Andrea Argoli on decumbiture

Having explained signs of illness in solar return, Argoli  explains in his De Diebus Criticis how to judge illness from decumbiture, ie. the chart for the moment of the illness.

In these pages Argoli who studied medicine before becoming a lecturer of mathematics in La Sapienza (in the very University the gentle author of this article studied many, many years later 🙂 ) associates several kind of galenic fevers, hectic, quartan, ephemeral and so on to the planets.

Different types are not always manifest to the modern reader and I guess to the ancient too, if someone found the necessity to untangle the intricate picture with the fever tree. ((Francesco Torti. Therapeutice specialis ad febres periodicas perniciosas, cui subnectuntur resposiones jatro-apologeticae ad clarissimum Ramazzinum. Venetiis: Apud Laurentium Basilium.  (1755) ))

Lignum febrium
Lignum febrium

On the other hand fever as we can see from the opening picture was generally associated with stars, especially with the Moon. In his Iconologia, Cesare Ripa   (( Cesare Ripa,  Iconologia, ouero, Descrittione dell’imagini uniuersali cauate dall’antichita et da altri luoghi. In Roma: Per gli heredi di Gio. Gigliotti, 1593.  )) shows fever as a young girl because young people are more inclined to suffer from fever, her dress is coloured with four colours which are the four humours, from whose corruption it derives.  At her foot the Lion stands for the celestial Leo, the driest and hottest of the astrological signs. On her head she wears the Moon, because this illness derives from the motion of the Moon, and recovery and worsening can be seen – according Galen (( De diebus decretoriis )) – from the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th day when the Moon transits her position in the radix by square, opposition, the waning square and eventually the conjunction.

Argoli gives several examples in order to built a proper scheme:

Example of critical days for a decumbiture cast on 11th Sep 1625 at midday
Example of critical days for a decumbiture cast on 11th Sep 1625 at midday

According Argoli in fact decumbiture is generally very important in order to judge about a disease, to give the right diagnosis and find a proper remedy.

On the other hand, sometimes diseases have their root in some transit more than in the return and in a different moment than the return of the Sun in the place where it was in the birth time, and that moment will be the moment of decumbiture,  about we will talk more in the following book.  In the decumbiture or beginning of disease, always one of the Lights or the Ascendant or the Ascendant ruler, is corrupted in some way from malefics and especially the Moon. The Ancients left to posterity many aphorisms, according the disease, by nature and quality of the illness, and among them we will present some of them.

If the Sun in the hour of decumbiture is in the place of radix Saturn, or in the place of Saturn opposition, or square, or commanding or obeying antiscia, or in whatever else way afflicted by Saturn by ray or body it gives in the native illness deriving by an excess of cold humours, melancholy, Saturnian in nature, deriving from the causes we mentioned in a dedicated chapter.

If the Sun is afflicted by Mars, illness will derive from by bilious humour, from the dry and muddy blood, according Mars nature.
If Jupiter is ill disposed, Ascendant ruler or Lord of the year, afflicted by malefics and placed in the 6th house, illness will derive from the excess of blood and purulent humour and from inflammation, from liver afflictions and other of Jupiterian nature.
If Venus is afflicted illness will derive from a venereal cause, from repletion ((overfullness resulting from excessive eating or drinking; surfeit )) or and similar things.

If Mercury is corrupted  diseases from brain ailments, epilepsy, coughing and Mercurian diseases.

An afflicted Moon brings diseases of the same nature,  sleepiness, weariness and things like that.

Saturn with the Sun in Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, dry and hot signs, illness with continuous (( hectic in the text )) fever. In the watery Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, diseases deriving from cold and moist matter, fluxions (( affluence of humours especially to the head and the chest)), articular pains, and similar diseases.

In the earthy Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn diseases caused by melancholy, quartan (( a kind of fever recurring every 4 days)) and chronic diseases.

In fixed signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius, persisting, creeping fevers, and in the same way quartan, and in addition to fevers, leprosy, articular diseases, gout, podagra, sciatica.

Saturn in movable signs, Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn signifies humours’ fluxions, weakening genitals.

In the common signs, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces, it brings composite pains, change in illnesses, and makes them longer.

If Saturn is with the Moon nodes, the Dragon Head or Tail or with a combust Venus, or violent stars (( in previous pages of this book Argoli mentions as violent stars Antares, Aldebaran, Hercules (Pollux, beta Gemini), Bellatrix, South Scale, Algol, Regulus )) or in Leo signifies pernicious or pestilent fevers.

Mars in fiery signs afflicting Lights, the Ascendant or its rulers, threatens pestilential or burning fevers or something like that:  if Saturn is joined, melancholic and atrabiliary too.
If Mars is in the 6th, or in the 12th, grants burning, intense and pernicious fevers especially in fiery signs, Aries, Leo, Sagittarius.

In movable signs acute fevers, ending shortly, generally in bad way.

In common signs acute, double, sudden fevers, usually recidivous.

Generally Saturn grants long ones, Mars short: if Mars is with the Sun sanguine ones, or continuous fevers accompanied with putrefaction.

Jupiter in fiery signs produces sanguine fevers with putrefaction, Venus in fiery signs, fevers lasting a day, while  with Mars putrid fevers deriving from pus.  Mercury in fiery signs composite fevers, and in the same way the Moon catarrhal, putrid ones.

Moon in opposition to Mars in the same fiery signs poisonous, pestilential fevers, and malicious but of short duration,
With Mars in airy signs, Gemini, Libra, Aquarius – especially in Gemini- gives dangers from sword too, and similar weapons.

Moon in Aries in the 8th house gives hot diseases to the head.

Planets in water signs signify putrid fevers, especially if they are combust; in earthy signs in fact they don’t give putrefaction.

Planets in signs of short ascension – Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini signify short diseases; in signs of long ascension – Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius- long and  chronic. Malicious fevers are signified by an afflicted Sun, and Leo is rising.
With the help of experience, it is not of little importance in illness diagnosis the examination of the 6th house and its dispositor:   if, in fact, in this house there is a fiery sign, the illness will be dry or choleric, if a earth sign, a melancholic disease, if an airy sign sanguine, if watery a rheumy  one; in the same way it will be possible conjecturing about the illness according the planet which is in the 6th house or ruling it.
In the same way from the sign where the Ruler of the Ascendant is we can deduce which part is attacked by the illness, according the signs’ rulership on the body limbs.  If in Aries, it will be an head disease, if in Gemini in arms, and the limbs ruled by Gemini,    in the same way, we will judge about the remaining signs, according their rulership on the human body.
(( De diebus criticis et aegrorum decubitu libri duo: ab auctore denuo recogniti ac altera parte auctiores paeneq[ue] noui.  Patauii : apud Paulum Frambottum , 1651-1652. ))

In the second part of the book, recently translated in Italian,  (( Andrea Argoli, I giorni critici. Il decubito delle malattie (Il Pavone, 2007) )) Argoli lists several nativities and examples, both about solar return and decumbiture.

Anne of Poland

Let us consider the unhappy story of Anne, queen of Poland.

She felt sick with a violent pain in the heart, pregnant, and she died the next day, not yet 26 years old .

A partile Mars on the Descendant in Leo afflicts the heart. She dies when the Ascendant arrives by direction to Mercury (ruler of the 5th) opposition to the Ascendant:

Ascensio Mercury opposition 355.36 – Ascensio Ascendant  331.12 = 24.24

and the trine of Saturn to the Ascendant

Ascensio Saturn trine 355.45 – Ascensio Ascendant  331.12 = 24.33

In the decumbiture there are many signs of death.

Venus, ruler of the 8th square to Mars and with Saturn’s antiscia. Jupiter – the other ruler of the 8th house with the violent star Aldebaran under  Saturn rays.

The Dragon Tail is at the Ascendant.

The Sun is in the 6th house, is transiting the radix Ascendant while the Moon is on the radix Saturn.

Mercury, ruler of the decumbiture Ascendant, occidental in the 6th house and  much more…..

Written by Margherita Fiorello, CIDA certified member @ year 2009



My translation from Latin, awful mistakes revised and corrected by Lucia Bellizia of Apotelesma

PDF version of the aphorisms here.

2 thoughts on “Andrea Argoli on decumbiture

  1. Especially happy to hear this from you, I’m between your many readers of your blog, in every case.

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