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A last one for this time about Alchabitius:





      Abû al-Saqr al-Qabîsî 'Abd al-'Azîz ibn 'Uthmân (d. 967), known in the West as Alchabitius or less commonly as Abdilaziz, was the author of a book, Introduction to the Art of Judgments of the Stars, dedicated to the Sultan Sayf al-Dawlah (c.916-967). It became one of the most popular astrological treatises in the West. The Latin translation by John of Seville, Alchabitii Abdilazi liber introductorius ad magisterium judiciorum astrorum, was printed more than a dozen times. Beginning with Erhard Ratdolt's edition published at Venice in 1503, it was often printed with the commentary of John Danko (14th century).

      Carmody says Alchabitius's book contains "a complete presentation of astrological practices and materials, with definitions, distinctions, numerous lists of place names by climates and influences, and many long [passages quoted from ] Dorotheus and Mâshâ'allâh." [54]

      The system of house division to which Alchabitius's name is attached was expounded by several other Arab writers of his time, but since his book was very widely read in Europe after its translation in the 12th century, the system was generally ascribed to him. Actually, as we have seen above, it was explained, with an example chart of 428 A.D., by Rhetorius the Egyptian, so it goes back at least to the fifth century. This system was the principal one used in the late middle ages and the renaissance until it was supplanted by the Regiomontanus system, which first became known to most astrologers in 1490.

Nallino gives a mathematical explanation of the house system [55]  (since it also appears in the astronomical work of al-Battânî), and he adds an observation of his own followed by a similar one by Delambre: [56]

In this division of the houses, not only do two unequal series of cusps appear, but the absurdity is also found which Delambre notes about Alchabitius on p. 502, saying:

"The last six houses are always diametrically opposed to the first six, from which there results a kind of absurdity. The quadrant of the equator between the meridian and the western horizon is found to be divided according to the nocturnal arcs, although it belongs to the day; the quadrant between the western horizon and the lower meridian is divided according to the hours of the day, although it belongs to the night. As for the rest, the calculation is extremely simple, and it is perhaps this that has enabled it to pass over the absurdity that we have just remarked."

      This criticism is invalid! In the case of the Alchabitius system, the twelfth and eleventh house cusps are found by trisecting the arc of right ascension between the ASC and the MC, while the ninth and eighth house cusps are found by trisecting the arc between the MC and the DSC. The same rule is used for both quadrants. Thus, there is no absurdity. Delambre and Nallino were simply looking at the procedure incorrectly.

    However, considering the severe distortion of the quadrants in the higher latitudes, that can result in double interceptions of signs on one side of the meridian and tiny houses only a few degrees in extent on the other side (not to mention that the Alchabitius and all the other quadrant systems fail completely at and above the arctic and antarctic circles, it would appear that the only reasonable house systems are the original Sign-House system (still in use in India) and its derivative the Equal House system.




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