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.
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.
THE UNKNOWN ASTROLOGER
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.
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.
THE UNKNOWN ASTROLOGER
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). ))
The same table in Francesco Giuntini
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:
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.
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 )
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:
This is a diurnal chart so we should start from the Sun which takes 19 months, ie 1 year and 7 months.
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.