Burton, Richard (1821)

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Burton, Richard (1821) Gender: M
Burton, Richard Francis
born on 19 March 1821 at 21:30 (= 9:30 PM )
Place Hertford, England, 51n48, 0w05
Timezone LMT m0w05 (is local mean time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 28°59' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 10°55 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 04°41'

Richard (1821) Burton


British adventurer, explorer, writer and scholar of Islamic writings and languages. He traveled Europe, Arabia, Ethiopia and Africa, exploring the source of the Nile and writing books of his adventures. His famous translation of "Arabian Nights" is a classic. He was an officer in the Bombay army of the British East India Company and many of his travels were underwritten by the Royal Geographic Society, plus, he spent the better part of his career as a British consul under the auspices of the British Foreign Office. In each of the segments of his life, he was viewed as a difficult character, which he most assuredly was, and he never missed an opportunity to show his contempt for those in superior positions to him.

Burton spoke 29 languages. He converted to Hinduism, then Islam, and, disguised, entered forbidden and inaccessible places. He consumed opium and hashish, and sampled every available woman and brothel east of Suez. His translations of Eastern erotica and his blunt approach to sexual descriptions shocked Victorian England to the core, yet remained masterpieces of literature. Eventually, Burton's translations filled 70 volumes.

He was the first non-Muslim to make a successful pilgrimage to Mecca posing as one of the faithful, and the first to penetrate the ancient kingdom of Harar in Somalia. He was the first Westerner to discover Lake Tanganyika, in his attempt to find the source of the Nile. He served as a spy in peacetime India and as an officer in the Crimean War. He prospected for gold in Egypt, West Africa and Brazil. He wrote what is thought to be the best book on sword fighting of the nineteenth century. He introduced the word "safari" into the English language and is said to have introduced Turkish delight to Europe. He was one of the earliest translators of the "Kama Sutra" and "Arabian Nights," and he wrote poems in the manner of the classics of Arabic literature. So exception a man that a plethora of books have been written about him, yet Burton remains beyond the range of ordinary definition.

Burton grew up mainly in France and Italy. In 1822, his dad had been required to stand down from military service at half-pay, allegedly because he refused to testify against Queen Caroline, the cast-off wife of King George IV, who was accused of scandalous behavior in Italy. Joseph Burton took his family abroad where they lived on the income from his father-in-law's estate. Though young Richard missed an British education, he was an intellectual prodigy, able to play - and beat - four chess opponents simultaneously. When he finally went to Trinity college in England, he lasted only five terms, dismissed for attending a steeplechase race against regulations. He always seemed an outsider, as he himself wrote, "A blaze of light without a focus."

His aptitude for acquiring new languages was astonishing and in some cases, self-taught. He was also said to be the best horseman and the finest swordsman in the British military.

Hardly a desirable catch, at 40 Burton earned little money and had poor prospects. He had a reputation for being an unstable and rather off-color fellow. His normally fierce look was made more so by a scar from a Berber spear that had cut through one cheek into his mouth. This did not stop 29-year-old Isabel Arundell, the daughter of an aristocratic Catholic family, from falling hopelessly in love with him from the time they first met in 1851. Five years passed before they were secretly engaged and another five before she went against her parents wishes and eloped to London with Burton.

His marriage to Lady Isabel was undoubtedly one of lifelong passion and devotion, though he continued his intellectual and sexual adventures through the periods when they were apart.

Burton died on 10/20/1890, Trieste, Austria-Hungary.

Link to Wikipedia biography

Link to Astrodienst discussion forum



  • Relationship : Marriage 22 January 1861 (Isabel Arundale)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Pagan quotes "him in well-known biography by his wife" in "Pioneer to Poet"


  • Traits : Mind : Child prodigy
  • Traits : Mind : Exceptional mind
  • Traits : Personality : Articulate
  • Traits : Personality : Fiery
  • Traits : Personality : Personality robust
  • Traits : Personality : Unique
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (29 years)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One, lasting)
  • Family : Relationship : Sexual chemistry
  • Family : Relationship : Stress - Extramarital affairs (Often)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids none
  • Lifestyle : Work : Work alone/ Singular role
  • Lifestyle : Financial : On the edge (Often short of income, mismangement of funds)
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Misfit
  • Lifestyle : Home : Expatriate (Asia)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Many moves (World traveled)
  • Passions : Sexuality : Extremes in quantity (Brothels, mistresses, sexual adventures)
  • Personal : Religion/Spirituality : Conversion/ Born again (Converted to Hinduism, then Islam)
  • Vocation : Travel : Adventurer (Daring, curious, famous adventurer)
  • Vocation : Travel : Explorer (Explored source of the Nile)
  • Vocation : Writers : Erotic (Wrote bluntly about sex)
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction (70 volumes of books)
  • Vocation : Writers : Translator (Ttranslated Eastern erotica)
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Languages (Spoke 29)
  • Notable : Awards : Knighted
  • Notable : Famous : Historic figure (Adventurer, translator)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : American Book