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Vettius Valens: A Pillar of Ancient Astrology

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Estel Ehvass

Welcome, dear reader! Venturing into the world of Hellenistic astrology feels akin to stepping into a grand amphitheater where the stars narrate tales of ancient wisdom. Originating from the Hellenistic period of ancient Greece, this form of astrology is the foundation for many of the astrological systems we recognize today. What has always captivated me is its intricate blend of mathematics, philosophy, and spiritual insight. The Greeks, with their keen observations and profound understanding, created an astrological system that not only looked at the cosmos but also sought to explain the very essence of our souls. Join me as we delve into this fascinating realm, where celestial alignments speak of human experiences, and where the cosmos and character intertwine in the dance of destiny.

Vettius Valens: A Pillar of Ancient Astrology


Vettius Valens

In the annals of ancient astrology, Vettius Valens occupies a prominent position.

His monumental work, the ‘Anthology’, offers a detailed, complex, and invaluable glimpse into Hellenistic astrological practice and theory.

Valens, while inspired by Claudius Ptolemy, charted his own course and penned a tome that is both distinct and influential. Let’s journey through his life, his magnum opus, and his lasting impact on astrology.

Background and Personal Life

Vettius Valens was an astrologer from the Roman era, specifically from the 2nd century CE. Born in Antioch, Syria, a bustling cosmopolitan city of the Roman Empire, Valens lived during a time when Hellenistic culture and thought were at their zenith. This era, post-Alexander the Great, was characterized by the fusion of Greek and Oriental cultures, which fostered rich intellectual traditions.

Though much of Valens’ personal life remains shrouded in mystery, his writings hint at travels undertaken for scholarly pursuits. He frequently refers to his experiences, encounters with clients, and even his own horoscope, which provides a personalized touch to his intricate astrological discourse.

Ptolemaic Influence and Departures

Like many astrologers of his time, Valens was influenced by the foundational works of Claudius Ptolemy, especially ‘Tetrabiblos’. Ptolemy’s attempt to rationalize and systematize astrology, grounding it in the Aristotelian cosmos, was something Valens deeply respected. He adopted many of Ptolemy’s fundamental concepts, especially those concerning planetary natures and the basic tenets of horoscopic interpretation.

However, Valens was not just a Ptolemaic astrologer. He often diverged from Ptolemaic techniques, choosing to embrace older, time-tested methods. For instance, while Ptolemy focused heavily on the aspectual relationships between planets, Valens emphasized the use of lots (or Arabic parts) and various time-lord systems. His practical approach, rooted in day-to-day astrological consultations, meant that he incorporated a wide array of techniques, sometimes even contradicting Ptolemy’s delineations.

The Anthology: A Detailed Exploration

The ‘Anthology’ is Vettius Valens’ seminal work, spread across ten books or volumes. Each of these books offers a deep dive into various facets of astrology, with an array of topics, methods, and examples.

Book I

This volume introduces the reader to the foundational principles of astrology, much like the opening of Ptolemy’s ‘Tetrabiblos’. It covers the basic signs, houses, and planetary significations. Valens then delves into introductory delineation techniques, setting the stage for the more complex topics that follow.

Book II

Here, Valens discusses the intricate zodiacal lots, a key technique that differentiates his work from Ptolemaic methods. He also touches upon the essential topic of planetary periods and chronocrators, time-lord systems that predict significant life events.

Book III

Length of life calculations, a challenging and significant area of traditional astrology, is the main theme of this volume. Valens offers various methods, drawing from older traditions and providing examples to illustrate his points.

Book IV

This volume is an extension of the previous one, delving further into the nuances of longevity calculations. It also introduces the reader to the ‘zodiacal releasing’ technique, a time-lord system that maps out the thematic periods of one’s life.

Book V

Valens focuses on specific topics like finances, parents, and siblings in this volume. He employs various techniques, including lots and planetary rulerships, to make predictions about these life areas.

Book VI

This segment of the ‘Anthology’ centers on marriage and children. Valens’ practical examples, drawn from his consultations, enhance the theoretical discussions and provide real-world context.

Book VII

Friendships, travel, and eminence are the focal points here. Valens also introduces the ‘dodekatemoria’ or twelfth-parts, subdivisions of zodiacal signs that add another layer of precision to horoscopic analysis.


Valens explores a gamut of topics in this volume, from illnesses to mental disposition, and from profession to travel. The diversity of techniques employed, from planetary periods to zodiacal lots, showcases his vast knowledge and versatility.

Book IX

This volume primarily focuses on mundane astrology, which deals with the fate of nations, kings, and global events. It underscores Valens’ holistic approach to astrology, where individual and collective destinies are intertwined.

Book X

In the concluding volume, Valens revisits and further elaborates on many of the topics discussed in earlier books. He provides additional techniques, rectifications, and detailed examples, culminating his vast treatise with a blend of theory and practice.

Valens’ Legacy and Influence on Modern Astrology

Vettius Valens

Vettius Valens, though lesser-known than Ptolemy for many centuries, has experienced a resurgence in the modern era, especially with the revival of traditional astrology. Scholars and practitioners alike have come to recognize the ‘Anthology’ as a treasure trove of Hellenistic astrological techniques.

Modern astrologers, particularly those rooted in the traditional school, frequently draw upon Valens’ techniques, be it the intricate zodiacal releasing or the nuanced use of lots. The ‘Anthology’, with its blend of theoretical discourse and practical examples, offers a comprehensive guide that complements and sometimes challenges Ptolemaic astrology.

Furthermore, Valens’ work has fostered a greater appreciation for the diversity and depth of ancient astrological thought. The ‘Anthology’ stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of Hellenistic astrology, where different traditions and methods coexisted and thrived.


Vettius Valens, with his monumental ‘Anthology’, has etched an indelible mark on the history of astrology. Walking a path that both acknowledged and diverged from Ptolemaic principles, Valens crafted a work that is both a tribute to the ancient astrological traditions and a guiding light for modern practitioners. In the vast cosmos of astrological literature, the ‘Anthology’ shines bright, illuminating the intricate dance of stars and human destiny.

Johannes & Estel: Renowned authorities in Numerology, Astrology, and the esoteric arts. As the founders of Scandinavia's premier Numerology school, we're delighted to share our insights through this curated series on astrology. Dive in and discover the stars.

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Introduction to Astrology

The history of Astrology
Moving beyond deterministic astrology
Foundation of Astrology: Planets, Signs and Houses

Astrology and the Holographic Universe

The Holographic Universe
The Human Psyche as a Mirror to The Solar System
The Human Body as a Mirror to The Star Signs

Astrology Background

Egyptian Astrology
Mayan Astrology
Chinese Astrology
Indian Astrology - Jyotish
Celtic Astrology
Tibetan Astrology

Mesopotamian Astrology

Early Mesopotamian Astrology: The Dawn of Celestial Divination
Enuma Anu Enlil: The Epicenter of Babylonian Celestial Omen Interpretation

Babylonian and Chaldean Astrology

Babylonian and Chaldean Astrology
Chaldean influence and evolution
Chaldean Wisdom: Safeguarding and Transmitting Astrological Knowledge

Hellenistic Astrology

Hellenistic Astrology background
Claudius Ptolemy and Tetrabiblos
Vettius Valens
Dorotheus of Sidon

Persian Astrology

Persian Astrology background
Sassanian Astrology

Late Antiquity and The Transition Period

Late Antiquity and The Transition Period
Hellenistic to Islamic Transition: The Torchbearers of Astrological Wisdom

Islamic Golden Age

Arabian Astrology Background
Arabian Astrology Contributions

Medieval Astrology

Introduction: The Medieval Cosmos
Monastic Preservers: Astrological Knowledge in the Dark Ages
Astrology in Medieval Medicine
Kings, Queens, and Constellations: Astrology in the Medieval Court
The Church and the Stars: A Contentious Relationship
Universities and Scholastic Pursuits: Academic Astrology
Astronomy & Astrology: Tools of the Trade
Medieval Astrological Houses and the Synthesis of Traditions
Transition to the Renaissance: Humanism and the Celestial Arts
Reflections: Medieval Astrology's Echoes in Modern Practice
Astrological Art of the Middle Ages
Famous Medieval Astrologers
Medieval Astrological Texts

Renaissance Astrology

Renaissance Humanism and Astrology
Scientific Advancements and Astrology
The Social Fabric: Astrology in Everyday Renaissance Life
Court Astrologers of the Renaissance
Controversies and Conflicts: Astrology Under Scrutiny
Renaissance Texts and Authors: Continuation of a Tradition
Astrology and Art: Celestial Imagery in the Renaissance
Renaissance Astrological Practices: Evolutions and Innovations
End of the Renaissance: The Gradual Decline of Astrological Influence
Renaissance Astrology's Echo in the Modern World

Enlightenment Astrology

Introduction: The Enlightenment and Astrology
Challenging the Stars: Astrology's Critics during the Enlightenment
Astrology and the New World
Astrology in the 19th Century
The Dawn of Psychological Astrology
Astrology in the 20th Century: A Modern Renaissance
Astrological Associations and Schools
Modern Controversies and Astrology
Astrology and Popular Culture
Astrology and Technology
Current Trends and Future Directions in Astrology
Conclusion: Reflecting on Astrology's Evolution

The Planet Significances

The Sun in Astrology
The Moon in Astrology
Mercury in Astrology
Venus in Astrology
Mars in Astrology
Jupiter in Astrology
Saturn in Astrology
Uranus in Astrology
Neptune in Astrology
Pluto in Astrology
Chiron in Astrology
Black Moon Lilith in Astrology
Pars Fortuna in Astrology
Ceres in Astrology

Houses in Astrology

Introduction to Astrological Houses
The Angular Houses
The Succedent Houses
The Cadent Houses
The 1st House
The 2nd House
The 3rd House
The 4th House
The 5th House
The 6th House
The 7th House
The 8th House
The 9th House
The 10th House
The 11th House
The 12th House
Interaction Between Houses
Derived Houses, House Rulers, and Interceptions
Conclusion: Synthesizing House Knowledge

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