Teucer and the year of the ox


In the traditional astrology blog of Dorothy Kovach there is an interesting and as usually well written  article about the  year of the Ox and some notes about Chinese calendar.

Still practioners of traditional astrology would remember  some lines from the famous book of Franz Boll, Wilhelm Gundel,  Carl Bezold, Sternglaube Und Sterndeutung Die Geschichte Und Das Wesen Der Astrologie,, 3° ed. (Leipzig ;Berlin: B.G. Teubner, 1926).

Boll was the “inventor” of Teucer of Babylon, published Teucer’s text quoted by Rhetorius in CCAG VII, and noticed that Albumasar text about paranatellonta came directly from Teucer’s text.

Gundel was the author of the very famous essay about  decans Dekane und Dekansternbilder, and the publisher of the hellenistic  astrological  florilegium known as  Liber Hermetis, which contains another famous chapter about paranatellonta (the XXV), beyond another version of the list of 30 beibenia stars (the III).

Bezold was an orientalist with some interest in Chinese culture.

I had my copy of the translation of Sternglaube from someone I believed a dear friend, and now just makes me very confused and unhappy – anyway even astrologers could be wrong in their judgements 😦

In the book Boll explains how the Chinese calendar with 12 animals – the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar – it‘s not a peculiar tract of Chinese culture, but it’s in our Western astrological tradition,  in the so-called  dodekaoros.

Dodekaoros  was an alternative zodiac, divided into 36 decans, 3 for every zodiacal sign. The 12 signs were ruled by an animal, as now in the Chinese zodiac.

Its origin is unclear: in fact Boll believed it came from Babylon, while Gundel from Egypt. Whatever is the truth, Boll gave us the dodekaoros list of animals from Teucer’s text, which are mentioned too between the images rising in  Albumasar Great Introduction. This is the  list from Aries onwards: cat, dog, serpent, scarab, donkey, lion, goat, ox, vulture, ape, ibis, crocodile.

Above, in the  Daressy zodiac we can see the Sun and the Moon in the centre, the Greek zodiac in the outer circle and the corresponding dodekaoros’ animal in the inner one.

It’s interesting to note how animals are important  in this representation. Decans are called facies, i.e. faces and in fact decans are depicted in human  form but with an animal face. This is a tract we find in many cultures of the western world: Christian angels, hermetic decans, Jew patriarchs.

In her article Animal headed Gods, Evangelists, Saints, Righteous men, Ameisenowa gives a very interesting quote from Jalkuth Reubeni : “On Tebhel are mountains and hills and 365 kinds of men: some have serpents’ heads, others the heads of oxen.” These are definitely the 365 Monomoirie, i.e. the 365 degrees ascending in a day which decide the fate of the man.

Closing the chapter about dodekaoros Boll writes: “The most important point in the history of astrology, is the fact this discipline only  can show connections between different people with a plainness and vividness we cannot find in any other. If its manifestations are strange for the modern man, it’s sure that for thousands of years it belonged to the spiritual common heritage of the world and so it deserves to be called universal in the widest sense: maybe it’s the only one able to reconcile in it East and West, and in which Christians, Muslims, Buddhists  could understand each other. ”

One thought on “Teucer and the year of the ox

  1. dear friend

    Excellent article. i didn’t knew Chinese zodiac animals came from middle east awe some info.

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