Sacred Texts  Sky Lore  Index  Previous  Next 



WITH respect to the probability of the birth of twins, or a greater number at once, the same places must be observed, as those mentioned in the preceding chapter; that is to say, the places of both luminaries and the ascendant.

When two, or all three, of the said places may be situated in bicorporeal signs, births of this kind will occur, in consequence of the combination which then arises; especially, provided all the planets, which control those places, should also be similarly circumstanced: or although only some of them be posited in bicorporeal signs, while the rest may be placed by two or more together. Because even more than twins will be born, in a case wherein all the ruling places may be in bicorporeal signs, most of the planets being, at the same time, posited in the same way, and configurated with them. The number of children, however, to be produced at the birth, is to be inferred from the planet which exercises the right of determining the number 2: and the sex or

p. 84

sexes are to be predicted by means of the planets in configuration with the Sun, Moon, and ascendant.

And, should the position of the heavens be arranged so that the angle of the mid-heaven, and not that of the ascendant, may be connected with the luminaries, there will, in that case, be produced, almost always, twins; and sometimes even more.

To speak, however, more particularly, three males will be born, as in the nativity of the Anactores, 1 when Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars may be configurated with the places before appointed, in bicorporeal signs; and three females, as in the nativity of the Graces, when Venus and the Moon, with Mercury femininely constituted, may be configurated in like manner. When Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus may be configurated, two males and one female will be born; as in the nativity of the Dioscuri 2; and, when Venus, the Moon, and Mars may be so configurated, two females and one male; as in the nativity of Ceres, Core, and Liber. 3

In cases of this kind, however, it most usually happens that the conception has not been complete, and that the children are born with some remarkable imperfections or deformities. And, in some instances, owing to a certain concurrence of events, these numerous productions are quite extraordinary and amazing.


83:2 The planet here alluded to, seems to be that which may be connected with most of the ruling places.

84:1 I have looked in many other books for this word "Anactores" (plural of ανακωρ), as designating three particular individuals born at the same birth; for which signification it is here used by Ptolemy; but my search has been in vain. Cicero has, however, written a passage, in which a word, very nearly resembling it, occurs, and which would seem to relate to the very persons alluded to by Ptolemy: viz. "The godship of the Dioscuri was established in various modes among the Greeks, and applied to various persons. One set consisted of three persons, who were styled at Athens the Anactes, and were the sons of Jupiter, the most ancient king, and Proserpine; their several names were Tritopatreus, Eubuleus and Dionysius." De Nat. Deor., lib. 3, cap. 21.

84:2 This is the second set of the Dioscuri, as stated by Cicero: they were the children of the third, or Cretan Jupiter (the son of Saturn) and Leda; their names were Castor, Pollux, and Helena. Helena, however, is not mentioned by Cicero.

84:3 Core is a name of Proserpine; Liber, of Bacchus. And, although the mention here made of Ceres, Proserpine and Bacchus, as being the offspring of one and the same birth, does not accord with the usual notion of the genealogy of these divinities, it seems that Ptolemy did not so represent them without some reason. For, in cap. 24, lib. 2, De Nat. Deor., Cicero speaks of Liber as having been deified conjointly with Ceres and Libera (another name of Proserpine); and adds, that "it may be understood, from the rites and mysteries of the worship, how the deification took place." It appears also, by Davies's notes on Cicero, that Livy and Tacitus both speak of the copartnership in divinity exercised by Liber, Libera and Ceres. There is not, however, any occasion at present to dive deeper into the question of the generation of these deities; for our author has advertised to them only to point out that so many males or females will be produced at one birth, under certain configurations of the stars.

Next: Chapter IX. Monstrous or Defective Births