About Galileo nativity

This year is the anniversary of the first edition of Sidereus Nuncius (( Galileo Galilei, . Sidereus nuncius, magna… spectacula pandens… quae a Galileo Galileo,… sunt observata in lunae facie… apprime vero in quatuor planetis circa Jovis stellam disparibus intervallis… quos… novissime author depraehendit primus atque medicea sidera nuncupandos decrevit. Venetiis: apud T. Baglionum, 1610. )), which was published for the first time on the 12th March 1610.

Galileo was an astrologer too, and left several horoscopes in his papers, included his birth chart. Anyway in  his Astrologica Nonnulla –  In Italian “nonnulla” means things without any importance in every case-   he gives basically two versions of his birth chart, one (with some slight differences in time) for the 16th February 1564 lengthy discussed by Deborah Houlding  ((see the article Notes on Galileo chart )) and Nick Kollerstrom (( see the article Galileo’s Astrology)); the other version for the 15th February – always taken from Astrologica Nonnulla -was more recently discussed by Patrice Guinard (( see the article  La naissance de Galilée : le 15 février 1564 à 15 heures 40 à Pise ))

Anyway your gentle author, found mentioned en passant in an article by Claudio Cannistra’ about the subject (( Dati e date, il tema natale di Galileo Galilei in Sestile 173-174, journal of  the Italian Astrologers Register kept by CIDA, the Italian Astrological Association  )) a reference to an article by Germana Ernst, an Italian Professor of History of Philosophy- she is an expert of Renaissance, especially about Tommaso Campanella and his entourage, and decided to inquire more, starting from Ernst article .

Starting from the end, I would say that I agree with Patrice Guinard, for the 15th February 1564, on the basis of a different chart, (which is not taken from Galileo’s nonnulla) which I’m going to show.

Ernst explains in easy word the hour system: in Italy time was calculated from the setting of the Sun but ephemeris – ie the planetary positions were given for midday, so we should convert watch time (the Italian hours) in p.m. time. Galileo writes “15 febr.  h:22 horol. a m(eridiem) vero 3.25”.

The day is the 15th February, the 22nd hour from the sunset dividing the 14th and the 15th February. As the Sun  in February sets around 5:30  p.m. (our modern time) the 22nd hour from this corresponds to around 3.30 p.m.,  in the afternoon of the 15th . (( Germana Ernst, Religione, ragione e natura : ricerche su Tommaso Campanella e il tardo Rinascimento (Milano Italy: F. Angeli, 1991).  ))

Ernst believes that Galileo converted it in the right way the date –  he firstly writes 15th and then rectified by mistake

the conversion in 16th February
the conversion in 16th February (f.7r)

in fact as we saw from calculation 15th Feb 22:30 horologii corresponds to 15th Feb 3:30 pm, not 16th February.

In the same way in this chart – the example is mentioned in Ernst too, 19th June h:11 hor (for us 7 in the morning) corresponds to 18th  June h:18 p.m. because differently from Galileo nativity this second birth chart precedes Midday, so the  new day  is not yet started.

Another example of conversion (f.27r)
Another example of conversion (f.27r)

It is evident from this second example that for an afternoon birth time like his own Galileo would write 19th June, and not 20th….

Galileo in the same collection of nativities shows a new chart for the 15th February under a fictional name in f. 37r, which is discussed by Patrice Guinard in the article in bibliography.

Anyway this is not the only evidence for this date.

Galileo came several times in Rome after Sidereus Nuncius, he was a member of Accademia dei Lincei, and had good relations with the unlucky abbot of Santa Prassede, Orazio Morandi.

In the beginning of 1600 Rome was the centre of  some astrological ferment, which saw princes of the Church and noblemen, scholars, monks, involved with astrological studies. Rumours are very easy to spread and God knows why, very soon all were engaged in predictions about the Pope. In December 1629, answering to “Oremus pro Pontifice nostro” (Let’s pray for our Pope),  the Chapel cantors replied “Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine“- Give him Your peace.

It was too much for Urbano VIII- he decided to stop all the gossips with the strong ways, and the poor abbot Morandi, charged to organize in Santa Prassede all the astrological plot, was arrested. He suddenly died in prison, and the affair was closed with Inscrutabilis in 1631. Galileo wrote several letters while the Abbot was imprisoned to ask about his friend health and was very disappointed when he was informed about Morandi death.

Another of the monks of Santa Prassede, after Morandi arrest copied the collection of nativities of the Abbot , which is now at Archivio di Stato and between the rest we find the chart of Galileo.  (( Carteggio galileano inedito con note ed appendici per cura di Giuseppe Campori, Memorie della Reale Accademia di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti di Modena, XX, 1881 ))

Galileo nativity in the collection of Abbot Morandi
Galileo nativity in the collection of Abbot Morandi

This means the same Galileo gave to his friend the date of 15th February 1564.

Galileo, Pisa, 15th February 1564
Galileo, Pisa, 15th February 1564

Let’s give a quick look to the chart.  It’s a chart with moisture and warmth so I would say a sanguine temperament. Venus is the almuten and the chart and the angular Jupiter (even if retrograde) the Lord of Geniture.

Moon and Mercury are not in aspect, but they are at an equal distance from the Equinox, so they are configured.  Interesting his Mercury in Jupiter sign, in its detriment and fall, which at a first glance does not fit with someone like Galileo.

Anyway Mercury with the Sun inclines to studies, and Mercury is disposed by Jupiter, angular  in Cancer, in its exaltation, even if retrograde. On the Moon Mars has some rights, but Moon is going to Jupiter’s square, so the latter has some rights on the Moon too.

Ptolemy says:

If Jupiter alone has the domination of the soul, in honourable positions he makes his subjects magnanimous, generous, god-fearing, honourable, pleasure-loving, kind, magnificent, liberal, just, high-minded, dignified, minding their own business, compassionate, fond of discussion, beneficent, affectionate, with qualities of leadership.

If we enlarge the rulership to Mars, which rules the Moon and beholds Jupiter:

Jupiter allied with Mars in honourable positions makes his subjects rough, pugnacious, military, managerial, restless, unruly, ardent, reckless, practical, outspoken, critical, effective, contentious, commanding, given to plotting, respectable, virile, fond of victory, but magnanimous, ambitious, passionate, judicious, successful.

And I believe this fits too for Galileo.

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.



See also:

Serena Foglia e Grazia Mirti, Gli astrologica nonnulla di Galileo in Linguaggio Astrale n.88, 1992

2 thoughts on “About Galileo nativity

  1. Very nice. This also serves as good instruction for properly determining the time of day in old charts.

    >Jupiter, angular in Cancer, in its exaltation, even if retrograde<

    Retrograde planets are a problem for the astrologer as well as the native. One of the more interesting delineations is that a retrograde planet works against the native. In other words the planet retains its essential and accidental dignity, but that the effects can be negative. Jupiter rules the 9th house of his studies and Venus the other benefic is in her exaltation in the 9th house. But his studies ultimately brought him troubles (he brought a lot of it on himself, too. Jupiter rules and is placed in the 12th), that is they worked against him.

    Very enjoyable post. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, are always very appreciated here.

    About the LoG I agree with you, a retrograde planet has always some shadow with it.
    Jupiter gives wisdom to Mercury, but as I wrote in the thread about Mercury, in Skyscript, it gives some over-confidence. I’m sure that many in Rome were supporters of Copernicus theories and had no problem at all. Many Jesuit astronomers like Clavius were not Galileo’s enemies and in the same period Kircher could write about a sort of evolutionism, without any problem.
    Jupiter many times is enemy to the good sense rather than intellect


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