The four Cardinal Ingress charts are drawn up for the Solstice and Equinox points. Many traditional astrologers, such as William Ramesey are almost entirely concerned with the Aries Ingress, also known as the Spring Equinox, for sound reasons. It is how we derive the Lord or Lady of the Year. Nevertheless, the Equinox and Solstice charts are also valuable and for that reason, I publish and read all four each year. The Capricorn Ingress has great significance in various cultures around the world.
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T he Islamic world came into contact with the great civilizations of antiquity during the eighth and ninth centuries. The scientific knowledge of not only Greece, but also India and Persia, was then assimilated by its scholars in a two-stage process. First, all the sources were translated into Arabic, and then, during the ninth and tenth centuries, their contents were held up to critical analysis.
The expansion of the Islamic Empire during this period had created great prosperity. Several social classes had appeared as a result, and it was these new classes, under the Abbasid caliphs, that patronized the translation movement. Nearly all the nonliterary and nonhistorical Greek texts available in the Byzantine Empire were subsequently translated into Arabic.
The process of assimilation was not merely an act of recapitulation. It was always imbued with a critical character. To resolve this situation, the caliphate constructed the first Islamic observatories. Although they existed only briefly ca. These changes were no small matter. The first Arabic critiques of ancient Greek classics appeared during the tenth and eleventh centuries. Arabic science was now beginning to move beyond classical science.
The initial stages of this new era of Arabic science first emerged in Baghdad, the center of Abbasid power. The Abbasid caliphate lost its sovereignty and power passed into the hands of regional rulers. The latter were, in theory, representatives of the caliph, but his influence declined to merely that of a religious authority. In the Islamic West, even this limited influence receded and disappeared.
The decline of Abbasid power was not accompanied by any form of cultural or scientific decline. Many regional rulers sought to adorn their courts with men of letters and scientists, whose mere presence enhanced their standing and prestige. As a result, there was a considerable increase in the number of wealthy men prepared to encourage and fund scientific activity. He was engaged not only in scientific investigation, but also in political and diplomatic work.
Around , the situation changed again. In desperate circumstances, he continued working on a book about mathematical geography and attempting to carry out astronomical observations without the necessary instruments. He died sometime after Among his works, astronomy and astronomical geography predominate, but there are also discussions of history, pharmacology, mineralogy, and mechanics, amongst many other topics. When Ptolemy wrote the Almagest , he had only one trigonometric function at his disposal—the chord—and a single tool for solving spherical triangles.
Indian astronomy had long employed sines and cosines, and these were adopted by astronomers in the Islamic world, along with tangents, cotangents, secants, and cosecants.
These new theorems had an obvious advantage. He also insisted on the predominant role of his teacher, Abu Nasr, in its creation. The tangent is the shadow projected in a vertical plane by a gnomon that is parallel to the horizontal. These shadows are dependent on the length of the gnomon, which is usually estimated as 12 digits or 6.
A tangent here is 12 or 6. This was inconvenient when tangents and cotangents were used simultaneously with sines and cosines, which were calculated as a function of the radius. He described things he had seen, but did not offer any criticism of the local inhabitants, even when their beliefs were clearly at odds with Islam. Hindu scientific texts of the era were often composed in Sanskrit verses, or sloka , to facilitate memorization.
These coordinates are needed to calculate the sacred direction, or qibla , toward Mecca. The problem of calculating longitude, on the other hand, was far more challenging and was not fully resolved until the invention of the chronometer in the eighteenth century. If the number of days that a caravan takes to go from one city to another is known, as well as its daily route, it becomes possible to calculate the distance between the cities and convert this figure to degrees.
Books IV and V are focused on spherical astronomy and mathematical geography, respectively. The final volume, Book XI, deals with mathematical astrology. Clearly, the story itself is apocryphal. While there has always been a popular branch of astrology that offers predictions based on simple rules, such as the zodiacal sign of the sun at the moment of birth, there was also a more serious version reserved for the upper classes.
Only a third of the book deals with astrology. The remainder is concerned with geometry, arithmetic, algebra, and astronomy. He never wrote about its predictive applications. He explained how to cast a horoscope, but not how to interpret it. New findings were compared and examined in the light of his own observations, and subjected to rigorous analysis. He was a prolific author, penning great syntheses, which included much information gathered from outside the Islamic world, and an enormous quantity of his own work.
His books about India and geography opened new fields of research. Mahmud called for a mason, who opened a fifth door on the eastern wall. The monarch went out by this door and ordered that the opinion of the astrologer be brought to him. Translated and adapted from the Spanish by the editors. In the ninth century, the scientific and philosophical level of the Byzantines had sharply declined.
It is curious to note the parallels between how official Abbasid ideology understood this decline and how Europeans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw Islam as responsible for a similar scientific decline in the Arab world.
For the thinkers of the caliphate, the cause of Byzantine decline rested in the irrational character of Christianity, with dogmas as absurd as those of the Trinity and the incarnation of God as man. Islam, a religion much more coherent from a logical point of view, could assimilate the entire Greek heritage without hesitating over the pagan context that so terrified the Byzantines.
They were from regions near Iraq, where there had been a dramatic increase in scientific activity among non-Arabs. Despite diverse geographical origins, these men of science were perfectly Arabized and consistently used Arabic as the language of scientific communication.
Instead of doing this detailed work on his own, he would find a collaborator to do it, so that he could devote himself to more ambitious projects. Allen and Co. Translation and Commentary , 2 vols. Aleppo: Institute for the History of Arabic Science, One of its members was an astronomer, who brought with him a set of astronomical tables in Sanskrit.
He could not, unfortunately, finish his work after his observation of the summer solstice in the year ; the civil war began.
Jamil Ali, trans. Elsewhere, the passage of the sun through the meridian local noon was observed. The time difference made it possible to calculate, immediately and precisely, the difference in longitude between the two places.
There is no translation available for any European language. Reprinted in Edward Kennedy et al. This determines the beginning and end of the fasting period during the month of Ramadan. Translation from the Arabic by the author.
Ramsay Wright, facsimile edition of Brit.
AL BIRUNI: PERSIAN SCHOLAR, LINGUIST AND ASTROLOGER
He has been variously called as the "founder of Indology ", "Father of Comparative Religion ",     "Father of modern geodesy ", and the first anthropologist. Al-Biruni was well versed in physics , mathematics , astronomy , and natural sciences , and also distinguished himself as a historian , chronologist and linguist. In addition to this type of influence, Al-Biruni was also influenced by other nations, such as the Greeks, who he took inspiration from when he turned to studies of philosophy. He spent much of his life in Ghazni , then capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty , in modern-day central-eastern Afghanistan.
He served more than six different princes, all of whom were known for their bellicose activities and a good number of whom met their ends in violent deaths. Nevertheless, he managed to become the most original polymath the Islamic world had ever known. Little is known of his early life. Of his own personal background even less is known. He said this in the context of demonstrating his total disgust with flattery, even when it was being directed at him.