The Classical Planets: Dante & The Liberal Arts

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By Jove
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The Classical Planets: Dante & The Liberal Arts

Post by By Jove » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:50 am

In Paradise of the Divine Comedy, Dante travels through the 10 heavenly dimensions called spheres, the first 7 being the classical planets. Dante links each planet to a certain group of blessed souls and one of the 7 liberal arts.

Moon:
The first heaven, the home of souls who broke their holy vows, hence they are as inconstant as the waxing and waning moon. The Moon represents Grammar, the most basic liberal art.

Mercury:
The second heaven, the home of souls who sought glory during their lives, but were righteous. Mercury represents Dialectic, which makes sense as Mercury often represents speech and exchange of ideas.

Venus:
The third heaven, the home of souls who were not temperate in love, but were still righteous. Venus represents Rhetoric, which the ancients paired with Eros.

Sun:
The fourth heaven, the home of wise souls, such as philosophers and theologians. The Sun represents Arithmetic.

Mars:
The fifth heaven, the home of noble warriors. Mars represents Music, as music is a form of strife where discord is transformed into harmony.

Jupiter:
The sixth heaven, the home of just rulers. Jupiter represents Geometry.

Saturn:
The seventh heaven, the home of contemplatives. Saturns represents Astronomy, the study involving the most distant and far-reaching objects.

There are more parings. The Fixed Stars, the eighth heaven, represents Physics. The Premum Mobile, the ninth heaven, represents Metaphysics. The Empyrean, the tenth and highest heaven, represents Theology.

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Jim Eshelman
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Re: The Classical Planets: Dante & The Liberal Arts

Post by Jim Eshelman » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:11 am

This is, of course, Tropical-driven, Aristotelian-driven thinking of his day, so no reason to think it has anything to do with astrology. It's an important philosophical framework, though, outside of astrology.
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By Jove
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Re: The Classical Planets: Dante & The Liberal Arts

Post by By Jove » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:00 pm

Speaking of which, when did Western astrology go tropical. A traditional Western astrology website I came across said that astrology remained sidereal for centuries after Ptolemy. Wonder if there is any evidence behind that claim.

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Jupiter Sets at Dawn
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Re: The Classical Planets: Dante & The Liberal Arts

Post by Jupiter Sets at Dawn » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:46 pm

Depends on what you mean by "go tropical." It wasn't a choice people made. It was gradual. People stopped going outside at night (because they thought night air made you sick) and just looked things up in books, so they didn't notice the book grandpa used was a degree off from the actual stars.

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Re: The Classical Planets: Dante & The Liberal Arts

Post by By Jove » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:37 pm

I guess... Would be nice if we had an astrologer that actually went out at night and charted the planets and stars. Astronomers are the closest thing we have to real astrologers these days, and naturally they are all sidereal.*

I'm hardly surprised tropical astrology came about when astronomy and astrology parted ways, and astrology lost its status as a science. That's pretty damning, but half of Americans believe in it, then again around half of Americans believe in creationism.

*They don't believe in any form of astrology, but they chart planets relevant to the constellations, not tropical zodiac signs. Some include Ophiuchus and Cetus since they think they cross the zodiac belt. This book on astronomy clearly uses a sidereal system, though not a zodiac.

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