Petrarch Rectification

His 1341 crowning as poet laureate and Cola Di Rienzo’s 1347 revolt are instrumental in pinpointing Petrarch’s exact birth time.

Published Categorized as Rectifications
Rectified birth chart of Francis Petrarch. July 20, 1304 JC, 5:27:04 a.m. Ascendant 12LEO06’14”

For more information on birth time rectification, please refer to the three stages of rectification explained by Dr. H in his A Rectification Manual.

Stage 1: Determine the Ascendant Sign

Astro-Databank reports Francis Petrarch’s birth time as 4:33 a.m. based on the biography Petrarch and His World by Morris Bishop, which states that “[h]e entered the world as day was dawning”. This birth time yields a Leo rising chart with Ascendant 1LEO41’.

I agree with the Leo Ascendant. Petrarch’s life and persona resonate with the characteristics of this sign: a noble and ambitious nature with a craving for fame. The conjunction of the Sun and Mercury in Leo illuminates his scholarly pursuits and eloquent expression, driving his desire to shine brightly in the annals of history as a poet and scholar.

Saturn in Libra in the third house represents a significant relationship in Petrarch’s life—that with his elder brother, Gherardo. This placement signifies Gherardo’s disciplined and ascetic life after he entered a Carthusian monastery.

The Moon in Pisces in the eighth house unveils the depth of Petrarch’s emotional world, particularly his unrequited love for Laura. The placement matches the emotional distress and pain that inspired his poignant and soul-stirring sonnets.

Venus in Gemini in the 11th house denotes Petrarch’s many friends with whom he communicated through letters, while the South Node in the 11th house represents the loss of friends that he experienced.

In a Leo Ascendant chart, Mars rules the fourth and the ninth house. This heralds Petrarch’s inherent restlessness and an inability to settle down in one place. Petrarch is considered the “first tourist” and was always a wanderer.

With the Ascendant, Sun and Mercury in Leo, I jump directly to stage three, focusing on solar arcs. Below are the solar arcs and primary directions for the rectified time.

Solar Arcs

A note about the terminology used:

  • d.s.a = Direct Solar Arc
  • c.s.a = Converse Solar Arc

1329 – Philological restoration of Livy’s Decades

Jupiter/Virgo in bound Mercury/Virgo

6-Jan-1329 d.s.a ASC conjunct Jupiter
17-Mar-1329 c.s.a Jupiter conjunct ASC

Between 1328 and 1329, Petrarch embarked on the meticulous philological endeavor of restoring the text of Livy’s Decades. He obtained a copy of the Chartres Livy manuscript. Dedicating himself to this scholarly task, Petrarch devoted considerable time to examining and contrasting the various versions of the text.

1336-1337 – Trip to Rome

22-Dec-1336 d.s.a ASC sextile Mars
22-Apr-1337 c.s.a Mars sextile ASC
4-Feb-1337 REG [Mars/Leo] sin trine MC d. ---> Sun

On December 26, 1336, Cardinal Giovanni Colonna dispatched Petrarch on a journey toward Rome. Undertaken in January 1337, this voyage was fraught with danger due to ongoing conflicts among the Roman nobility. On January 26, 1337, Petrach found himself caught in a family feud in Capricana involving Bishop Giacomo Colonna, the Bishop’s brother, and 100 armed horsemen. During this tumultuous period, Petrarch found solace and focus in composing poetry.

1341 – Crowned poet laureate

Sun/Mercury conjunction in Leo in the ASC; bound Jupiter/Leo

7-Nov-1340 d.s.a MC sextile Sun
8-Apr-1341 c.s.a Sun sextile MC **LOCK**
25-Feb-1341 d.s.a MC sextile Mercury
30-Jul-1341 c.s.a Mercury sextile MC
3-Apr-1341 PT [Mercury/Aries] sin trine N.Node d. ---> Fortune

In the fall of 1340, Petrarch diligently prepared for an examination to become poet laureate, while simultaneously crafting the speech he would deliver at the ceremony. The following February and March found him in Naples, undergoing the examination alongside King Robert (Mercury-MC direction, Mercury is Cazimi). During this time, he formed friendships with fellow scholars Barbato da Sulmona and Giovanni Barrili.

Petrarch’s momentous day arrived on April 8, 1341. In a grand ceremony held within the audience hall of the Senatorial Palace on Rome’s Capitoline Hill, he presented his Coronation Oration (Collatis laureationis). Orso dell’Anguillara then officially bestowed upon Petrarch the honor of poet laureate and the privilege of Roman citizenship, marking a high point in his literary career.

1342 – Obtains canonry in Pisa

Jupiter in second house rules Lot of Fortune

18-Nov-1341 d.s.a MC square Jupiter
27-Apr-1342 c.s.a Jupiter square MC

Benedict XII’s tenure as pope concluded with his death on April 25, 1342. In the wake of Benedict’s passing, Clement VI ascended to the papal throne on May 7, 1342. One of Clement VI’s first decisions was to nominate Petrarch for a canonry at the Pisa Cathedral, acting on Cardinal Colonna’s recommendation.

On May 22, 1342, Clement VI formally affirmed Petrarch’s appointment as a canon at the Pisa Cathedral. Petrarch benefited from this position until 1355, although he managed his duties and received his entitlements via a proxy.

1344 – Receives reproachful letter from “Socrates”

Saturn/Libra in the third house

15-May-1344 d.s.a Saturn square ASC
12-Nov-1344 c.s.a ASC square Saturn

In the fall of 1344, Petrarch was the recipient of a stern letter from somebody named “Socrates” in Avignon. Cardinal Colonna might have played a role in prompting this correspondence. The letter conveyed that the pope was considering Petrarch for a potentially rewarding position within the papal court. In response, Petrarch firmly stated his intention to remain where he was, expressing his aversion to returning to the disagreeable conditions he associated with Avignon.

1350-1351 – Friendship with Boccaccio and the Petrarch Club

Venus/Gemini in the 11th house

12-Jul-1350 d.s.a Venus conjunct ASC
8-Mar-1351 c.s.a ASC conjunct Venus

In the summer of 1350, a literary friendship blossomed. Giovanni Boccaccio, residing in Florence, wrote to Petrarch expressing his frustration over the difficulty of acquiring copies of Petrarch’s works and included one of his own poems for Petrarch’s critique. Petrarch’s warm response marked the beginning of their famous correspondence.

In March 1351, the friendship between Petrarch and Boccaccio deepened when Boccaccio visited Petrarch in Padua, bringing passionate messages from the members of the “Petrarch Club” [see next solar arc]. This visit underscored the strong bonds of friendship and intellectual exchange connecting Petrarch, Boccaccio, and the broader literary community of the time​​.

1350 – Trip to Rome for the Jubilee, meets fans

North Node – MC Solar Arc

16-Mar-1350 d.s.a N.Node square MC
7-Nov-1350 c.s.a MC square N.Node

In October 1350, on a trip to Rome for the Jubilee, Petrarch stopped in Florence. There he met Giovanni Boccaccio, along with other literary figures like Zanobi da Strada, Francesco Nelli, and Lapo da Castiglionchio. Notably, Boccaccio introduced Petrarch to what could be described as a “Petrarch Club”, a group of admirers and scholars dedicated to Petrarch’s works​​. The club received Petrarch with an adulation that would have embarrassed any ordinary man.

1351 – Turns down papal secretary offer, writes anti-papal letters

South Node in bound Venus/Gemini in the 11th house

13-Mar-1351 PT [Venus/Gemini] S.Node d. ---> MC
11-Nov-1351 d.s.a MC conjunct S.Node

In March 1351, Giovanni Boccaccio made a visit to Petrarch in Padua, bringing with him an offer for Petrarch to take up a prestigious professorship at the University of Florence. Petrarch graciously declined the position. Following this refusal, the Florentine authorities once again seized the property of the Petrarch family. Around the same time, Petrarch was the recipient of a pressing and warm-hearted letter from two cardinals in Avignon. This letter relayed a message from the Pope himself, urging Petrarch to come back to the Papal Court, accompanied by a tempting but ambiguous promise of potential benefits.

In the autumn of 1351, Petrarch chose to reject an offer to become the papal secretary. During the same period, he dedicated himself to writing additional letters for his collection known as Sine nomine, which includes letters critical of the papacy.

1355 – Zanobi da Strada crowned poet laureate

12-May-1355 d.s.a S.Node conjunct Sun
24-Feb-1356 c.s.a Sun conjunct S.Node

On May 15, 1355, Zanobi da Strada was crowned poet laureate by Charles IV in Pisa, a decision that greatly irked Boccaccio, who refused to acknowledge the validity of the accolade.

Originally a humble schoolteacher and a less distinguished poet from Florence, Zanobi rose to a high position in the Neapolitan court largely thanks to Petrarch. His credentials for the laureateship were virtually nonexistent, apart from the Neapolitan seneschal’s ambition to appoint a laureate to his court.

Petrarch was deeply troubled by Zanobi’s crowning, feeling it undermined the prestige of his own laurel. However, Petrarch eventually renewed his friendship with Zanobi, despite often reprimanding him in a rather authoritative manner, especially for Zanobi’s interest in a trivial book titled How to Get Rich.

1357 – Works on De otio religioso

Saturn/Libra in third house 

3-Sep-1357 d.s.a ASC conjunct Saturn
14-Jul-1358 c.s.a Saturn conjunct ASC

In 1347, a visit to the Carthusian monastery of Montrieux sparked inspiration in Petrarch. He journeyed there to see his brother Gherardo, who had become a monk in 1343. This visit led Petrarch to compose a short treatise specifically for the monks – De otio religioso, translated as On Monastic Tranquility. Essentially, the work serves as a sermon extolling the virtues of a reclusive religious life. Later, in 1357, Petrarch undertook a revision of De otio religioso

1361 – Serves as Milan’s ambassador

Jupiter/Virgo rules fifth house of ambassadors, legates

21-Feb-1360 d.s.a Jupiter opposed MC
27-Jan-1361 c.s.a MC opposed Jupiter

In January 1361, Petrarch embarked on a significant diplomatic mission. Representing Milan, he traveled to Paris for the festivities celebrating King John the Good’s release from English captivity after four long years. 

Beyond the celebratory atmosphere, Petrarch had another crucial role to play. On January 13, acting as an ambassador for Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the Duke of Milan, Petrarch delivered an impressive Latin speech before King John. The oration focused on the concept of fortune, a theme that greatly interested Petrarch throughout his life.

1373 – Serves in peace delegation to Venice

Jupiter/Virgo rules the fifth house of ambassadors, legates

25-May-1372 d.s.a MC sextile Jupiter
27-Sep-1373 c.s.a Jupiter sextile MC
16-Oct-1373 d.s.a Sun sextile ASC

On September 27, 1373, Petrarch embarked on a journey to Venice to present an oration on behalf of Francesco I da Carrara to the Venetians and introduce Francesco II da Carrara, signaling Padua’s acknowledgment of its allegiance to the maritime republic.

On October 2, 1373, Petrarch took part in a delegation aimed at fostering peace with Venice, where he delivered the opening address with a quivering voice. The city had previously shown him great kindness—including offering him a house—but Petrarch’s reciprocation seemed influenced by personal gains rather than genuine gratitude, highlighting a tactless approach to his diplomatic and personal interactions with the city. However, his speech beautifully articulated the notion that disputes among lovers ultimately serve to deepen their affection, and was met without objection. 

Primary Directions

A note about the terminology used:

13-Sep-1347 PT [Jupiter/Pisces] dex trine Mars(l=p) c. —> MC

  • The direction method PT or REG represent Ptolemy or Regiomantanus directions. In the above example, the type of direction is Ptolemy (also referred to as Alchabitius or Placidus-Classic primary directions).
  • The Promissor (the planet, aspect, or planet that moves with the celestial sphere) is the dexter trine aspect of Mars. The full latitude of the planet is used for the primary direction, hence shown as (l=p). (l=BI) indicates interpolated latitude based on the method of Bianchini.
  • The Significator is the point held fixed on the celestial sphere. The Midheaven is the significator in this example.
  • c. or d. represents converse (west to east) or direct (east to west) motion. In this example the direction is converse. The dexter trine aspect of Mars is moved along the celestial sphere to meet the Midheaven.
  • The Distributor is the bound placement of the Promissor. In this example, the distributor is Jupiter/Pisces.

1330 – Works as household chaplain

Saturn/Libra conjunct IC

5-Nov-1330 PT [Mars/Libra] IC d. ---> Saturn(l=p)
19-Apr-1331 PT [Mars/Libra] IC d. ---> Saturn

In Avignon during the fall of 1330, Petrarch became a household chaplain for Cardinal Giovanni Colonna, Bishop Giacomo Colonna’s brother. He remained in this position full-time until 1337, and then continued to serve Colonna on and off until 1347.

1335 – Appointed canon in cathedral at Lombez

Jupiter in the second house rules Lot of Fortune and the North Node in Sagittarius in the fifth house of ambassadors

4-Nov-1334 PT [Mercury/Virgo] Jupiter(l=p) d. ---> ASC
6-Jun-1335 PT [Mercury/Virgo] Jupiter d. ---> ASC

Pope John XXII’s death on December 4, 1334, paved the way for Cardinal Fournier’s coronation as Pope Benedict XII on January 8. This new papacy saw Petrarch secure a canonry at the Lombez cathedral on January 25, a position that offered income without requiring residency (he would eventually resign in 1355).

In the summer of 1335, while he was in Avignon, Petrarch’s diplomatic talents were called upon by Azzo da Correggio and Guglielmo da Pastrengo, ambassadors for Mastino II della Scala, the lord of Verona. Mastino, having recently seized Parma, sought papal backing. Thanks to Petrarch’s successful advocacy, Mastino obtained the desired support from the new pope.

1340 – Invitation to become poet laureate

Sun in bound Jupiter/Leo; Sun-NNode direction

20-Aug-1340 REG [Mars/Scorpio] sin square Sun c. ---> N.Node

In a remarkable twist of fate, the morning of September 1, 1340, saw Petrarch receive an invitation from the Roman Senate to be crowned poet laureate in Rome. Later that very day, a courier arrived from Roberto de’ Bardi, bearing a similar invitation from the esteemed University of Paris. Petrarch found himself faced with the delightful dilemma of choosing between two incredible honors.

1346, 1366 – De vita solitaria

Saturn/Libra in the third house

25-Mar-1346 REG [Mercury/Scorpio] sin square ASC d. ---> Saturn(l=p)
18-May-1346 REG [Mercury/Scorpio] sin square ASC d. ---> Saturn
18-Mar-1366 REG [Saturn/Libra] Saturn(l=p) d. ---> dex trine N.Node

In January 1346, upon Philippe de Cabassoles’ return to Provence from Italy, Petrarch extended a charming poetic invitation for him to enjoy the simple pleasures of Vaucluse. Philippe accepted, spending a delightful two weeks there, an experience that motivated Petrarch to pen his De vita solitaria.

In the spring of 1346, during Lent, Petrarch began drafting De vita solitaria, a project that would span over two decades, concluding in 1371. This work, revisited intermittently throughout the years, explores the joys and fulfillment found in a solitary life, contrasting it with the stresses and burdens of city life.

Twenty years after the project’s inception, in the spring of 1366, Petrarch finalized De vita solitaria and dispatched a copy to its dedicatee Philippe, fulfilling the promise of the work’s dedication.

1346 – Canonry at Parma

Jupiter in the second house rules Lot of Fortune

17-Aug-1346 PT [Mercury/Libra] sin sextile ASC d. ---> Jupiter
15-Nov-1346 PT [Mercury/Libra] sin sextile ASC d. ---> Jupiter(l=p)

In 1346, Petrarch approached Pope Clement VI, seeking appointment to an available canonry and archdeaconry at the Parma Cathedral. The pope approved the request for the canonry, which came with a desirable income. On October 29, 1346, Clement VI officially appointed Petrarch to the canonry in Parma.

1347 – Cola Di Rienzo’s revolt

Mars/Cancer in the 12th house rules Midheaven, distributor Jupiter/Pisces indicates pardon

17-Mar-1347 PT [Jupiter/Pisces] dex trine Mars(l=BI) c. ---> MC
17-May-1347 PT [Jupiter/Pisces] dex trine Mars c. ---> MC
14-Sep-1347 PT [Jupiter/Pisces] dex trine Mars(l=p) c. ---> MC

On May 20, 1347, Cola di Rienzo rallied his supporters and took control of Rome’s Capitoline buildings without facing any opposition. This was largely because Stefano I Colonna had led Rome’s militia away to gather food, and two other important senators were absent.

On September 14, 1347, Cola di Rienzo called a meeting at the Capitol with all the barons within his reach. In a deceitful move, he arrested and imprisoned them. The barons pleaded for mercy from the Roman Parliament.

As the time approached to execute so many of the nobility, Cola di Rienzo found himself wavering. Ultimately, he declared that the barons had shown remorse and submitted to the will of the people. He honored them with rings and bestowed upon them unique titles, then led them in a procession to attend Mass.

Petrarch initially supported Cola di Rienzo due to their shared admiration for ancient Roman values and hopes for a revived Roman Republic. However, as Rienzo’s rule became increasingly authoritarian and chaotic, Petrarch’s enthusiasm waned, leading to a complete withdrawal of support when Rienzo was accused of heresy and tyranny. Ultimately, Cola di Rienzo’s downfall ended with his violent death in 1354, when he was killed by a mob in Rome after a brief resurgence in power.

1358 – A Guide to the Holy Land

Saturn/Libra in the third house conjunct IC

2-Mar-1358 PT [Saturn/Leo] ASC c. ---> Saturn
29-Jun-1358 PT [Saturn/Leo] ASC c. ---> Saturn(l=p)

In the spring of 1358, Petrarch’s friend Giovanni Mandelli, a prominent figure in Milanese politics, invited him on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Though flattered, Petrarch could not overcome his fear of the sea and seasickness.

Unable to make the journey himself, Petrarch offered a unique substitute: a guide titled Itinerarium ad sepulchrum domini nostri Yehsu Christi (Journey to the Sepulchre of Our Lord Jesus Christ). Written in just three days between March and April 1358, the guide functioned as a letter to a friend, a “brief itinerary” for Mandelli’s pilgrimage.

This work, however, was more than just a travelogue. Following the tradition of his earlier writing, it was a reflection of Petrarch himself. He intended the guide to be a “more stable effigy of my soul and intellect” alongside its practical purpose as a “description of places.”

1358 – Letter from Francesco Nelli

Venus/Gemini in the 11th house 

5-Jun-1357 PT [Saturn/Aries] MC c. ---> Venus
19-Mar-1358 PT [Saturn/Aries] MC c. ---> Venus(l=p)

On March 19, 1358, Francesco Nelli—having been dispatched to Avignon on ecclesiastical matters from Florence the previous year and taking up a position at the Roman Curia—reached out to Petrarch. In his correspondence, he shared his impressions of Petrarch’s son Giovanni, noting that he found him to be agreeable, knowledgeable, and courteous. He playfully remarked to Petrarch, “You don’t expect him to be born an old man, do you?”

Giovanni reciprocated his friend’s sentiments, cherishing the unexpected warmth and understanding he received from Nelli. He held Nelli in the highest regard, considering him to be the most esteemed individual in the world.

1364 – Trip to Bologna, Casentino

Sun exaltation ruler of ninth house; distributor Venus/Gemini

25-Apr-1364 PT [Venus/Gemini] dex sextile ASC c. ---> Sun

In the spring of 1364, Petrarch embarked on another journey. This time, his travels took him to Bologna, followed by a trip to the Casentino, a mountainous valley located east of Florence and north of Arezzo nestled within the Apennine mountain range. The distributor Venus/Gemini indicates Petrarch traveled primarily to meet friends.

1368, 1371 – Death of grandson and failing health

ASC-South Node direction

27-Apr-1368 REG [Saturn/Leo] ASC d. ---> S.Node
5-Apr-1371 PT [Venus/Gemini] S.Node c. ---> ASC

A shadow fell over Petrarch’s life on May 19, 1368, when his grandson Francesco died in Pavia.In the spring of 1371, Philippe de Cabassoles extended an invitation to Petrarch to visit him in Avignon. Petrarch, initially eager for the trip, began packing his belongings. However, his frail health ultimately prevailed, and he was forced to yield to his body’s weakness.

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