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Translating Ancient Greek Astrological Texts

Translating Ancient Greek Astrological Texts

In episode 267 astrologer and scholar Levente László joins the show to talk about his new translation project for ancient Greek astrological texts, and to discuss some of the translations he has completed so far.

Levente is classical philologist from Hungary, and he recently launched the Horoi Project, which is a crowdfunding project to translate ancient astrological texts that survive from the Hellenistic and Byzantine astrological traditions:


During the course of the episode we talk about four translations that Levente has been working on recently, and read some excerpts from each of those texts.

The four texts discussed are 1) a work of definitions used in Hellenistic astrology by Porphyry and Antiochus of Athens, 2) a text on how to interpret a birth chart by Rhetorius of Egypt, 3) another text by Rhetorius on electional astrology, and 4) some anecdotes by the 9th century astrologer Shadhan about his teacher Abu Ma’shar.

A PDF of each of the translations discussed in this episode is being released for free today to coincide with this episode, and you can find the links to each below.

This episode is available in both audio and video versions below.

Download the Texts Discussed in This Episode

Levente has released preliminary translations of each of the texts discussed in this episode, and you can download the PDF files below:

🪐 Porphyry, Excerpts from Antiochus’ Introduction

🪐 Rhetorius, On the Systematic Interpretation of Nativities

🪐 Rhetorius, On Inceptions

🪐 Shadhan, Discourses with Abu Ma’shar on the Secrets of Astrology

The Shadhan text is only about 1/3 complete, but future updates will be sent out every couple of weeks to subscribers through the Horoi Project page on Patreon.


00:00:00 Introducing Levente and his translation project

00:17:12 Antiochus and Porphyry translation

01:22:20 Rhetorius on steps for interpreting a birth chart

01:49:04 Rhetorius on inceptions and electional astrology

02:01:51 Shadhan on the sayings of Abu Ma’shar

Watch the Video Version of This Episode

Here is the video version of this episode on translating ancient astrological texts:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 267 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

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

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  • Chart example is contradictory in “Abū Saʿīd Shādhān, Discourses with Abū Maʿshar on the Secrets of Astrology (excepts)” paragraph “35. How to judge the failure or success of love”

    It says Mars in Capricorn in Ascendant, then says Jupiter in Sag almost exactly on Asc. (Unless the original text was meant to say Jup in Cap not Sag…)

    Levente’s dating to around 5th Dec 869 doesn’t make sense to me because as Levente says Mars is in Aries on that date.

    There is an exact fit in the year 987, in the days near 5th Dec, also around 8am and thereabouts: Sag/Cap rising, Mars in Cap, Venus in Scorp (‘configured’ only by sign, of course), Jup in Sag, Sat in later degrees of Sag than Jup.

    Another point: Is this the earliest example of a same-sex interrogational chart? It says the magistrate is male and he’s in love with another man.