The Soldiers of Fate

The new and full translation of  Valens’Anthology has been like an earthquake in the astrological traditional world.

To be honest, as I see, Hellenistic authors are very difficult to integrate into Medieval and Renaissance (or early-modern) astrology, because it is 99% based on Ptolemy Tetrabiblos- it is evident consulting whatever astrological manual of those times.

If this is not so obvious for some  modern traditional astrologer is because traditional revival was born on horary revival, not on nativities, so  judgement of genitures  is still a land to explore for many modern astrologers practicing the Good Old Ways.

The recent Riley translation  is in every case a good chance to read new pages of the last translated chapter and re-read old ones. This my favourite one, because it’s something which goes beyond the recovery of some old technique deleted away by Ptolemy scientific approach- which only Descartes could win.

Fate has decreed for each person the immutable working out of events, reinforcing this decree with many opportunities for good or bad consequences. Through the use of these opportunities, two selfbegotten gods, Hope and Fortune, the assistants of Fate, control man’s life and make it possible for him  bear Fate’s decrees by using their compulsion and deception. One of the two <Fortune> manifests herself to everyone through the forecasted outcome, proving herself to be good and kind at one time, at another time dark and grim. Fortune raises some high only to cast them down, and degrades others only to raise them to glory. The other of the two <Hope> is neither dark nor bright; she moves everywhere in disguise and in secret, smiling on everyone like a flatterer, and she displays many attractive prospects which cannot be attained. She controls men by deceiving them: these men, even though they were wronged and were enslaved to their desires, still are attracted to her again, and full of Hope, believe that their wishes will be fulfilled. They believe her—only to get what they do not expect. If Hope ever does offer solid prospects to anyone, she immediately abandons him and goes on to others. She seems to be close to everyone, but she stays with no one.

As a result, those ignorant of the prognostic art—or those not willing to engage in it at all—are led away and enslaved to these previously mentioned gods. They endure all blows and suffer punishment along with their pleasures. Some partially attain what they hoped for, their confidence begins to increase, and they await a permanently favorable outcome—not realizing how precarious and slippery are these accidents of Fortune. Others are disappointed in their expectations not just once, but always; they then surrender body and soul to their passions and live shamed and disgraced—or they simply wait, living as slaves to fickle Fortune and deceitful Hope, and they are entirely unable to achieve anything.
But those who have trained themselves in the prognostic art and in the truth keep their minds free and out of bondage; they despise Fortune, do not persist in Hope, do not fear death, and live undisturbed. They have trained their souls to be confident. They do not rejoice excessively at prosperity nor are they depressed by adversity, but they are satisfied with whatever happens. Since they do not have the habit of longing for the impossible, they bear steadfastly the decrees of Fate.

They are alien to all pleasure or flattery and stand firm as soldiers of Fate.

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.



Vettius Valens complete translation by Prof. Mark Riley here.

Chris Brennan podcast and post on the translation.


3 thoughts on “The Soldiers of Fate

  1. This has always been my favorite passage from Valens as well. There are a few others passages like this, although this one is the most poetic.

  2. I like it very much too.
    The only road to sainthood – or call it as you want, manhood, or virtus is accepting God(s) will in the way Valens describes it.

    Great post and podcast of yours, I hardly try to understand English mp3, but yours was worth of the effort.

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