Liber De Accidentibus

The following is a text I translated taken from the book “Hermes Trismegistus, Astrologia et divinatoria” (Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Medievalis 144C, Brepols: Turnhout, 2001).  This section is the medieval text “the Book of Accidents”, compiled and transcribed by P. Lucentini, with a possible Arabic origin in the 12th century (see here for more information), based on the following original manuscripts:

  1. Dublin, Trinity College Library, 369, ff. 63v-64v.
  2. Glasgow, University Library, Hunterian Museum 461, ff. 118r-119v.
  3. Kraków, Biblioteka Jagiellońska, 593, ff. 66v-67r.
  4. London, British Library, Harley 3731, ff. 170v-172v.
  5. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 7445, ff. 14r-16r.
  6. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 7306, ff. 16r-17v.
  7. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 16653, ff. 79rr-80v.Vaticano (Città del), Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Ottob. lat. 1552, ff. 99v-101v.
  8. Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 2311, ff. 47vb-48va.

This translation consists of a collection of astrological aphorisms and rules about particular astrological arrangements or phenomena and how they may be used in forecasting, as in mundane or horary astrology.

Here follow the words of Hermes taken from his book on accidents about the universal significations to help us be able in universal prognostication.

Hermes has said: order the significators, first the stronger and then the weaker, since whichever of [the planets] you have participation in the signification with it is the stronger.

And he said: when the planets will have been of equal dignity, look to that of them it will be in the ascendant or the tenth [house] or if it aspects itself with another of the luminaries [i.e. the Sun or the Moon], and you will take it as the significator.

And he said: according to the state of any planet the horoscope will be of that state in which that planet is dominated. Because if the Sun will have been in in the ninth [house] it will signify the movement of kings from one land into another; and if it will have connected with a fortunate planet [i.e. Venus or Jupiter], he will be on his journey for good and peace, and if it will have connected with an infortunate [planet, i.e. Mars or Saturn] it will be for war and evil.

And he said: the Sun is the significator of kings, and the Moon, when she will have been in the fifth sign from the Sun, is the significator of the children of
kings.  And Jupiter is the significator of great men and judges or of the religious and wise, although if it will have been infortunate, the nature of that infortunate planet may be of any sort of those mentioned.

And he said: inspect all people and kings from the master of the house where he is master.

And he said: when the governor will have been fortunate and comes to infortune, it will be a change from good to bad, and vice versa.

And he said: when some planet or one of the signs will have been infortunate in the horoscope, all things ruled over in that horoscope will be infortunate, and it will be greatly worse if the infortunate [planet] will be retrograde in the sign of the signification.

And he said: when some infortunate planet will have been in the exaltation of another planet, it greatly impedes those who are participation of that planet, such as, if the sign of Aries is harmed from some infortunate planet, it harms kings and flocks, cows and sheep, crops and trees.

And he said: inspect the places of all the planets in the horoscope, and by this which you will come say of the greater power that the people which will
have of this region they will be happy and well fortunate, and greatest if they will have the very planet in the good place of the ascendant, and of the
day in good aspect of the Sun and in the night of the Moon. And similarly if they will be in good aspect with the infortunate planets their work will be of the greater power, and if of evil their work will be of the weaker power.

And he said: when an infortunate planet will be retrograde in the exaltation of some other planet and will have crossed over through the degree of the exaltation, it will harm the people which will have been of the region of that planet, and it signifies that the king of that region will make pride and witchcraft,
which, when the planet is retrograde, is as he who exits from obedience, and a worse retrograde of the planets is that of Saturn and Mars.

And he said: look at the kings from the governors, and the magnates or powerful people from the planet which follows it in virtue, and with the people from the third planet in virtue, if one will have had participation with another in signification.

And he said: always when the governor is changed in the house of another planet or exaltation or trine or its end, rectify the horoscope rising and inspect it: if fortunate planets will have aspected the governor from the tenth [house], a great king will have good and all kings will fear him. And that will be good
according to the aspecting planet: and if it will be masculine he will be a husband, and if feminine a wife; and if it will have from the regal sign it will be of kings, and if it will be from signs of great men it will be so, and if of vulgar it will be so; and if it will be from the second [house] it will be from a part of friends and riches, and if it will be from the ascendant it will be about the things about which admit themselves.

And he said: direct planets signify peace, and those in station make fights and wars, retrograde make all damage and evil.  And when a fortunate planet will have been retrograde, it damages its fortune; and when an infortunate planet will have been retrograde, it strengthens its evil and increases it.  And when a planet, whichsoever it may be, will have had an horoscope aspecting another with two luminaries or with one, they will conquer who are of those planets.

And he said: if a governor will have been eclipsed in an angle, it signifies that the event will last years, and if in the following angle it signifies months, and if in cadent [houses] days.  Similarly if a governor will have been in an angle, his signification will be great and greatly lasting, and if he will have been falling, he will be small and of little duration; and a mobile [i.e. cardinal] sign signifies that he will be fast, and a fixed sign slow; and it of two bodies [i.e. bicorporeal, which are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces, also known as mutable signs] signifies that he will be in the middle; and a fast planet signifies speed, and a slow planet slowness.  And when the damaged will have been masters of a trine of governors, you may not judge those born of that signification of that time anything good.  And when the damaged Sun will have been in a bad location in the horoscope, kings will have illnesses, pains and sorrows and a change from one land to another, and most of all when he who is ruled will have been damaged in signification by combustion or some other thing, such as, when a planet who is dominated and and the Sun will have been damaged, it signifies a damage of business of the king or of the people and magnates.

And he said: when a planet will have been in the first sign, his work will be fast; and if the latitude of the planet will have been northern, his signification will be better and he will last for a longer time, and if it will have been southern, the opposite.  And all planets send to the luminaries their influence, unless the planet will have had its great power [to be] increasing influence: for then the luminary sends its influence to it.

And he said: when Mars will have had influence in an eclipse, he makes quarrels and murders; and if Jupiter, you will say much good.

And he said: in the horoscope look at the people from the ascendant, and their riches from the second, and their neighbors from the third, and their children from the fifth, sickness from the sixth, their enemies and women from the seventh, and all the rest is in this manner. And according to which you will discover each house will have its signification, since, if the ninth lord will have been falling and will have aspected Jupiter, it signifies a journey.  Similarly the rising is of those whom are in the east, and the tenth of them of the south, and the fourth of them from the north, and the seventh of them from the west.

When two infortunate planets are joined in one sign and the Moon approaching them will have been impedited, if the sign itself will have been earthy, it will be a great earthquake and the ruine of cities and walls; and if watery, a great and powerful harm happens and perhaps nuisance in the waters, and in this manner the day will be anything according to that which is suited.

And he said: when Mars will have been strong and eastern, they will conquer who will have been staying in the east of those in the west; and if strong and western, they will conquer who [will have been] staying in the west of those in the east. And if there will be war between those in the west and the east,
look: if Saturn and Jupiter will have been fast in travel, the eastern ones will be the winners quickly, and if they will have been slow, the quarrel will be prolonged between them; and if these two planets will have been in a sign of two bodies, the quarrel will be in many plans or at many times; and if they will have been in a fixed sign, the quarrel will be light, and if in a mobile sign, the damage in the land will be great and strong.

And he said: when Mars will have been retrograde against Saturn in a horoscope, a great quarrel and strong war will happen, and the quarrel will be lengthened as long as the time of the signification may be filled up. And you may know that Saturn is greatly stronger of night than of the day, and Mars is worse of the day than the night.

And he said that the Head of the Dragon [i.e. northern lunar node] is hot and the Tail [i.e. southern lunar node] cold. And if Saturn conjoins himself with the Tail in the horoscope, it indicates famine and strong cold according to the thing in which his sign will have agreed to. And if he will have been in Pisces, exile will occur in mankind, a great fear and a great decrease in fish-harvests, and a great and sorrowful pain will occur in religious men; and if Mars aspects them, they will kill each other; and if Venus aspects them, they will be thrown under; and if the Sun, the king will be ashamed of himself by them.

And he said that when a planet of some people will have been impedited in the horoscope, if the sign will have been moist they will they will be impedited on account of submersion in waters and humidity; and if it will habe been dry, [then] on account of drought and winds; and if Mercury will have aspected their arising infortunate planet, there will be water about them and they will be unable to have it; and if Saturn will have aspected it, with pains they will die of winds and of storms; and if Mars will have aspected it, they will die with blades and fire; and if Mars will have been in a sign of two bodies, they will die with arrows and diverse things.

And he said: if the infortunate planets aspect and he is under the rays, it signifies his opposition against what the fortune has signified. And if an infortunate
planet will have aspected it from his place, there will be evil by robbers. And when a fortunate planet will have aspected a planet becoming retrograde or in station under the rays, it signifies heresies and other quarrels.

And when the signification of fortunate planets and infortunate planets will have been by one equal, it signifies that people come to both good and evil as one.

And he said: when Mercury will have been damaged, it signifies that scribes and servants consult the king and may make injustice; and if Mars aspects Mercury in this state, it signifies many robbers.

And he said: when the Moon aspects Mars and Mercury, it signifies that people fighting among themselves will ask for a truce.

And he said: when a planet of magnates and the populace will have been an infortunate planet becoming retrograde or in station and it will have aspecting in an evil aspect to the master of the region, men will rise who are not of their land and are their enemies; and if the aspect will have been a trine or sextile, there will be enemies of men from their house and those near them; and when it will have been strongly harmed, look in which place the opposition will have been and say for certain that he will die that very day; and if fortunate planets will have aspected, judge that the king will win and escape from his people unless the fortunate planet will have been falling. And if Mars will have aspected there, his death will be hastened; and if Saturn, he will have there a prison for a long time until he dies; and if both will have aspected it, which is to say Mars and Saturn, he will be captured and afterward killed; and if this will have been in a bicorporeal sign, many will be killed in prison with him. And if one infortunate planet will have been in a bicorporeal sign and another in a mobile sign, he will not be alone in town but with many, and he will be harmed in the very land until the infortunate planet exits from its place or that a forunate planet aspect it destroying this constellation.

And he said: it is appropriate that you give consideration to the significations of the luminaries from the signification of events, such as, if the Sun will have been slow and the Moon waning in a horoscope and the signification inidcates quarrels, they will be greatly prolonged; and if the Sun will have been fast and the Moon waxing in light in the horoscope, the thing will be the other way. And the quarrels in coming about with an indicating signification of the day, the quarrels will be hastened and not prologned [i.e. if the indication of fights took place in a diurnal chart, with the Sun above the horizon].

The foregoing words are those of Hermes who spoke in his book on accidents with which to help us be able in universal prognostication.  Amen.