The Ten Books on Architecture, 9.6

Vitruvius  translated by Morris Hicky Morgan

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Astrology and Weather Prognostics

6I have shown how the firmament, and the twelve signs with the constellations arranged to the north and south of them, fly round the earth, so that the matter may be clearly understood. For it is from this revolution of the firmament, from the course of the sun through the signs in the opposite direction, and from the shadows cast by equinoctial gnomons, that we find the figure of the analemma.

2As for the branch of astronomy which concerns the influences of the twelve signs, the five stars, the sun, and the moon upon human life, we must leave all this to the calculations of the Chaldeans, to whom belongs the art of casting nativities, which enables them to declare the past and the future by means of calculations based on the stars. These discoveries have been transmitted by the men of genius and great acuteness who sprang directly from the nation of the Chaldeans; first of all, by Berosus, who settled in the island state of Cos, and there opened a school. Afterwards Antipater pursued the subject; then there was Archinapolus, who also left rules for casting nativities, based not on the moment of birth but on that of conception.

3When we come to natural philosophy, however, Thales of Miletus, Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, Pythagoras of Samos, Xenophanes of Colophon, and Democritus of Abdera have in various ways investigated and left us the laws and the working of the laws by which nature governs it. In the track of their discoveries, Eudoxus, Euctemon, Callippus, Meto, Philippus, Hipparchus, Aratus, and others discovered the risings and settings of the constellations, as well as weather prognostications from astronomy through the study of the calendars, and this study they set forth and left to posterity. Their learning deserves the admiration of mankind; for they were so solicitous as even to be able to predict, long beforehand, with divining mind, the signs of the weather which was to follow in the future. On this subject, therefore, reference must be made to their labours and investigations.

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