Re: Greek Astrology

From: Raymond Mercier <>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2012 22:14:38 -0000

>>Byzantine authors had a great penchant for ligatures. Although I do not
>>have expertise in Greek astrology, I do have some competence in other
>>aspects of Byzantine literature (including some familiarity with
>>manuscripts and inscriptions). Based on that experience, I feel I can
>>safely say that any attempt to encode the four ligatures on the grounds
>>discussed here would be an invitation to encode a host of other Byzantine
>>Greek ligatures (for example, the standard cruciform invocative monograms:
>>V. Laurent, La collection Orghidian [Paris, 1952], pl. lxx).

A formal proposal for these four ligatures would be premature. One should
first understand the entire culture of Byzantine ligation, then determine
what parts of that culture should be encoded, and which not.


I have done enough text editing in Greek to know well that there is a large
and bewildering range of ligatures and abbreviations, and I have absolutely
no thought of suggesting they should all be encoded.

However there are pecularities of notation associated with individual
disciplines, such as mathematics and music. The sign for the ascendant, at
least, is part of the notation in astrology and astronomy, along with, for
example, the sign used for zero in sexagesimal notation. This approach can
be compared with the Unicode block of Byzantine musical notation.

Raymond Mercier

Joel Kalvesmaki
Editor in Byzantine Studies
Dumbarton Oaks
1703 32nd St. NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 339-6435
From: <Szelp>, "A. Sz." <<>>
Date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 3:56 AM
To: CE Whitehead <<>>
Cc: "<>" 
Subject: Re: Greek Astrology
Is there evidence that these have been used consistently, on most charts of 
the time? These could be ad-hoc notations (as given the contemporary praxis, 
ligation per se does not make a "symbol").
Szelp, Andr Szabolcs
+43 (650) 79 22 400
On Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 2:38 AM, CE Whitehead 
<<>> wrote:
From: Raymond Mercier 
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2012 08:52:43 -0000
> I think I had somehow assumed that the symbols used in Greek Horoscopes 
> had already been encoded, but it seems not.
> The four signs used to mark the principal corners (ascendant, etc) of the 
> horoscope diagram are shown in the attachment, taken from
> These four signs should be encoded along with the zodiacal signs U+2648 to 
> U+2653.
> Perhaps they are already in the pipeline ?
Perhaps these should be in the pipeline, as the online templates I could 
find for astrological charts do not have them; they have to be added in 
(although it would be possible to have these built into the chart template 
also, as the houses are always in the same place and the ascendant is always 
located between the 12th and the 1rst, etc.); see:
Similarly Paul Wade's copiable template is void of the symbols
(I'll try to check an offline guide, too, but the few actual online 
templates, not sample charts, seem void of the symbols for the ascendant, 
midheaven, etc., so they seem to be separate from the actual chart of the 
houses, so go for it. Happy Halloween in any case.)
--C. E. Whitehead<>
> Best wishes
> Raymond Mercier
Received on Thu Nov 01 2012 - 17:19:32 CDT

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