Terms

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(One) system of terms, decans and faces

Synonym: bounds

The Latin word "termini" means limits, confines - i.e. not a single degree but an area.[1]
In Hellenistic times the terms were called hories.

Traditionally, each sign is divided into five sections of unequal length. One of the five traditional planets (excluding the sun and moon) rules each of these sections. A planet within the segment that it rules is in its own terms.

Ptolemy in the second century CE in his Tetrabiblos[2] described two different types of terms: Egyptian and Babylonian. However, the rationale behind these divisions of the zodiac is lost.

The terms are one of a planet's essential dignities. They depend on its placement in the Zodiac, irrespective the Houses. Nowadays the terms still are used in Horary Astrology and in Electional Astrology. Not very often, though, because their system is not so simple and logical as the Decans. And because in the meantime we have several, slightly different systems:

Al-Biruni's Egyptian Terms

The Persian-Arabian astrologer Al-Biruni's terms are based (mainly) on those of Firmicus Maternus and can be found in the Tetrabiblos, 1.20.[3]

Sign Egyptian Terms according to Al Biruni
Ari.gif Jup.gif Ven.gif 12° Mer.gif 20° Mar.gif 25° Sat.gif 30°
Tau.gif Ven.gif Mer.gif 14° Jup.gif 22° Sat.gif 27° Mar.gif 30°
Gem.gif Mer.gif Jup.gif 12° Ven.gif 17° Mar.gif 24° Sat.gif 30°
Can.gif Mar.gif Ven.gif 13° Mer.gif 19° Jup.gif 26° Sat.gif 30°
Leo.gif Jup.gif Ven.gif 11° Sat.gif 18° Mer.gif 24° Mar.gif 30°
Vir.gif Mer.gif Ven.gif 17° Jup.gif 21° Mar.gif 28° Sat.gif 30°
Lib.gif Sat.gif Mer.gif 14° Jup.gif 21° Ven.gif 28° Mar.gif 30°
Sco.gif Mar.gif Ven.gif 11° Mer.gif 19° Jup.gif 24° Sat.gif 30°
Sag.gif Jup.gif 12° Ven.gif 17° Mer.gif 21° Sat.gif 26° Mar.gif 30°
Cap.gif Mer.gif Jup.gif 14° Ven.gif 22° Sat.gif 26° Mar.gif 30°
Aqu.gif Mer.gif Ven.gif 13° Jup.gif 20° Mar.gif 25° Sat.gif 30°
Pis.gif Ven.gif 12° Jup.gif 16° Mer.gif 19° Mar.gif 28° Sat.gif 30°

Lilly's Ptolemean Terms[4]

Hellenistic astrologers argued quite early about the "correct" terms. Lilly called his sytem - which among astrologers widely was accepted since the Renaissance times - Ptolemaic, though actually its origin was not clear at all.

Sign Ptolemy's Terms according to Lilly
Ari.gif Jup.gif Ven.gif 14° Mer.gif 21° Mar.gif 26° Sat.gif 30°
Tau.gif Ven.gif Mer.gif 15° Jup.gif 22° Sat.gif 26° Mar.gif 30°
Gem.gif Mer.gif Jup.gif 14° Ven.gif 21° Sat.gif 25° Mar.gif 30°
Can.gif Mar.gif Jup.gif 13° Mer.gif 20° Ven.gif 27° Sat.gif 30°
Leo.gif Sat.gif Mer.gif 13° Ven.gif 19° Jup.gif 25° Mar.gif 30°
Vir.gif Mer.gif Ven.gif 13° Jup.gif 18° Sat.gif 24° Mar.gif 30°
Lib.gif Sat.gif Ven.gif 11° Jup.gif 19° Mer.gif 24° Mar.gif 30°
Sco.gif Mar.gif Jup.gif 14° Ven.gif 21° Mer.gif 27° Sat.gif 30°
Sag.gif Jup.gif Ven.gif 14° Mer.gif 19° Sat.gif 25° Mar.gif 30°
Cap.gif Ven.gif Mer.gif 12° Jup.gif 19° Mar.gif 25° Sat.gif 30°
Aqu.gif Sat.gif Mer.gif 12° Ven.gif 20° Jup.gif 25° Mar.gif 30°
Pis.gif Ven.gif Jup.gif 14° Mer.gif 20° Mar.gif 26° Sat.gif 30°

Chaldean Terms according to Ptolemy[5]

Sign Ptolemy's Chaldean Terms
Ari.gif Jup.gif Ven.gif 15° Sat.gif 21° Mer.gif 26° Mar.gif 30°
Tau.gif Ven.gif Sat.gif 15° Mer.gif 21° Mar.gif 26° Jup.gif 30°
Gem.gif Sat.gif Mer.gif 15° Mar.gif 21° Jup.gif 26° Ven.gif 30°
Can.gif Mar.gif Jup.gif 15° Ven.gif 21° Sat.gif 26° Mer.gif 30°
Leo.gif Jup.gif Ven.gif 15° Sat.gif 21° Mer.gif 26° Mar.gif 30°
Vir.gif Ven.gif Sat.gif 15° Mer.gif 21° Mar.gif 26° Jup.gif 30°
Lib.gif Sat.gif Mer.gif 15° Mar.gif 21° Jup.gif 26° Ven.gif 30°
Sco.gif Mar.gif Jup.gif 15° Ven.gif 21° Sat.gif 26° Mer.gif 30°
Sag.gif Jup.gif Ven.gif 15° Sat.gif 21° Mer.gif 26° Mar.gif 30°
Cap.gif Ven.gif Sat.gif 15° Mer.gif 21° Mar.gif 26° Jup.gif 30°
Aqu.gif Sat.gif Mer.gif 15° Mar.gif 21° Jup.gif 26° Ven.gif 30°
Pis.gif Mar.gif Jup.gif 15° Ven.gif 21° Sat.gif 26° Mer.gif 30°

(For night births you have to exchange Mercury and Saturn)

Ptolemean terms according to Houlding[6]

Sign Ptolemy's Terms in view of Houlding
Ari.gif Jup.gif Ven.gif 14° Mer.gif 21° Mar.gif 26° Sat.gif 30°
Tau.gif Ven.gif Mer.gif 15° Jup.gif 22° Mar.gif 28° Sat.gif 30°
Gem.gif Mer.gif Jup.gif 14° Ven.gif 21° Mar.gif 27° Sat.gif 30°
Can.gif Mar.gif Jup.gif 13° Ven.gif 20° Mer.gif 27° Sat.gif 30°
Leo.gif Jup.gif Mer.gif 13° Ven.gif 19° Sat.gif 25° Mar.gif 30°
Vir.gif Mer.gif Ven.gif 13° Jup.gif 18° Sat.gif 24° Mar.gif 30°
Lib.gif Sat.gif Ven.gif 11° Mer.gif 16° Jup.gif 24° Mar.gif 30°
Sco.gif Mar.gif Ven.gif 13° Jup.gif 21° Mer.gif 27° Sat.gif 30°
Sag.gif Jup.gif Ven.gif 13° Mer.gif 18° Sat.gif 24° Mar.gif 30°
Cap.gif Ven.gif Mer.gif 13° Jup.gif 19° Sat.gif 24° Mar.gif 30°
Aqu.gif Sat.gif Mer.gif 12° Ven.gif 20° Jup.gif 25° Mar.gif 30°
Pis.gif Ven.gif Jup.gif 15° Mer.gif 21° Mar.gif 26° Sat.gif 30°

See also

Weblinks

Notes and References

  1. Cf. the "terminal" of an airport
  2. Chapter 1.20, see F.E. Robbins, Ptolemy. Tetrabiblos, 1980, pp. 90-97
  3. See Peter Stockinger's Traditional Astrology Weblog: A look at Tables of Essential Dignities and Debilities, Essential Dignities (Ptolemy) / The Egyptian Terms (Houlding), Firmicus Maternus Mattheseos Libri 2.6. and Robbins, pp. 90-97
  4. William Lilly, Christian Astrology, 1647, pp. 106. Source: Robbins, pp. 102-107. See more details on Skyscript, Ptolemy’s Terms & Conditions (Houlding)
  5. Robbins, pp. 98-101
  6. Deborah Houlding tried to reconstruct the terms' original logical system