After he published his book, everybody except the Church was convinced by his ironclad logic. Each planet including the Sun and the Moon orbits the earth in a perfect circle, but that circle is not quite centered on the earth; it is slightly displaced the deferent.
These existed to account for the retrograde motion observed in planets:. Retrograde motion is actually due to the changing geometry as the earth overtakes and passes an outer planet, but in the Ptolemaic system, the earth was stationary, so Ptolemy hypothesized the planet itself goes in a little circle of its own. Right up into about , astronomy and astrology were closely intertwined.
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The only reason anybody cared about the motions of the planets was so that they could prepare better horoscopes, and for that, they needed accurate tables from which they could precisely determine the positions of the planets at any time in the past or the near future. The Catholic Church was interested for theological reasons: since the Bible in several places insinuates that the earth is stationary, and the Ptolemaic system confirmed this belief, the Church endorsed the Ptolemaic system.
By the time Copernicus came along, the Ptolemaic system looked like Windows would look now if they had never started over with Windows 2, Windows 3, etc, and had simply kept issuing patches and extensions to Windows 1. Copernicus knew about the sun-centered or heliocentric system; indeed, the idea was first floated by Aristarchus of Samos nearly 2, years earlier.
The heliocentric system had two fundamental advantages over the geocentric system. First, it produced a much more natural explanation for retrograde motion. Epicycles were unnecessary to the heliocentric system; retrograde motion came naturally from the simple geometry of the earth overtaking and passing an outer planet.
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This simplification was a big advantage for the heliocentric system. The other intrinsic advantage was its simple explanation of why Mercury and Venus always stayed close to the Sun. Instead of artificially forcing them into lockstep with the Sun in their orbits around the earth complete with little epicycles , the heliocentric system matched the observations with a simpler explanation. But there was a nasty gotcha: the planets did not move in circles; they moved in elliptical orbits. Copernicus was still stuck in the belief that all orbits had to be perfect circles.
When he used perfect circles to calculate the motions of the planets, he came up with results that were WORSE than the patched-up geocentric system produced. Not to worry: Copernicus could kluge with the best of them. Alexandrian scholar and astrologer Claudius Ptolemy of the 2 nd century C. Firstly, he admits that the validity of the Egyptian system had been demonstrated in many sources, but he also laments that the Egyptians never revealed the basis of their system:.
The book was very lengthy in expression and excessive in demonstration, and its damaged state made it hard to read, so that I could barely gain an idea of its general purpose.
The Ptolemaic bounds became popular during the Renaissance period because it was assumed that they represented the system preferred by Ptolemy . But he never actually claimed authorship of the bounds. He only summarised the knowledge of his time. See Tab.
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It is noticeable that neither the Moon nor the Sun have any dignities assigned to them, as if they were super partes. The Ptolemaic version Tab. Thus, half of the table coincides exactly with the Egyptian system, as far as the planets are concerned. The high number of congruencies, on the one hand, excludes the possibility that divergences might be due to copy errors; but on the other, it does open the possibility that we are not dealing with different systems.
Perhaps the difference is rooted in the application of some diverse value of reference. For this purpose, I have compared serveral ancient sources. We will start analysing the planetary sequence and after that decode the secret of their numbers. As the Assyriologist, Francesca Rochberg, demonstrates in her book Babylonian Horoscopes, Babylonians grouped the planets differently from the way the Greeks did after them.
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Thus, the Chaldean order consisted in planetary pairs. One group contained the benefics Venus and Jupiter; Mercury could be both; and the other group was made up of the malefics Mars und Saturn. What immediately catches the eye is that sequence is the same in the first row from left to right in both tables. The same sequence has been adopted in the Ptolemaic table also for the first five values of the first column see yellow marks in Tab. This means that the planetary sequence of the bounds is the order of major benefit from the five planets in a sign, decreasing from left to right, depending on the sect see Tab.
The aspects are normally trines, but only if their rulers are not malefics. Here, malefics are not considered either. This is not the case.
Since every planet governs two signs except the Luminaries there are no arch-enemies in astrology. In this row, Mars and Saturn re-appear, but we also find other planets, especially when the first position is already occupied by a malefic. The following Tab. Please remember that the Luminaries are not considered at all. The numbers which follow the indication of planets are another controversial argument arising over the Table of Dignities.
According to Bonatti A. How these values are corresponded exactly, none of them mentions. Ptolemy gives some hints which raise more questions than they answer. He writes: :. The attribution of the exact degrees is not comprehensible this way, but gives us suggestions as to where to search. As many of other classical authors, Ptolemy mentions the planetary years.
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The authors write that the numbers after each planet in the table in the colums of the bounds , added together, give the result of the greater year of every planet. Only the numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 added together give Western astrology counts its origin at least back to Babylonian times.
But the primary source to classical astrology and the components of the complete horoscope is Tetrabiblos by the famous mathematician Ptolemy of the 2nd century AD. Stefan Stenudd About me I'm a Swedish astrologer , author and historian of ideas , researching ancient thought and mythology. My personal website: stenudd. Complete Horoscope by Stefan Stenudd. What he stated in his text still stands in the 21st century. Claudius Ptolemy c. His importance in astrology is usually not dwelled upon in the history books, but the components of our horoscopes stem from his treatise on the subject.
Astrology Bible Tetrabiblos is the veritable bible of astrology. We would say chapters.
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