Critodemus on Violent Death

There exists a fragment compiled in CCAG (catalogus codicum astrologorum graecorum) from the pre-Valens astrologer by name Critodemus who Valens quotes in his Anthology. The fragment is on violent deaths and which factors in the chart are causers of violent death. The chapter also contains the principles for examination of the manner of death.

Here I will make a list of these pointers, using the original Greek text found in CCAG 8, 4 and Schmidt’s translation of the chapter named “General Figures of Violent Death” found in the book-compilation: ‘The astrological record of the early sages in Greek’. After giving the list, I will give an example of violent death.

  1. Calculate the Lot of Destroyer (Asc + Moon – Lord of Ascendant reverse by night)
  2. When Moon sees the Lot of Destroyer, causes violent deaths.
  3. It is worse if the Moon is in sign with limbs cut-off.
    [this is a controversial topic as to which of the signs are with limbs cut-off? This is obviously related to the constalletional images of the corresponding signs, but the list varies from author to author. Schoener lists Aries, Taurus, Leo and Pisces, of which Leo appears to be without the limbs cut off. So, I suggest to skip this one, but just have it in mind for your own edification].
  4. When the Lord of the prenatal lunation is in aversion to the sign of the prenatal lunation, AND it is contemplated [regarded] by malefics.
  5. When the prenatal lunation is regarded only by malefics.
  6. The first triplicity lord of IC  or the 4th whole-sign house, is in bad house and is regarded by malefics without intervention of Jupiter and Venus.
  7. Find the Lot of Death (Asc + 8th Whole Sign – Moon by day and night without reversing).
  8. Examine the planets regarding the Lot. If only malefic/s regards it, it causes violent deaths.
  9. Moon enclosed in a sign with Saturn and Mars, causes violent deaths.
  10. Mercury when distant 24° from the Sun, causes violent death, Venus does this when distant 28° from the Sun.
  11. Examine the 3rd, 7th and 40th day of the Moon. When 40th day of the Moon should be found with malefics, causes violent death.
  12. Look at the Nodes. When Ascending Node is in the 8th Place, with Mars, Saturn and Mercury regarding it, causes violent death. In such cases, either native’s head is cut off, or they are impaled. If Sun testifies, these nativities are wounded in the eyes or the feet.
  13. Descending Node in 8th Place with Jupiter, Venus and Mars there, causes violent deaths, those whose head is cut off.
  14. Lord of Lot of Fortune and Lord of 8th are opposite each other, they cause violent death.
  15. Mercury opposing the Whole Moon and contemplated by malefics causes violent death.
  16. Moon in 4th in sign of Mars, without benefic planets regarding, causes violent deaths.

Manner and Places of death

–          Look at the bound (term) lord of the 7th whole sign. If it is malefic and under the Sun’s beams, it causes death by guile and treachery.

–          And if it is out of Sun’s beams, signifies those who are put to death openly.

–          If this bound lord is malefic and stationing or ascending, it destroys with injuries, drugs and wounds.

–          If this bound lord is in signs of human shape, and contemplated by malefics, it causes death from men.

–          If in watery signs, from water.

–          If in signs of animal shape, from animals or heights.

–          Saturn ruling the 8th house and witnessing it and benefics do not intervene, death by water. And if Saturn is in watery sign, in rivers or seas, but if in earth-like sign, on mountain or desert.

–          Sun as Lord of 8th house and in someone else’s sign, while Sun and 8th being afflicted, gives death from heights.

–          Mars ruling the 8th house (read whole sign, or Place) and the 8th house afflicted, gives death by robbers, beasts or enemies. But if Mars is witnessed by the Sun, gives death from crucifixion by the people or multitude, or kings or decapitation or making them to fight with animals.

–          Venus as Lord of 8th and she and 8th place afflicted without Jupiter intervening, gives death from women or too mooch vine.

–          Mercury as Lord of 8th place and it and 8th afflicted, gives death from slaves or writings.

–          Jupiter as Lord of 8th and afflicted alongside the 8th, gives death by kings and leaders.

–          Lord of 8th not looking at the place (in aversion) and in someone else’s sign, gives death in foreign land. And if it looks at that place and is in its own place, trigon or exaltation, these things will happen in his own fatherland.

–          Benefics only contemplating the 8th Place, without Mars and Saturn, they cause pleasant death.


I will now give an example of how to use these rules. I will examine the natal chart of Sharon Tate.

The procedure of examining natal chart with a set of rules, is that one of collecting testimonies for y/n. The more testimonies in one direction, more assurance will give for the definitive judgment of the astrologer.

Let’s start with examining the rules.


1. First calculate the Lot of Destroyer with the algorithm given above. Sharon’s Lot of Destroyer is found on Ascendant.

2. Moon sees the Lot of Destroyer which in this case happens to rule. Even though she rules the Lot, we will follow the rules given even though I am not sure if in this case Moon would indicate this [violent death]. (y)

3. Moon is not in the signs with limbs cut-off on the list above. (n)

4. Prenatal lunation is Full Moon in 0° Cancer. Moon is not in aversion, but it is contemplated by malefics. (y/n/)

5. Prenatal lunation (in the natal chart?) is not regarded only by malefics. Jupiter is here. (n)

6. First triplicity lord of 4th is Venus in bad place (8th) and without contemplation of Jupiter – the other benefic.  (y)

7. Find the Lot of Death using the 8th sign instead of the cusp of 8th house division. Sharon’s Lot of Death is in Sagittarius.

8. Only malefics are regarding the Lot. Mars is with the Lot and Saturn is regarding it from opposition. Remember that the Pivots (angular signs) from some place are most energetic. Jupiter is in aversion and Venus is too weak to help. (big Y)

9. Moon is not enclosed in a sign with the Malefics on both sides, but she is kind of enclosed tetragonally by the two malefics, Saturn is in superior square and Mars in inferior square. Saturn is Lord of 8th, so Lord of Death is in superior square to the Lord of Life (Moon ruling ascendant). (Y)

10. Mercury is not 24° distant from the Sun and Venus is not 28° distant from the Sun. (N)

11. Approximation in calculating the 3rd, 7th and 40th day of the Moon is the following. On the 3rd day, Moon is in the sign next to that in which she falls in natal. On the 7th day she is in the sign in square to the one in the birth chart. On the 40th day she is in opposition to the sign in which she is found in natal chart.
On the 7th day, Moon being found in Sagittarius, is hurt by natal Mars and Saturn, and by Saturn in that chart of the 7th day. Mars already ingresses in the next sign.
On the 40th day, Moon being in Pisces, is in square to Saturn and Mars in natal, and in square to transiting Saturn, Moon is being combusted under the Sun’s beams. (Y)

12/13 Descending Node is in 8th Place with Venus, Sun and Mercury, contemplated by Mars and Saturn (Y).

14. Lord of Lot of Fortune and Lot of 8th is one = Saturn. (N)

15. Mercury does not oppose Whole Moon. (N)

16. Moon is not in the 4th sign. (N)

We have several big ‘Yes’ here, and bear in mind that some indications are more powerful then the others, so the likelihood that she would die violent death is rising in percentage. Critodemus doesn’t mentions here, but in the chapter in Anthology, where Valens examines violent deaths, chapter which is based on some of these rules, he continuously notices Moon in 8th sign from Fortune in nativities who died with violent death. Sharon has Moon in 8th from Fortune.

Examining the manner of death, we would notice that the bound lord of the 7th place is Mercury, found in the 8th place of death, under the Sun’s beams and in a sign of a human shape (Aquarius). This gives indication that the native would die violent death caused by men, which was the case, she died by the knife of the Manson’s women.
Critodemus says that the native would die due to treachery or guile if the bound lord is placed under the Sun’s beams. Guile and Treachery are natural significations of Mercury, and in a way she died because of a guile of Mercurial type. I mean, the guile of fate, to put it in this way. Namely, Manson’s family didn’t go in that house to kill Sharon Tate, they didn’t know which celebrity is receding in that house, their aim was about to kill a celebrity, no matter who that celebrity would be. The house was often rented by celebrities, and in this period of time it happened to be rented by Sharon and her husband – the famous Roman Polanski who was traveling in this time, while Sharon was in the house with her friends. This was pretty much of an ill fate for Sharon and she was at the wrong place at a wrong time. The death indicated by the bound lord of 7th Place being under the beams of the Sun, would probably give indications of the ‘secret’ death in her home. That is, the death was not public, was not on the city square or something.

As you can see, these rules given by the ancient sages are relevant and used by skillful astrologer can give indications for the type of death of the person whose chart is under examination.

Disclaimer: One should not predict death if one doesn’t know what is doing here. The time of death, and the manner of death should be predicted if only the person who is interested in doing this for their own chart, is knowing the consequences of such an analysis and is fully capable of receiving the answer which the astrologer would provide. Astrologer should always bare in mind that while Astrology is a true Art, astrologer can err and such an err can cause a despair in someone’s life. So, be careful whenever you are analyzing the time and manner of death in prediction. While exercising the techniques of a person who is already dead, in hindsight is not probably as harmful, predicting death publicly for a person be it unknown or someone who is celebrity, is a sign of a lack of wisdom.

One thought on “Critodemus on Violent Death

  1. Maravilloso artículo. Hace un buen tiempo sigo su blog y me alegra que esté publicando tan seguidamente. Definitivamente los antiguos tenían un conocimiento demasiado profundo de la Astrología.
    Juan Alberto Herrera

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