The inceptions of the astrologer of the emperor Zeno – Case III

Case III. The taming of a small lion

The following inception was cast for 8 July 483, and as the positions of the pivots suggest that the location was Alexandria, for about 6:20 am. It is probably an event, perhaps the departure of the ship carrying the animal.

The sender, who is said to have been a designated consul for 484, was king Theoderic, and as in 483, there was no consul in office, apart from Anicius Acilius Aginantius Faustus iunior, who had been appointed by Odoacer, the self-titled “king of Italy” as a consul for the West, but who was not acknowledged in the East, the addressee must have been the emperor Zeno himself, who had borne consulship three times. In this case, while the gift was royal indeed – a lion being a symbol of royal power – it was also a smartly veiled insult. For Zeno had married into the imperial family of Leo I (457–474) by wedding his daughter, Ariadne, and it was their son Leo, born in 467, who was chosen to be the heir apparent in 473. The two Leos, whose name means ‘lion’, were subsequently distinguished as “Leo the Great” and “Leo the Small.” Leo I died in January 474, and the six-year-old emperor Leo II crowned his own father, Zeno, as co-emperor in February, but in November, he fell ill and died, thus letting Zeno become the sole emperor. Therefore, sending Zeno a small lion must have reminded the emperor of the event that it was literally a “Small Lion” that raised him to the throne. In any event, we do not know the future fate of the lion.

This case was edited from its two extant manuscripts, G and U, by Franz Cumont and Wilhelm Kroll in CCAG 6, 65–66. This edition served as the basis for Neugebauer and van Hoesen’s translation as no. L 483 (Greek Horoscopes, 146–147).

An inception concerning a small lion of the sender: whether it will be tamed

(1) Year 199 Diocletian, [1]4 Epiphi (= 8 July 483), the 2nd[1] hour of the day: Helios in the Crab[2] 13, Selene in the Water-Pourer 10[3], Kronos in the Scorpion {1}1, Zeus in the Twins 19, Ares in the Balance 6, Aphrodite in the Lion 7, Hermes in the Crab 18, the Hour-Marker in the Lion 2, the Midheaven in the Ram 24, the Ascending (Node) in the Goat-Horned One 23, the Full Moon in the Goat-Horned One 11, the Lot of Fortune in the Water-Pourer 29[4].

(2) The Hour-Marker signaled the kind of the animal[5], but also the twelfth-parts of the Hour-Marker, Helios, Selene, and Ares, which all fell in quadrupedal signs[6], indicated that the inception was about quadrupeds.[7] (3) On the other hand, Aphrodite, who was commanding the hour, and Zeus, who was in Good Daimon, expecting the application of Selene, indicated the taming, but especially the third-day of Selene [expected by Zeus] and her seventh-day (expected) by Aphrodite[8]: all these indicated that it would be tamed and brought up among humans.[9]

(4) And the fact that Selene and the Lot of Fortune happened to be in the setting (pivot)[10] indicated that (it) would also go abroad by ship because of the fact that the setting sign was aquatic. (5) And (the fact) that Selene had separated from Aphrodite and was applying to Zeus joined the fortunes of both the sender and the receiver; for the sender himself was before consulship and the receiver was a consul.

[1] GU write the “1st hour”, erroneously.

[2] GU write “Balance”, which is a scribal error.

[3] The astrologer miscalculated the position, which also affects the position of the Lot of Fortune and a few points of the interpretation. The right position should be Water-Pourer 13.

[4] The correct position is Fishes 2.

[5] Reading ζῴου for ζῳδίου, ‘(zodiacal) sign’, of GU.

[6] Reading ζῴδια for ζῷα, ‘animals’, of GU.

[7] The hour-marking sign is the Lion, and the twelfth-parts of the Hour-Marker, Helios, Selene (counted with the erroneous position), and Ares are in 24 Lion, 6 Archer, 30 Bull, and 12 Archer, respectively; these are all quadruped signs. The correct twelfth-part of Selene would be 6 Crab, which is, however, not a quadruped sign.

[8] Reading ἡ τριταία τῆς Σελήνης <ὑπὸ Δίος> καὶ ἡ ἑβδομαία ὑπὸ Ἀφροδίτης <ἐκδεχθεῖσαι> for ἡ τριτὴ τῆς Σελήνης καὶ ἡ εὐδομαία ἀπὸ Ἀφροδίτης, “the third of Selene and the well-builtness from Aphrodite”, of GU.

[9] Selene reached her third day on 10 July, when being in 10 Fishes, she was applying to Zeus being in 20 Twins, and on her seventh day, on 14 July, she was in 10 Bull, applying to Aphrodite being in 15 Lion. This, of course, is only true if the erroneous position of Selene is considered.

[10] In fact, the Lot of Fortune was in the 8th place, but the statement is true if still the erroneous position of Selene is considered.

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