CLAUDIUS PTOLEMY:

TETRABIBLOS

OR THE QUADRIPARTITE MATHEMATICAL TREATISE


BOOK II.

1. lntroduction.

LET it be considered that thus far we have furnished in brief the most important details of the tabular exposition needful for the inquiry into particular prognostications. Let us now add in proper sequence the procedures for dealing in detail with those matters which lie within the limits of possibility of this kind of prognostication, holding everywhere to the natural method of exposition.
Since, then, prognostication by astronomical means is divided into two great and principal parts, and since the first and more universal is that which relates to whole races, countries, and cities, which is called general, and the second and more specific is that which relates to individual men, which is called genethlialogical, we believe it fitting to treat first of the general division, because such matters are naturally swayed by greater and more powerful causes than are particular events. And since weaker natures always yield to the stronger, and the particular always falls under the general, it would by all means be necessary for those who purpose an inquiry about a single individual long before to have comprehended the more general considerations.
Of the general inquiry itself, a part, again, is found to concern whole countries, and a part to concern cities; and further, a part deals with the greater and more periodic conditions, such as wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, deluges, and the like; and another with the lesser and more occasional, as for example the changes in temperature in the seasons of the year, and the variations of the intensity of storms, heat, and winds, or of good and bad crops, and so on. But in each of these cases, as is reasonable, procedure, by entire countries and by more important conditions is preferred, for the same reason as before. And since in the examination of these questions these two things particularly are taken into consideration, the familiarity of the signs of the zodiac and also of the stars with the several climes, and the significances of heavenly bodies in their own proper regions at a given time, manifested through the ecliptical conjunctions of the sun and moon and the transits of the planets at rising and at their stationary periods, we shall first explain the natural reason for the aforesaid sympathies, and at the same time briefly survey the bodily and ethical peculiarities generally observed to belong to whole nations, which are not alien to the natural character of the stars and signs that are familiar to them.




Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos

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