Luca Gaurico and Girolamo Cardano are two of the most important Italian astrologers, still they were always rivals and enemies.
Gaurico lived in Rome at the court of Paul III, as Pope’s astrologer and courtier, because he was able to foresee for Alessandro Farnese the election as Pope, when the noble was not hoping for it anymore.
On the other hand, Cardano lived in Northern Italy, far from the luxury of aristocrats’ life, and always looked more to Western Europe, Germany, France and Great Britain rather than Italy.
This fact did not prevent Philip Melanchthon to invite Luca Gaurico, “the prince of astrologers” but a bishop of Catholic Church too, in the heart of Reformed Germany to discuss Martin Luther’s geniture.
In this selection from “Trattato di Astrologia iudiciaria sopra le natiuità degli huomini, & donne” (1539), Gaurico explains how stars and planets signify love and sex, in a Renaissance version of chapters 5-6-7 of the fourth book of Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos.
I desire just to stress how – as in Ptolemy chapter about the diseases of souls- the heliacal phase of the planets is of the main importance for sexuality, so Gaurico advises us every time to check if the planet is oriental or occidental, matutine or vespertine .
Using Ptolemy words “if Venus be femininely posited, women will be lustful and licentious, and men wanton and soft; seeking connexion contrary to nature; yet in privacy and not openly: but, if Mars be posited femininely, they will then put their desires in practice shamelessly and publicly.
The oriental and diurnal positions of Mars and Venus also contribute to more masculine and more reputable qualities; and their occidental and vespertine positions to qualities more feminine, and more sordid.”
Gaurico doesn’t use Ptolemy’s technical language, preferring Bonatti’s example and taking a lot of interest in the varieties of sexual expression.
And differently from Ptolemy, Gaurico makes no mention to the” horrida sidera”: the anterior and hinder parts of Aries, and near the Hyades of Taurus, about the urn of Aquarius, in the hinder parts of Leo, and in the face of Capricorn.