1. As we begin the writing of these books of the Mathesis, we must first organize the material so that those who wish to learn may be trained correctly from the start; for it is not possible to master the true science unless one is firmly grounded in the fundamentals.
2. Our Fronto,16 who published rules for forecasting by the stars, followed the antiscia theory of Hipparchus:17 nevertheless, since he was dealing with trained and experienced men, he wrote nothing about the theory nor about basic principles. As a matter of fact, hardly any other Latin authors have written about the principles of this science except Julius Caesar,18 who produced a few verses which he translated from a foreign work, and Marcus Tullius (Cicero), the chief glory of Roman eloquence, who replied with a few epic verses.
3. Therefore we intend to translate in simple language everything which the Egyptians and Babylonians wrote about this science for those who are in training in forecasting about human fate.
4. But since we have just mentioned the antiscia, we should not pass over this point with pretended ignorance. Fronto copied the theory of antiscia19 of Hipparchus, according to whom these have no force or influence. There are, it is true, some correct ideas in Fronto about astrology and forecasting, but his treatment of the antiscia is not useful, for he followed a writer who did not hold the correct theory. The true antiscia, as our Navigius20 proves, are those Ptolemy pointed out after careful research. What their nature is we shall describe in the last part of the work when we show in each case what degree influences another. As to forecasting by the stars, Fronto has written accurately about that, and it is discussed at length in the books and documents of the Greeks. Thus we shall leave aside this discussion and return to the elements of the theory.
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