Hellenistic Astrology

By Walter Cambra, MA (LAMAFA)

According to the ancients "Via Combusta" exerted a malefic influence, particularly for the Moon in one's natal chart.[1] Via Combusta is Latin for "the burning way" and generally refers to the first fifteen degrees of the sign of Scorpio.[2] Other astrologers have extended Via Combusta to include the last fifteen degrees of the sign of Libra and/or the entire sign of Scorpio.[3]

Modern astrologers have speculated that the negative influence of the signs of Libra and Scorpio, specified as Via Combusta, had its origins in antiquity when many of the malefic fixed stars were located in those two signs.[4]

A more insightful explanation used by the ancients considering the influence of Libra and Scorpio as malefic is suggested by Al Biruni: Libra is the Fall of the Sun while Scorpio is the Fall of the Moon. Furthermore, these two signs contain the two malefics. Libra is the Exaltation of Saturn (Greater Malefic); Scorpio (by classical ruler, contains Mars (Lesser Malefic).[5]

Arabic/Islamic civilization is one of three cultures that succeeded the classical period of Greece and Rome. However, this civilization, unlike the Byzantine Greek and the Latin West, did not just inherit from the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome; it also inherited a great deal from the empire that it had completely conquered, the Sassanian Persian.

 

The last and largest of the great middle eastern empires before Alexander the Great was the Persian Empire, often referred to as the Achaemenid Empire (after a Greek form of the name of the dynasty that ruled it). Alexander the Great conquered it in 331 B.C.E. and the area was subsequently ruled for a time by his general Seleukos and his descendants, what is known as the Seleucid Empire. However, another Iranian people, the Parthians, founded a new state in what had been eastern Persia. Its founder was one Arsaces I who established the new Parthian state in 248-247 B.C.E. As time passed, the Parthian Empire gradually conquered all of the Seleucid Empire except the regions along the Mediterranean coast which were conquered in turn by the Romans.