The theft of the slave girl’s linen

In Chapter 16 of my 1991 book Horary Astrology, The History and Practice of Astro-Divination, I discussed an ancient horary chart delineated by Palchus in the 5th century CE and reported in Neugabaur and van Hoesen’s Greek Horoscopes. Recently there has been renewed interest in this chart online. One of my favorite astrologers on FaceBook, Margherita Fiorello, mentioned the chart and included a graphic. Here is her reproduction of the chart by Palchus, cast for August 29, 478 CE in Syene (Aswan) for 10:35 PM LMT.

Horary by Palchus about the theft of the slave girl’s linen.

Here is a close approximation of this ancient chart with modern software using Porphyry houses and the Raman ayanamsa.

Slave girl’s linen stolen

Palchus tells us that the theft occurred during the Full Moon. He says that the stolen object is out-of-sight because the Part of Fortune lies in Scorpio below the horizon.

Palchus links Saturn to the thief because the Full Moon in Pisces opposes Saturn in Virgo. Lilly would have noted that Saturn is a peregrine planet in an angle and could therefore represent a thief. Because Saturn lies in Virgo the Virgin, Palchus believed that the thief was an educated old man who was “frustrated in intercourse.”

He also felt that Asc-ruler Venus occupying Virgo, the sign of its fall, symbolically fit the status of the slave girl who had been robbed.

Palchus argued that the stolen item would be recovered because Mars disposed the Part of Fortune in Scorpio, and the Moon would be moving from Pisces into Aries, ruled by Mars, from which the Moon would sextile Mars in the first quadrant house. In addition, the Sun would sextile the Part of Fortune and then trine the degrees of the Ascendant. In addition, Jupiter disposed the Moon and occupied its own domicile Sagittarius.

As Palchus predicted from the horary chart, the stolen object was quickly recovered.

Addendum (31 Jan 2021): Astrologer Lyuben Meshikov posted on FaceBook the following text about this chart from the Horoi Project


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

Case II. The lost linen cloth of a handmaid

This inception is an inquiry or interrogation, asked on 29 August 478, in the 4th hour of the night. The positions of the pivots make very probable that the place was Constantinople, and therefore the time is about 10 pm.

Unlike case I, this is probably one of the astrologer’s private cases. Bits of information embedded in the text and the time of the question suggests that a handmaid of his own household consulted with him upon discovering the theft. The allusion to the thief’s sexual problems implies that the theft was probably motivated by the perpetrator’s fetishism, which also makes it likely that the linen cloth was some worn-out intimate clothing.

This case was edited from both surviving manuscripts, G and U, by Franz Cumont and Wilhelm Kroll in CCAG 6, 64–65, which Neugebauer and van Hoesen translated as no. L 478 (Greek Horoscopes, 143–144).

[An inquiry related to] an inception concerning a lost linen cloth of a handmaid and how it was finally found

(1) Year 195 Diocletian, 1 to 2 Thoth (= 29–30 August 478), the 4th hour of the night: Helios in the Virgin {1}4, Selene in the Fishes 9, Kronos in the Virgin 11, Zeus in the Archer 26, Ares in the Twins 20, Aphrodite in the Virgin 24, Hermes in the Lion 18, the Hour-Marker in the Bull 28, the Midheaven in the Water-Pourer [4], the Ascending (Node) in the Ram [27], the Lot of Fortune in the Scorpion [23].

(2) Since the Lot of Fortune fell in the setting (pivot), it signaled that the inquiry was about a disappeared item, and the fact that the lights were regarding the Hour-Marker and its lord signaled the thief belonged to the house and was not from outside. And the fact that after the whole moon, Selene was contacting Kronos, who was in evening setting,[1] signaled the thief was an old man. Therefore, since Kronos was in a domicile of Hermes, [it indicated that] the thief was an educated and knavish person, who was also hindered in intercourse. (3) Furthermore, the bounds of Selene also indicated that the stolen item belonged to a woman;[2] and as the lady of the bounds of Selene and of the Hour-Marker was depressed, it indicated that the person that lost (the item) was a humble[3] or slave woman, and the lost item was also old and pitiable because she (the lady of the bounds) had also been making her evening appearance.

(4) And the following arrangements caused its finding: firstly, Selene approaching her domicile-steward[4] and looking upon the lord of the Lot of Fortune, Ares, as well as [having] similarity with him;[5] and Helios looking at the Hour-Marker from a trigon and at the [Lot of] Fortune in a hexagon and at the lady of the Hour-Marker in co-presence as well as being in a diameter with Selene – all these arrangements indicate quick finding[6] – and because of the facts that the lady of the Hour-Marker was in her own trigon,[7] and the domicile-steward of Selene was in his own domicile, (these arrangements) made the finding take place. (6) For[8] [***] is particularly helpful [in ***]

[1] Kronos was already under Helios’s beams.

[2] The lady of Selene’s bounds in Aphrodite.

[3] Here the adjective tapeinos is used, from which the technical word tapeinōma, ‘depression’, derives.

[4] Selene’s domicile-steward is Zeus, but her application to him will only be perfected after the ones to Kronos and Ares, which applications are also considered.

[5] This ‘similarity’ is the one described by Antiochus. When Selene has made the application to Ares by degree, they will be found in 21 Fishes and 21 Twins, respectively, both among the bounds of Ares.

[6] Reading with G; U writes “all these arrangements made the finding quick.”

[7] Although Aphrodite is the diurnal ruler of the trigon of the Virgin, and this is a nocturnal inquiry, the rulership is still observed.

[8] This sentence fragment is preserved only in G.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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