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Dictionary of Astrological and Astronomical Terms

Compiled by Julene Packer-Louis, Evan Bortnick, and Jackie Goldstein

Copyright 2000-2020 OCA, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of the dictionary may be reproduced in any form without written permission.



Authored by Claudius Ptolemy, it is one of the oldest existing textbooks of astrology, and compiled almost all of the astrological works up to that point. No original version of the Tetrabiblos still exists. All that remain are translations and copies of it, the oldest of which is Arabic and dates only to AD 900. Eventually, the Latin translations became familiar to the Europeans. The English version was translated from that of the Greeks in 1940. There were four books to this work, and each dealt with a different aspect of astrology

The first book of the Tetrabiblos defined Ptolemy's reasoning for practicing astrology as well as astronomy, and also dealt with the various alignments of planets, the moon, and the sun. Ptolemy describes in detail which positions are favorable and which are not. He also explained the signs, when they begin, and why they begin there. The second book described astrology as it relates to countries and explains how the planets affect earth. The third book dealt with the individual and examined conception and birth, while the fourth book handled matters of occupation, marriage, children, travel, and "houses" of the zodiac.

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