July 27, 7 BCE by the Julian calendar.
Time of the Birth: 11:13:30 am.
The ascendant and Mars are in the 18th degree of Libra.
Mercury is in the MС.
The Sun is in the 11th house, in the domicile, in the 1st degree of Leo, in parallel with Regulus.
Retrograde Jupiter in the 6th house, in the domicile, in Pisces, in conjunction with the retrograde Saturn.
Fallen in Virgo Venus, the ruler of the 1st house, is located in the 12th house.
The Moon, the ruler of the 10th house is in the 11th house, in Leo.
The New Moon.
Mars is in 17° 7’ 45” of Libra, which fulfills the Firmicus Maternus' “Martian condition".
This is how Firmicus Maternus characterizes a man born with the ascendant in Libra: "The ascendant in Libra predicts sickness and dangerous involvements. A crowd of enemies will always be ready to attack; and there will be constant lawsuits in well-proven cases. The native will be devout, a worshiper of the gods, but his life will be varied. He will, however, be unconquered, seem inferior to none, and be famous... His judgment will always be correct, and he will be a servant of heavenly rites." (, Liber Quintus , I, 19, p. 159).
The Native born in 18th degree of Libra "will be learned, educated and frank". (, p. 12).
"Do not think, that I came to bring peace to the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." (Mt. 10:34). “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee ...” (Mt. 5: 29). “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables. ”(Jn. 2:15). Mars is located in the Ascendant. It makes the Native, born after sunrise, "bold, clever, emotional..." (, Liber Tertius, IV, 3, p. 83), but also "indicates harm and pain…” (, Book II, [Ch. II], 29, 1, p. 165).
The ascendant and Mars are located in the term of Jupiter mitigating Martian influence.
As the ruler of the 7th house, Mars in the 1st house represents the Native's open enemies and litigations menacing to his life. The square of Mars with MC indicates the threat to the Native social status.
Quarter of an hour before the Birth Acrux - the brightest star of Southern Cross - rises in the 15th degree of Libra.
On April 7, 30 CE transiting Mars is in conjunction with the Lot of Death (8 + Saturn - Moon) in the 5th degree of Capricorn.
Pisces is an ancient symbol of Christianity.
The presence of Jupiter in his own domicile in Pisces signifies the "royal potential" and the dignity of the Native. He is the King in essence, regardless of whether he takes a formal throne or not. The presence of Jupiter in the 6th house in conjunction with Saturn signifies the dual nature of the results of the Native's claims for "vertical success," the subordination of his fate to compulsory circumstances, possibly connected with his assigned Mission.
The Native is the king of "publicans and sinners", the king of ordinary people. The tasks and opportunities for ministry, teaching, education, establishing contacts, transforming the disunited mass into "brothers" and "sisters," come to the fore in this chart (Jupiter is the ruler of the 3rd house). This work is fruitful and brings satisfaction in spite of contradictory circumstances. But the harmful influence of Saturn does not disappear anywhere and devalues the achieved results, causing strife, disagreement, and interference of the authorities. Jupiter in Pisces represents deep inner comprehension and spiritual expansion.
Jupiter characterizes the Native's "The Quality of the Soul".
Jupiter's connection with Saturn in Pisces in this chart brings the signification of the higher planets far beyond the limits of individual destiny and personal victory or defeat in the customary, generally accepted sense of the word.
On April 7, 30 CE equatorial direction of the ascendant makes trine with the natal Jupiter in Pisces.
According to Firmicus, the non-zodiacal constellation Auriga (the Charioteer) sets on the west along with the sign of Aries. Firmicus places it in the 15-20 degrees of Aries. "If Auriga is found on the descendant and attacked by malefic planets, the natives will be thrown from a chariot and suffer miserable death with a broken body... or they are crucified and their legs broken by public sentence." (, Liber Octavus, VI, 3,4,11, pp. 272-273).
Mars is in opposition to the descendant.
"If Mercury was in the Midheaven... and the sign is convertible [cardinal], he will be famous, praised among the praised nations and people" (, Book II, [Ch. II], 31, 2, p. 169). Mercury is in conjunction with the MC in Cancer, promising the Native public success and credibility (above all, in the circle of supporters, because the Moon, the ruler of the 10th house is in the 11th house).
As the ruler of the 12th house, Mercury in the 10th house promises power "not of this world" (Jn. 18: 36). The source of its claims is marginal, informal and contrasted with the official grounds for legitimacy. The Native's success is unstable (cardinal Cancer) and will be destroyed (the square of Mars - Mercury/MC) by enemies (the 7th house), their intrigues (the 12th house), his own mistakes, coercive circumstances and peculiarities of character (the 12th house, the 1st house). The beneficiaries of the public reputation and popularity of the Native will be his like-minded followers (Moon and Sun in the 11th house).
Mercury is also the ruler of the 9th houses, signifying in the 10th house the public resonance of the Native's ideas, his intellectual, rhetorical and communicative capabilities. Mercury in Cancer indicates a flexible, sensitive mind.
The trine of Mercury with Saturn/Jupiter of the 6th house in Pisces is an indicator of the ability to best combine the necessary, "field" work with common ideological and missionary goals. The powerful "superhuman" spiritual potential of the Native is subordinate to the solution of this problem. It is successfully solved in spite of the difficulties associated with controlling the emotional mind, and the problems arising in connection with the elaboration of the Native internal state, which is too rich and complex for a person to grasp.
Mercury and the MC - in the term of a strong Jupiter. But the ruler of the water triplicity the fallen Venus in the 12th house, joining forces with Mercury, does not add any the strengths and opportunities to it. And its ruler the Moon does not see her house and is too close to the Sun. Eastern Mercury in the day chart is ambitious, but the Moon is out of the sect, as is Venus.
"And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority..."
“The lion came, under the constellation of lion, and destroyed the Lion of G-d, [in order that] the Lion shall come, under the constellation of lion, and build the Lion of G-d.” (, Midrash 259 to Jer.).
"Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up "(Gen. 49:9).
"And the lion, whom thou sawest rising up out of the wood, and roaring, and speaking to the eagle, and rebuking her for her unrighteousness with all the words which thou hast heard; This is the anointed, which the Highest hath kept for them and for their wickedness unto the end: he shall reprove them, and shall upbraid them with their cruelty." (2 Esd. 12:31-32).
"And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." (Rev. 5:5).
The Lion is a symbol of the tribe of Judah, the house of David, the house of Jesus of Nazareth, the house of the Messiah.
The condition and dynamics of the Sun and Moon in Leo, in the 11th house, signify support of the faithful, ambitious, but naive and not quite adequately assessing the real state of things (the Sun and the Moon "do not see" the 10th house), like-minded people. They are not aware of the spiritual nature of the Native's claims (Mercury is the ruler of the 9th house). ("Let us sit with You, in Your glory, one to the right and the other to your left" (Mk. 10:37). "You do not know what kind of spirit you are" (Lk. 9:55)).
The Moon in the term of Jupiter.
The Sun in the sect, in the domicile, in its own triplicity, in the term of a strong Jupiter, in the 1st degree, in 11th house, makes the Native the charismatic leader of his "party."
Rosh Chodesh is the Day of the New Moon. In honor of the New Moon, Kiddush Levanah is celebrating the Consecration of the Moon. The meaning of Kiddush Levanah is spiritual renewal. During the service three times the words are uttered: "Long Live, David, King of Israel!". The utterance of these words should approximate the coming of the Messiah, the descendant of David, whose kingdom "shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven." (Ps. 89-37; see , p. 362).
July 27, 7 BCE - this is the first day of the month of Av in year 3754 from the Creation of the World, according to the Jewish calendar. On the Av 1st, according to the tradition, more than a thousand years before the birth of Jesus, the High Priest Aaron died (Num. 20:22-30, 33:38; , ix., R. H. 2, 3a; , Book 4, Ch. 4.7). "And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee." (Heb. 5:4-5).
Virgo is one of the central symbols of Christianity, the image of the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary.
Fallen Venus in Virgo in the 12th house, the ruler of the 1st house - the Savior himself, his distinctive personal characteristics, his self-awareness, motivation, character, personality. The Native is passionate about the practical application of his skills and the day-to-day, routine "field" work. He is a workaholic. The location of the ruler of the 1st house in the 12th house signifies the limitations of the personal possibilities of freedom, an inevitable evil destiny subordinated to tasks not related to the satisfaction of personal needs and "success." The dominant motivation of the Native is the Service subordinated to the fulfillment of the Mission (influence of the opposition with Jupiter and Saturn). But the successful implementation of a good Venusian motivation is obstructed by hidden, two-faced enemies and fatal self-destructive mistakes. The Native faces imprisonment and disappointments await him.
Virgo in the 12th house of this chart is the "mother's womb", death (Venus is the ruler of the 8th house) and, possibly, "new birth"...
Venus shoulders a lot, judging by the abundance of the engaged triplicities and terms ruled by her. "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Mt.11: 30). As far the burden that the Native is carrying is "light", it can be judged by the whole-sign opposition of the 6th and the 12th houses: Venus - Jupiter/Saturn...
THE INITIATION: REGULUS. THE STAR OF JERUSALEM.
"I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." (Rev. 22:16). The Gospels tell us that the Magi followed the Star that led them to Jerusalem (Mt. 2:2). But it was not the Star that moved. It was the Moon moving. The Star was moving in relation to the Moon. When the conjunction between Regulus and the Moon occurred, this time was noted by the Magi (most likely, as the result of the calculation and the Sun position in the sky corresponding to the time of the conjunction, but not as the time of the direct observation of this celestial phenomenon). 5 hours later the Savior was born...
Three weeks before the Nativity, Saturn reversed and began retrograde motion.
Ten days before the Nativity, Jupiter reversed and began retrograde motion.
The story of "the Star of Bethlehem" is, perhaps, a generalized story of the stops of Saturn and Jupiter and the passage of the Moon over Regulus. And also, it is the story of another "royal" star: Aldebaran. What kind of role Regulus has played in our story (which has thus far not been explained sufficiently), and what role Aldebaran played (and not only these stars), will become clear in the following presentation.
The Evangelists did not bother with scientific correctness of statements on the astronomical level. This was not their purpose, since it distracted from their indoctrination goals and was incomprehensible to people unschooled in astronomy, who were, first and foremost, the intended audience of the Gospels.
THE INCARNATION: SOUTHERN SCALES. THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM.
"Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what you will."
At the end of the 1st century BCE the fixed star Zuben Elgenubi (Southern Scales, Southern Pan, Alpha Libra, Lanx Australis) was located in the 17th degree 13th minutes of Libra. On the astrological meaning of this star the authoritative German astrologers Ebertin and Hoffman note:
"A credit given to both The Southern Scales and The Northern Scales is that they bestow an immortal name. However, this comes about more by tragic circumstances than be well-noted success. Conjunct the Ascendant, this star could mean rise in fortunes, followed by a downfall. "(, p. 65).
According to Girolamo Cardano (1547), Southern Scales signifies "death by bleeding" (, p. 4).
Mars is in the 18th degree of Libra for two days: July 27 and 28. The exact conjunction with Southern Scales is formed on July 27.
It seems to us that the features of the "18th degree of Libra" in the Native's fate does not manifest the "meaning" of this degree in itself, but rather the mode of action of the fixed star Southern Scales.
The conjunction of Mars with Southern Scales on the ascendant was the decisive factor in the personal and historical fate of the Native.
"And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” (Mt. 2: 9-11).
THE MAGI'S EXPECTATIONS (SCENARIO 1).
If we are not facing the sly crèche on the narrow-minded and naive stargazing foreign astrologers, masterly put on an act for purposes of the safety and security, we must admit, that the Magi were mistaken. Man, as known, proposes… However, the place and time of birth were identified incorrectly. The reasons for the error can only be guessed. Perhaps it was due to the incompleteness of the necessary background information, leading to unreasonable assumptions. And in any case, they were not destined to determine the time of the Nativity in advance...
"... we saw his star in the east and came to worship him" (Mt. 2:2). If the Magi were looking for the newborn King of the Judeans in Jerusalem, might that suggest, that the Star summoned them to take a journey, stopped twice: the first time - in Jerusalem, and the second time - in Bethlehem? There are many ambiguities in this story... But the Gospel hint allows us to remove the veil over the secret of the failed "Jerusalem prognosis". Here is our version of "the expectations chart" for July 27, 7 BCE:
● Regulus was in conjunction with the Moon in the 1st house.
● Aldebaran was in the MC.
● The ascendant was in 16° 45’ 59” of Leo.
● The estimated time of the expected birth still to come: 6:27:30 am.
"A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel..." (Num. 24:17). July 27, 7 BCE - the only date ofthe Nativity date versions, when the Moon is in conjunction with Regulus in the east (in the 1st house). Regulus and Aldebaran were "the Star of Bethlehem", which led the Magi to Jerusalem.
After Acrux was laid over the horizon as a foundation of Southern Cross, Zuben Elgenubi came into effect and moved along with Mars toward the Ascendant...
THE MAGI'S EXPECTATIONS (SCENARIO 2).
There is another possible scenario of “the Magi’s expectations”. The fact is that on July 29, 7 BCE the Sun was in conjunction with Regulus in the 3rd degree of Leo and the heliacal rising of star Sirius (located in the 17th degree of Gemini) took place. In other words, Sirius appeared and was visible on the eastern sky before the Sun rising. It was the birthday of the god Horus and the beginning of the New Year for the ancient Egyptians. According to the conclusions reached by the British researcher Adrian Gilbert (), that day was also the symbolic "Royal Birthday" in the Hellenistic Kingdom of Commagene (southeastern Turkey), whose religion was syncretic. Commagene kings worshiped the constellation of Leo and considered Regulus to be a sacred star. It was the envoys of Commagene, according to Gilbert, who known from the Gospels as the Magi. They could expect the Birth of Great Divine King on July 29, 7 BCE - year of Saturn and Jupiter triple conjunction in Pisces. The conjunction of these two planets Gilbert defines as the Gospels' Star of Bethlehem. Which degree was expected to be risen (degree of Regulus, Sirius, Jupiter or some other) can be only guessed.
We should not be embarrassed that the Birth took place two days before the expected date. We should be impressed by the proximity of these dates. The Sun enters the degree of Regulus on July 28. On July 27, on the eve of the Sun and Regulus conjunction, this star is located exactly in the middle of the conjunction of the Sun and the Moon.
THE GIFTS OF THE MAGI.
The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. O. Henry.
The author Jose Vega, as well as Gilbert, came close to the solution. He suggested that Jesus was born on July 25, 7 BC. His reasons are the following: On this day the Moon and Mercury were visible in the Bethlehem morning sky just before the sunrise in Cancer. The gifts of the Magi in the Gospel of Matthew symbolize, according to Vega, the Sun (gold), the Moon (myrrh) and Mercury (frankincense) in Cancer. “The birth of Jesus took place in a manger between an ox and a mule. Is there anything similar in the sky? Indeed! Visible to the naked eye, there is a cluster of stars in Cancer constellation called Praesepe, Latin for Manger! Moreover, this cluster is between two stars named Asellus Borealis & Asellus Australis, Latin for Northern Donkey & Southern Donkey. So we also know where to place the three Magi: in Cancer… The “horns of the Moon” illuminated the celestial Manger with its two Donkeys, and that’s why a donkey became an ox.” Two stars, mentioned by Vega, are located in the 10th and 11th degrees of Cancer respectively. Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, Vega says, is the Star of Bethlehem ().
THE MASHALLAH'S ASCENDANT.
In the 8th century the Persian-Jewish astrologer Mashallah ibn Athari, studying the cycles of conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, attempted to reconstruct the natal chart of Jesus of Nazareth. The Mashallah version has nothing in common with the Firmicus Maternus versions, with one exception: Mashallah places the ascendant in the 18th degree of Libra (, p. 168).
ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE NATIVITY.
“In 1928, foundations of an ancient synagogue were discovered near kibbutz Beth Alpha in the eastern Jezreel Valley at the foot of Mt. Gilboa… The entire floor of the structure is paved with mosaic… in the center panel there are the signs of the zodiac, with the sun in the center in the form of a youth riding a chariot drawn by four horses.” (, p. 6). Israeli archaeologist David Landau believes that found 6th century building was not a synagogue (as modern scholars previously thought), but rather the church of the unorthodox Judeo-Christian religious group known as the Ebionites (, p. 20). . Beth Alpha zodiacal circle is looking unusual and puzzling. Rising sign is not Aries (as could be expected), but Libra. If painter goal was to place “the Sun head” in Leo (the Sun domicile) or Aries (the Sun exaltation), in this case Scorpio or Cancer respectively would be the rising sign. But it is not the case. “The Sun head” is oriented towards Cancer that is the Sun position in a summer solstice.
The image may depict the Hellenistic “Athenian calendar” with a Year beginning close to the summer solstice (, pp. 66-68). We cannot exclude that for some reasons the community followed this calendar imposed to the Jews at one time by the Greeks. “In 1895 a mosaic, apparently from the second half of the third century CE, depicting Sol Invictus riding on a chariot drawn by four horses was found in Münster-Sarmsheim in Germany. The mosaic is on display at the Rheinisches LandesMuseum in Bonn… The composition of this mosaic is unique among the mosaics found in Germany. I maintain that, from the artistic point of view, the arrangement of the chariot and the signs is identical to the mosaic at Beth Alpha.” (, p. 8).
Münster-Sarmsheim zodiac has no features witnessing its Jewish origin (unlike Beth Alpha zodiac, which filled with the Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions). We may assume that the Münster-Sarmsheim zodiac could decorate the pagan temple or Roman villa, but a zodiac could not start from the sign of Libra. Let’s try to resolve this puzzle. According to the prevailing (though not the only) view in historical science (, pp. 903-911; , pp. 277-298), the December 25 date was "borrowed" to celebrate Christmas from the Roman Sol Invictus festival of winter solstice in the middle of the 4th century. Could it be that the Münster-Sarmsheim zodiac reflects the state of the sky at midnight on December 25? At this moment Libra rose at the very beginning of the sign. We can assume that the awareness of Libra rising at the Savior’s birth time played a certain role in the decision made by the Church authorities what date and time should be chosen as the most important date and time for the Christian World. Libra rising at midnight on December 25 was a relic, echoing the real time of the Nativity and referring to the different date - the True Date. Unfortunately, our hypothesis cannot be illustrated by the Beth Alpha and Münster-Sarmsheim cases. Point is that in the 6th century the date set by Rome could not be special for the Judeo-Christian heretics residing in the Jezreel Valley. As for the 3rd century, if the Münster-Sarmsheim zodiac is not element of the pagan cult, it could be a decorative detail of a church building. In this case it is necessary to take into account that in the 3rd century the December 25 date was not yet generally accepted sacred cow for Christian communities. Looks like we should try another solution. This solution is the following: Beth Alpha and Münster-Sarmsheim communities preserved the Memory of True Nativity – the Summer Nativity. Rising Libra in our zodiacs indicates the rising sign of the Nativity. Solar depiction in the zodiacal circle points to summer solstice. It is allegory of the summer born Christ.
THE LUKE’S TESTIMONY.
There is a point of view that it is possible to determine the month of birth of the Savior by the calculation based on the data presented in the Gospel of Luke (Lk. 1:5-26, 56). This calculation also uses biblical data about the service schedule of 24 priestly divisions in the Jerusalem Temple (1 Chron. 24:3-19; 2 Chron. 8:12-14; , p. 275-278). John the Baptist’s father, priest Zacharias from the Abia priestly division proceeded to his duties in the Temple following long standing schedule. Ministry of Abia division was 8th. Depending on which month “course of Abia” took effect (there is more than one opinion on this issue among the scholars), month of conception of John’s mother Elizabeth can be calculated differently. Some experts believe that Elizabeth’s pregnancy began at the end of June or the beginning of July. 9 months later John the Baptist was born. Luke says that Jesus' mother got pregnant 6 months after the beginning of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Based on this information, it is concluded that Jesus was born in the late September or the early October (), Appendix 179, p. 200). We cannot agree with such an unconditional conclusion. The fact is that the Elizabeth’s term of pregnancy is indicated by Luke. But Mary’s term of pregnancy - is not. As we know, children happen to be born prematurely sometimes. Therefore, the Luke’s story can be considered as a testimony of possible July Nativity.
Among the versions of the date of the Nativity that we have found, 3 dates, in our opinion, deserve attention and additional research. These dates are:
● November 18, 2 BCE (version 3)
● January 10, 5 BCE (version 5)
● July 27, 7 BCE (version 6)
Version 3 merits particular attention. It satisfies both - "the criterion of Firmicus" and "the criterion of Clement" (albeit, with “the amendment of the year” in the manuscript corrupted by the scribes). The fact of the rising stationary Mercury as a candidate for the role of "the Star of Bethlehem" is curious.
Version 5 brings to mind “the Egyptian version” of Clement and the early tradition of the January “beginning”. This is pretty strong chart, where all Ptolemaic planets (except one) are residents of angular cardinal cross. Mars is in exact square with the Sun.
Of greatest interest is Version 6. Let's list the significant indicators of this natal chart, including the indicators in common with other versions:
● Mars is in conjunction with Southern Scales in the ascendant in the 18th degree of Libra (a).
● Mars is in opposition to the non-zodiacal constellation Auriga, which sets in the west (b).
● The Sun is in the sect, in the domicile, in its own triplicity, in the term of a strong Jupiter (c).
● The New Moon (d).
● Mercury is in conjunction with the MC (e).
● Close square of Mercury in the MC to Mars in Asc (f).
● The Sun is in the aspect of parallel with Regulus (g).
● Three weeks before the event Saturn turned to retrograde (h).
● Ten days before the event Jupiter turned to retrograde (i).
● The event occurs with the Sun in the 1st degree of Leo, the first New Moon, and after the first passage of the Moon over Regulus since the reversals of Saturn and Jupiter (j).
● The event takes place two months after the first of three conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces that occurred in 7 BCE (Note, that unlike the general case of the conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn, which occurs every 20 years, a triple "Great Conjunction" is a relatively rare and irregular astronomical phenomenon.) (, p. 176; , p. 22). In his commentary on the book of Daniel Jewish theologian Isaac ben Judah Abarbanel (1496) considered conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces as the time of birth of the Messiah (, p. 83) (k).
5 hours before the Nativity the Moon "in the east" (Mt. 2:2) was in conjunction with Regulus, a star that "come out of Jacob" (Num. 24:17). Regulus is "the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." (Rev. 22:16). Aldebaran in the MC of “the expectations chart” is "a Scepter" that "rises out of Israel" (Num. 24:17). Aldebaran in the MC may share the name of the Scepter with the constellation Southern Cross, whose brightest star and one of the brightest stars in the sky - Acrux rises 15 minutes before the Nativity. "...let him deny himself, and take up his Сross..." (Mk. 8:34).
But the name of the Scepter of the Nativity truly deserves Mercury in the MC in the natal chart. "If Mercury was in the Midheaven... and the sign is convertible [cardinal], he will be famous, praised among the praised nations and people" (, Book II, [Ch. II], 31, 2, p. 169). “If the mixer with it [Jupiter] is Mercury it indicates Christianity…” (, Vol. 1, Ch. 4, 4, p. 45).
Southern Scales - "the Cup" (Mk. 14:36) - "bestows an immortal name" (, p. 65).
July 27, 7 BCE (1st of Av) - anniversary (yahrzeit) of the High Priest Aaron death (Num. 20:22-30, 33:38; , ix., R. H. 2, 3a; , Book 4, Ch. 4.7; Heb. 5:4-5).
JULIUS AGAINST JULIUS.
(A parting without razor-sharp items).
Fare thee well! and if forever,
Still forever, fare thee well.
George Gordon Byron.
Julius Firmicus Maternus was a newly converted Christian.
Besides Mathesis, the Roman astrologer left a Christian work called De errore profanarum religionum, which is against the Gentiles. When Firmicus Maternus underwent the rite of baptism is not known.
337 was the last year of the life and reign of Emperor Constantine the Great, who established Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire. In that time Firmicus’ namesake Julius I was a Pope. The emerging tradition to celebrate Christmas on December 25, promoted by Julius I, is reflected in surviving written sources pointing to the year 336 (). Between 328 and 335 Firmicus Maternus began writing the book on astrology. It was written over a long time (possibly, in parallel with his Christian work) and was completed, according to James Holden, in 354 or 355 (, Translator's Preface, pp. VI-VIII; , pp. 525-526).
We propose that in Mathesis there is a hidden polemics with the officially assigned date of the Nativity. (It is possible that this polemic reflects more serious disaccord between the world view of Firmicus and the new state religion.) Being an educated, inquisitive and well-informed person, Julius Firmicus Maternus inserted among other subject matter information that he considered reliable and exclusively significant. Firmicus does not tell us anything about a specific date. But by indicating the conjunction of Mars with the ascendant in the 18th degree of Libra, he makes it clear that December 25 is an erroneous choice and offers precise guidance for finding the true option.
And this message was transmitted in the Roman senator’s book twice! The interpretation of the sign of Aries that descends below the horizon along with the Auriga constellation (with the descendant damaged by a malicious influence in the 15-20 degrees) duplicates, in fact, the characteristic of the 18th degree of Libra (see the section “Aries” above).
One can argue that Firmicus is only a careful, conscientious cataloguer, and there is no hidden meaning behind the seemingly deliberate precision of his description of the 18th degree of Libra. Our author just laid out what he knew and had in his collection. Without any hidden ideas. So, they say, it happens that if a person is not lucky, and he will be born with the rising Libra and Mars on the ascendant in the 18th degree. And what does the execution "by order and in the presence of the emperor" have to the gospel story? Why invent a non-existent polemic? If the specific "signals" of Firmicus are not convincing, then there is no reason to respond to these "arguments". However, this little paragraph is too dramatic. And objectively, it is polemical. Independent of the author's intentions. It attracts attention and evokes natural associations in any reader familiar with the history of Christianity. At the same time, it delivers a pseudo-disguised, provocative message to the reader familiar with the basics of astrology, arousing a curiosity and desire to check the doubts and suspicions it provokes.
Firmicus was interested in an "esoteric" polemics. Being a member and beneficiary of the establishment, and not a rebel (but rather a conformist), he was not going to openly challenge the official ideology of the State and the Church (, pp. 472-479). As a secretive adherent of the truth, he could not remain silent. And so he made a compromise decision. It was necessary to convey the message in such a way that if his "samizdat" fell into the wrong hands (and Mathesis was written at the friend's request and for the "friends, but only those who are closest" (, Liber Octavus, XXXIII, 3, p. 302)), author could avoid being branded with disloyalty. Those times were not exactly vegetarian. (Firmicus confess that the book was "prepared with the greatest anxiety and fear" (, Liber Octavus, XXXIII, 4, p. 302)). By covering himself with the fig leaf of "the order and the presence of the emperor", Julius Firmicus Maternus found an effective Aesopian format.
The "untouchable" topic was subjected to the specific contamination: it was given a deliberately high status for the unnamed, abstract, humiliated character. This technique allows to distinguish a hero from the general series and refers to the easily identifiable canonical prototype. Firmicus' approach also allows to construct a winning security strategy: trivial nitpicking about nothing. It's not even a gospel story.
The letter was on the table among other ordinary papers. In the most prominent place. The rest is Sapienti Sat.
Gratias ago, Julius Firmicus Maternus, et Vale!
GOSPEL OF PORPHYRY.
Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Jesus Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registers of the taxing made under Cyrenius, your first procurator in Judaea. (, Ch. 34). St. Justin Martyr.
By virtue of his senatorial status Firmicus Maternus had access to the Roman state archives, where census documents of 747 from the founding of Rome were kept. But knowledgeability of the true date of the Nativity was not enough to build a natal chart. Additional information and the subsequent adjustment performed lege artis were needed. This work required high responsibility, and a True Master only could make it properly. Such a Master was the Greek philosopher and astrologer Porphyry of Tyre (234-305 CE). Julius Firmicus Maternus treated Porphyry with such a deep respect that put his name next to the name of Pythagoras and called him “our Porphyry” - noster Porphyrius (, Book VII, I, I, p. 413). Maybe this sympathy was result of the fact that Firmicus and Porphyry were almost countrymen: Firmicus was born in Sicily. Porphyry, although born in the Phoenician Tyre, resides for a long time in Sicily, married there, and it was there where he wrote the treatise Against the Christians (Contra Christianos) (), which made such a great impression on the newly converted Julius Firmicus Maternus that changed his enthusiasm for Porphyry to the opposite. In the pogrom-style book On the Error of Profane Religions (De errore profanarum religionum) () Firmicus calls the noster Porphyrius “defender of the sacred rites, the enemy of God, the opponent of the truth, the master of wicked arts” (, p. 59). “[David] Pingree suggested... that Firmicus studied under Porphyry earlier in his life” (, Vol. 2, p. 438; see , p. 113). Chris Brennan disagree with the leading historian of science in this matter (, p. 113). It seems to us that the truth is located somewhere between. Firmicus Maternus had the opportunity to get into his hands the natal chart of Jesus of Nazareth built and rectified by Porphyry. But not from the hands of Porphyry...
Around 270, while in Sicily, Porphyry wrote the book Isagoge (). This book is an introduction to another book - Categoriae by Aristotle. Isagoge was written at the request of Porphyry's student, whose name was Chrysaorius Symmachus (, Ch. 1). This guy was “a leading man in the senate of Rome” (, p. 477). Symmahi was an old patrician genus from which many talented people came out. What does all this have to do with our story? Here is what: We meet the representative of the Symmahi genus on the pages of Mathesis. “Cepheus arise on the 15th degree of Capricorn. It is always a matter of course to follow up on the law. People of that sort were among the old Catos; such a one in our own time was Tullianus, who also attained the insignia of ordinary consulship by the merit of his severity.” (, Book VIII, XV, 4, pp.492-493). “Tullianus” is the agnomen of Marcus Aurelius Valerius Tullianus Symmachus Phosphorius (280-330 CE). He was a senator and consul, senior contemporary of Firmicus. Our senator-astrologer does not speak out about any contemporaries and colleagues with such a reverence. The prominent historian of the late Antiquity Alan Cameron believes that Tullianus Symmachus was a grandson of the Porphyry’s pupil Chrysaorius Symmachus (, p. 504). (The very same student, at whose request the introduction to Aristotle was written). It is known that Tullianus was a highly educated person and a follower of Neo-Platonic philosophy. Friendship and communication with such a person could be an invaluable source of knowledge. The grandson of the Porphyry's pupil could tell to Firmicus many interesting things and share information that could not be obtained from any other sources... And what about Porphyry? Was he an uncompromising ideological opponent of Christianity who did not experience doubts and hesitations? Porphyry was an outstanding tragic intellectual figure living on the tectonic fault of Epochs. He observed the collapse of the great ancient culture, which has been replacing by something strange, alien and inevitable. New ideas were sentenced by Porphyry as a dangerous delusion and spiritual degradation (). But there was the question Porphyry was really intrigued. It could be not the yearning of mind only, but, maybe, the yearning of heart… This question can be formulated as follows: “Who was this Man?” Saint Augustine (354-430 CE) retained for us an excerpt from the Porphyry’s book The Philosophy of Oracles (De Philosophia ex Oraculis Haurienda) (). This passage is the answer of the prophetess from the temple of the goddess Hecate to the Porphyry’s Question. Here is this answer: “The oracle declared Christ to be a most pious man, and his soul, like the soul of other pious men after death, favored with immortality; and that the mistaken Christians worship him. And when we asked, Why, then, was he condemned? the goddess (Hecate) answered in the oracle: The body indeed is ever liable to debilitating torments; but the soul of the pious dwells in the heavenly mansion. But that soul has fatally been the occasion to many other souls to be involved in error, to whom it has not been given to acknowledge the immortal Jove. But himself is pious, and gone to heaven as other pious men do. Him, therefore, thou shalt not blaspheme; but pity the folly of men, because of the danger they are in.” (), Book XIX, Ch. 23; see , p. 203).
"Gradalis" is a noun of late Medieval Latin, whose meaning, generally speaking, is "dish", but contextually - "The Grail" - a sacred vessel filled with the Savior's blood, the subject of the quest for the heroes of the novels of Chrétien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The word is derived from classical Latin, where it is an adverb, the literal meaning of which is "step by step". The adverb is formed from the word "gradus", which meaning is "step", "degree", or "scale" (). It turns out that “gradalis” is some kind of plate that has to do with some measurements. The question may be clarified by the fact that there is an occasional synonym "lanx" in the semantic field of word "gradus". Latin "gradus" is translated into English, in particular, as "scale". The option of a reverse translation of "scale" into Latin is "lanx" (Google Translate). A "scale" (or "scalepan") is the meaning of the word "lanx" in a more precise and concrete sense than the meaning of the word "gradus" (Google Translate; ). In other words, "lanx" is a special case of "gradus." Thus, the word "gradalis" means "scalepan". The proposed contextually-semantic solution seems to us more natural, logical and convincing than the versions presented in the current literature (, pp. 116-117; ).
But "gradalis" is not just a "scalepan". This is the "scalepan" placed in the specific context of the Sacred History and astrology.
The expressive symbolism of the conjunction of Mars (his hematic semantics is unquestionable) with Southern Scales star in the ascendant of the natal chart of Jesus of Nazareth, embodied in the image of the Grail, is obvious.
In the light of our results, the legend of the Grail guardians (; , Introduction, pp. 2-8) can be reinterpreted in a new way. The popular consciousness has been fed by rumors targeted at the lay public. A narrow circle of initiates was engaged in searching for the true foundations of faith and truth about the Savior of mankind. This work was conducted in secret both - from the ruling church and from the royal houses. Doubts in established dogmas carried a threat of turmoil in the minds and actions of the hitherto obedient flock. The ideological and political consequences of free inquiry were unacceptable to the spiritual and secular powers. In the historical perspective this latent confrontation led to the defeat of the Cathars, the destruction of the Order of the Knights Templar, and the dispersal of the part of the Templars that escaped the unhappy fate of the Grand Master Jacques de Molay, in countries inaccessible to the ruthless hand of Rome and Paris. "The Grail" remained in the hands, or rather, in the heads of the initiates and in the works of poets (who were at times the same people). The latter sang heroic deeds and kept people's memory from completely forgetting the great victories. The price of this cultural success was the transformation of rational knowledge into vivid images and mysterious symbols. But the knowledge has been preserved. It is not hiding anywhere. It lies in plain sight and waits for people to pay attention to it.
Dixi et Vale!
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