User:Roger Pearse/Ancient Astrological Writers

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Notes See list here.

Vettius Valens

Valens was a poor man, forced to travel for a living. He gained his learning in Egypt and uses the Egyptian months. He probably lived in the Antonine era, judging from the horoscopes included which are mainly from the time of Hadrian, but references in the text suggest later revisions, possibly of the 4th century. The work is in nine books.

Text based mainly on ms. Vaticanus gr. 191, 14th century, but supplemented by a copy in the Selden collection in Oxford, made before damage had occurred and for books 1 and 2, helped by ms. Marcianus 314 (14th c.). In all these a substantial portion of the text is lost at the beginning.

  • Edition: Vetii Valentis Anthologiarum Libri. Ed. W. Kroll. Berlin: Weidmann 1908. Editio princeps.
  • Edition: Vettius Valens Antiochenus, Anthologiarum libri novem by D. Pingree;
  • Translation: Mark Riley's, also Robert Schmidt's.

Firmicus Maternus

The Matheseos

In 8 books. The longest and most complete Latin astrological text we have. 34 manuscripts exist, many interpolated. The best are three 11th century mss, the Montepessulanus H 180, Parisinus gr. 7311, and Vaticanus reginae 1244. The Kroll edition is the first critical text.[1]

Maternus references his conversion on p.80 of the translation (III 3:9). He gives the horoscopes of both Julius Caesar and Jesus. [2]


  • Book 1: Opening letter, arguments, difficulties, refutations, conclusions.
  • Book 2: Introduction, signs, domiciles, exaltations, falls, decans, degrees, diurnal/nocturnal sects, matutine & vespertine, rising times, signs & winds, dodecatemoria, life cycles, houses, angles, aspects, human body, length of life, chronocrators, antiscia, etc.
  • Book 3: Planets in houses, Mercury/planet conjunctions, moon in houses, moon with Part of Fortune.
  • Book 4: Moon applying to planets, moon void of course, moon translating light from planets, Parts of Fortune & Spirit, Lord of the geniture, climacteric years, vocational indicator, full & void degrees in decans, masculine & feminine degrees, angular lunar conjunctions, etc.
  • Book 5: Angles by sign, ascendant by terms & conjoined planets, Saturn & Jupiter by sign, Mercury & Moon by terms or decans, advice on interpretation.
  • Book 6: Bright stars, planets in trine, square, opposition & conjunction, lunar configurations before birth, unfortunate nativities, sexual proclivities, planets as chronocrators, etc.
  • Book 7: Astrologer's oath, exposed infants, twins, monstrous births, infirmities, parental death, orphans, number of marriages, homosexuality, murder of spouse, infertility & celibacy, royal genitures, violent death, criminal nativities, eunuchs, hermaphrodites & perverts, occupations, etc.
  • Book 8: Astrologer's creed, Enenecontameris (90th degree), beholding & hearing signs, degrees in zodiacal constellations, extra-zodiacal constellations, the Myrogenesis (degrees of the zodiac), bright stars, advice on interpretation, conclusion.
  • Appendices: Translator's notes, Index of occupations, List of ancient astrologers, Bibliography, Glossary, Index.
  • Edition: Iulii Firmici Materni Matheseos libri VIII, ed. W. Kroll + F. Scutsch. Leipzig: Teubner, 1913.
  • Translation: Firmicus Maternus, Ancient Astrology: Theory and Practice: Matheseos Libri VIII, translated by Jean Rhys Bram. 1973 and many reprints, e.g. Astrology Classics (2003). ISBN 978-1538101148


  • Thorndike, A Roman Astrologer as a Historical Source: Julius Firmicus Maternus, Classical Philology VIII, 415 f.


  1. Clifford H. Moore, Review of Kroll edition, Classical Philology Vol. 12, No. 2 (Apr., 1917), pp. 219-220
  2. review