Valens used the system of King Nechepso.

That’s it?
I will explain why I think this to be so. I laughed very hard noticing how Valens plays games and make jokes with us (the readers) in the beginning of his Book III. People around me thought I’m watching some comedy movie and I was reading Valens instead!

Yes, the ancients were a jokers, like the one in Batmen. They were so cryptic in their writings which is sometimes very funny and very frustrating in the same time, knowing that some other laugh is waiting you around the corner after many nights spent in frustrating effort to understand some particular text.

Antiochus rapports to us that according to the King (Nechepso), the four angles and their post-ascensions are places conducive to business (chrematizo).
Riley translates this (chrematistikos) as “Operative” Place in his translation of Valens’ Anthology.

But it seems out that Antiochus follows certain Timaeus (which seems to be Dorotheus’ usage of Operative Places too) and use the four angles, 5th, 11th and 9th as operative.
Rhetorius follows Timaeus too, but Serapio follows the King.

It is logical. Valens speaks about certain Timaeus (if he is the same) with not so beautiful words:

Timaeus, Asclation, and many others have said the same. These men were carried away by the beauty of words and by reports of marvels, and
they did not produce works which fulfilled their promise, nor were these works completeand lucid, but rather they left their readers in the lurch many times and at all times were warped, begrudging, withdrawn, and deceptive. They never travelled oneroad, but they piled scheme on scheme and wrote
books which could be prosecuted because they are proofs of fraud, not of truth.
(Vettius Valens – Anthologies, Book IX, p.151, Riley trans.)

But he credited Nechepso with great honors calling him “divine” (same page 151).

Now we append the topic of propitious and impropitious times, about which the King and Petosiris spoke in riddles. (p.130)

But aren’t you the same, Mr. Valens – one of my favorite astrologers, speaking in riddles to us???
Was it so hard to tell us straight and clear which are those “operative places” of which King Nechepso speaks, just in the same way as Antiochus and Serapio wrote in their treatises?!

OK, let me explain you why I think that Valens uses the Nechepso’s system of places conducive to business (I’m not speaking in riddles, I just use ‘places conducive to business’ and ‘operative places’ as synonyms).

In book III, Valens will introduce a technique for calculating length of life, very similar to what we today call “primary directions in zodiaco”. But in the first chapter of book III he explains the aphetas and aphetic places, i.e. where the apheta (Sun or Moon) would be operative and where is not operative so we would be advised to use the other light, or horoskopos and midheaven if both are non-operative.

He advises us to use the light of the sect, but then he gives us a list of comparations of the lights in certain positions, and which light should we use as a “predominator”, or “apheta” (releaser).

The list in short goes on like this:

Sun in 1st / Moon in 12th = Sun wins
Sun in 11th / Moon in 10th = Sun wins
Sun in 7th / Moon in 8th = Sun wins
Sun in 8th / Moon in 7th = Sun wins (aha!)
Moon in 1st / Sun in 9th = Moon wins
Moon in 2nd / Sun in 9th = Moon wins (aha!)
Moon in 10th / Sun in 9th = Moon wins
Moon in 11th / Sun in 9th = Moon wins
Sun in 4th / Moon in 9th = Sun wins
Sun in 5th / Moon in 9th = Sun wins
Moon in 5th / Sun in 9th = Moon wins
Moon in 9th / Sun in 9th = Horoskopos predominate.
But Valens, just say it: 9th is non-operative according to the system you use!

As we can see, Valens would use the Sun as apheta in 8th.
No big deal. He would also use the 2nd. No big deal.
Nechepso and Serapio used it. Maybe Antiochus too, since he clearly says that he knows about it.

So, no need to be cryptic uncle Valens, no need 🙂

Vettius Valens – Anthologies, translated by Mark T. Riley.
Vettius Valens – Anthology, book III, translated by Robert Schmidt (The Golden Hind Press, 1994).

The image is from the site

7 thoughts on “Which system of Operative Places did Valens used?

  1. Good, Ile! Even if Valens does not say clearly what he thinks he does accept the 8th as as produtive place even for the hyleg. Bonatti also uses the 8th as an operative place and accepts the Sun as hyleg in the 8th, but Zoller who loves Bonatti says that the 8th is a dark place for life. We have to take into account that it is a feminine quadrant, so Bonatti tends to accept that the Sun in the 8th can be hyleg in feminine nativities. Others say that the Sun can be accepted in all this quadrant if in masculine signs as a compensation fot the poor guy. If we think that the 9th, the best of the declining places, is where the Sun has its joy, why not accept this quadrant as a whole? But I´m digressing:-)

    1. Hi Clelia.
      Yes, in my previous post on Decennials I wrote that my opinion is that Sun in 9th and Moon in 3rd are operative. I agree with you here.
      Valens is following Nechepso, and throughout the Anthology one can sense the respect he had for the King (Nechepso). This is why I think he would favor the Moon in any other good position better than Sun in 9th. But a little later in the same text, Valens is contradicting himself, telling us that if Moon is in 11th, Sun in 9th, we should use the Light which will come first to the Ascendant by ray. Rob Hand in his comment in Schmidt’s translation is of opinion that this is some corruption in the text. I think it is one more cryptic joke from Valens, like he is telling us: “I told you that Sun in ninth is not operative, but, as you see, there is possibility for the Sun to be Apheta in 9th, if it comes closer to the Ascendant then Moon”. But he could just say that Sun in 9th is in its Joy, and he clearly announce this when he says “but if Sun is in God”, while in all previous places he speaks about the place preceding the MC, for 9th house.
      So, we can see here Valens again playing tricks with us 🙂

      1. Yes, Ile, Valens is obscure: some says that it is because he was not a good Greek writer;-) But it gossip 🙂 And about Fortune, hu? He quotes fully at least 2 times the King´s ideas about how to deal with Fortune in nocturnal nativities, but…he never used them in all the charts presented in the books. I think that even admiring the King, he did not work with his ideas some times. But I agree that in the case of operative places Valens considered the 8th a useful house according to the King.

  2. Hello~

    This has been a pretty intriguing post. So basically the cadent houses are not conducive for business unless it happens to be the planet’s joy? Does this work for Saturn and Mars who both joys in cadent houses?

    It would be interesting to see you post about the concept of joy and their importance. 😀

    How come the Sun in 8th is more operative than Moon in 7th though, if Moon is angular? I assume this is for diurnal nativities only? So if in nocturnal, Moon is in 8th and Sun is in 7th, Moon would win because of being the sect light?

  3. Greetings!

    Sun and Moon are the life givers, while the malefics are the life takers, so it is not the same the benefic to be in the house of its joy and the malefic one. It is good for the malefic to be in the house of its joy, but not for the native! So, Saturn in 12th, this could not be good for the native, because here Saturn will enjoy to bring forth its malefic significations like that one of powerful secret enemies due to the accidental determination of Saturn.

    The two cadent houses where the malefics rejoice has natural signification of accidents, diseases, loses and etc. It is not the same as the 3rd and 9th which are related to the goddesses and god respectively. So, in a way, the 3/9 even though cadent, do not bear negative significations while 6/12 does! Here is the difference. You can’t take malefic in the house of its joy where he rejoices to works against the native to represents an apheta, or a planet which would produce life and would dispose life throughout the years.

    I also must admit that my assumption that Valens used Nechepso’s system is not a definitive argument and I’m not sure if he used it in all the places and all the cases in his approach given in his Anthology. I’ve been a little bit facetious in my post here, but I think that in all the fun I aimed to represent in the post, there is certain truth, and that is obvious, that Valens refuse to apply the 9th in applying the Apheta.

    As for the reasons why he took Sun in 8th instead of Moon in 7th is I think due to several reasons. These are, Moon is above the earth by day and at the end of her synodic cycle, while the Sun is in its own light. Also, IC and DC were not always associated with beneficent things. Valens says: “For forecasts of mortality, change, or trouble, we will start with the Descendant” (p.79). Here he speaks about profections. Abu Ma’shar, whose astrology is in great deal based on Valens, in his work Libri Mysterium, tells us that Malefics are especially problematic if they rule the “wicked places”, that is 6/12/4/7.

    The setting place was regarded by the elder astrologers as a place where life falls just as the Sun sets. In 8th the Sun is still above the earth and shines in some amount of light. Sometimes we need to look at the chart from the Babylonian standpoint, or Egyptian, where the traversing of the Sun above and below the earth, was associated with the birth (AC), rising into the youth and glory of life (MC), declining into the old age (western point and DC), and death and going into the realms where our predecessors abide (IC). This is most probably why Ptolemy regarded the whole upper hemisphere as more beneficient then the hemisphere below the horizon.


  4. Ile, the table that you provided in your first post is a note from Robert Hand summarizing the rules for predominations given by Valens´ text. Hand goes on by saying:”By day the Sun in an angle always predominates.The Sun in the 9th often yelds to the Moon. The test seems to suggest with the exceptions listed above the Sun will predominate by day and the Moon by night if the light that is in sect is also not cadent.A light in a triplicity of its own sect can also help it to predominate” end quote



  5. Hmm…so Mars and Saturn in their joy are conducive for business, but due to the nature of those houses’ and planets’ significations, they bring more disaster instead of more benefits to the native?

    Hmm….I have a question. 😀 From what I have read the length of life technique uses the Porphory quadrant house format. But it seems that Valens only used that format for the length of life technique.

    Since the definition of angular/succeedent/cadent depends on which house system one uses, can this techique be transferred into natal delineation or chronocrator techniques?

    I ask this because sometimes it’s important to determine the angularity of the planets in the natal chart, and with some cronocrater techniques like the decennials, angularity is a factor in choosing the first planet.


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