Sacred Texts  Sky Lore  Index  Previous  Next 

p. xi


OF all sciences, whether true or false, which have at any time engaged the attention of the world, there is not one of which the real or assumed principles are less generally known, in the present age, than those of Astrology. The whole doctrine of this science is commonly understood to have been completely overturned; and, of late, people seem to have satisfied themselves with merely knowing the import of its name. Such contented ignorance, in persons, too, sufficiently informed in other respects, is the more extraordinary, since Astrology has sustained a most conspicuous part throughout the history of the world, even until days comparatively recent. In the East, where it first arose, at a period of very remote antiquity, 1 and whence it

p. xii

came to subjugate the intellect of Europe, it still even now holds sway. In Europe, and in every part of the world where learning had "impress’d the human soil," Astrology reigned supreme until the middle of the 17th century. It entered into the councils of princes, it guided the policy of nations, and ruled the daily actions of individuals. All this is attested by the records of every nation which has a history, and

p. xiii

by none more fully than by those of England. Yet, with these striking facts before their eyes, the present generation seem never, until now, to have inquired on what basis this belief of their forefathers was established, nor by what authority the delusion (if it was one) could have been for so many ages supported. Among a thousand persons who now treat the mention of Astrology with supercilious ridicule, there is scarcely one who knows distinctly what it is he laughs at, or on what plea his ancestors should stand excused for having, in their day, contemplated with respect the unfortunate object of modern derision.

p. xiv

The general want of information on these points, and the indifference with which such want has been hitherto regarded, cannot surely be attributed solely to the modern disrepute of the science; for mankind have usually, in every successive age, exercised great industry in tracing all previous customs, however trifling or obsolete, and in examining all sorts of creeds, however unimportant or erroneous, whenever there has appeared any striking connection between such matters and historical facts; and, since astrology is most unquestionably blended intimately with history, it therefore becomes necessary to seek for some further hypothesis, by which this ignorance and indifference may be accounted for.

Perhaps astrology has been conceived to have borne the same relation to astronomy as alchymy did to chymistry. If such has been the notion, it has certainly been adopted in error, for a modern chymist is still almost an alchymist: it is true that he no longer delays his work in deference to the planets, nor does he now try to make gold, nor to distil elixir of earthly immortality; but nevertheless he still avails himself, to a certain degree, of the same rules and the same means as those of the old alchymist: he is still intent upon the subtle processes of Nature, and still imitates her as far as he can. He reduces the diamond to charcoal by an operation analogous to that by which the alchymist sought to transmute lead into gold; and he mainly differs from the alchymist only in having assured himself that there is a point beyond which Nature forbids facsimiles. Not so slightly, however, does the astronomer differ from the astrologer, but toto cælo: the astrologer considered the heavenly bodies and their motions merely as the mechanism wherewith he was to weave the tissue of his predictions; and astronomy is no more an integral part of astrology, than the loom is of the web which has been woven by it. To have an idea of what alchymy was, it is sufficient to have an idea of chymistry; but astronomy, in itself, will never give a notion of astrology, which requires additional and distinct consideration.

It may be urged, that in the present day a general idea of this by-gone and disused science is quite sufficient for everybody not professedly antiquarian. Such an assertion would doubtless never be controverted, provided the proposed general idea might comprehend the truth. But the present actual general idea of astrology is by no means so comprehensive; indeed, nothing can well be more inaccurate, or even more false: it seems to have been adopted not from the elements of the science itself, but from trite observations made by writers against the science; and consequently the world now wonders at the lamentable defect of understanding that could ever have permitted belief in it--forgetting that astrology has been consigned to neglect, not in consequence of any primâ facie palpability in its imputed fallacies, nor indeed of any special skill or acuteness on the part of its professed adversaries, but rather in consequence of the sudden and astonishing growth of other undoubted sciences, with which it has been presumed to be

p. xv

incompatible, and which during the thousands of years of the reign of astrology were either unborn, or still slumbering in continued infancy. 1

The words "professed adversaries," which have just now been used, are of course not intended to be applied to those mighty explorers of Nature's laws and man's powers, who, in their lofty career, may have made an incidental swoop at the pretensions of astrology. Directly engaged in more exact pursuits, they stopped not to dissect this their casual prey, which, after having been thus struck by eagles, was left to regale crows and daws, and these, in their convivial loquacity, accused their unfortunate victims of crimes incapable of being committed, and of offences which had never been imagined. Of the real faults of their victim these garrulous bipeds seem not to have been aware, or, if aware, they seem to have considered them as not sufficiently prominent. Nor was this want of candour or information absolutely confined to the mere vulgar herd of vituperative scribblers, for even the sparkling essay against astrology, written by Voltaire (in his irrepressible desire to convince the world that he was au fait in everything), proves only that the writer, though the most generally informed man of his time, had mistaken the really assailable points of the object of his attack.

The author of the present Translation has no intention now of either advocating or impugning the doctrines of the science of which his Translation discourses: his purpose is a different one. He has that sort of respect for "the dead, which are really dead," which, although it does not incline him to "praise" them "more than the living, which are yet alive," is still sufficient to incite him to endeavour to avert the imputation of idiot credulity, to which their faith in astrology seems now to subject them in the general opinion of the enlightened "living." And, while he disclaims all idea of presuming to offer any argument on either side of the question, as to the validity of the science, he must still, at the

p. xvi

same time, confess his admiration of the ingenuity and contrivance manifest in its construction, and avow his readiness to believe that all its harmonized complications might have easily held dominion over some of the strongest minds in that darker period when it flourished.

In executing here the desire of attempting to vindicate the ancient credence in astrology, an elaborate disquisition would surely be not only unnecessary, but misplaced: it seems sufficient to refer the reader to the work of which the following is a translation, and to these undisputed facts--that the science was formerly inculcated by the highest and most erudite authorities of the period--that it was insisted on by votaries in all parts of the world, attesting and producing instances of its truth;--and, moreover, that it was so finely and beautifully put together, as to cause the only deficiency of one small, though most important, link in its whole chain of argument, to be undetected by dull minds, and readily supplied by enthusiastic genius. For centuries after centuries all branches of learning were either made subservient to astrology, or carried on in close alliance with it; and many of the illustrious names which it recalls to our recollection are gratefully reverenced even by modern science. The genius of Roger Bacon, although he was the first of that school of natural philosophy which acknowledges none but experimented truths, was nevertheless bowed to the doctrines of judicial astrology; and his greater Namesake, who after an interval of several centuries succeeded to him in giving proper direction to the mental energy, was still an arguer in favour of celestial influences: it may be, therefore, fairly inferred, that the subtle spell which had strength to enthrall "stuff" so "stern," could have been of no weak or vulgar order, but that it was sufficiently potent and refined to interest and amuse even the present age 1.

p. xvii

In this little volume will be found the whole of the elements of astrology, and the entire ground-work of those stupendous tomes in folio and quarto on the same subject, which were produced in myriads during the 16th and 17th centuries, for the due mystification of the then world. The present volume is addressed equally to the general reader, as well as to the votary of pure astrology, if any such there be; to the one it offers amusement; for the other, it should contain the most glowing interest. Even to the speculative metaphysician it will furnish food for contemplation; for, in addition to its peculiar hypothesis of cause and effect, it develops many of those apparent incongruities of character so often united in the same individual; and this development, even although adapted to the doctrine of the stars, still merits attention; inasmuch as the phenomena of which it treats (in whatever way they may be produced or regulated) will ever remain in actual existence.

The only English translation of Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, hitherto published, appears to have been first set forth in 1701, under the name of "The Quadripartite." That publication has been long removed from general sale; and its gross misinterpretation of the author, caused by the carelessness or ignorance of Whalley and his assistants, by whom it was produced, has rendered most of its pages unintelligible: its absence is, therefore, scarcely to be regretted. The second edition of the same translation, professing to be "revised, corrected, and improved," and published by Browne and Sibley, in 1786, was not, in any one instance, purified from the blunders and obscurities which disgraced its predecessor: it seems, in fact, less excusable than the former edition, of which it was merely a reprint, without being at all corrected, not even in certain typographical errata which the former printer had been zealous enough to point out in his final page. Even this second publication, worthless as it intrinsically is, can rarely now be met with, and, like the former, only at a very heavy price.

The present Translation has been made from Proclus's Greek Paraphrase of Ptolemy's original text; the edition followed is that of the Elzevirs, dated in 1635. 1 But, in the course of translation, continual references have been also had to various editions of the original text, in order to ascertain the proper acceptation of doubtful passages. The editions thus inspected were that by Camerarius, printed at Nuremberg in 1535; that by Melancthon, printed at Basle in 1553; and that by Junctinus, printed, with his own enormous commentaries, at Lyons, in 1581. Independently of these references, the present translation has

p. xviii

been collated with the Latin of Leo Allatius, and with two other Latin translations: one printed at Basle, together with a translation of the Almagest in 1541; the other by itself at Perugio, in 1646. 1 The Translator has devoted all this extreme care and attention to his labours, in the wish to render Ptolemy's astro-judicial doctrine into English as

p. xix

purely and perfectly as possible; and, with the same view, he has likewise added, in an Appendix, certain extracts from such parts of the Almagest as were found to be referred to in his present work. Further illustration is also given by notes gathered from the "Primum Mobile" of Placidus, 1 and from a variety of other sources whence any elucidation of the text might be derived. Even Whalley's "Annotations" (to use his own grandiloquent designation) have occasionally yielded information, not altogether unimportant, although generally incomplete.

It seems improper to close this Preface (notwithstanding the bulk it has already attained), without annexing the following short notice of the life and works of the great man from whom the Tetrabiblos has emanated.

Claudius Ptolemy was born at Pelusium, in Ægypt, and became an

p. xx

illustrious disciple of the school of Alexandria, in which city he flourished during the reign of Adrian and that of Antoninus Pius. The date of his birth has been commonly assigned to the 10th year of the Christian æra; but the accuracy of this date seems questionable; for he has himself noted in one part of his works, that Antoninus reigned twenty-three years. He must have, therefore, survived that prince; and, as it is not probable that he continued his scientific labours until after ninety years of age, which he must have done had he been born about the year 70, because Antoninus died in the year 161, it seems that his birth would be more properly ascribed to some later period. Moreover, it is asserted by the Arabians, that he died in the 78th year of his age; and a similar statement is also made by Luca Gauricus, in the dedication of his version of the Almagest 1 to Dominico Palavicini: Gauricus has, however, placed his death in the year 747, which does not accord with the fact of his having survived Antoninus.

Ptolemy has recorded that he observed, at Alexandria, an eclipse of the Moon, in the 9th year of Adrian; and that he made many observations upon the fixed stars in the and year of Antoninus Pius: whence it may be concluded, that his observations upon the heavens were principally made during the period from A.D. 125 to A.D. 140, or thereabouts; and it also follows, of course, that the supposition, entertained by some authors, of his identity with the Ptolemy who was always in attendance upon Galba, as his personal astrologer, and who promised Otho that he should survive Nero and obtain the empire, is entirely without foundation. To Gauricus's 2 version of the Almagest there is also another dedication, addressed to Pope Sixtus, and composed by George Trapezuntius, describing Ptolemy as "regiâ stirpe oriundum," and explaining that he had, "with a truly regal mind," applied himself to the sciences, because the ancient sceptre of the Ptolemies had previously passed into the hands of Cleopatra, and because the kingdom of Ægypt had been since reduced to the state of a Roman province. The authentic details of the circumstances of Ptolemy's life are, however, extremely few. It is said that he was distinguished among the Greeks by the epithets "most wise," and "most divine," on account of his great learning; and, according to the Preface to Whalley's translation of the Tetrabiblos, the Arabians report that "he was extremely abstemious, and rode much on horseback"; adding, that although he was "spruce in apparel," yet his breath was not remarkable for an agreeable odour.

The errors of the Ptolemaic theory of the universe have now been long discarded; but there are many points in which modern sciences, and modern astronomy in particular, have reaped incalculable benefits from the labours and researches of its great founder. He has preserved

p. xxi

and transmitted to us the observations and principal discoveries of remoter periods, and has enriched and augmented them with his own. He corrected Hipparchus's catalogue of the fixed stars, and formed tables for the calculation and regulation of the motions of the Sun, Moon, and planets. He was, in fact, the first who collected the scattered and detached observations of Aristotle, Hipparchus, Posidonius, and others on the economy of the world, and digested them into a system, which he set forth in his Μεγαλη Συνταξις or Great Construction, divided into thirteen books, and called, after him, the Ptolemaic System. This and all his other astronomical works are founded upon the hypothesis, that the earth is at rest in the centre of the universe, and that the heavenly bodies, stars, and planets, all move round it in solid orbs, whose motions are all directed by one primum mobile, or first mover, of which he discourses at large in the "Great Construction." In that work he also treats of the figure and divisions of the earth, of the right and oblique ascensions of the heavenly bodies, and of the motions of the Sun, Moon, and planets; and he gives tables for finding their situations, latitudes, longitudes, and motions: he treats also of eclipses, and the methods of computing them; and he discourses of the fixed stars, of which he furnishes a numerous catalogue, with their magnitudes, latitudes, and longitudes. 1

It has been truly said, that "Ptolemy's order, false as it was, enabled observers to give a plausible account of the motions of the Sun and Moon, to foretell eclipses, and to improve geography 2;" or, in other words, that it represented the actual phenomena of the heavens as they really appear to a spectator on the earth. It is therefore clear that Ptolemy's astrology is just as applicable to modern and improved astronomy as it was to his own. 3

p. xxii

In the year 827 1 the "Great Construction" was translated by the Arabians into their own language, and by them communicated to Europe. It is through them that it has been usually known by the name of the Almagest. In the 13th century, the Emperor Frederic II caused it to be translated from the Arabic into Latin, and Sacrobosco 2 was consequently enabled to write his famous work upon the sphere. It was not, however, until about the end of the 15th century that the "Great Construction" was translated into Latin from the original text; and this important service was rendered to science by Purbach, a professor of philosophy at Vienna, who learned the Greek tongue at the instigation of Cardinal Bessarion. By means of this translation, the Ephemerides of George Müller, surnamed Regiomontanus, a disciple of Purbach's, were first composed. The Greek text of the Almagest, or Great Construction, was first published at Basle, by Simon Grynæus, in 1538; and it was again printed at the same place in 1551, with certain other works of Ptolemy. 3 The rest of Ptolemy's works connected with astronomy, and now extant, are the Tetrabiblos, or Four Books of the Influence of the Stars 4 (now translated); the Centiloquy, or Fruit of his Four Books, being a kind of supplement to the former; and the Significations of the Fixed Stars. The last is merely a daily calendar,

p. xxiii

showing the risings and settings of the stars, and the nature of the weather thereby produced. There are likewise extant his geographical work (which has rendered important service to modern geographers), and also his celebrated book on Harmonics, or the Theory of Sound.

Proclus, to whom the world is indebted for the improved text of the Tetrabiblos, 1 was born at Constantinople, in the year 410. He studied

p. xxiv

at Alexandria and at Athens, and became very eminent among the later Platonists. He succeeded Syrianus, a celebrated philosopher, in the rectorship of the Platonic school at Athens, and died there in 485. 1 He was a most voluminous author, in poetry as well as in prose. Among his works there are Hymns to the Sun, to Venus, and to the Muses; Commentaries upon several pieces of Plato, and upon Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos 2; an Epitome or Commendium of all the Astronomical Precepts demonstrated in the Almagest; and elements of Theology and Natural Philosophy. He was in dispute with the Christians on the question of the eternity of the world, which he undertook to prove in eighteen elaborate arguments. A late writer in a certain periodical work has erroneously identified him with another Proclus, who was in favour with the Emperor Anastasius, and who destroyed the ships of Vitalianus, when besieging Constantinople in 514, by burning them with great brazen mirrors, or specula.


Signs of the Zodiac.















xi:1 Sir Isaac Newton has the following remarks in regard to the origin of Astrology:--"After the study of Astronomy was set on foot for the use of navigation, and the Ægyptians, by the heliacal risings and settings of the stars, had determined the length of the solar year of 365 days, and by other observations had fixed the solstices, and formed the fixed stars into asterisms, all which was done in the reigns of Ammon, Sesac, Orus, and Memnon," (about 1000 years before Christ), "it may be presumed that they continued to observe the motions of the planets, for they called them after the names of their gods; and Nechepsos, or Nicepsos, King of Sais," [772 B.C.], "by the assistance of Petosiris, a priest of Ægypt, invented astrology, grounding it upon the aspects of the planets, and the qualities of the men and women to whom they were dedicated *1; and in the beginning of the reign of Nabonassar, King of Babylon, about which time the Æthiopians, under Sabacon, invaded Ægypt" [751 B.C.], "those Ægyptians who fled from him to Babylon, carried thither the Ægyptian year of 365 days, and the study of astronomy and astrology, and founded the a era of Nabonassar, dating it from the first year of that king's reign" [747 B.C.], "and beginning the year on the same day with the Ægyptians for the sake of their calculations. So Diodorus: 'they say that the Chaldæan in Babylon, being colonies of the Ægyptians, became famous for astrology, having learned it from the priests of Ægypt.'"--Newton's Chronology, pp. 251, 252.

Again, in p. 327: "The practice of observing the stars began in Ægypt in the days of Ammon, as above, and was propagated from thence, in the reign of his son Sesac, into Afric, Europe, and Asia, by conquest; and then Atlas formed the sphere of the Libyans" [956 B.C.], "and Chiron that of the Greeks [939 B.C.]; and the Chaldæans also made a sphere of their own. But astrology p. xii was invented in Ægypt by Nichepsos, or Necepsos, one of the Kings of the Lower Ægypt, and Petosiris his priest, a little before the days of Sabacon, and propagated thence into Chaldæa, where Zoroaster, the legislator of the Magi, met with it: so Paulinus;

'Quique magos docuit mysteria vana Necepsos.'"

The arcana of Astrology constituted a main feature in the doctrines of the Persian Magi; and it further appears, by Newton's Chronology, p. 347, that Zoroaster (although the æra of his life has been erroneously assigned to various remoter periods) lived in the reign of Darius Hystaspis, about 520 B.C., and assisted Hystaspes, the father of Darius, in reforming the Magi, of whom the said Hystaspes was Master. Newton adds, p. 352, that "about the same time with Hystaspes and Zoroaster, lived also Ostanes, another eminent Magus: Pliny places him under Darius Hystaspis, and Suidas makes him the follower of Zoroaster: he came into Greece with Xerxes about 480 B.C., and seems to be the Otanes of Herodotus. In his book, called the Octateuchus, he taught the same doctrine of the Deity as Zoroaster."

Having quoted thus far from Newton, it seems proper to subjoin the following extract from the "Ancient Universal History:"--"In the reign of Gushtasp" [the oriental name of Darius Hystaspis], "King of Persia, flourished a celebrated astrologer, whose name was Gjamasp, surnamed Al Hakim, or the wise. The most credible writers say that he was the brother of King Gushtasp, and his confidant and chief minister. He is said to have predicted the coming of the Messiah; and some treatises under his name are yet current in the East. Dr. Thomas Hyde, in speaking of this philosopher, cites a passage from a very ancient author, having before told us that this author asserted there had been among the Persians ten doctors of such consummate wisdom as the whole world could not boast the like. He then gives the author's words: 'Of these, the sixth was Gjamasp, an astrologer, who was counsellor to Hystaspis. He is the author of a book intitled Judicia Gjamaspis, in which is contained his judgment on the planetary conjunctions. And therein he gave notice that Jesus should appear; that Mohammed should be born; that the Magian religion should be abolished, etc.; nor did any astrologer ever come up to him.' [E. lib. Mucj. apud Hyde.] Of this book there is an Arabic version, the title of which runs thus: The Book of the Philosopher Gjamasp, containing Judgments on the Grand Conjunctions of the Planets, and on the Events produced by them. This version was made by Lali; the title he gave it in Arabic was Al Keranai, and he published it A.D. 1280. In the preface of his version it is said that, after the times of Zoroaster, or Zerdusht, reigned Gushtasp, the son of Lohrasp, *2 a very p. xiii powerful prince; and that in his reign flourished in the city of Balch, on the borders of Chorassan, a most excellent philosopher, whose name was Gjamasp, author of this book; wherein is contained an account of all the great conjunctions of the planets which had happened before his time, and which were to happen in succeeding ages; and wherein the appearances of new religions and the rise of new monarchies were exactly set down. This author, throughout his whole piece, styles Zerdusht, or Zoroaster, our Prophet. [D’Herbelot, Bibl. Orient. Art. Gjamasp.] The notion of predicting the rise and progress of religions from the grand conjunctions of the planets, has been likewise propagated in our western parts: Cardan was a bold assertor of this doctrine. The modern Persians are still great votaries of astrology, and although they distinguish between it and astronomy, they have but one word to express astronomer and astrologer; viz. manegjim, which is exactly equivalent to the Greek word αστρολογος. Of all the provinces of Persia, Chorassan is the most famous for producing great men in that art; and in Chorassan there is a little town called Genabed, and in that town a certain family which, for 6 or 700 years past, has produced the most famous astrologers in Persia; and the king's astrologer is always either a native of Genabed, or one brought up there. Sir John Chardin affirms that the appointments in his time for these sages amounted to six millions of French livres per annum.--Albumazar of Balch (scholar of Alkendi, a Jew, who was professor of judicial astrology at Bagdad, in the Caliphate of Almamoum *3) became wonderfully famous. He wrote expressly from the Persian astrologers, and it may be from the works of Gjamasp, since he also reports a prediction of the coming of Christ in the following words: viz. 'In the sphere of Persia, saith Aben Ezra, there ariseth upon the face of the sign Virgo a beautiful maiden, she holding two ears of corn in her hand, and a child in her arm: she feedeth him, and giveth him suck, &c. This maiden,' saith Albumazar, 'we call Adrenedefa, the pure Virgin. She bringeth up a child in a place which is called Abrie [the Hebrew land], and the child's name is called Eisi [Jesus].' This made Albertus Magnus believe that our Saviour, Christ, was born in Virgo; and therefore Cardinal Alliac, erecting our Lord's nativity by his description, casteth this sign into the horoscope. But the meaning of Albumazar was, saith Friar Bacon, that the said virgin was born, the Sun being in that sign, and so it is noted in the calendar; and that she was to bring up her son in the Hebrew land. [Mr. John Gregory's Notes on various Passages of Scripture.]"--Ancient Universal History, vol. 5, pp. 415 to 419.

xi:*1 It is maintained by astrologers, that the planets, having been observed to produce certain effects, were consequently dedicated to the several personages whose names they respectively bear.

xi:*2 This seems to be a mistake of the Arabian author, for Gushtasp was identical with Darius Hystaspis, and Lohrasp [otherwise Cyaxares] was father of Darius the Mede, who was overcome by Cyrus, 536 B.C.--See Newton.

xi:*3 This caliph reigned in the earlier part of the 9th century, and caused Ptolemy's Great Construction to be translated into Arabic, as hereafter mentioned.

xv:1 To this view of the case, the following remarks seem not inapplicable: they are taken from a periodical work of deserved reputation:--

"The study of astrology itself, as professing to discover, by celestial phenomena, future mutations in the elements and terrestrial bodies, ought, perhaps, not to be despised. 2 The theory of the tides, for example, is altogether an astrological doctrine, and, long before the days of Sir Isaac Newton, was as well understood as it is at this moment. The correspondence alleged by the ancient physicians to exist between the positions of the Moon and the stages of various diseases, is so far from being rejected by the modern faculty, that it has been openly maintained." 3 The writer then recounts sundry incidents, asserted by the astrologers to be dependent on the Moon, and he adds these words: "The fact of these allegations might be so easily ascertained, that it is surprising they should still be pronounced incredible, and denied rather than contradicted."

xv:2 "Sir Christopher Heydon's Defence of Astrology, p. 2, edit. 1603."

xv:3 "Dr. Mead on the Influence of the Sun and Moon upon Human Bodies. See also Edinb. Rev. vol. 12, p. 36--Balfour on Sol-Lunar Influence." Blackwood's Magazine for Dec., 1821, Part 2, No. 59.

xvi:1 In the 51st No. of the Quarterly Review, Art. "Astrology and Alchymy," the following observations are made:

"Certainly, if man may ever found his glory on the achievements of his wisdom, he may reasonably exult in the discoveries of astronomy; but the knowledge which avails us has been created solely by the absurdities which it has extirpated. Delusion became the basis of truth. Horoscopes and nativities have taught us to place the planet in its sure and silent path; and the acquirements which, of all others, now testify the might of the human intellect, derived their origin from weakness and credulity" (p. 181). Again; "Astrology, like alchymy, derives no protection from sober reason; yet, with all its vanity and idleness, it was not a corrupting weakness. Tokens, predictions, prognostics, possess a psychological reality. All events are but the consummation of preceding causes, clearly felt, but not distinctly apprehended. When the strain is sounded, the most untutored listener can tell that it will end with the key-note, though he cannot explain why each successive bar must at last lead to the concluding chord. The omen embodies the presentiment, and receives its consistency from our hopes or fears." (p. 208).

It may, perhaps, be difficult to assent to all of the propositions involved in these extracts; but there are among them some which are clearly unquestionable.

xvii:1 This edition was printed in double columns, one containing Proclus's Greek Paraphrase, the other the Latin translation of Leo Allatius; and William Lilly (no light authority in these matters) thus wrote of it in the year 1647: "Indeed Ptolemy hath been printed in folio, in quarto, in octavo, in sixteens: that lately printed at Leyden" [where the Elzevirs were established] "I p. xviii conceive to be most exact; it was performed by Allatius." To the said edition is prefixed an anonymous address to the reader, in Latin, and to the following effect:--

"I have reckoned it part of my duty to give you, benevolent reader, some short information as to the publication of this little work, which, having hitherto existed only in Greek, *1 is now, in its Latin dress, accessible to the curiosity of all persons. This Paraphrase of Proclus on the Tetrabiblos of Ptolemy was translated a few years ago by Leo Allatius, a Greek by birth, eminently skilled in the learning of his own nation, as well as in Latin literature, and already celebrated for other writings in both languages. He lives, I have understood, in Rome, in the family of Cardinal Biscia, and holds some office in the Vatican Library. He undertook his present work, however, for his own private gratification, and that of certain friends; but when writings compiled with this view have once quitted their author's hands, it will often happen that they have also, at the same time, escaped his control. So this offspring of Allatius, having, emerged from Rome, arrived at Venice, from whence it was forwarded to me by a certain great personage of illustrious rank, in order that I might cause it to be printed. The names of Ptolemy and Proclus, so celebrated among mathematicians and philosophers, besides the subject of the work itself, seemed to me a sufficient warrant for committing it to the press. Whereupon I delayed not to avail myself of the advantages I possessed in having access to our excellent and most accurate typographers, the Elzevirs, and I earnestly solicited them to publish it: they, in their love for the commonwealth of letters, took upon themselves the charge of printing it in the form you see. You will learn from it, inquisitive Reader, how much power the stars have over the atmosphere and all sublunary things: for the stars, and those brighter bodies of heaven, must not be imagined to be idle. The whole doctrine of the stars is not, however, here treated of, but only that distinct part of it which the Greeks call judicial and prognostic, and which, while confined within certain limits is as entertaining as it is useful, and is partly considered to be agreeable to nature. But should it pretend to subject to the skies such things as do not depend thereupon, and should it invite us to foresee by the stars such things as are above the weakness of our apprehension, it will assuredly deserve to be reprehended as a vain and empty art, which has been demonstrated in many learned books by p. xix the great Picus of Mirandola. The Chaldæans, Genethliacs, and Planetarians, have been always held in disrepute, because they professed to know not only more than they actually did know, but also more than is allowed to man to know. Even Ptolemy, while he employs himself in his present work upon the Doctrine of Nativities, is scarcely free from the charge of superstition and vanity: perhaps, in a Pagan, this may be forgiven; but it is hardly to be tolerated, that persons professing Christianity should be led away by such an empty study, in which there is no solid utility, and the whole pleasure of which is puerile. Finally, I warn you that some persons doubt whether this was really produced by Ptolemy *2: nevertheless, it has certainly appeared to Porphyry and Proclus (who were doubtless great philosophers, although hostile to the Christian faith) to be worthy of receiving elucidation by their Commentaries upon it. *3 Peruse it, however, friendly reader, with caution, having first shaken off the weakness of credulity, for the sinew of wisdom is not to believe rashly. Farewell."

In addition to the remarks made in the foregoing address regarding Leo Allatius, it may be observed that he was appointed Keeper of the Vatican Library by Pope Alexander VII, with whom he was in high favour. It is said of him, that he had a pen with which he had written Greek for forty years, and that he shed tears on losing it. Another story of him states, that the Pope had often urged him to take holy orders, that he might be advanced in the church, and one day asked him why he had not done so: "Because," said Allatius, "I would be free to marry."--"Why, then, do you not marry?"--"Because I would be free to take orders."--Chalmer's Biographical Dictionary.

xvii:*1 This assertion is applicable only to Proclus's Paraphrase. There were several prior translations of the original Tetrabiblos in Latin and Arabic; and it appears by an extract from the Bibliotheca Græca of Fabricius [which will be found in a subsequent page], that a Latin version, done from the Arabic, was printed at Venice as early as the year 1493.

xvii:*2 The reader is again referred to the extract from Fabricius (inserted in a subsequent page), containing that learned person's account of this book among the other works of Ptolemy.

xvii:*3 Their Commentaries were printed at Basle, in 1559.

xviii:1 This translation from the Perugio press has been serviceable in presenting certain various readings; but it does not seem to possess any other peculiar merit. It professes to be a translation from the original text of Ptolemy; and so likewise does the translation printed at Basle, as above quoted.

xix:1 It appears by the printed works of this author, that he was named Didacus Placidus de Titis. He was a native of Bologna, by profession a monk, and was styled Mathematician to the Archduke Leopold William of Austria. He wrote in the earlier part of the 17th century, and his work, now cited, is considered to contain the most successful application of Ptolemy's astrological rules to practice. The original is extremely scarce; but a new English edition, by Cooper, may be had of the Publishers of this work.

xx:1 Printed at Basle, 1541.

xx:2 Chalmer's Biographical Dictionary.

xxi:1 In France, about the beginning of the 16th century, Oronce Finé, the Royal Reader, attempted, under the patronage of Francis I, to produce an astronomical clock, in which everything moved according to the principles of Ptolemy. It was kept, about fifty years ago, in the monastery of St. Genevieve, at Paris. In Lilly's Catalogue of Astrological Authors, Orontius Finæus is mentioned as the writer of a work on the twelve houses of heaven, printed in Paris, 1553.

xxi:2 Spectacle de la Nature.

xxi:3 The objection which has been urged against astrology, that the signs are continually moving from their positions, cannot invalidate this conclusion. That objection has, in fact, no real existence; for Ptolemy seems to have been aware of this motion of the signs, and has fully provided for it in the 25th Chapter of the 1st Book of the Tetrabiblos. From that chapter it is clear that the respective influences he ascribes to the twelve signs (or divisions of the zodiac) were considered by him as appurtenant to the places they occupied, and not to the stars of which they were composed. He has expressly and repeatedly declared that the point of the vernal equinox is ever the beginning of the zodiac, and that the 30 degrees following it ever retain the same virtue as that which he has in this work attributed to Aries, although the stars forming Aries may p. xxii have quitted those degrees: the next 30 degrees are still be accounted as Taurus, and so of the rest. There is abundant proof throughout the Tetrabiblos, that Ptolemy considered the virtues of the constellations of the zodiac distinctly from those of the spaces they occupied.

xxii:1 The French say 813, but 827 is the date given by English chronologists.

xxii:2 This scientific man was a Mathurine Friar, and a professor in the University of Paris: he died in 1256. It is pointed out in the Edinburgh Review, No. 68, that he was a native of Yorkshire, and his real name John Holywood, euphonized, in Paris, into Sacrobosco.

xxii:3 Chalmers.--The Tetrabiblos was among these works.

xxii:4 To such readers as may be curious to know in what manner this book was promulgated in Europe, after the revival of letters, the following extract from the Bibliotheca Græca of Fabricius will furnish information:--

"Lib. IV. Cap. XIV. §4. Τετραβιβλος, Συνταξις Μαθηματικη Quadripartitum, sive quatuor libri de apotelesmatibus et judiciis astrorum, ad Syrum (h). Græce primum editi a Joachimo Camerario, cum versione suâ duorum priorum librorum, et præcipuorum e reliquis locorum. Norimb. 1535, 4to.--Hinc cum versione Phil. Melancthonis, qui in præfat. ad Erasmum Ebnerum Senatorem Norimbergensem testatur se editionem Camerarii multis mendis purgasse, tum numeros in locis apheticis tam Græci quam Latini textus emendasse. Basil, 1553, 8vo.--Latine pridem verterat Ægidius Tebaldinus, sive latino-barbaré ex Hispanica versione, Alfonsi Castellæ Regis jussu, ex Arabico (i) confectâ. Vertit et Antonius Gogava, Lovan. 1548, 4to; Patavii, 1658, 12mo; Pragæ, 1610, 12mo. Commentario illustravit Hieron. Cardanus prioribus duobus libris Camerarii, posterioribus Gogavæ versione servatâ, Basil, 1554, fol.; 1579, fol.; Lugd. 1555, 8vo, et in Cardani opp.--Georgii Vallæ commentarius, anno 1502 editus, nihil aliud est, quam Latina versio scholiorum p. xxiii Græcorum, sive exegeseos jejunæ Demophili in tetrabiblon, quæ cum Porphyrii sive Antiochi isagoge, Græce et Latine, addita Hieron Wolfii versione, lucem vidit Basil. 1559, fol. In his scholiis Dorotheus allegatur, p. 48, Ito, et 139; Cleopatra, p. 88; Porphyrius Philosophus, p. 169. Meminit et auctor Petosiridis ac Necepso, p. 112:--λεγει δε παλαιον τον Νεχεψω (ita leg. pro χεψω ut p. 112) και Πετοσιριν, ουτοι γαρ πρωτοι το δἰ ασρολογιας εχηπλωσαν προγνωσικον *1 Paraphrasin tetrabibli a Proclo concinnatam Græce edidit Melancthon, Basil. 1554, 8vo. Grace et Latine cum versione suâ Leo Allatius, Lugd. Batav. 1654, *2 8vo. Locum Ptolemæi e codice Græco MS. in collegio Corporis Christi Oxon, feliciter restituit Seldenus, p. 35 ad Marmora Arundeliana. Haly Heben Rodoan Arabis commentarium laudat Cardanus, cum Demophilo Latine editum."

"(h) Schol. Græc.--Προσφωνει τω Συρω ο Πτολεμαιος το βιβλιον, προς ον και τας αλλας αυτου πασασ πραγματειας προσεφωνησεν. Λεγουσι δε τινες ως πεπλασαι αυτο το του Συρω ονομα. Αλλοι δε οτι ου πεπλασαι, αλλ᾽ ιατρος νυ ουτος αχθεις και δια τουτων των μαθηματων.

"(i) Selden. Uxor Hebr. p. 342. Cæterum de Alphonsi Regis curâ in promovenda Arabica Quadripartiti versione, vide, si placet, Nic: Antonium in Bibl. veteri Hispana, t. 2, p. 55, vel Acta Erud. A. 1697, p. 302. Latino versio ex Arabico facta lucem vidit Venet, 1493, fol. Viderit porro Gassendus qui in Philosophia Epicuri, ubi contra Astrologos disputat. t. 2, p. 501. contendit tetrabiblon indignum esse Ptolemæi genio et subdititum. Equidem Jo. Pico judice, l. 1, contra Astrologos, p. 285, Ptolemæus malorum sive Apotelesmaticorum est optimus."

xxii:*1 "Nechepsos and Petosiris are anciently spoken of, for they first explained prognostication by Astrology."

xxii:*2 This was perhaps a reprint of the edition of 1635, from which the present translation has been made; unless there may have been an error of the press in stating 1654 instead of 1635, which seems probable, as the edition of 1635 is unnoticed by Fabricius.

xxiii:1 It will be seen by the preceding note, that Proclus's Paraphrase of the Tetrabiblos should properly be considered as superior to the other readings of that book; since it appears, on the authority of Fabricius, that Melancthon, after having been at the pains of correcting and republishing, in 1553 (with his own emendations), the edition of Camerarius, containing the reputed original text, still deemed it advisible, in the following year, to edit Proclus's Paraphrase. This Paraphrase must, therefore, necessarily have had claims to his attention not found in the text he had previously edited *1.

xxiii:*1 "Ptolemy addresses the book to Syrus, to whom he has also addressed all his other treatises. Some say that this name of Syrus was feigned; others, that it was not feigned, but that he was a physician, and educated in these sciences."

xxiv:1 Chalmer's Biographical Dictionary.

xxiv:2 It will, of course, be understood that this Commentary is distinct from his Paraphrase, now translated.

Next: Chapter I. Proem