. There the procedure described in Valens 3.3 is recommended.

X4 P omits the signs of short rising.

X5 XP add: “the hour.”

R1 Reading φύσεις with version X and Z2 for φάσεις, ‘appearances,’ of BH and Z1.

R2 It is now chapter 12 of the Revision.

R3 See Anthologies 1.21.

R4 A reference to the following chapter 23 of the Revision.

R5 It is now chapter 14 of the Revision.

R6 Ptolemy, Apotelesmatics 3.11 and most of book III of Valens.

Blockquote

Some more details are disclosed in a letter (CCAG 5.1, 118.18–119.2 and 119.9–13 Cumont) written by the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (born on 28 November 1118, reigned between 8 April 1143 and his death on 24 September 1180):

“When he (Constantine) used this kind of investigation (astrology) with the aid of that very wise Valens, (he was advised) to wait for fourteen years to observe (the phenomena) contributing to the (wished) aim. (…) What is more, that the star of Kronos lying in the second place of the zodiac apparently indicated that the money of the citizens is spent on monks, as he (Kronos) himself also happens to be solitary, in the way we see this occur even until now.”