Alexander the Great

Discussion of horoscopes of possible general interest.
Post Reply
User avatar
Jim Eshelman
Are You Sirius?
Posts: 12380
Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 12:40 pm
Gender:

Alexander the Great

Post by Jim Eshelman » Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:14 am

I've been somewhat preoccupied recently taking a fresh look at when Alexander the Great was born. I can't say I've worked it out to my full satisfaction, but I thought I'd record what I have so far. Conventional history recognizes that there is uncertainty about the exact day he was born, usually stating that it was July 20 or 21, 356 BC, in Pella, Macedonia (today in Greece).

However, there is no doubt of the day Alexander was born. We know it exactly. The problem is that we only know it in the Attic calendar, one of many simultaneous calendars in use in Greece at the time, and we don't know exactly how the calendar fell. In fact, different communities could have slightly different starting dates for each month, even when the theory of the calendar was identical in all of them (which wasn't always the case). It was a mess!

Alexander was born in Pella. For some reason, the town (which still exists) isn't in Solar Fire. I've separately found it's central coordinates as 40°45′42″ N, 22°31′34″ E (203 feet above sea level: above the same elevation as Century City, where I work, wedged between the slightly lower Santa Monica and the slightly higher West Hollywood). Wikipedia lists 40.754669 N, 22.521050 E, which converts to 40N45'17'', 22E31'16''. I'll use the first set of figures in this paragraph, but they're all the same to within a minute of arc.

He was born on the 6th of Hekatombaion - of this, there seems universal agreement. The question is: When was 6 Hekatombaion?

Hekatombaion is the first month of the Attic calendar, primarily an Athenian calendar, and I don't know that it was used in Macedonia, but it's the calendar in which his birth was recorded. Each month began with the neomenia, the first appearance of the New Moon. In theory, this could be different for different cities, but usually there is no question.

While there were considerable inconsistencies in how these were calculated, I believe this particular date was more attentively measured than other Attic dates. First, it was the first month of the year, deserving for that reason alone to be more carefully measured. Second, the date was given to record the birth of the King of Macedonia, and for this even greater care was warranted.

WHAT I KNOW ABOUT DETERMINING THIS DATE: Hekatombaion began with the first appearance of the new Moon at sunset. Most officially, this was its first appearance in Athens, though probably the first appearance was the same across the region. I emphasized above the altitude of Pella: Pictures I've seen show little or no topography or other visual interruptions of the horizon, so there, also, the first appearance wasn't likely to be delayed. The Greek day ran from sunrise to sunrise.

WHAT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THIS: One source claims that the month officially began the day (morning) after the first Moon sighting. Most sources I can find say nothing about this at all. It makes sense, in that the prior morning the new Moon wouldn't yet have been seen, so (even though it would be seen at the end of the day) it would be hard to call it a new month. Nonetheless, I just don't know for sure which day started the month, giving a one-day confusion from the start.

TIMING THE NEOMENIA: A New Moon occurred July 14, 356 BC, shortly before sunset, with Sun and Moon 5-6° above Descendant. Moon clearly wouldn't be visible that day. The next day, July 15, Sun's last rays dropped below the horizon at 7:31 PM with Moon 7° above horizon. This, also, is too little. It seems, therefore, that the first visibility of the New Moon was July 16, when, at sunset, Moon was 14°25' above the horizon, surely visible on a clear day (and Athens' leaders seemed to have sophisticated enough astronomy not to let clouds thrown them off). I doubt the visibility in Pella mattered but, just to put it on record, at sunset Moon was 13°19' above the western horizon as the sun's last rays vanished below the horizon.

If the next morning, then, was 1 Hekatombaion, then 6 Hekatombaion was July 22 - not July 20 or 21 as usually stated. Of course, if my one source is wrong and the month began the day that the new Moon would later appear at sunset, then we're back to July 21 for the 6th of the month. BTW, I think the occasional mention of July 20 as a birth date comes from someone mistaking "the new Moon" as the date of the astronomical conjunction July 14; but that wasn't how it was calculated.

I think Alexander was born July 22, 356 BC.
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com

User avatar
Jim Eshelman
Are You Sirius?
Posts: 12380
Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 12:40 pm
Gender:

Re: Alexander the Great

Post by Jim Eshelman » Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:14 am

BTW, one historian records that Alexander was born the same day the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was burned by Herostratus. The year is a match... the rest may be true, approximately true, or mythology (no less than Plutarch reporting that the temple's priestess was off attending Alexander's mother, Olympia, who was giving birth).

Unfortunately, this doesn't help us, since the burning of the temple is merely dated as coinciding with whenever Alexander was born. However, this also has very satisfying mythology around it: Alexander was a newborn solar king, a rising Sun on the world and scion of Zeus who would undertake to remake the world. That his birth would be linked to the final destruction of an ancient (Bronze Age) temple to the Moon-goddess is great mythic symbolism.

BTW, the dreams his parents reported that suggested Alexander was sired by Zeus - including his mother being struck by lightning in the middle of the night before her wedding and immediately being pregnant - is more than the usual demi-god origin story. Specifically, to the Greeks, Alexander's Leo Sun-sign was ruled buy the god Zeus. (Greek astrologers had gods ruling signs, not planets.) A Leo was an obvious "son of Zeus."
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com

User avatar
Jim Eshelman
Are You Sirius?
Posts: 12380
Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 12:40 pm
Gender:

Re: Alexander the Great

Post by Jim Eshelman » Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:14 am

For the time of day, we have only a legend that may be apocryphal. It's the kind of story that often is mythologized around a great king to support his divinity.

As the story goes, Alexander's mother ordered her physician (or, evidently, the priestess of the Temple of Artemis that was attending her) to forcibly hold back the birth until the moment the sun's first rays broke the eastern horizon so that her son would be a great king and rule the world.

While this may be fictional, it's also possible that only the "window dressing" part of the story was fictionalized. (He may still have been born at sunrise.) In any case, it's the best we've got.

On July 22, 356 BC, in Pella, Macedonia, Sun's first rays broke the eastern horizon at 4:37:21 AM LMT. Let's call this 4:38 and not pretend we know anything down to the second! Sun is 0°41' below Asc, Venus 2°38' below Asc, and Mercury (opposite Uranus) squares MC with 1°.
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com

User avatar
Jim Eshelman
Are You Sirius?
Posts: 12380
Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 12:40 pm
Gender:

Re: Alexander the Great

Post by Jim Eshelman » Fri Mar 05, 2021 10:05 am

One advantage of moving the date to 7/22 is that Moon, still in Libra (for all three possible days) is now opposite Pluto (1°08') and square the rising Sun (2°22'), which makes for a striking chart. The rising Sun, dignified in Leo, is conjunct Venus and sextile Jupiter - a beautifully fortunate picture for a ruler.

A curious bit of symbolism: For this birth time, Altair is setting. By tradition, Altair (a star said to be akin to Mars-Jupiter) is most fitting for Alexander. At the moment, I'm especially noticing that The Eagle is also the animal sacred to Zeus. This, of course, depends on the birth time being exactly right.

Though his early Leo Sun isn't in orb of conjunction to Regulus, the Greeks likely would have noted that his Moon rose when Regulus was on Midheaven (a Moon-Regulus paran). His Venus also culminated and set with Regulus.

Sun rises conjunct Venus in Leo with Moon in Libra. He must have been as physically beautiful a man as the movies like to portray him. Besides his superbly aspected Sun, we find a more extreme Moon, primarily from its opposition to Pluto (I don't have much information on his mother past the incident of his birth). Angular Mercury opposite Uranus bespeaks a brilliant, flexible mind. Venus is strong and well aspected (he got to marry for love before his other, more political marriages and his harem - and he certainly got to "live well"). His Mars is surprisingly weak, in the immediate background, but has what, for him (but not for his enemies) was a positive blending of malefics, close Mars square Neptune. (His true warrior ways seem to have been from his strong Leo Sun, it this sunrise time is correct.)

Here is the chart:

Image
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com

User avatar
Jim Eshelman
Are You Sirius?
Posts: 12380
Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 12:40 pm
Gender:

Re: Alexander the Great

Post by Jim Eshelman » Fri Mar 05, 2021 11:02 am

This argument of date and time from what record we have then hits a wall. I can't get the chart to behave well for key events. This, of course, throws up suspicions on the accuracy of it all. There's some good stuff... and some that isn't.

Alexander became king upon his father's death in October 336 BC (in Pella). (Most accounts indicate that he engineered the death.) On October 1, Saturn at 28°41' Libra conjoined the proposed natal Moon at 28°53' Libra, opposite natal Pluto at 27°51' Aries - but the Moon position is the more important. Progressed Moon was within 1° of opposite natal Sun, a real life-changing aspect and emphasizing his solar expression. Progressed Sun conjoined his Mars within a few minutes, at least tending to support the right day of birth.

OTOH, his 336 BC solar return isn't very royal! It's pretty disappointing. But it's not just the angles, it's the whole aspect framework. About the only "elevation" pattern that could have come to the angles was Jupiter square natal Jupiter (which is middleground for this birth time). It's an unremarkable chart.

His October 1 SLR covers most of the month. At first glance, it looks impressive with Pluto seeming to be rising exactly, but Pluto is really a dozen degrees below the horizon. However, his natal Moon-Pluto exactly squares MC and his Sun is close to IC (perhaps for royalty, certainly for "father issues"). Neptune sets. OK, this chart isn't all that bad.

His death (reportedly from either intentional or accidental poisoning) is more narrowly known. It was June 10 or 11, 323 BC (the night of a New Moon), in Babylon, Mesopotamia (modern Hillah, Iraq).

As a mundane astrology event, I find notice a 24' Uranus-Pluto conjunction. The New Moon was exactly square Mars. Transits to Alexander's purported chart are not very exacting but there are several "near misses."

His SSR for this date and place is disruptive but not negative. I'd say the same for his May 25 SLR. His June 6 Demi-SLR turns a bit sour without having super-close contacts, though, i.e., Saturn is the only angular planet, 6° above Dsc.

These return charts do not encourage the idea that the birth chart is correct.

For his death, the best we get from the quotidians is that the SSR Uranus-Pluto conjunction, which was in partile conjunction with his natal Saturn, is almost square MC (and hanging near other possible PSSR angles):

20°56' Sco - PSSR Asc
24°49' Leo - PSSR Moon
26°29' Leo - PSSR MC
26°46' Tau - s Uranus
27°21' Tau - r Saturn
28°19' Tau - s Pluto
1°25' Sag - PSSR EP-a

His SNQ is also striking, seeming to confirm the birthtime with excruciating closeness.

27°29' Ari - SNQ MC
27°42' Ari - p Pluto
27°51' Ari - r Pluto
28°53' Lib - r Moon

But, strangely:

7°31' Leo - SNQ Asc
7°50' Tau - t Venus

But none of the other charts leading up to this look right. It's hard to justify a solitary quotidian for these hits without other supportive returns.
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com

User avatar
Jim Eshelman
Are You Sirius?
Posts: 12380
Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 12:40 pm
Gender:

Re: Alexander the Great

Post by Jim Eshelman » Fri Mar 05, 2021 11:41 am

At least for his father's death, the solar arcs are quite reasonable: His natal Mars-Neptune square directed to natal MC with his directed Midheaven just past (still in orb) square his natal Sun. That's quite striking!

As a support aspect, d Saturn semi-square r Sun (half a degree) is always appropriate for "death of the father, death of the king," regardless of the surrounding conditions. d Mars -45- r Saturn 08' fits. d Moon -45- r Jupiter 13' is sound for becoming king.

But it's the two that involve angles that speak loudest for this birth time.


However, the same cannot be said of solar arcs for his own death. For that event, the 90° of solar arcs and natals is a stark example of natal and directed angles avoiding everything in sight! This doesn't mean there are no solar arcs - only that there are none that help our current cause.

We find two: directed Pluto and Moon octile natal Uranus. It's not much, and it can't even be said to confirm the Moon position since Pluto-Uranus would do the job alone. Alexander's death is a terrible event for results.

Even including local angles don't help. directed Jupiter had just crept into orb of local IC (56'). Directed Mercury conjoined local Asc (boring). Directed angles did nothing.
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests