divisors, chronocrators, almutens and more in a Renaissance geniture

Very recently the Italian astrologer Grazia Bordoni put on line here for  her column in the  site Armonics an old lecture written  by Maurizio Malagoli  for Venice CIDA Congress about the geniture of Alfonso d’Este, illegitimate son of the Duke of Ferrara Alfonso I,  Lucrezia Borgia husband.

sshot-2020-02-12-[20-47-17]The article is very beautiful, and Grazia Bordoni was so kind to send me the introductory  pages from the original horoscope written  in Italian by an unknown astrologer, maybe a student of Luca Gaurico, Girolamo Manfredi, or Antonio Arquato, famous astrologers who taught in Bologna university (where Marsilio Ficino studied between 1457-1459) and worked in that area of Italy.

In every case the author mentions in the incipit his sources:

We have inferred our considerations from many authors: from Tholomeo, Zael, Bethem, Hermete, Homar, Abram, Albumazzar, Almansore, Firmico, Hali, Guido Bonato, Albubater, Cardano, Schonero.

Not new names for traditional astrologers, even the modern ones 🙂

In the first page, the astrologer – who writes for Alfonso in 1553- casts the horoscope of Alfonso, giving some information.

Below some selection with some notes of mine.

The chart – the astrologer says – has been rectified by the conception.

sshot-2020-02-12-[20-49-46]Then he gives some information he will explain in the tables or in the text.

Before talking about the rest, it’s necessary to talk about life, which is the most and precious we have in this world, because when it is lost, we cannot have back.And this life the philosophers judge from two planets: one it is called Hyleg and the other Alchocoden. Because Moon is well disposed, in the eleventh, in Cancer, in its place free from the ray of malefics, a part of philosophers want it the one and the other, Hyleg and Alchocoden, and gives 66 years of life. Others say it is just Hyleg, and Venus is the Alchocoden, and being combust it could not give more than 45 months of life, and the Moon, which beheld it by a benefic ray, but in a falling sign, adds 25 years, which are its lesser years.

This table of the years of life was known since antiquity, see for example the chapter 36 in Paulus Alexandrinus, to make a name.  (( Paulus Alexandrinus, cura  Giuseppe Bezza, Introduzione all’astrologia. Lineamenti introduttivi alla previsione astronomica (Milano: Mimesis, 2000). ))

The following table is taken from Al Kayatt. (( Abu Al-Kayyat, The book of the judgement of nativities cura J. H. Holden (AFA, 1988).  ))sshot-2020-02-12-[20-50-17]

The same table in Francesco Giuntinisshot-2020-02-12-[20-50-56]

Exactly  the years the astrologer mentions.

If we add 45 months – almost 4 years to 25 we arrive to 27-28 years and so the Italian astrologer advises Don Alfonso to be careful about that age because moreover the 28th year is an climacteric year, both because these numbers are multiple of 7 and 9, which since Greeks were famous to be very unfortunate.

To the nativity are attached several tables: novenaria, dodecatemoria, antiscia.

Let’s see the table of dignities:sshot-2020-02-12-[20-52-21]

Then we have some general information – I give an extract, the author adds fixed stars and other Arab parts:


The divisor is the planet who has the term of the Ascendant, in our case Mars. The dominus radiorum, the Lord of the rays is the planet who receives the ray of the significator. The author includes a speculum from which we see that the first direction and aspect the Ascendant receives is again the square of Mars. We don’t have any information about the reason the author choices Mars as ruler of the geniture, maybe because it is the only angular planet which is not debilitated, the others are in their detriment, Mercury in Pisces and Jupiter in Gemini. Anyway there is not fixed rule.

Kepler will write for his horoscope for Wallenstein explaining  there are several ways of proceeding:

The first road is the one of Chaldeans and Arabs and it has no foundation- according this one (the lord of the geniture)  would be Saturn day and the Sun hour.
The other road, more liked by the most part of the astrologer, but I have little faith in it is this: because the Ascendant, the Sun and the Moon are in Aquarius, Libra and Capricorn which are all under Saturn, for this reason the Astrologers make Saturn Dominus Geniturae, with the help of Jupiter which is in Pisces,  as the Pisces which are in the more elevated and noble place of the sky, the Middle of the Sky, are Jupiter signs.
The third road is simply the one in which planets can be in a certain hour and which are better seen in the habits and the nature of the man. Because Jupiter and Saturn are in the first house, which is for me very important, they do the greater part. (( Italian translation  from German in Enzo Barillà site ))

Our unknown astrologer is not so shy and gives us the complete calculation for the almuten and lord of the soul.sshot-2020-02-12-[20-53-46]

Please just notice that the author uses both the daily triplicity (it’s a diurnal nativity) and the partecipating one. The scores are the usual ones, 5 for domicile, 4 for exaltation, 3 for triplicity, 2 for the term, 1 for decan.

As Bezza explains in one of his article the almuten of the chart has a more general rulership because it rules on vital places, it’s a condition of the esse, of the being and it is visible through the qualities it shows… (( I nomi del dominio, in Phos n.9, December 2004 )) while the Lord of the Geniture shows a quality of the action.

A very interesting point is the calculation of chronocrators. The unknown astrologer does not use in fact the well known firdaria, but the variant mentioned by Firmicus Maternus  in the second book chapter 27:

We shall briefly show how much life span is allotted. The Sun receives 19 months, the Moon 25 months, Saturn 30 months, Jupiter 12 months, Mars 15 months, Venus 8 months, Mercury 20 months.
What this distribution of time means we shall show in the books on forecasting by the stars, also what one star portends when it takes over time from another. All things, good or bad, which happen to us, we connect with this calculation of time. The end of life will be found in this way and the character of the entire nativity, and everything which the order of the planets portends.

We find the year with a very easy calculation; for it always begins from the ascendant, and the first year will be the one in which the ascendant is located, the second in the second sign, the third in the third, and thus for the others in order. Some obtain this same result in a diurnal chart from the Sun, at night from the Moon. And this is also possible. (( Julius Firmicus Maternus, Ancient Astrology: Theory and Practice = Matheseos Libri VIII (Park Ridge N.J.: Noyes Press, 1975).  ))

This is how Francesco Giuntini put  this in the Speculum Astrologiae   (( Francesco Giuntini,  Speculum astrologiae … / autore Francisco Iunctino … ; accesserunt etia[m] Com[m]entaria … in duo posteriores Quadripartiti Ptolemaei libros .. Lugduni : in Officina Q. Phil. Tinghi Florentini apud Simphorianum Beraud, 1581 ))  (in the next pages he quotes Firmicus from the book VI )sshot-2020-02-12-[20-54-17]

As we see months length is the same of the lesser years of the planets we saw above.  The order is from the Sun in the day or the Moon in the night- planets as usually follow their hairesis and then  per ordinem immediate positi in schemate natalicio, ie following the planetary order of the chart.

Let’s cast our chart with a modern software:sshot-2020-02-12-[20-55-02]

This is a diurnal chart so we should start from the Sun which takes 19 months, ie 1 year and 7 months.

Then following:

2) Saturn which takes 30 months, ie 2 years and 6 months;

3) Jupiter takes 12 months, 1 year;

4) Moon takes 25 months, 2 years and 1 month

5) Mars takes 15 months, 1 year and  3 months;

6) Mercury takes 20 months, ie 1 year and 8 months

7) Venus takes 8 months.

and are 10 years and 9 months.

Interesting enough the second period starts from Saturn (the point 2 of the list), the third period from Jupiter (the point 3 of the list) and so on.

This is the table with calculation from our unknown author with a small judgment of the period.


This is an interesting variant to Firdaria method, which Renaissance authors like Giuntini explained together with this method, evidently they were not  incompatible each other in their mind, while for us it could be more logical prefer a method or another- this is how our mind work.

About the judgment of the nativity it has been partially given in Malagoli  article, I just want to mention that   Alfonso d’Este died when he was 61, as the astrologer wrote in his reading.

Written by Margherita Fiorello, CIDA certified member, for heaven astrolabe blog @ year 2010. If you want to be notified the next time I write something, subscribe to my RSS feed.



24 thoughts on “divisors, chronocrators, almutens and more in a Renaissance geniture

  1. Hi Margherita,
    Thank you very much for this wonderful article.
    I’m confused though, how the unknown astrologer get the result of 61 years of life when he calculated the Alkokodem?!
    First he eliminated the Moon as Alkokdem and gave it to Venus, then he said that Venus is combusted and would give only the middle years as months, and then added the years of Moon 25, and stopped there.
    How did he get the number of 61?

  2. I don’t have the original text, I have just the first pages with tables: I took the rest from the quoted report. My opinion from the extracts is the astrologer got the result by some direction.

  3. I agree, this was my first suspicion also.
    I guess that he determined the Hyleg and Alkokoden just in order to find the two planets to which the possible ‘killing’ directions would be made.
    As we know today, it is tricky thing to guess the longevity only by the matter of Hyleg and Alkokoden, for example, in the charts I have analyized I found out that the ‘natural deaths’ always shows a near year given by the Alkokoden. But in the case of accidents, often the Hyleg was hit by some klling direction way to earlier than the Alkokoden’s years were going to end. I think that the unknown astrologer calculated the death of Alfonso D’este in the similar manner.
    However, I tried to read the original article (with Google Translate) of the Italian Astrologer you have mentioned, and I was trilled by the accuracy of the astrologer. Do you maybe have a clue how did he predict that after the 32th year of life he would have children and that after 37th year he would get married for the 2nd time?

  4. Absolutely not, I believe the author of the lecture (kept in 1985) copied the original manuscript folios, but then he did mention only some extracts in his lecture. No idea who has his copies of the manuscript.

  5. Apart from the reason you’ve said that he may choose Mars to be Lord of the Geniture because it is the only non debilitated angular planet, I think the reason plus is because he is the Term and Decan ruler of the Ascendant degree. While Sun being in Aversion to the Ascendant, it is not able to take control over the functioning of the Rising Degree, Jupiter is able to mitigate the aversion by assisting the Sun to see the Ascendant, but the Astrologer choose to use the angular Mars, ruler of Term and Decan, who is also more appropriate to the nature of Alfonso D’este.

  6. Margherita-At the begginning of your article I could not reach the link for armonics.com -Very recently the Italian astrologer Grazia Bordoni put on line HERE- Do you know if this link is still accessable? Harold

  7. Margherita-I could copy and paste the link- armonics2zero etc. and then use Google Translate.I hope I can find a way with a PDF file or find some way to translate the page.Thank You for recovering the site -Harold

  8. Margherita-Thank You for recovering the page.I found it helped in understanding above post.I copied and paste link before and used Google Translate.I believe I can do this with PDF file also-Harold

  9. Margherita-Just a question about above post.The minor years of Saturn (30)and Jupiter (12) seem to be based on 1 revolution (Sidereal year) around the Sun.But the remaining planets-Mars 15 etc. do not follow the same way. Just asking if could explain why these numbers are used for minor years.-Harold

  10. Margherita-Thank You for your answer.I will have to read over Robert Hand page a few times to understand it all.The link above really is very informative-Harold

  11. Margherita-I had a question about quote from original Malagoli article on page 63 where it begins Perciò se qualche volta non renderemo ragione della tale
    o tale altra cosa, ..He mentions Maternus and Firmicus and says it occurs at end of introduction . I searched through some of Maternus and Firmicus without finding anything.I don’t know if you still have original article-Harold

  12. Margherita-I spend a lot of time reading through your site as well as Cieloeterra.Because of these sites I have been able to access all resources relating to astrology .While reading C&T I am able to get a general idea of Italian text through Google translate.But some phrases seem to leave me in the dark as the Quote from Malagoli above.Please let me know if English translation becomes available.Thank You-Harold Queens NY USA

  13. Margherita -Can you help me with question about duodecima and Novenaria from CIDA text?

  14. Margherita-Just a comment about fixed stars-I noticed that Regulus is close to Ascendant ,Saturn is opposed to Spica in 8 house,Mars also very close to Antares.I have read about Regulus applying to people of Authority.

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