Bright, passionate, harmful and helpful stars – Anonymous of 379 AD

Anonymous of 379 AD

Italian translation by Giuseppe Bezza from CCAG V/1 pp. 194-211.
English translation by Daria Dudziak

When in a geniture we find the Moon which is drawing near to one of the bright and great stars or else the Moon has almost the same degree as this star has and especially when the Moon moves in suliardo1the same direction (2) in which the shining star that is close to it in degrees moves ; these conditions give rise to great, brilliant, eminent and opulent genitures. The same way, if one of the bright stars is at the horoscope or it rises in the moment of birth or if it is perpendicular when it is culminating or if it is in another Angle, it bears glorious people, the powerful, people who are in command, who have a lot of activities, who have much property and who are the owners of many things, who are well-known or feared in the cities and in the regions. In particular, people born in these situations will be famous in the regions dominated by the bright stars or else in those regions above which these stars rise at the same moment in which someone is born, as it is noted in the table.

If they rise at the horoscope or they culminate at the top of the sky they give prosperity since youth and in the native town; but if at the moment of birth one of these bright stars is in the angle of setting, it brings well-being about, but especially abroad and around middle-age and it gives a splendid marriage and several and considerable possessions, particularly owing to the female sex. If at the moment of delivery one of these bright stars is in the underground centre (the subterranean angle), it brings prosperity and well-being to the person who is born, especially during his or her old age and on account of deposits or credits or trust legacies since this place is invisible; this person’s death is eminent, outstanding and known by everybody: by this place, in fact, we judge the esteem (3) after the body’s death. Therefore, we consider that the things we said as far as the dignities are concerned are sufficient and to sum up we can say that: usually, every person who is born at the rising of a bright star or when a bright star is angular or when the Moon is drawing near to it, at the moment of childbirth, as above-mentioned, is going to have a wonderful, splendid and distinguished life and is going to be famous.

The natural action of these stars is really great, mighty admirable and varied and the effects they bring to an end are different according to the changes of the places, for which reason it is necessary for us to state and explain the observations our predecessors made with regard to their peculiar disposition. Hence, since every unwandering star has a close relationship with the planets and with their congeneric disposition, every star has the same virtue and carries out the same things that the planets do, as the writer says: it is not necessary to consider only the way five stars and the Sun and the Moon are combined and mixed between them (their aspects),but also with reference to those unwandering stars which have the same nature as they have(4).These considerations can be made according to the distinctive features they have in common with the wandering stars and which are included and described in the table since their effective qualities and the virtues they carry out are the same. There can be no doubt about the fact that we can find this identification of the unwandering stars only in the texts of few ancients, in particular in the works of people who have considered and discussed this part of prediction and foretelling as well as the divine science of numbers. In truth, some of the ancients expounded the knowledge and explained the nature and the properties of the phenomena sparsely and in an obscure way. As far as we are concerned, we wanted to keep the memory of it to people who are worthy of the stars and we have taken from the astrological doctrine all the useful things that Ptolemy had expounded in this science. Then, we were first to process the data and to draw up and make up this more recent, intelligible and easily understandable table which shows all the learning and the knowledge of the celestial phenomena. Here should have been put in the above­mentioned table, but it is missing in the manuscript. Since we do not want our exposition to be too wordy and the table seem too obscure, we start to make you known the effective virtue of every unwandering star as we have entered in the table the degree of longitude at which every star was in the time of Olybrius’ and Ausonius’ consulate (5) that is in the year in which we have composed this treatise. In truth, as divine Ptolemy has shown, during hundred years the stars move one degree towards the parts that follow the equinoxes and the solstices (6). Besides, we have told and explained what the temperament of every star is, what its latitude or direction (7) is according to the information he had handed down so that nothing is ignored or omitted in the exposition and explanation of the table. Therefore, let us move on to the illustration of the table.

About people who(8) are born at the rising of Spica ,the bright star which is in the left hand of Virgo and which is in the 29th degree of Virgo and which also in the zodiac or when the bright star of Lyra, which comes up with the 20th degree of Sagittarius, rises at the horoscope or at the rising of the bright star that is in the mouth of the Greater Fish(Piscis Australis)and which is in the southern part and which rises together with the 10th degree of Aquarius or else when the bright star of the Bird , which rises at the same time as the 12th degree of Leo, is at the horoscope or finally at the rising of the bright star of Corona Borealis (northern)that rises together with the 16th degree of Libra. Since all these stars have the temperament and nature of Venus and Mercury, if one of them rises at the horoscope (9), not only does it make the natives well-known, famous and resourceful, but also very learned and erudite, fond of philosophical dissertations, eloquent, creative, perspicacious, ingenious and clever, keen on music and arts and good-hearted. These natives are also nice and pleasant, they like fine and voluptuous things, they have a delicate palate and prefer peaceful and soft activities, they are cheerful and merry, wise, sensible and reflective as well as able, skilful and lucky. They learn utterly by themselves and are esteemed for the virtue and quality of their reasoning; they have inclination to all that is virtuous, their speech and language are pleasant and people willingly listen to them, they are loveable, gracious and well moderate in their morals and behaviour, they are solicitous and careful, they have the knack of considering all the aspects of life with wisdom and sense and behaving in a reasonable way and they are generous (10). Sometimes, if Mars is eastern above the horizon and it observes one of these stars at its rising, they make the natives promiscuous and easily moved to the pleasures of Venus. If Mars is angular, the natives are involved in some troubles because of documents or driven by passion, especially if Mercury (11) rises when Mars is in the position which has been described above. If Venus or Mars observes one of these stars at its rising from the place of anti-culmination, men who are the opposites of chaste, wise and judicious people, are born as well as impious and wicked men and people who are impotent in the pleasures of Venus or who have few children or only daughters. In fact, a big difference originates from the unlike placing of Venus and Mars in the angles. If Saturn observes one of these five, bright stars at its rising, expert doctors of medicine, skilful in predictions and forecasting and devoted to the occult books and initiation into the mysteries (12), are born. If Jupiter observes one of these five, bright stars at its rising, it brings a greater prosperity and more commands, authority, glory and power (13). Moreover, there is a big difference between these stars: Spica makes people become the interpreters of sacred things, high, supreme, honoured and respected priests or philosophers or the inspired interpreters of some mysteries and, especially among people who are born in Hellas and in the female genitures, it makes the natives the priestesses of Demeter that is of mother of gods or of Core or of Isis as well as women who are the interpreters of sacred things or experts in mysteries or in initiation rites or they who refuse to eat some aliments and who are helped by the gods very much. If the bright star of Corona borealis (northern) rises or culminates, thanks to it the natives become glorious, stephanêphoroi (people who are crowned during competitions), high priests, kings’ friends and it makes them have a strong and vigorous body and become famous and loved by many people. If the bright star of Piscis Australis (the Southern Fish) rises, because of it the natives have few children or have children very late or have only daughters or do not have children at all and are very eloquent and good-looking (14).

What happens if someone is born at the rising of the bright star that is in Lion’s heart and which lies in the circle of the zodiac at the 20th degree of Leo or at the rising of Arcturus or Arctophilax at the horoscope, the star which rises together with the thirtieth degree of Virgo or at the rising of the bright star of Aquila , which rises together with the seventh degree of Capricorn or if someone is born at the rising of Antares at the horoscope , which lies in the zodiac in the 15th degree of Scorpius (Scorpio); since all the above-mentioned stars have the temperament and nature of Jupiter and of Mars. Therefore, if one of these stars rises at the horoscope or it comes up at the moment of delivery or culminates, it makes people who are born with a disposition of this kind become illustrious generals that subdue regions and cities and peoples, it makes them people who govern, who are inclined to action and act quickly, people who are not submissive and do not accept to be subdued, people who speak frankly, who have a taste for struggle and take pleasure in fighting. They also bring their plans to an end, they are efficient, virile, victorious, they harm their enemies, they are opulent and possibly immensely rich, they are brave and high-souled, they are also ambitious (15) and usually they do not die well (16). Moreover, in this case people who are keen on hunting as well as experts in and owners of horses and quadrupeds are born.

Here below we describe what happens if someone is born at the rising of the bright star that is at the tip of the left foot of Orion and which rises together with the twenty-third degree of Taurus or at the rising of the medial star of three stars that are in Orion’s Belt (Cingulum Orionis) and which rises at the same time as the 30th degree of Taurus rises or at the rising of the star set on the right shoulder of Auriga and which rises together with the 5th degree of Gemini or at the rising of the star set in the knee of Sagittarius and which is in the zodiac at the 19th degree of Sagittarius or at the rising of the bright star set in the Gorgonifer of Perseus and which rises together with the second degree of Taurus. Since all these stars have the temperament and nature of Jupiter and of Saturn, if they rise at the horoscope in the same way as we have said, in a geniture, the natives own a lot of things, they are very rich and they have possessions in several countries and cities or towns, they are country­loving people (17) and they have a bent for and are skilful at building houses. Moreover, if the Moon watches one of these bright stars at its rising or at its culmination in the daytime, the natives have a virtuous nature, they are respectful to the old, they are people of noble sentiments, they are generous, tolerant, wise and sensible and they love their dear ones (18). In particular, the rising and the culmination at right angles of the bright star set in the knee of Sagittarius or of the star that is on the right shoulder of Auriga makes the natives work with quadrupeds or with carts as well as people who have the knack of riding horses and driving carts or wagons (19).

What happens if someone is born at the rising of Canis (the Dog) which rises together with the 20th degree of Gemini or at the rising of the star set in the head of the following Twin that lies in the zodiac at the 29th degree of Gemini. Therefore, if these stars, which have the temperament and nature of the star of Mars, rise at the horoscope, especially in a nocturnal geniture, a person who is born is fit for being in command, skilful, expert and clever, energetic and vigorous, active, temerarious and foolhardy, is not submissive and do not accept to be subdued. Moreover, the native is yearning and greedy, hard-hearted, tough, proud and haughty, a military leader, tyrannical, glorious. On the contrary, if these stars rise at the horoscope in a diurnal geniture they make the natives insolent, cruel, pitiless and without mercy, rash and hasty, rapacious, troubled and intoxicated. If they culminate they make the native become wise, sensible and merciful, but he or she usually does not die well.

What happens if someone is born at the rising of the star set in the northern chela of Scorpio that lies in the circle of the zodiac at the 25th degree of Libra or at the rising of the star which is in the head of the previous Twin since both of them have the temperament and nature of Jupiter and Mercury. If these stars rise at the horoscope the natives become fond of literature and humanities, scholars, popular orators, ingenious and clever people, keen on music and arts, people who hit the target, good-looking, able to carry on a lot of activities and skilful at many things, dignified, pious, religious, suitable for and capable of doing business, very well-known or people who purchase gold and silver and other riches thanks to relations, connections or successful trading and who keep their noble feelings and nature even during their misfortunes. This happens especially in a diurnal geniture. On the contrary, if these stars rise at the horoscope in a nocturnal geniture the natives think and pretend to be learned and wise while they are boastful, affected, simulators and shammers, nevertheless, they are erudite, they have a good memory, they are capable of and suitable for teaching and their desires are pure.

What happens if the bright star set in the previous shoulder of Orion which rises together with the 27th degree of Taurus or Procyon that rises together with the 27th degree of Cancer or if the star set in the right shoulder of Orion and which rises together with the second degree of Gemini or the star which the Horse (Pegasus) and Andromeda have in common and which rises together with the 21st degree of Pisces, rise at the horoscope in a geniture. These stars have Mars’ and Mercury’s temperament and nature and they make military heads and leaders, people who are valiant, able, skilled, strong and vigorous as well as full of energy, versatile, cunning and shrewd, people who are capable of doing a lot of varied activities and are competent at many things. These stars also give rise to wise and sensible people, with a shrill voice, deceptive people and they make people who are successful and have good results, obstinate and stubborn people, they who are impetuous, impulsive, insatiable and greedy in their desires, who corrupt both young boys and maidens, perjurers and oath-breakers; especially in the nocturnal genitures. If they rise at the horoscope in a diurnal geniture they make the natives become audacious and bold, fierce, people who are inclined to repent and often change their mind, false and deceitful, thieves, godless, friendless, simulators and shammers, insolent, people who stain themselves with murder, forgers and counterfeiters, cheats and swindlers and these natives sometimes do not die well. This happens especially in a diurnal geniture (20).

What happens if at the moment of childbirth the bright star which is set in the right foot of Centaurus and which rises together with the 11th degree of Libra or the last one of the River which rises together with the third degree of Aries, rises. Both of them have the temperament and nature of Jupiter and of Venus and if they rise at the moment of birth they make the natives become pure and honest, nice, agreeable and pleasing, fond of music, fond of their friends and friendly, pious, liberal, generous and munificent, wise and sensible, fond of listening to other people. These people are men of good judgement and give good advice, they have a noble and majestic mind, a kind heart, they are people of good feelings, self-possessed and moderate in the pleasures of love and they are greatly favoured by women. They also look for renown and they are honest and virtuous, their hair is on the blond side and they are good-looking and a delicate and frail body (21), especially if these stars observe the Moon.

What happens if someone is born at the rising of the bright star set in the Lion’s tail that lies in the zodiac in the 27th degree of Leo or at the rising of the star that is in its flank and which is in the 17th degree of Leo or at the rising of the bright star of the Hydra, the star which rises together with the 3rd degree of Leo. These stars have the temperament and nature of Saturn and of Venus and if they come up at the hour of birth they make the natives prosperous, they make them have many possessions and really well-known and also people who are subject and slave to passions, do obscene and indecent things or speak effeminately (22). Moreover, these stars make the natives people who love the virtue and who criticise the pleasures of love using stern and severe words and as the years go by and they get older they take part in some priestly offices and services; people who are esteemed for some kind of religious practice or owing to their self-control and composure, people who refuse to eat some aliments and who are expert in occult books; the natives also become fond of sciences of the sky, their eyes are rather grey (23) and sparkling and they are good-looking.

What happens if the bright star of Hyades which is in the circle of the zodiac at the 15th degree of Taurus, rises at the moment of delivery. This star has the temperament and nature of Mars and of Venus and is in Venus’ domicile (domal dignity). Thanks to it the natives become prosperous and very rich and they subdue and govern towns, cities and regions. As this star and the position of the Hyades in the whole universe is the easiest to recognise for all the men and the most visible and conspicuous, in the same way they who are born when the bright star of the Hyades comes up or else when it is at the horoscope are by far the most glorious, more known and famous and richer than all the other men. It produces the same things when it is in the same degree in which the Moon is as they rise together at the same moment. In truth, only this star has a double force compared to other stars: in fact, when it rises, the shining star of Antares which is set in the diametrically opposed degree that is in the 15th degree of Scorpio, sets; these stars are both in the circle of the zodiac. Therefore, they have the faculty of producing great, distinguished and eminent conditions both in western parts and in eastern parts, as well as in any other region of the earth. When the star of Antares is in the angle of the setting, in the place concerning the marital unions, it brings, as we have said, great prosperity, great riches and wealth thanks to women. In truth, the wives of men who are born in this condition are illustrious, distinguished and very rich, however they are not long-lived since Antares sets quickly when it is in the place of nuptials. When the bright star of the Hyades which has in itself the effective quality of the action and influence of Mars and of Venus rises on the horizon, it makes the person who is born in these conditions full of anger and fiery and passionate in his or her desires and vigorous and full of energy (24) in the pleasures of love. On the other hand, when the place of the Hyades itself, from the 11th to the 15th degree , rises at the horoscope, it produces by its very nature people who are subject to passions in the enjoyments and pleasures, famous, distinguished and illustrious people, people with a beautiful neck.

We have determined and decided these judgements after careful observations and examinations in a sufficient span of time. In fact, we have often noticed distinguished, eminent and illustrious nativities of great prosperity in which any consideration indicating good things was lacking. We have noticed and observed great and very, very happy nativities wherein neither the Luminaries nor the benefic were angular, but they were falling so that it was impossible to come to a right and correct understanding and interpretation without observing the bright stars rising together with the angles or with the Moon. For this reason, we have explained different actions and influences of the bright, illustrious and prominent stars, leaving out only the star of Canopus which as it is very southern, it does not appear in our regions since our observations take place at the latitude of Rome.

Following the exposition and the explanation of divine Ptolemy we intended to relate the judgements concerning the action, the influence and the quality of 30 bright stars. Therefore, we remember and mention they who have written about the action and the influence (25) of the unwandering stars, about their virtue and about the images of celestial bodies rising together: as we know from our precursors, the Babylonians and the Chaldeans were perhaps the first people who discovered the science of celestial phenomena. Afterwards, there were Apollonius Mindius and Artemidorus. Berossus and his disciples have also written about the unwandering stars. Ancient Egyptians mentioned them and made predictions based on the stars. First of them was Hermes Trismegistos who wrote about the rising of Sirius in his ‘On the effects that the stars produce in the world’ (26) and Necao, Cherasphorus, Petosiris and Nechepso as well as others, in different regions, wrote about the stars, in particular Timeus and Asclation. Taking advantage of these authors, they who followed observed the rising, the setting and other indicative signs that the stars make at any latitude, making their observations in many different places and they recorded, almost everyday, the effective quality of their action and influence. These scholars were: Meton, Apollinarius and Euctemon in Athens, Dositeus in Ionia, Calippus in Hellespont, Philip in Peloponnese, in Phocis and in Locris, Hipparchus in Bitinia. All of them contributed to the knowledge of the virtue and of the quality of the action and influence of the stars. In truth, if at their rising and during other phases they change to a certain extent the constitution of the air, even more so they can bring us great prosperity and well-being or adverse and unfavourable situations and sometimes death by virtue of their contact with the significators of life (27). Antiocus, Valens, Antigonus, Heraiscus as well as others wrote many and various things about these stars’ virtue, as it may be seen in their treatises. Serapion and Ptolemy, who came after him, composed judgements on the stars. Nevertheless, none of all those who we have mentioned had deduced astronomically neither the places in which these stars lie at the present time nor the effective quality of their temperament and nature. Therefore, after we have stated and expounded the qualities and the specific effects of the bright stars, now we are going to treat the quality and the effectiveness of some minor stars with an exposition and expounding as in conformity with the natural criterions as possible.

On the places that excite and provoke passions
or on the parts of the enigmatic signs of Aries, of Taurus, of Leo and of Capricorn

In the circle of the signs there are other places lying in the limbs of the figures wherein there are not any stars of the first or of the second magnitude, but smaller, minor stars which have however a sufficient and perhaps immutable force. These stars are observed especially as far as the sensitive part of the soul and of the mind as well as the infirmities and illnesses of the body are concerned. First of all men and women who are born when the following parts rise or ascend at the same time at the horoscope: the fore parts or Aries” face (28) at 13 and 14 degrees and its back at about 25, 26, 27, 28 degrees and the Hyades or Taurus’ face at 12, 13, 14, 15 degrees and moreover the back of Leo from 25 degrees to 30 degrees and the face that is the muzzle of Capricorn at about 10 12 degrees; incur emotional disorders, depressions and passions. When these places ascend at the same time and rise, as we have explained above, they urge and induce people who are born in this situation to act immorally and dissolutely, not only towards women, but also towards young boys and to delight in the pleasures against nature and with women that submit and yield to passions and are subject to flows (29) and are also obscene and indecent (30). As far as women are concerned, if they are born in this situation, they live an indecorous and undignified life or they take pleasure in sexual relationships with obscene and indecent men (31). Therefore, since the minds of these men and women are troubled and disturbed by unalterable, immutable motion of the stars they commit sins in their affairs and sexual relationships because of impetus and outburst of desire and lust and they treat themselves in all the ways, often unpleasantly, roughly and without respect and they often practise pleasures against nature. Then, if the star of Venus is in one of these enigmatic signs; Aries, Taurus, Leo and Capricornus, and it is watched by Mars or by Saturn when it is in the limbs or in the places of the signs that, as we explained before, excite and provoke passions, a person who is born in this situation is overwhelmed by the filthiest, the most shameless and indecent transports.

Whether it happens in a manifest, evident way or in a hidden one, is indicated by the rising or the occultation of the same stars that produce and cause affections and disorders of such a kind, I mean Venus and Mars or Venus and Saturn, especially when they are configured in an adverse, contrary way, by means of a quadrature or a diameter (opposition) or when one of them rises or culminates: in that case, in truth, the natives will reveal their passions in a public, generally-known, notorious way. Just as practising pleasures against nature can not subsist if the desire of passion and ineluctability of the destiny (32) do not come true and are fulfilled before, in the same way the sordid perception of the pleasure of desires makes some people subject to complications, to deceits and frauds, losses, enmities and hostilities, sentences and punishments, if the star of Jupiter does not keep away a part of harms and misfortunes testifying the star of Venus in some way.

If, on the contrary they are occulted by the Sun or occidental (33), especially the star of Venus, lewd and immodest actions are done secretly or under someone’s protection and they remain unsuspected or arouse disbelief in people who get to know about it; they indicate, however, that women are ‘tribades'(they practise unnatural vice with themselves or with other women) and they give themselves obscenely to men; and in truth, since these women are blinded by passion, their intellect is overwhelmed by desires and there is a uncontrollable lust inside them which makes their cravings boil and gives free play to their lecherousness. It is possible to understand and recognise such a force by means of the configuration of the stars and the relations between them. In fact, if Mars and Venus are matutine (morning) and are watched by malefic stars, they make people who are born in this situation vile, base and despicable as well as people who make ignominious, disgraceful things openly and impudently; these people often do not limit themselves to lustful and libidinous acts and sexual intercourse with men and women, but also with animals, quadrupeds or in a different way. If Venus is in the subterranean angle(the cardine under the earth) or in the occidens (the western angle) and it is watched by Mars or by Saturn or Mars itself is in setting degrees, especially in servile signs,as we have said before, they make the men effeminate, unmanly, flabby and not virile at all, the make the natives eunuchs, castrated men or people whose ducts are obstructed (34) or sterile people or they who abstain from venereal and sensual pleasures owing to a religious vow or because of superstitious fears and people who behave reprehensibly and blameworthy in lovemaking and in their sexual relationships.

On the degrees that produce and cause illnesses or else on the places that afflict the sight.

Many of our predecessors stated that the malefic stars, when they are opposite to the luminaries or in quadrature(square)to them or when they conjoin the luminaries(are conjunct to them) in degrees or in the signs which rise later, they harm the sight. This happens especially if in a nocturnal geniture Saturn watches the waning Moon in the above-mentioned way or when Mars in a diurnal nativity is configured to the waxing Moon in such a way, both by corporal union and by opposition as well as by quadrature and also when while the malefic stars are angular the luminaries rise after them. Saturn will dim and darken the sight and make it cloudy by means of dampness or cataract or by cold, Mars by hits, blows, knocks etc. or wounds or by a sword, a dagger or by means of fire and it also causes blinding by means of burning, red-hot fluxes and if it is configured with Mercury and it watches the Sun or the Moon in the aforesaid way, it means that this event will take place in palestras, gymnasiums, on training grounds, during athletic exercises, during ambushes or as victims of a trap (35).

Moreover, some of the ancients added certain remarks and comments that we confirm. In some places, among the limbs of the signs, there are nebulas, dense nebulosity, a multitude of small stars and thick, cloudy air almost dark, just as they appear to us as we observe them. When the Moon is in the node and especially when its light is waning or when it rises at the horoscope by these places and also when the Sun is in a similar position near these places, they damage and injure the eyes and they dim and darken the sight, even though there is not any testimony of the malevolent stars. These places are: the nubecula of Cancer, which is between the 11th and the 14th degree, the Pleiades of Taurus, from the 4th to the 6th degree, the arrow of Sagittarius, at about the seventh degree of Sagittarius, the nebulosa(nebula-star cluster)which is near the eye of Sagittarius that lies in the 28th degree of this sign, Scorpio’s sting which is in the 30th degree of this sign, Leo’s braids, the austral (southern) one at the 27th degree, the boreal (northern) one at the 30th degree of Virgo, the urn of Aquarius from the 17th to the 18th degree and the spine of Capricorn from the 25th to the 28th degree (36). If Saturn or Mars watch the Moon or the Sun that are in these places even if one of them is in the degrees we have mentioned and it is angular and it moves towards the luminaries, especially if it in the place of setting or in the horoscope, the eyes of the person who is born in this situation will be damaged forever, if Jupiter or Venus do not observe the stars that produce the cause or the places or the decans, which we have expounded in the table and which are also included in the book by Hermes, in which many things concerning the iatromathematics are noted down. In fact, the malefic stars, placed in certain decans, send diseases, illnesses and infirmities peculiar to them and in those parts of the body which each decan rules, especially if in the nocturnal nativities Saturn rules over the place of the birth of illnesses and if Mars does the same in the diurnal nativities: in this way infirmities and illnesses reveal themselves and show their symptoms and the diseases become difficult to be treated and cured.

If the stars that send the diseases are towered above, dominated or irradiated by beneficent(benefic)stars, I mean Jupiter, Venus or Mercury, the diseases are curable and they are not stubborn or obstinate, but medium and easy to lighten and to be alleviated and sometimes they can be removed, especially if when one of the benefic stars is eastern, it watches the places that produce the cause. In particular, the star of Jupiter usually hides the infirmities and illnesses and relieves and alleviates the diseases thanks to richness or to human succour and assistance. If the star of Mercury observes the decans or the places we have mentioned in any way together with Jupiter, the illnesses and pains are removed or mitigated and alleviated owing to the doctors’ succour and assistance and due to the suitability of medicines. If the star of Venus observes the causative places when it is morning, it works things in such a way that the infirmities and illnesses do not deform the body and it cures the diseases by means of divine intervention or oracular answers or thanks to amulets or expiatory sacrifice or by means of some vows or prayers. Finally, if only the star of Mercury watches the malevolent (malefic) star, which does not assent and yield to its own faction and is placed in a good position, it brings some help and succour to these diseases or even earnings or profit by virtue of these infirmities and illnesses (37).

In particular, if some signs and unwandering stars are in the degree of the place of gods or in the degree of the subterranean angle as well as when they rise at the horoscope, they render great assistance and help to a person who is born owing to a divine apparition or by means of dreams. Therefore, this help arrives when we see that Scorpio is placed in this position, especially the 27th degree wherein there is the bright star of Ophiuchus which cures the natives owing to an apparition or to the virtue of Asclepius or Serapides or owing to suitability and skill of excellent doctors (38). Then, Spica set in Virgo at the 29th degree, heals owing to the apparition of mother of gods or of Core or of Aphrodite or of Igaeas (39). If the bright star set in the head of the preceding twin, which is in the 26th degree of Gemini, is, as we have said, seven degrees before (40) the place of gods or the subterranean angle or it rises at the horoscope, it brings the help of Hermes Telesforos or of Apollo. If we see that the bright star set in the head of the following twin, which is at the 29th degree of Gemini, is in the above-explained position, it brings the help and the apparition of Heracles, especially in the nocturnal genitures while in the diurnal it brings the aid and apparition (41) of the Dioscuri. If the bright star of Canis (the Dog), which rises together with the 20th degree of Gemini is in the above-mentioned places, it gives, especially in the nocturnal genitures, the aid or the apparition of Hecate or of Ares itself or of Hanubis or by means of offerings and oblations or fire or blood or expiatory sacrifices. When the stars set in the horns of Capricorn, the Kids and the Goat, are in the above-mentioned places, they bring support or the apparitions of Pan or of Mercury, especially when a benefic planet watches the places we have mentioned. When they are in the places we made mention of all also the planets, in particular those planets which tend to do good things, bring about apparitions, succour and aid according to their own, characteristic nature and virtue. In the diurnal nativities Saturn brings about visions which are proper to it or the visions which come from Pluton and Poseidon and it bears aids thanks to the counteraction of plants peculiar to it and remedies from other substances. In a nocturnal geniture, placed in a good position (42), Saturn brings visions that come from the dead, from the symptoms (43) or from the fear of gods. Finally, Mars brings typical of its nature and disposition, favourable at night-time, dreadful and frightening, adverse, unfavourable and harmful in the day-time (44).


1. This text was published by F. Cumont in the first tome of the fifth volume of Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum (CCAG), pag. 194-211., it was included in Rhetorius’ works (Rhet.) in the VI century and it has been taken and used again by Teophilus of Edessa (CCAG V/1 pp. 212-217). Between the end of the VIII century and the beginning of the IX century it appeared in a drawing up which includes some glosses (EP). At a certain time, the list of these thirty bright stars became formal in the astrological judgements: in Vaticanus graecus 208, fo. 130v, the following explanatory note has been added to the list of these stars: “These are thirty bright stars which we use in the prediction of the events according to the rules of great Ptolemy…” (D. Pingree, The Astrological School of John Abramius, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 1971, pag. 209). Another text was written during Latin Middle Ages. It was an extremely similar text(VL), which was the translation of the original Arabic text, wherein the bright stars were named beibenia and they entered the medieval, astrological lexicon with this term. Jerome Vitali in his Lexicon mathematicum, says that beibenia are the main stars of the starry images, in particular their hearts and the stars of the first magnitude. (Lexicon mathematicum, astronomicum, geometricum, Parisiis 1668,pag. 84. Cfr. the commentary on the pseudo-Ptolemaic centiloquium, ascribed to ‘Al” ibn Ridwän, but this work was written by ibn al-Däya, v. 27: “Beibenie, id est fixe qui sunt corda fixarum, sicut cor tauris et cor leonis et cor scorpionis, sc. ille que sunt in orbe signorum ex prima magnitudine”). Al-Bîrûnî says that this term derives from neo-Persian biyâbânî, that is, the stars of the desert, the name that Persians would have given to some bright stars, since whether you could find the straight and narrow path in the desert or not depended on them (Al-Bîrûnî, The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology, ed. R. Wright, London 1934, pag. 46, ¤ 125). Unfortunately, this suggestive etymology is wrong and we have to say that this name refers to and derives from middle Persian (pahlavi) a-wiyâbân-îg, term by which lack of movement, the fact that something is fixed, is designated (Cfr. W.B. Henning, An Astronomical Chapter of the Bundahishn, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1942, p. 229; P. Kunitzsch, Beibenian stars – al-kawâkib al-biyâbânîya. Ein Nachtrag, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 1981 (131, 2), pag. 263-267).

Abbreviations EP: Excerpta Parisina, CCAG V/1 217-226 Rhet.: Rhetorii qu3/4stiones astrologic3/4 ex Antiochi excerpta, CCAG VIII/4 p.174-182 VL: Liber Hermetis capitis omnium philosophorum de iudiciis et significatione stellarum Beibeniarum in nativitatibus, in: Liber quadripartiti Ptholemei… Venetiis 1493.

2. katà tòn ánemon tòn autón. Ánemos,ventus, it means a direction in the space and a co-ordinate in the Celestial Sphere that can be latitude or declination without distinction. The author wants to say that the Moon brings itself near or else it draws near to one of the bright stars in longitude having the same direction with reference to the ecliptic as the bright star has.

3. Testo: ghénesin, Cumont suggerisce timên.

4. Cfr. Ptolemy, quadr. 2,8: «We shall begin with the characteristics 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».

5. Decimus Magnus Ausonius and Q. Clodius Hermogenianus Olybrius were consuls in 379 A.D.

6. eis tà hepómena tôn tropikôn sêméiôn. Sêméia tropikà; these are puncta conversiva and they designate both the solstices and the equinoxes.

7. póion plátos êtoi ánemos.

8. Here begins the text of EP and Rhet., preceded by a brief introduction: “On the virtue of the unwandering stars. Besides, I thought it necessary to expound and explain the virtue and the action of the unwandering stars since their force is great and strong when they are in the same degree in which the angles and the planets are and as learned Julian says in his Apotelesmata, they seem to give rise to illustrious, distinguished, eminent (perod-xous, Rhet.: parad-xous, admirable, wonderful) and singular, uncommon nativities. The places of the unwandering stars, both for their longitude and for their latitude, correspond to the year 600 (884 A.D.) from the age of Diocletian’s reign”. The last sentence we have quoted is not included in Rhet.

9. Rhet.: When these stars are in the same degree of the horoscope or of the top of the sky…

10. VL adds: “And this happens when Saturn is above the eastern horizon and it watches Venus. And if one of these stars is at the ascendant, the native gains wisdom, knowledge and political and civil authority, on condition that Saturn is not at the ascendant. If, on the contrary, Saturn with one of these stars is at the ascendant, the person who is born is inclined to banquets and feasts, to enjoyment and pleasures, drinking and lying with women. If Saturn is at the ascendant with the Sun and Venus is in the fourth place, or else if Saturn with Venus or with one of these stars is in the tenth place, the native will not be lucky and none of the above-mentioned things will be in his nature since he will be cold or impotent in the coition or else all his children will be girls. In truth, these stars tend to bring bad things and misfortune when Saturn and Venus join them in the angles”.

11. There is a brief blank here, Kroll suggests Hermês. The readings proposed by Rhet. and EP are unintelligible and obscure: eàn málista, hoútôs ôn Árês, pròs hêlion hôronomêsêi (Rhet.). eàn málista Árês pròs hêlion hôronomêsêi (EP).

12. VL adds: “And if these stars observe Saturn and Venus from the seventh place, the native will be a learned doctor of medicine…”.

13. VL adds: “And if you see that Mercury is at the ascendant or in the tenth place with one of these stars, the native will be a prophet and he or she will look great in the eyes of men and he or she will be a philosopher, inventor or inventress of sciences and he or she will have knowledge of everything, above all of those sciences that originate from the region of Babylonia. If the nativity is nocturnal and Mercury is placed in the above­explained way and Mars is in the sixth place from Mercury, right-hand with reference to the ascendant, the native will be an idolater or an idolatress and he or she will be very famous, will say prophetic words and perform miracles, but only God knows the truth”.

14. EP inserts here an additional note which seems to be a gloss, an explanatory annotation: “When these unwandering stars are at the upper culmination with the Sun or with the Moon or with the Part of Fortune (Pars Fortunae), those stars that have the temperament and nature of Venus and of Mercury are a help to the question of slaves, especially if Jupiter is united or configured with them and also if Mars gives its virtue to Jupiter. Corona Borealis denotes clerics, clergymen and metropolitans. Piscis Australis(the Greater Fish) slows the outcome and the successful result of an initiative, an undertaking, but it makes it beautiful. The stars which have the temperament and nature of Mars and of Jupiter are extremely good for the office of governors, kings and military leaders, for people with an indomitable character who do not accept to be subdued, soldiers and satraps. The stars which have the temperament and nature of Saturn and of Jupiter favour and are propitious for laying the bases of the foundations of temples, cities and towns, houses and the like. The stars that have the temperament and nature of only one planet that is of Mars are propitious and favourable for robbery, brigandage and for a military expedition. The stars which have the temperament and nature of Jupiter and of Mercury favour and are advantageous for pious, merciful and religious deeds and for the public government. The stars which have the temperament and nature of Mars and of Mercury are favourable and propitious for mechanical arts and crafts, deceits and swindles, murders, forgeries, misfortunes and accidents. The stars that have only the temperament and nature of Venus (Centaurus, the foot of the chained woman, the left foot of the woman) favour and are propitious for people who have a generous heart and character, who are benevolent and kind and whose nature is not tricky and deceptive at all and who are honest and fair in their advice as well as for the promotion and advancement of people who are simple, natural and plain, singular and uncommon and who have an humble and modest character. The stars which have the temperament and nature of Saturn and of Venus (the stained hand, the woman who is on the throne, the head of Ophiuchus) favour the successful and lucky purchases which come from a wrong and which are secret, the enrichment which derives from other people’s misfortunes. The shining star of the Hyades is favourable for a man who has much property and owns many things, who is powerful, prosperous, extremely rich and who subdues cities and towns. Moreover, if Mars is opposite, it favours the satrapies”. “The stained hand”: chéir bebamménê, corresponds to beta Cassiopeia that is called al-kaff al-khadîb (Sûfî 83).

15. Rhet. adds: philokálous.

16. VL: “Et morietur bona morte”.

17. VL: “Amator quietis et letitie et amat quod bene dicatur de eo”.

18. VL: “Et si luna aspexerit aliquam ex illis et fuerit luna in ascendente vel decima erit pietate plenus et ornamento simplex et fortunatus, patiens iniuriarum, sapiens in omnibus, amat homines et amatur ab eis”.

19. VL: “Et dixit Hermes quod illa que est in Sagittario licet habeat omnia ista in se, tamen natus amat aves et bestias et erit bonus equitator et habebit domum in qua habebit aquilas et aves multas; et deus est sapiens in illo”.

20. nykterinês has to be corrected in hêmerinês.

21. VL: humide complexionis.

22. VL: erit turpis facie, verborum humidorum, amator plantarum et arationum et seminum et edificiorum, fornicator in rebus mulierum.

23. VL: nigros habens oculos.

24. diaphórôs was the correction made by Kroll, who followed Rhet. to whom the second meaning of “excellently” has to be attributed, cfr. VL: fortis in opere venereo. In the text there is: diaph-rous, EP: adiaphorous.

25. perì tês tôn aplanôn <energheías>; Cumont suggests: pháseôs.

26. en tóis kosmikóis apotelésmasi.

27. katà tàs tôn aphetôn kollêseis. The whole passage is oddly similar to the gloss of the Phaseis by Ptolemy: “I have described and put in order the announcements of all these apparitions according to the Egyptians, to Dositeus, Philip, Calippus, Euctemon, Meton, Conon, Metrodorus, Eudossus, Caesar, Democritus, Hipparchus. As far as all these scholars are concerned, the Egyptians made the observations here, in our country, Dositeus in Coo(Cos), Philip in Peloponnese, in Locris and in Phocis, Calippus in Hellespont, Meton and Euctemon in Athens and in the Cyclades, in Macedonia e in Thrace, Conon and Metrodorus in Italy and in Sicily, Eudossus in Asia, in Sicily and in Italy, Caesar in Italy, Hipparcus in Bitinia, Democritus in Macedonia e in Thrace”, cf. Cl. Ptolemæi Opera astronomica minora, ed. J.L. Heiberg, Lipsiae 1907, pag. 66,23- 67,11.

28. Scorpius in the text, the reading which is evidently wrong since the list of the enigmatic signs appears twice in the writing.

29. gynaixìn pathêtikáis kái rheumatikáis. rheumatikós, fluxionibus obnoxius, which Kroll understands as: “profluviis albis laborans”.

30. I translate aischropois, term by which especially fellatio is designated, as “obscene, indecent”.

31. Cf. Ptolemy, quadr. 4,5: «But if the aforesaid aspects chance not to be composed of signs of the same gender, but are in feminine places, 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 the public places; on the last two, that is, the werstern and northern, they produce spades and eunuchs or sterile women and those without passages; if Mars is present, men who have lost their genitals, or the so-called tribades». With regard to the urn of Aquarius, kálpis, cf. the Latin version of the text by ‘Al” ibn Ridwän: “Sunt quidem he figure principia leonis et arietis, necnon quod grece littere l vocatur, et hec est eius forma l cuius una stellarum aldebaran appellatur; est etiam illud quod grece vocatur calcas et est finis leonis, facies quoque capricorni inter easdem figuras numeratur”. In this text calcas et est finis leonis do not denote the same asterism, but two distinct asterisms.

32. Cf. Liber Hermetis (Gundel 96,20): “Oportet autem eos prius passionis desiderium adimplere necessitate fati”.

33. hypò krypsin toû hêlíou dytikoì óntes. The term Dytikoì means occidental (western) according to the Ptolemaic acceptation of this words that is occidental (western) with reference to the Sun. The same remark refers to the previous oriental (eastern), anatoliko’, term which means oriental (eastern) with reference to the Sun cf. Bezza, 124ss.

34. Kroll: apokópous ; in the text: akópous.

35. Cf. Ptolemy, quadr. III, 13: «And whenever Mars or Saturn moves toward the moon, when it is angular and waning and they are rising, or again when they ascend before the sun, being themselves angular. But if they are in the aspect with both the luminaries at once, either in the same sign or in opposition, as we said, morning stars with respect to the sun, and evening stars to the moon, they will affect both eyes; for Mars brings about blindness from a blow, a thrust, iron, or burning; when he has Mercury in aspect, in palaestras and gymnasiums or by felonious attack. Saturn causes it by suffusion, cold, glaucoma, and the like».

36. Cf. Ptolemy, ibidem: «For blindness in one eye is brought about when the moon by itsel is upon the aforesaid angles, or is in conjunction, or is full, and when it is in another aspect that bears a relation to the sun, but applies to one of the star clusters in the zodiac, as for example to the cluster in Cancer, and to the Pleiades of Taurus, to the arrow point of Sagittarius, to the sing of Scorpio, to the parts of Leo around the Coma Berenices, or to the pitcher of Aquarius».

37. Cf. Ptolemy, ibid.: «Since this is the case, if no beneficent planet bears an aspect to the maleficient ones which furnish the cause, or to the luminaries on the centres, the injuries and diseases will be incurable and painful; so also if they bear an aspect but the maleficient planets are in power and overcome them. But if the beneficient planets are themselves in the authorative positions and overcome the maleficient planets that bear the responsibility for the evil, the the injuries are not disfiguring and do not entail reproach and the diseases are moderate and yield to treatment, and sometimes they may be easily cured, if the beneficent planets are rising. For Jupiter generally causes the injuries to be concealed by human aid through riches or honours, and the diseases to be mitigated; and in company with Mercury he brings this about by drugs and aid of good physicians. And Venus contrives that through pronouncements of the gods and oraclkes the blemishes shall be, i a way, comely and attractive, and that the diseases shall be readily moderated by divine healing; if however Saturn is by, the healing will be accompanied by exhibition and confession of the disease, and such like, but if Mercury is joined with her it will be with the accrual of use and gain, through the injuries and diseases themselves, to those that have them».

38. arístôn Rhet. adds.

39. This one is the lection by Rhet. which is more complete and correct. The test says: dià Mêtròs theôn ê Kórês ê Aphrodítês hyghéias apoteléi.

40. prò z moirôn. This condition is not included neither in EP nor in Rhet. Cumont believes that it has to be understood as: entòs heptà moirôn apò toû tópou. However, we can not exclude that the original forma of this condition was expressed this way: prò ê metà heptà hêmerôn, by analogy with the apparition and the occultation (eclipse) of a star, cf. Abenragel 33r; CCAG II, 190,26, V,3 88,12, VIII,1 240,10 (Rhetorius), VIII,4 208,13 (Rhetorius), Paulus Al. 76,3; Doroteus 1,27,24; 3,1,6.

41. We find this specification only in EP.

42. The text says: kakôs kéimenos; but I correct it in kalôs following Rhet. and EP.

43. epistêmôn , Rhet.: episêmasiôn , EP: gynaikôn episêmôn.

44. This one is the lection of EP, simile to Rhetorius’ lection, in both phoberá, dreadful and frightening, is included in the qualities of the day.

This translation of Anonymous of year 379 is courtesy of Cielo e Terra, an association for the study of classical astrology.

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