Tag Archives: Augustus

The Imperishable Augustan Star

“Iam redit et Virgo, redeunt saturnia regna” Vergilius

The star transit
On August 19th this year was the two thousandth anniversary of the death of Gaius Octavius Augustus, the first, most lasting and most beloved of the Roman Emperors who was worthy of being deified. Evil tongues said, however, that in the death of Augustus there was the hand of his affectionate wife Livia: who, in order to raise Tiberio to the throne, eliminated, by any means, the other competitors. Only his nephew, Agrippa Postumus, son of Julia, dissolute emperor’s daughter, was remained: the young man was like his mother, and therefore the grandfather, Augustus, had relegated him to the small island of Pianosa, to calm down. When she got the news that Augustus had met the nephew secretly, she feared that the old man would have brought back Agrippa to Rome and entrusted him with the throne. The emperor, who was not greedy, was fond of figs. One day, ate figs that Livia had poisoned: the voluptuousness was fatal to him. So evil tongues said. One thing is certain: the last days of the Emperor were troubled by intestinal disorders of varying intensity. That did not stop him, accompanying his heir Tiberius to Benevento, to perform its usual activities, stopping prior to Capri for a little rest and then in Naples. On the way back, the disease worsened to the point that Tiberius was recalled back and Augustus was transported to his villa of Nola. On August 19, sensing the imminent end, he asked for a mirror, made his hair to be styled and his sagging cheeks to be firmed with ointments. After having prepared himself to die in a dignified way, then Augustus allowed friends to enter the room and asked if they believed that he had played well, to the last line, the farce of life. Because those were hesitant to respond – could sound an offense both the affirmative or the negative answer- the dying emperor answered by himself: “Because I was a good actor, grant me your applause, and joyfully let’s bid farewell to each other. “. Then he ordered all of them to leave and said to his wife “Livia, remember our marriage till you live, and bye! ” He died between her kisses. It was the ninth hour, between two and three o’clock in the afternoon of the 19th of August 14: The emperor died in the same room in which his father had died. August obtained from the Gods the “euthanasia”, the quick death without suffering he had always wished for himself and his loved ones.

The brilliance of a man of fate
But who Emperor August was as a man? Suetonius in his book De Vita Caesarum tells us a lot of interesting detail about his life. Augustus was always in poor health conditions since childhood: he suffered from colitis, eczema, rheumatic fever, bladder stones. He was troubled all life by serious and dangerous illnesses. Of other ones he suffered periodically. In the days close to his birthday anniversary he felt almost always bad. In spring he was subject to edema of hearts and lungs; with the sirocco he had head colds. His body was spotted with congenital stains on chest and belly, he was wobbly from the left side where he often limped. He suffered the heat and the cold, slept a short, light, discontinuous sleep. He took great care not to fatigue and exposure to agents that would compromise his already poor health. He didn’t expose himself to the sun; traveling at night with short stages, preferably by sea. He washed himself infrequently. He dressed heavily. Despite his poor health was good-looking, albeit small well proportionate, fair-haired with slightly wavy hair, small teeth and ears, one eyebrow, the prominent nose in the upper part, thinned in the lower part. He was frugal in food and drink. He loved instead the game, especially the dice and pleasures of Venus. The gossips told that he was an unrepentant adulterer and someone said that in his youth he was helped in his career by powerful men to whom he granted his favors. As soon as possible he abandoned the exercise of arms and the horse riding. He loved instead cultivate eloquence and liberal studies. He practiced daily in reading, writing and play. He wrote well meditated and composed discourses which he used to read. He preferred the elegant and moderate eloquence devoid of unnecessary frills. He sponsored the great minds and artists of his time. He like to spend his spear time fishing, playing with dice or pebbles or nuts together with children. He was pious, religious, and did not neglect the omens almost to superstition. He feared lightning and because of that fear he hide himself, mindful of a time when a lightning almost hit him. He had many dreams, especially in the spring, scary but vain and fallacious. Suetonius says that when he was in Apollonia with Agrippa he went up on the terrace of the astrologer Theogenes, having been predicted honors and fame to Agrippa, he didn’t want to reveal his date of birth. But when, after much insistence, surrendered, immediately Theogenes fell to his feet worshiping him, having predicted his shining destiny. Later, gained great confidence in his destiny, he coined and popularized his horoscope and coined a silver coin with the sign of Capricorn, under which, Suetonius says, he was born. Of course so much confidence shouldn’t have been enough to forget the common sense if during the 11, circulating many rumors about the death of Augustus, he published his horoscope but at the same time forbade with an edict that fortune-tellers could predict someone’s death. There is no doubt that the edict was directed primarily against the astrologers. The death predictions actually ended up giving courage to who, wife, slave or enemy considers the action of the stars in need of some help.

The birth date of Augustus
Let us look at the horoscope of Augustus to see if there is consistency and determine at the same time the points that Suetonius leave uncertain. Suetonius says that Augustus was born on the ninth day before the Kalends of October, shortly before dawn, in the neighborhood of the Palatine in Rome. This date corresponds to the 22th of September, 63 BC of the calendar of Numa. Unfortunately we can’t take this date for good because it’s not correct just to translate a date in the old roman calendar of Numa to a date in the proleptic Julian calendar, without any conversion. The problem in converting dates preceding the Julian calendar to a prolectic Julian calendar is not easily solved and, even if some conjectures can be figured out, the results remain uncertain. In the Republican era, the Romans used the so-called calendar of Numa that he was subject to abuse and mistakes that led to an average phase shift of three months compared to the seasons; summer was postponed to October and November months which at the time of Numa were autumnal. The calendar of Numa consisted of 12 months, for a total of 355 days. In addition, a 27-day intercalary month, the Mensis Intercalaris or Mercedonius, was sometimes inserted between February and March. This intercalary month was formed by inserting 22 days after the first 23 or 24 days of February; the last five days of February, which counted down toward the start of March, became the last five days of Intercalaris. The effect was to add 22 or 23 days to the year, forming an intercalary year of 377 or 378 days. According to later latin writes, as Censorinus and Macrobius, ideally an intercalary month, alternatively of 22 and 23 days, would have been added every two years. If this ideal cycle would have been followed the Calendar of Numa should have been stayed in synch with the tropical year but intercalations were established by Pontifeces though and they did not occur systematically according to the ideal system. So far as can be determined from the historical evidence, they were much less regular than these ideal schemes suggest. They usually occurred every second or third year, but were sometimes omitted for much longer, and occasionally occurred in two consecutive years. When too many intercalations were omitted, as happened after the Second Punic War and during the Civil Wars, the calendar would drift out of alignment with the tropical year. The problems became particularly acute during the years of Julius Caesar’s pontificate before the reform, 63–46 BC, when there were only five intercalary months (instead of eight), none of which were during the five Roman years before 46 BC. In order to realign seasons and calendar Julius Caesar, probably during his expedition to Egypt in 46 BC (-45), commissioned to the Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes to design a new, more functional calendar. This new calendar, which took the name of Julian, came into effect in 45 BC (-44), which was an exceptional year. The Julian calendar abolished the Mercedonius month and inserted every 4 years an extra day, said bis-sextum, so called because inserted the day after February 24th (the day VI before the calends of March); this special year was called annus bixsestus.

Realignment of the year
The first step of the reform was to realign the start of the calendar year (1 January) to the tropical year by making 46 BC 445 days long, compensating for the intercalations which had been missed during Caesar’s pontificate. This year had already been extended from 355 to 378 days by the insertion of a regular intercalary month in February. When Caesar decreed the reform, probably shortly after his return from the African campaign in late Quintilis (July), he added 67 more days by inserting two extraordinary intercalary months between November and December. Because 46 BC was the last of a series of irregular years, this extra-long year was, and is, referred to as the ” ultimus annus confusionis”. The new calendar began operation after the realignment had been completed, in 45 BC. Unfortunately we don’t know exactly how many Mercedonius months, how long and when they occurred between the 63 B.C, the year when Augustus was born and Julius Cesar became Pontefix Maximus and the 45 BC when the new Julian calendar came into effect, but we know that at least there were 5 intercalary year and, since the added days of the two extraordinary intercalary months matches three regular intercalations (67 = 22+22+23), so it is possible that that they were intended to compensate for intercalary months that had been omitted earlier in Caesar’s pontificate and so we can suppose the only five regular intercalary months were omitted.

Suitable Julian Dates for Augustus’ birth
Let’s calculate some suitable date for Augustus’ birth. Between the 1st of January 63 of Calendar of Numa e the 1st of January of Julian Calendar there 18 years of Numa, 17 of them of 355 days (without considering any intercalary month) and the last one of 455 days.


Between the 1st January 63 B.C. of Julian Calendar and the beginning of Julian Calendar 1st January 45 B.C. there are 18 year of 365 days to whose 4 days should be added due to the leap years, that is 6574 days. Now, taking in account that we don’t know if the first year of the julian reform calendar was a leap year or not we have to consider the following equivalences:

1st January 45 B.C. of the Julian Calendar = 2nd January 45 PROLECTIC JC if 45 B.C. was not a leap year

1st January 45 B.C. of the Julian Calendar = 1st January 45 PROLECTIC JC if 45 B.C. was a leap year

And so we have



If we suppose that the intercalation was regular except for the gap in the last five years of Caesar’s pontificate, only 28, 29 or 30 August and 20 or 21 September are suitable.

The Geniture

Suetonio wrote that Augustus was born under the Capricorn sign and indeed Augustus himself choose that sign as its symbol to be stamp on coin. In ancient times to be born under a sign meant to have that sign rising at the horoscope. Since Augustus was born a short time before down we know that the Sun was in the first house near the horoscope. Being the Sun in Virgo at that time of the year, it was not possible that the raising sign was Capricorn. Among the suitable dates, mentioned above, we can only choose the 21st September 63 B.C. because it’s the only one that it’s related to Capricorn. The 21st of September the Moon was at the beginning of the sign of Capricorn and, since the geniture was nocturnal, Moon was also the light of the time. We now need to find the hour and minute of the birth date of Augustus. So we rectify the geniture trying to find a direction of death for the 19th of August 14 A.C: the suitable direction is of Saturn opposing the Moon in mundo for 5:24:08 a.m local time.
Octavianus Augustus

The shining son of Mercury
Mercury, the lord of horoscope in Virgo, is rising at the oriental pivot, in its own domicile and exaltation, oriental to the Sun, matutine, conjunct with the fixed star Arcturus. It will also do the heliacal setting in the next seven days. So Mercury is very dignified and powerful. Mercury is the Almuten according to Ibn Ezra being the most essentially dignified on the five aphetic points: Sun, Moon, Horoscope, Part of Fortune, Prenatal Sizygy; and it’s also the dignified accidentally being near the ascendent. If we consider the the Lord of the Nativity according to Porphyry, that is, the planet that has more essential dignity in domicile and terms on Ascendent, Moon, MC, Lot of Fortune and Prenatal Sizygy we see that Mercury has dignity on all of them except the Lot of Fortune. Mercury also is highlighted because is doing a heliacal phase. Considering instead the Lord of Geniture as the most powerful planet in the chart both for essential and accidental dignity we again find Mercury and possibly Jupiter. If we use the Cielo e Terra’s method, derived from the Argoli’s method, where the two kind of lordship of the nativity, the dominance over the aphetic places and the dominance as more powerful planet, are signified by two lords, one showing the being of the native, the giver of the agenda, namely the Rex, and the other one showing the actor, the way the native try to accomplish the agenda, namely the Miles, we find that Augustus’ Rex is Mercury, and his Miles is Jupiter. So Augustus is a true son of Mercury, having the nature of Mercury as we see from his skills in managing affairs and people, his diplomacy and political strategy, his fondness of studies, eloquence and liberal arts. Jupiter as Miles, on the other hand, is very supportive and helpful for a leader and a legislator destined to became so great and famous.

A star of first magnitude
Ptolemy writes in the Tetrabiblos about the Fortune and Dignity of a native:

“For if both the luminaries are in masculine signs and either both of them, or even one of the two, angular, and particularly if the luminary of the sect is also attended by the five planets, matutine to the sun and vespertine to the moon, the children will be kings. And if the attendant planets are either themselves angular or bear an aspect to the superior angle, the children born will continue to be great, powerful, and world-rulers, and they will be even more fortunate if the attendant planets are in dexter aspect to the superior angles.”

Here we see that both the Sun and Moon are angular, though in feminine signs. Sun in oriental pivot in Virgo receives doryphory from Mercury angular, visible in Virgo raising before the Sun. Mercury is Lord of the Sun, in its own domicile and exaltation. Also Jupiter in its exaltation in Cancer from the upper pivot act as doryphory to the Sun. Both Mercury and Jupiter are doryphory to the Sun, according to Ptolemy, because they are oriental and matutine to the Sun. Saturn and Mars are oriental but not matutine to the Sun. Venus is occidental to the Sun and oriental to the Moon, so is not in a position to be doryphory neither to the Sun nor the the Moom. None of the planets is occidental and vespertine to the Moon., so any planet act as doryphory to Moon. According to Rhetorius:

“Doryphory is when an angular star in its own domicile or exaltation is expected by another star in its own domicile or exaltation. Or, when a luminary is in AS or MC and in the domicile of another there chances to be a star of the sect, it will expect the Sun in the degree rising before but the Moon in the one rising after. Sometimes doryphory is said when, with Soon or Moon angular, a star of the sect is in doryphory ”.

Therefore Mercury and Jupiter are doryphory to the Sun and moreover Jupiter is doryphory to Mercury. For the last definition of Rhetorius also Saturn is a doryphory to the Sun. Mars is doryphory to the Moon for the last definition of Rhetorius. Jupiter also make an out-of-sect doryphory to the Moon casting a diametric ray from Cancer. Morover Mercury, being the lord of the MC is close to the ascendent is another sign of eminence, as Schoener says:

“For if the lord of the Ascendent is in the Medium Coeli or the lord of the Medium Coeli is in the Ascendent, the native will have high rank and the friendship of prince, magistrate and officials”

So even if we don’t find in this geniture exactly what we should have expected according to Ptolemy, we have noticed some very remarkable signs of a distinguished geniture. The kind of honors must be inspected from the planets doing doryphory: Mercury and Jupiter. From Mercury come honors by intelligence, education, and the care and management of affairs and from Juppiter those ones coming from favours, gifts, honours, and magnanimity. The Part of Fortune,Tyche,is close to the Imum Coeli and its lord, Jupiter, is in X house in its exaltation. More over Tyche is configured to Sun by a square. The Part of Spririt, Daimon, is close to the MC and its lord is Mercury in Virgo, dignified for domicile and exaltation raising at the horoscope. Also Daimon is configured to Mercury by a square. The lord of action also is Mercury because is matutine planet most oriental to the Sun. Though again we found the help of Jupiter who is the planet closer to MC and having familiarity with the Moon. Moreover Jupiter testifies Mercury. In In fact Ptolemy says:

“The lord of action is apprehended by two methods, from the sun and from the culminating sign. For it will be needful to look both for the planet that has made its morning appearance closest to the sun, and that which is at midheaven, particularly when it occupies the application of the moon; and if the same star occupies both the aforesaid positions, this alone must be employed, and similarly if none occupies one of these places, we must use only the one which occupies the other of the places. And if one planet has made the nearest morning appearance and another is associated with the midheaven, and with the moon, we must employ them both, giving preference to the one which by reason of its strength has the greater number of claims to domination according to the scheme which we have already set forth”

And being Mercury lord of action:

“If it is Jupiter that witnesses, they will be law-makers, orators, sophists, who enjoy familiarity with great persons.” Augustus’s activities, personal qualities and good fortune brought him to be the leader and governor of the Roman Empire during a long and peaceful, prosperous period. Character is destiny as Heraclitus said. Augustus character and destiny was to shine as the most bright star in the heaven.

A crown of stars
In the emperor’s geniture some bright stars are conjuncted to planets. Mercury with Arcturus, of nature of Mars and Juppiter, raising at the oriental pivot. Since Mercury is also the soul significator, according to Argoli, Arcturus gives moral uprightness, ambition; to command; according to Pazelius, loyalty. When Arcturus is raising at the horoscope makes those ones who rule cities and countries, who govern, who pursue their aims, who damage their enemies, who are ready to take action, effectual, manly, victorious, prosperous, rich, magnanimous. Sirius and Castor are close to midheaven . Castor has nature of Mercury. Sirius, of nature of Jupiter and Mars, when raising or culminating gives great honor and authority, says Argoli. Moreover also noteworthy are Sun with Spica, of nature of Venus and Mercury and Moon with Vega, of nature of Venus and Mercury, added more strenght to the dignity and eminence of Augustus. Notable are also Venus with Antares, of nature of Mars and Juppiter, and Saturn and Mars with the Pleiades, of nature of Moon and Mars.

The emperor’s body and soul
The significator of body is Mercury, though some secondary influence from Saturn and Jupiter. Mercury is lord of horoscope, dignified by domicile and exaltation and also has familiarity with the Moon. Jupiter is configured by diameter with the Moon from her domicile and Saturn is trine to Moon being her dispositor. Ptolemy says:

“Mercury, occidental, makes them, in appearance, of light but not of good coloring, with straight hair and olive complexion, lean and spare, with glancing, brilliant eyes, and somewhat ruddy; in temperament they exceed in the dry.”

Mercury, being occidental in the epicycle, heading to the heliacal setting, is very dry. The Moon having passed the first quarter is moist and hot and receive the influence from Jupiter, moist and hot and to a much lesser extent from Saturn and Mars which distempered the humors. The horoscope has familiarity with Jupiter and Venus adding some humidity to the complexion. The Sun in the first house near the ascendant, in the summer quadrant gives a hot and dry influence. We can conclude that temperament of Augustus was mainly temperate melancholic dominated by dry humors. The small, delicate but well proportionated figure of Augustus is very well indicated by Mercury in Virgo. Virgo as a human sign gives harmonious look. But we can’t forget to mention the debilitating influence from retrograde Mars and Saturn which has familiarity in mundo with Mercury by a dexter trigon and also with Moon by a sinister trine. Mars and Saturn both dry but conversely the first one very hot and the last one very cold are very distemperant. They harshen the abundant dryness of his body and weakened it with their opposite hot and cold qualities. Augustus was very sensitive to the cold and the hot weather and every influence from the environment was unbalancing for him. Mars in Taurus signifies the kidneys and neck while Saturn in Taurus belly, heart and chest. August suffered of illness in each of those body parts. Saturn is also the lord of the VI house so illness from cold are especially dangerous. The congenital stains on Augustus’ chest and belly were due to the Moon posited in Capricorn as Ptolemy says. Mercury is also the lord of the soul. Says Ptolemy

“Mercury, by himself taking the domination of the soul, in an honorable position makes those who are born under him wise, shrewd, thoughtful, learned, inventive, experienced, good calculators, inquirers into nature, speculative, gifted, emulous, beneficent, prudent, good at conjecture, mathematicians, partakers in mysteries, successful in attaining their ends.”

Because Mercury has familiarity with Jupiter which is able to act, being in the X house we should take into account also its influence. Again Ptolemy

“Jupiter allied with Mercury in honorable positions makes his subjects learned, fond of discussion, geometricians, mathematicians, poets, orators, gifted, sober, of good intellect, good in counsel, statesmen, benefactors, managers, good-natured, generous, lovers of the mob, shrewd, successful, leaders, reverent, religious, skillful in business, affectionate, lovers of their own kin, well brought up, philosophical, dignified.”

The marriages and liaisons
Augustus married three times. The first two marriages last both only two year and the very first one with Claudia Pulchra was even declared by Octavianus to be not even consummated. Clearly those marriages were suggested by political and strategic alliances more than by romantic feelings. Even the last, long lasting marriage with Livia Drusilla who was very dear to Augustus and very influential over him was probably due to the strategic advantages of joining two important roman families: the gens Iulia and the gens Claudia. From the Moon we can evaluate lawful association of man and wife, as Ptolemy says. The Moon is in a eastern quadrant and so Augustus married quite early: he was 21 years old. Since the Moon is in a multiple sign, Capricorn, and configured with many planets he had more the one wife as we know. The planets to whom she is applying are Venus, Mercury and Jupiter. So the first wife, Claudia Pulchra, should have been cheerful, beautiful, and charming, as the significator Venus let us suppose, but she was not enough appealing to the future emperor not to divorce from her without not even have touched her. The second one, Scribonia, intelligent and keen. The last one, Livia, according to significator Jupiter, dignified and good manager. Regarding the Augustus’ disposition in matter of love we have to investigate through Mars, says Ptolemy. Mars exiled in Taurus is conjunct with Saturn and configured with Jupiter. The Moon is defluxing from Mars and applying to Venus joining the passionate nature of the two planets. Venus receives from Mars, through the mediation of the Moon, the gift of her domicile in Taurus, while Mars receives the dignity of his domicile in Scorpio. The position of Moon is not easy because she is in exile in Capricorn and gets the debility of her fall from Venus in Scorpio but is moving forward toward Mars which grants her the dignity of her exaltation. Augustus was easily roused and passionate at the same time continent, hold themselves in check, and avoid unseemliness which was not appropriated for his political carrier and social status.

The Augustus’s death
Let’s begin to look at the Solar Return chart for his birthdate occurred before his death. The ascendent is in Sagittarius, its lord Jupiter is close the the Cauda Draconis. Mars out-of-sect in its exaltation in Capricorn in the I house. The moon is in Leo in the VIII house squared by Saturn in Scorpio which brings the fall debility to her.


The comparison between the Solar Revolution with the Nativity shows the Sun of Solar Revolution squares the Lot of Fortune of the Nativity and Mars of Solar Revolution joint with the Moon of Nativity.

If we look at the comparison between the Profection and the Nativity we see the profected Moon conjunct with Mars and Saturn of the Nativity, the profected Sun conjunct with the Moon of the Nativity and the profected Mercury, in exile in Sagittarius,  joined with profected ascendant squared by the profected Sun.


The direction of death is from Saturn to the Moon.
Saturn was in Cancer in the bounds of Mars. So the death should have been caused by the influx of Saturn and Mars in the stomach and belly. No configuration of Venus are present so the wife of August, Livia, should be regarded as innocent victim of malicious insinuations. In the chart of the direction we see the directed Jupiter conjunct with the Sun of the Nativity: the softening nature of Jupiter gifted August with a quick death without suffering: the “euthanasia”.