THE third division of these observations relates to the mode of distinguishing the genus, or species, of animals or things about to sustain the expected effect. This distinction is made by means of the conformation and peculiar properties of those signs in which the place of the eclipse, and the places of such fixed stars and planets, as are in dominion according to the actual sign of the eclipse, and that of the angle before it, may be found. And a planet, or fixed star, is to be considered as holding dominion when circumstanced as follows.
If there be found one planet having more numerous claims than any other to the place of the eclipse, as well as to that of the angle, being also in the immediate vicinity of those places, and visibly applying to, or receding from them, and having likewise more rights over other places connected with them by configuration; the said planet being, at the same time, lord by house, triplicity, exaltation, and terms; in such a case, only that single planet is entitled to dominion. But, if the lord of the eclipse and the lord of the angle be not identical, then those two planets which have most connections with each place are to be noted; and, of these two, the lord of the eclipse is to be preferred to the chief dominion, "although the other is to be considered as bearing rule conjointly." 2 And if more than two should be found, having equal pretensions
to each place, that particular one among them which may be nearest to an angle, or most concerned with the places in question, by the nature of its condition, is to be selected for dominion 1.
But, among the fixed stars, the chief bright one (which, during the time of the eclipse, may hold connection, in any of the nine modes of apparent configuration detailed in the First Syntaxis 2 with the angles then actually in passage), is to be admitted to dominion; as also that one which, at the ecliptical hour, may be in an eminent situation, either having risen, or having culminated with the, angle following the place of the eclipse. 3
Having considered, according to the foregoing rules, what stars co-operate in regulating the coming event, the conformation and figure of the signs, in which the eclipse takes place and the said ruling stars may be posited, are also to be observed; and, from the properties and characteristics of those signs, the genus or species, to be comprehended in the event, is chiefly to be inferred.
For instance, should the zodiacal constellations, and those of the ruling fixed stars out of the zodiac, be of human shape, the effect will fall upon the human race. If the signs be not of human shape, but yet terrestrial, or quadrupedal, the event would be indicated to happen to animals of similar form: the signs shaped like reptiles signify that serpents and creatures of that description will be affected; those bearing the figure of ferocious beasts denote that the event will affect savage and destructive animals; and those figured like tame beasts show that it will operate on animals serviceable to mankind, and of domestic character; as intimated by the shape and figure of the signs, whether resembling horses, oxen, sheep, or any other useful animals. In addition to this, the terrestrial signs situated in the north, about the Arctic circle, indicate sudden earthquakes; and those in the south, sudden deluges of rain. And, should the ruling places be situated in signs shaped like winged animals, as in that of Aquila, or in others of similar form, the event will take effect on birds; and will chiefly attach to those which afford food to man. If the said places should be in signs
formed like creatures which swim, and in marine signs, such as Delphinus, the effect will be felt by marine animals, and in the navigation of fleets; if in river signs, such as Aquarius and Pisces, it will attach to animals living in rivers and in fresh waters: and, if in Argo, both sea and fresh-water animals will be affected by it. 1
Again, should the ruling places be situated in tropical or in equinoctial signs, in either case alike they presignify changes in the state of the atmosphere, at the respective season to which each sign is appropriated. For example, with regard to the season of spring and the productions of the earth, if the said places should be in the sign of the vernal equinox, they will produce an effect on the buds of the vine and fig, and of such other trees as sprout forth at that season. Should they be in the sign of the summer tropic, the event will affect the gathering and depositing of fruits; and, with respect to Ægypt in particular, it will impede the rising of the Nile. If they should be in the sign of the autumnal equinox, they foreshow that it will operate on grain and on various sorts of herbs; if in the sign of the winter tropic, on potherbs, esculent vegetables, and such birds and fishes as arrive in that season.
The equinoctial signs further indicate the circumstances liable to happen in ecclesiastical concerns, and in religious matters: the tropical signs give warning of changes in the atmosphere and in political affairs; the fixed signs, of changes in institutions and in buildings; and the bicorporeal signs show that the future event will fall alike on princes and their subjects.
Again, the ruling places situated in the east, during the time of the eclipse, signify that fruits and seeds, incipient institutions, and the age of youth, will be affected; those, which may be in the mid-heaven above the earth announce that the coming event will relate to ecclesiastical affairs, to kings and princes, and to the middle age; those in the west, that it will influence the laws, old age, and persons about to die.
The proportion liable to be affected, of that genus or kind on which the event will fall, is to be ascertained by the magnitude of the obscuration caused by the eclipse, and by the positions held by the operative stars in regard to the ecliptical place; as, in vespertine position to a solar eclipse, or in matutine position to a lunar eclipse, the said stars will most usually much diminish the effect; in opposition they render it moderate; but in matutine position to a solar eclipse, or in vespertine to a lunar, they greatly augment and extend it. 2
55:2 The edition of Allatius does not contain the words here marked by inverted commas; but they are found in other editions of the text, and seem necessary to complete the sense of the passage.
56:1 "When planets, in election for Lords of the eclipse, are found of equal strength and dignity, those which are direct are to be preferred before those which are retrograde; and the oriental before the occidental."--Whalley's "Annotations."
56:2 That is to say, in the Almagest, Book VIII, Chap. IV; which chapter is given, entire, in the Appendix.
56:3 "In electing fixed stars, Cardan directs to observe the angle which the eclipse follows, and that which it precedes: as, if the eclipse be between the seventh house" (or occidental angle) "and the mid-heaven, the stars which are in the seventh shall be preferred; and next, those in the mid-heaven; but, if between the mid-heaven and the ascendant, those in the mid-heaven shall have the preference; and next, those in the ascendant."--Whalley's "Annotations."
57:1 It is perhaps unnecessary to remark, that, in speaking of ruling places, as liable to be situated in Aquila, Delphinus or Argo, Ptolemy alludes only to the places of the fixed stars in dominion: since the ecliptical place and the planets must be confined to the zodiacal signs.
57:2 According to Whalley, Cardan, in reference to the nine modes of configuration, applicable to the fixed stars, says, "When a fixed star is with any planet, or in any angle, consider whether it be by any of these ways; if not, p. 58 it is most weak; if it be, consider whether it be with the Sun, and not to be seen; then it is very weak. Or if it is to be seen, and is with the Sun occidental, it is indifferent. Or if it be seen, and is not with the Sun, it is stronger; or if it be seen, and is oriental, then it is strongest."