Astrology definition and etymology

Investigations in of stored tissue samples from an American military hospital at Fort Jackson in South Carolina proved that it had begun as a swine flu.

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Researchers who reported this finding suggested that the Spanish flu should be renamed the South Carolina flu. The Spanish are hardly likely to object, though the established name will almost certainly prevail.

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It has been interesting to see the way the name for the new strain of flu virus has developed. Obviously it could not be called Hong Kong flu , which was the name given to the variety which appeared in To start with it was referred to in technical or semi-technical contexts as avian influenza because the new variety had jumped the species barrier directly from fowls to humans, something no flu strain had ever been known to do before.

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The first instance of bird flu I can find in print is in a headline in the Detroit News of 24 August However, there is another in an online report two days earlier which implies the name was invented by a journalist in Hong Kong preparing a story for the news agency Agence France-Presse. Perhaps that person thought that avian influenza was too cumbersome or too difficult and with a few strokes of the keyboard translated it to bird flu.

That name was then popularised by the agency report being circulated worldwide within hours.

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    Page created 3 Jan. Problems viewing this page? Ptolemy's explanations as to their meanings have not been altered much since. Still, like most of the Ancient Greek literature, the text was lost to us until its first translation from Arabic in , after which it spread like a plague. I would say, though, that the teaching of his text was kept alive among astrologers also in the many centuries when they didn't have access to the whole book.


    New Planets Although the basics of astrology as taught by Ptolemy - and he was certainly not the first to pass them on - remain the same, some components have been added since his time. Ptolemy and his predecessors knew of no other planets than the ones visible to the naked eye, which are the ones out to Saturn. With the invention and improvement of binoculars and telescopes, new planets were discovered: Uranus in the 18th century, Neptune in the 19th, and Pluto in the 20th.

    They have been given their astrological meanings much from the "zeitgeist" and world events of the times of their discoveries.

    The Origin of the Zodiac.

    Ptolemy knew nothing of them, of course. Johannes Regiomontanus had done so more than a hundred years previously, but his slightly different House system is not that common today. Minor Aspects Ptolemy mentioned only the five major aspects in his Tetrabiblos : the conjunction, the opposition, the trine, the square, and the sextile. Although the aspects have multiplied, there is still consensus among astrologers about the five Ptolemaic aspects being the most important ones.

    Apart from these later discoveries and inventions, Ptolemy's horoscope definitions remain.


    Get the book The image to the right is a link to the Amazon page for Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos in the Loeb series. There are several translations of the book, but as with all the Greek and Roman classics, the Loeb Library contains the most trustworthy and authoritative translations. If you are interested in classical astrology, I recommend reading Ptolemy.