OF all events whatsoever, which take place after birth, the most essential is the continuance of life: and as it is, of course, useless to consider, in cases wherein the life of a child does not extend to the period of one year, what other events contingent on its birth might otherwise have subsequently happened, the inquiry into the duration of life consequently takes precedence of all other questions, as to the events subsequent to the birth.
The discussion of this inquiry is by no means simple, nor easy of execution; it is conducted in a diversified process, by means of the governance of the ruling places. And the method now about to be laid down seems, of all others, the most consonant with reason, and with nature: because the influence of the prorogatory places, as well as of the rulers of those places, and the disposal of the anæretic 1 places or stars, perform the whole operation of regulating the duration of life. Each of these influences is to be distinguished in the mode pointed out in the chapters immediately ensuing.
88:1 The epithet anæretic is a term of art, adopted from the Greek, signifying fatal, or destructive.