CLAUDIUS PTOLEMY:

TETRABIBLOS

OR THE QUADRIPARTITE MATHEMATICAL TREATISE

8. Of the Quality of the Predicted Event.

The fourth heading concerns the quality of the predicted event, that is, whether it is productive of good or the opposite, and of what sort is its effect in either direction, in accordance with the peculiar character of the species. This is apprehended from the nature of the activity of the planets which rule the dominant places and from their combination both with one another and with the places in which they happen to be. For the sun and the moon are the marshals and, as it were, leaders of the others; for they are themselves responsible for the entirety of the power, and are the causes of the rulership of the planets, and, moreover, the causes of the strength or weakness of the ruling planets. The comprehensive observation of the ruling stars shows the quality of the predicted events.
We shall begin with the characteristic active powers of the planets, one by one, first, however, making this general observation, as a summary reminder, that in general whenever we speak of any temperament of the five planets one must understand that whatever produces the like nature is also meant, whether it be the planet itself in its own proper condition, or one of the fixed stars, or one of the signs of the zodiac, considered with reference to the temperament proper to it, just as though the characterizations were applied to the natures or the qualities themselves and not to the planets; and let us remember that in the combinations, again, we must consider not only the mixture of the planets one with another, but also their combination with the others that share in the same nature; whether they be fixed stars or signs of the zodiac, by virtue of their affinities with the planets, already set forth.
Saturn, when he gains sole dominance, is in general the cause of destruction by cold, and in particular, when the event concerns men, causes lang illnesses, consumptions, withering, disturbances caused by fluida, rheumatisms, and quartan fevers, exile, poverty, imprisonment, mourning, fears, and deaths, especially among those advanced in age. He is usually significant with regard to those dumb animals that are of use to man, and brings about scarcity of them, and the bodily destruction by disease of such as exist, so that the men who use them are similarly affected and perish. With regard to weather, he causes fearful cold, freezing, misty, and pestilential; corruption of the air, clouds, and gloom; furthermore, multitudes of snowstorms, not beneficial but destructive, from which are produced the reptiles harmful to man. As for the rivers and seas, in general he causes storms, the wreck of fleets, disastrous voyages, and the scarcity and death of fish, and in particular the high and ebb tides of the seas and in rivers excessive floods and pollution of their waters. As for the crops of the earth, he brings about want, scarcity, and loss, especially of those grown for necessary uses, either through worms or locusts or floods or cloud-hurst or hail or the like, so that famine and the destruction of men thereby result.
When Jupiter rules alone he produces increase in general, and, in particular, when the prediction is concerned with men, he makes fame and prosperity, abundance, peaceful existence, the increase of the necessities of life, bodily and spiritual health, and, furthermore, benefits and gifts from rulers, and the increase, greatness, and magnanimity of these latter; and in general he is the cause of happiness. With reference to dumb animals he causes a multitude and abundance of those that are useful to men and the diminution and destruction of the opposite kind. He makes the condition of the air temperate and healthful, windy, moist, and favourable to the growth of what the earth bears; he brings about the fortunate sailing of fleets, the moderate rise of rivers, abundance of crops, and everything similar.
Mars, when he assumes the rulership alone, is in general the cause of destruction through dryness and in particular, when the event concerns men, brings about wars, civil faction, capture, enslavement, uprisings, the wrath of leaders, and sudden deaths arising from such causes; moreover, revers, tertian agues, raising of blood, swift and violent deaths, especially in the prime of life; similarly, violence, assaults, lawlessness, arson and murder, robbery and piracy. With regard to the condition of the air he causes hot weather, warm, pestilential, and withering winds, the loosing of lightning and hurricanes, and drought. Again, at sea he causes sudden shipwreck of fleets through changeable winds or lightning or the like; the failure of the water of rivers, the drying up of springs, and the tainting of potable waters. With reference to the necessities produced upon the earth for human use, he causes a scarcity and loss of dumb animals and of things which grow from the earth, and the loss of crops by drying as the result of hot weather, or by locusts, or by the beating of the winds, or by burning in places of storage.
Venus, when she becomes sole ruler of the event, in general brings about results similar to those of Jupiter, but with the addition of a certain agreeable quality; in particular, where men are concerned, she causes fame, honour, happiness, abundance, happy marriage, many children, satisfaction in every mutual relationship, the increase of property, a neat and well conducted manner of life, paying honour to those things which are to be revered; further, she is the cause of bodily health, alliances with the leaders, and elegance of rulers; as to the winds of the air, of temperateness and settled conditions of moist and very nourishing winds, of good air, clear weather, and generous showers of fertilizing waters; she brings about the fortunate sailing of fleets, successes, profits, and the full rising of rivers; of useful animals and the fruits of the earth she is the pre-eminent cause of abundance, good yields, and profit.
Mercury, if he gains the rulership, is, generally speaking, in nature like whatever of the other planets may be associated with him. In particular, he is above all stimulating, and in predictions concerning men is keen and very practical, ingenious in any situation; but he causes robbery, theft, piracy, and assault, and furthermore, brings about unsuccessful voyaging when he is in aspect with the maleficent planets, and occasions diseases of dryness, quotidian agues, coughs, raising, and consumption. he is the cause of events taking place which concern the priestly code, the worship of the gods, the royal revenues, and of change in customs and laws, from time to time, in consistency with his association with the other planets on each occasion. With reference to the air, since he is very dry and swift on account of his nearness to the sun, and the speed of his revolution, he is particularly apt to arouse irregular, fierce, and changeable winds, and, as might be expected, thunder, hurricanes, chasms in the earth, earthquakes, and lightning; sometimes by these means he causes the destruction of useful animals and plants. At setting he diminishes waters and rivers, at rising fills them.
Such are the effects produced by the several planets, each by itself and in command of its own nature. Associated, however, now with one and now with another, in the different aspects, by the exchange of signs, and by their phases with reference to the sun, and experiencing a corresponding tempering of their powers, each produces a character, in its effect, which is the result of the mixture of the natures that have participated, and is complicated. It is of course a hopeless and impossible task to mention the proper outcome of every combination and to enumerate absolutely all the aspects of whatever kind, since we can conceive of such a variety of them. Consequently questions of this kind would reasonably be left to the enterprise and ingenuity of the mathematician, in order to make the particular distinctions.
It is needful to observe what affinity exists between the planets which govern the prediction and the countries or the cities for which the event is signified. For if the ruling planets are beneficent, and have familiarity with the subjects affected, and are not overcome by planets of the opposite sect, they more powerfully produce the benefits natural to them; even as, when they bear no familiarity, or are overcome by their opposites, they are less helpful. But when they are of the injurious temperament and govern the prediction, if they have familiarity with the subjects affected or are overcome by the opposite sect, they do less harm; but if they are neither lords of the countries nor are overcome by the planets that have familiarity with those countries, they exert all the more intensely the destructiveness of their temperament. Usually, however, those men are affected by the more universal ills who in their own genitures happen to have the most essential places, by which I mean those of the luminaries or of the angles, the same as those that furnish the cause of the general misfortunes, that is, the places of the eclipses or the places directly opposite. Of these the positions most dangerous and hardest to avoid are those in which either of their luminaries is in possession of the very degree of the place of the eclipse, or the degree opposite.



Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos

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