Byzantine Diagram of Planetary Aspects

A manuscript table of planetary aspects in a codex of Greek mathematical works (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Phill. 1553).
A manuscript table of planetary aspects in a codex of Greek mathematical works (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Phill. 1553).

A sixteenth-century copy of a Byzantine diagram showing the basic astrological configurations of the planets: “Table of the whole circle of the 12 zodiac signs and how it is divided into aspects.”[1] The table gives the degrees between the planets in each aspect, the symbol used to indicate that arrangement, and the distance in signs between planets in a given aspect.

The table of planetary aspects with some basic translations.
The table of planetary aspects with some basic translations.

Imagine looking down on the circle of the zodiac, the various aspects are illustrated in the following diagram.

The basic planetary aspects illustrated on the zodiac.
The basic planetary aspects illustrated on the zodiac.

This table of planetary aspects is in ms. Phill. 1553 in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. Phill. 1553 is a sixteenth-century codex that includes various Greek mathematical texts by both classical and Byzantine authors, e.g., Ptolemy’s harmonics along with a commentary, excerpts from Ptolemy’s Syntaxis, and the common trio of astrolabe texts—Philoponus’s, Ammonious’s, and Gregoras’s (as well as a scholia on the last work).


  1. More mechanically, the word σχηματισμούς translates as “configurations,” but here it means aspects, that geometric relationship that planets can have to each other.  ↩

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