Vettius Valens at Mark T. Riley

Back in the 70’s a young scholar named Mark T. Riley made a translation of Tertullian’s Adversus Valentinianos.  So obscure a work suddenly came alive, in a marvellous manner!  Who would have thought that the work still lived, had things to say to us all, based on the dull ANF version?

I have been reading bits on astrological writers, and I came across Dr Riley’s page again, with a PDF:

A Survey of Vettius Valens” – Vettius Valens’ Anthologiae is the longest extant astrological work from antiquity. It is unique in several respects: the author was a practicing astrologer; the work includes more than 100 authentic horoscopes of Valens’ clients or associates, including his own, which is used as an example many times throughout the work; the work also includes tables and the description of algorithms used by astrologers and mathematicians. My paper was finished in 1996 and does not take account of scholarship since that time.

The PDF article is invaluable.  It tells us about the manuscripts — three, all later than 1300 — and editions, and the sort of stuff in the text.

But I then saw the next entry:

A short dictionary of Greek terms used in the astronomy and astrology writers can be found here . I made this wordlist for myself while translating Vettius Valens’ Anthologiai, a translation that was never perfected. Some abbreviations in the definitions are GH = Greek Horoscopes by Neugebauer and van Hoesen; HAMA = Neugebauer’s History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy; Pt = Ptolemy; Cumont = Cumont, L’Egypt des astrologues. The others should be obvious.

This excited me, for there is no translation of this work online (or anywhere else).  I have written to Dr Riley, asking if perhaps it might be placed online.  After all, the hardest thing in working with a text is getting the first translation made.  Every subsequent translator stands on the shoulders of that first effort.  Even if not perfect, it ought to be online.  Translations that sit unpublished tend to get lost!


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