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Dorotheus of Sidon: A New Translation by Ben Dykes

Dorotheus of Sidon: A New Translation by Ben Dykes

In episode 107 of the podcast astrologer Benjamin Dykes joins the show to talk about his new translation of the work of the 1st century astrologer Dorotheus of Sidon.

Dorotheus was a highly influential astrologer who lived in the Mediterranean region during the time of the Roman Empire, and he wrote one of the earliest surviving works on natal astrology and electional astrology.

Although Dorotheus’ text was originally written in Greek, the majority of it only survives in an Arabic translation that was produced in the 8th century, of which only two manuscripts survive. Ben recently translated this text from the Arabic, and has published it along with some useful commentary and fragments of Dorotheus’ work.

The book is now officially available for purchase from Ben’s website:

Dorotheus of Sidon, Carmen Astrologicum

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast.

Episode Outline

Here are some of the topics we touched on during the course of the episode:

  • Who was Dorotheus of Sidon?
  • Why is his work significant?
  • Why the need for a new translation?
  • English translation of an Arabic translation of a Persian translation of the original Greek.
  • This is the Umar al-Tabari translation, which is an Arabic version from the late 8th century.
  • The structure of the work: books 1-4 on natal astrology, book 5 on electional.
  • The dating of Dorotheus based on the charts.
  • The fifth book, and whether it deals with inceptions or questions.
  • Dorotheus’ use of triplicity lords.
  • Dorotheus’ use of Lots or Arabic Parts.
  • Different timing techniques used in Dorotheus.
  • Other projects and translations that Ben is working on, including Theophilus of Edessa.


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 107 transcript

Listen to This Episode

You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below:

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  • Great interview Chris,
    Ben brilliant work, what enthusiasm, & thanks for your passion for restoration, which brings us these revised works in readable edition.

  • I’ve been wondering how Dr. Dykes was coming along on his Complete Sahl ibn Bishr, because I’m really looking forward to that after his spectacular book on Sahl & Masha’Allah. However, I have the Pingree translation of Dorotheus and it was certainly frustrating in parts, so a new Dorotheus is fantastic. I’ve found Lots to be compelling (understatement) and there’s some concepts in Valens & Masha’Allah on Lots that aren’t fully explained or conceptually laid out (Ben 1:08:00) even when you compare it to Paulus. Same with advanced concepts on Triplicity Lords, so I’m really excited to read more about those because I’d like to hear the counterpoint to Valens’ techniques on that. I have most of Ben’s books & I’m also really looking forward to his class after having taken Chris’s.
    Complete Valens & Firmicus!!!!

    • Hi Jeff, you’ll be glad to know that I am already working on a translation of Firmicus, and Eduardo Gramaglia and I have agreed to do a complete Valens! Both will take more time, but I’m thinking Firmicus will come in 2018, and Valens probably 2019.

  • This is a very informative interview. I really love Mr. Dykes’ work and I can’t wait to buy this book!

  • I was very excited about this book. I pre-ordered it and finally got my copy yesterday (Amazon). A quick perusal review: the book has a well thought out design. It’s a nice format size, The font size and line spacing make for a comfortable read. Nice use of bold text and graphics. I really like the cut away closeups of the charts–excellent–thank you. And, thanks for the glossary (bullets unnecessary) and the index (books without an index [fairly common in astrological category] never seem legit or finished). From the excellent interview, I expect the book to be thorough and engaging, I’m looking forward to it. Thanks, Dr. Dykes!

  • Hi Chris
    Congratulations on another fantastic talk! That you and Ben have a great chemistry comes through so clearly in this wonderfully engaging episode. It’s amazing how much one always learns listening to Benjamin Dykes! To my mind, he has the rare ability to share with his readers and listeners the experience of the worldview which is so essential to the understanding and practice of traditional astrology. He is simply awesome.