CLAUDIUS PTOLEMY:

TETRABIBLOS

OR THE QUADRIPARTITE MATHEMATICAL TREATISE

10. Of Length of Life.

The consideration of the length of life takes the leading place among inquiries about events following birth, for, as the ancient says, it is ridiculous to attach particular predictions to one who, by the constitution of the years of his life, will never attain at all to the time of the predicted events. This doctrine is no simple matter, nor unrelated to others, but in complex fashion derived from the domination of the places of greatest authority. The method most pleasing to us and, besides, in harmony with nature is the following. For it depends entirely upon the determination of the prorogative places and the stars that fuel the prorogation, and upon the determination of the destructive places or stars. Each of these is determined in the following fashion:
In the first place we must consider those places prorogative in which by all means the planet must be that is to receive the lordship of the prorogation; namely, the twelfth part of the zodiac surrounding the horoscope, from 5° ahove the actual horizon up to the 25° that remains, which is rising in succession to the horizon; the part sextile dexter to these thirty degrees, called the House of the Good Daemon; the part in quartile, the mid-heaven; the part in trine, called the House of the God; and the part opposite, the Occident. Among these there are to be preferred, with reference to power of domination, first those which are in the midheaven, then those in the orient, then those in the sign succedent to the mid-heaven, then those in the occident, then those in the sign rising before mid-heaven; for the whole region below the earth must, as is reasonable, be disregarded when a domination of such importance is concerned, except only those parts which in the ascendant sign itself are coming into the light. Of the part above the earth it is not fitting to consider either the sign that is disjunct from the ascendant, nor that which rose before it, called the House of the Evil Daemon, because it injures the emanation from the stars in it to the earth and is also declining, and the thick, misty exhalation from the moisture of the earth creates such a turbidity and, as it were, obscurity, that the stars do not appear in either their true colours or magnitudes.
After this again we must take as prorogatives the four regions of greatest authority, still, moon, horoscope, the Lot of Fortune, and the rulers of these regions.
Take as the Lot of Fortune always the amount of the number of degrees, both by night and by day, which is the distance from the sun to the moon, and which extends to an equal distance from the horoscope in the order of the following signs, in order that, whatever relation and aspect the sun bears to the horoscope, the moon also may bear to the Lot of Fortune, and that it may be as it were a lunar horoscope.
Of these, by day we must give first place to the sun, if it is in the prorogative places; if not, to the moon; and if the moon is not so placed, to the planet that has most relations of domination to the sun, to the preceding conjunction, and to the horoscope; that is, when, of the five methods of domination that exist, it has three to one, or even more; but if this cannot be, then finally we give preference to the horoscope. By night prefer the moon first, next the Sun, next the planets having the greater number of relations of domination to the moon, to the preceding full moon, and to the Lot of Fortune; otherwise, finally, if the preceding syzygy was a new moon, the horoscope, but if it was a full moon the Lot of Fortune. But if both the luminaries or the ruler of the proper sect should be in the prorogative places, we must take the one of the luminaries that is in the place of greatest authority. And we should prefer the ruling planet to both of the luminaries only when it both occupies a position of greater authority and bears a relation of domination to both the sects.
When the prorogator has been distinguished, we must still further adopt two methods of prorogation. The one, that which follows the order of the following signs, must be used only in the case of what is called the projection of rays, when the prorogator is in the orient, that is, between mid-heaven and the horoscope. We must use not only the method that follows the order of following signs, but also that which follows the order of leading signs, in the so called horimaea, when the prorogator is in places that decline from mid-heaven.
This being the case, the destructive degrees in the prorogation that follows the order of leading signs are only the degree of the western horizon, because it causes the lord of life to vanish; and the degrees of the planets that thus approach or bear witness merely take away and add years to the sum of those as far as the setting of the prorogator, and they do not destroy because they do not move toward the prorogative place, but it moves toward them. The beneficent stars add and the maleficent subtract. Mercury, again, is reckoned with the group to which he bears an aspect. The number of the addition or subtraction is calculated by means of the location in degrees in each case. For the entire number of years is the same as the number of hourly periods of each degree, hours of the day when it is day and hours of the night when it is night; this must be our reckoning when they are in the orient, and subtraction must be made in proportion to their departure therefrom, until at their setting it becomes zero.
In the prorogation which follows the order of following signs, the places of the maleficent planets, Saturn and Mars, destroy, whether they are approaching bodily, or project their rays from any place whatever in quartile or in opposition, and sometimes too in sextile, upon the signs called "hearing" or "seeing" on grounds of equality of power; and the sign that is quartile to the prorogative sign in the order of following signs likewise destroys. And sometimes, also, among the signs that ascend slowly the sextile aspect destroys, when it is afflicted, and again among the signs that ascend rapidly the trine. When the moon is the prorogator, the place of the sun also destroys. For in a prorogation of this kind the approaches of planets avail both to destroy and to preserve, since these are in the direction of the prorogative place. However, it must not be thought that these places always inevitably destroy, but only when they are afflicted. For they are prevented both if they fall within the term of a beneficent planet and if one of the beneficent planets projects its ray from quartile, trine, or opposition either upon the destructive degree itself or upon the parts that follow it, in the case of Jupiter not more than 120, and in that of Venus not over 80; also if, when both the prorogator and the approaching planet are present bodily, the latitude of both is not the same. Thus when there are two or more on each side, assisting and, vice versa, destroying, we must consider which of them prevails, both by the number of those that co-operate and by power; by number when one group is perceptibly more numerous than the other, and with regard to power when some of the assisting or of the destroying planets are in their own proper places, and some are not, and particularly when some are rising and others setting. For in general we must not admit any planet, either to destroy or to aid, that is under the rays of the sun, except that when the moon is prorogator the place of the sun itself is destructive, when it is changed about by the presence of a maleficent planet and is not released by any of the beneficent ones.
However, the number of years, determined by the distances between the prorogative place and the destructive planet, ought not to be taken simply or offhand, in accordance with the usual traditions, from the times of ascension of each degree, except only when the eastern horizon itself is the prorogator, or some one of the planets that are rising in that region. For one method alone is available for him who is considering this subject in a natural manner - to calculate after how many equinoctial periods the place of the following body or aspect comes to the place of the one preceding at the actual time of birth, because the equinoctial periods pass evenly through both the horizon and the mid-heaven, to both of which are referred the proportions of spatial distances, and, as is reasonable, each one of the periods has the value of one solar year. Whenever the prorogative and preceding place is actually on the eastern horizon, we should take the times of ascension of the degrees up to the meeting place; for after this number of equinoctial periode the destructive planet comes to the place of the prorogator, that is, to the eastern horizon. But when it is actually at the mid-heaven, we should take the ascensions on the right sphere in which the segment in each case passes mid-heaven; and when it is on the western horizon, the number in which each of the degrees of the interval descends, that is, the number in which those directly opposite them ascend. But if the precedent place is not on these three limits but in the intervals between them, in that case the times of the aforesaid ascensions, descensions, or culminations will not carry the following places to the places of the preceding, but the periods will be different. For a place is similar and the same if it has the same position in the same direction with reference both to the horizon and to the meridian. This is most nearly true of those which lie upon one of those semicircles which are described through the sections of the meridian and the horizon, each of which at the same position makes nearly the same temporal hour. Even as, if the revolution is upon the aforesaid arcs, it reaches the same position with reference to both the meridian and horizon, but makes the periods of the passage of the zodiac unequal with respect to either, in the same way also at the positions of the other distances it makes their passages in times unequal to the former. We shall therefore adopt one method only, as follows, whereby, whether the preceding place occupies the orient, the mid-heaven, the occident, or any other position, the proportionate number of equinoctial times that bring the following place to it will be apprehended. For after we have first determined the culminating degree of the zodiac and furthermore the degree of the precedent and that of the subsequent, in the first place we shall investigate the position of the precedent, how many ordinary hours it is removed from the meridian, counting the ascensions that properly intervene up to the very degree of mid-heaven, whether over or under the earth, on the right sphere, and dividing them by the amount of the horary periods of the precedent degree, diurnal if it is above the earth and nocturnal if it is below. But since the sections of the zodiac which are an equal number of ordinary hours removed from the meridian lie upon one and the same of the aforesaid semicircles, it will also be necessary to find after how many equinoctial periods the subsequent section will be removed from the same meridian by the same number of ordinary hours as the precedent. When we have determined these, we shall inquire how many equinoctial hours at its original position the degree of the subsequent was removed from the degree at mid-heaven, again by means of ascensions in the right sphere, and how many when it made the same number of ordinary hours as the precedent, multiplying these into the number of the horary periods of the degree of the subsequent; if again the comparison of the ordinary hours relates to the mid-heaven above the earth, multiplying into the number of diurnal hours, but if it re1ates to that be1ow the earth, the number of nocturnal hours. And taking the results from the difference of the two distances we shall have the number of years for which the inquiry was made.
To make this clearer, suppose that the precedent place is the beginning of Aries, for example, and the subsequent the beginning of Gemini, and the latitude that where the longest day is fourteen hours long, and the horary magnitude of the beginning of Gemini is approximately 17 equinoctial times. Assume first that the beginning of Aries is rising, so that the beginning of Capricorn is at mid-heaven, and let the beginning of Gemini be removed from the mid-heaven above the earth 148 equinoctial times. Now since the beginning of Aries is six ordinary hours removed from the diurnal mid-heaven, multiplying these into the 17 equinoctial times, which are the times of the horary magnitude of the beginning of Gemini, since the distance of 148 times relates to the mid-heaven above the earth, we shall have for this interval also 102 times. Hence, after 46 times, which is the difference, the subsequent place will pass to the position of the precedent. These are very nearly the equinoctial times of the ascension of Aries and Taurus. since it is assumed that the prorogative sign is the horoscope.
Similarly, let the beginning of Aries be at midheaven, so that at its original position the beginning of Gemini may be 58 equinoctial times removed from the mid-heaven above the earth. Therefore, since at its second position the beginning of Gemini should be at mid-heaven, we shall have for the difference of the distances precisely this amount of 58 times, in which again, because the prorogative sign is at mid-heaven, Aries and Taurus page through the meridian.
In the same way let the beginning of Aries be setting, so that the beginning of Cancer may be at mid-heaven and the beginning of Gemini may be removed from the mid-heaven above the earth in the direction of the leading signe by 32 equinoctial periode. Since; then, again the beginning of Aries is six ordinary hours removed from the meridian in the direction of the occident, if we multiply this by 17 we shall have 102 times, which will be the distance of the beginning of Gemini from the meridian when it sets. At its first position also it was distant from the same point 32 times; hence it moved to the occident in the 70 times of the difference, in which period also Aries and Taurus descend and the opposite signs Libra and Scorpio ascend.
Now let it be assumed that the beginning of Aries is not on any of the angles, but removed, for example, three ordinary hours from the meridian in the direction of the 'leading signs, so that the 18th degree of Taurus is at mid-heaven, and in its first position the beginning of Gemini is 13 equinoctial times removed from the mid-heaven above the earth in the order of the following signs. If, then, again we multiply 17 equinoctial times into the three hours, the beginning of Gemini will at its second position be distant from mid-heaven in the direction of the leading signs 51 equinoctial times, and it will make in all 64 times. But it made 46 times by the same procedure when the prorogative place was rising, 58 when it was in mid-heaven, and 70 when it was setting. Hence the number of equinoctial times at the position between mid-heaven and the occident differs from each of the others. For it is 64, and the difference is proportional to the excess of three hours, since this was 12 equinoctial times in the case of the other quadrants at the centres, but 6 equinoctial times in the case of the distance of three hours. And inasmuch as in all cases approximately the same proportion is observed, it will be possible to use the method in this simpler way. For again, when the precedent degree is at rising, we shall employ the ascensions up to the subsequent; if it is at mid-heaven, the degrees on the right sphere; and if it is setting, the descensions. But when it is between these points, for example, at the aforesaid interval from Aries,. we shall take first the equinoctial times corresponding to each of the surrounding angles, and we shall find, since the beginning of Aries was assumed to be beyond the mid-heaven above the earth, between mid-heaven and the occident, that the corresponding equinoctial times up to the first of Gemini from mid-heaven are 58 and from the occident 70. Next let us ascertain, as was set forth above, how many ordinary hours the precedent section is removed from either of the angles, and whatever fraction they may be of the six ordinary hours of the quadrant, that fraction of the difference between both sums we shall add to or subtract from the angle with which comparison is made. For example, since the difference between the above mentioned 70 and 58 is 12 times, and it was assumed that the precedent place was removed by an equal number of ordinary hours, three, from each of the angles, which are one half of the six hours, then taking also one-half of the 12 equinoctial times and either adding them to the 58 or subtracting them from the 70, we shall find the result to be 64 times. But if it was removed two ordinary hours from either one of the angles, which are one-third of the six hours, again we shall take one-third of the 12 times of the excess, that is, 4, and if the removal by two hours had been assumed to be from the mid-heaven, we would have added them to the 58 times, but if it was measured from the occident we would have subtracted them from 70.
The method of ascertaining the amount of the temporal intervals ought in this way consistently to be followed. For the rest, we shall determine in each of the aforesaid cases of approach or setting, in the order of those that ascend more rapidly, those which are destructive, climacteric, or otherwise transitional, according as the meeting is afflicted or assisted in the way we have already explained, and by means of the particular significance of the predictions made from the temporal ingresses of the meeting. For when at the same time the places are afflicted and the transit of the stars relative to the ingress of the years of life afflicts the governing places, we must understand that death is definitely signified; if one of them is benignant, great and dangerous crises; if both are benignant, only sluggishness, injuries, or transitory disasters. In these matters the special quality is ascertained from the familiarity of the occurrent places with the circumstances of the nativity. Sometimes, when it is doubtful which ought to take over the destroying power, there is nothing to prevent our calculating the occourses of each and then either following, in predicting the future, the occourses which most agree with past events, or observing them all, as having equal power, determining as before the question of their degree.



Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos

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