An excerpt from Ian Stewart on Cardan

Like many mathematicians of the period, Girolamo practiced astrology, and he notes the astrological circumstances surrounding his birth:

“Although various abortive medicines – as I have heard – were tried in vain, I was normally born on the 24th day of September in the year 1500, when the first hour of the night was more than half run but less than two-thirds… Mars was casting an evil influence on each luminary because of the incompatibility of their positions, and its aspect was square to the moon.

…I could easily have been a monster, except for the fact that the place of the preceding conjunction had been 29 degrees in Virgo, over which Mercury is the ruler and neither this planet nor the position of the moon or the ascendant is the same nor does it apply to the second decanate of Virgo; consequently I ought to have been a monster, and indeed was so near it that I came forth literally torn from my mother’s womb.  

So I was born, or rather taken by violent means from my mother; I was almost dead. My hair was black and curly. I was received in a bath of warm wine which might have been fatal to any other child. My mother had been in labor for three entire days, and yet I survived.


Why Beauty Is Truth, Ian Stewart, 2007, Basic Books, USA




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