Here are two versions of the testimony definition, both deriving from the lost Antiochus original, and the only ones available in the surviving literature. Later authors use the language of testimony countless times and assume its meaning without providing a definition of their own. The similarity of the two versions is evidence that they both come from the same source. The version found in Rhetorius’ Explanations (what I erroneously regarded as properly representing Antiochus in my early translation in Vol. II of the original Project Hindsight translation series) is rewritten and, I believe, represents a misunderstanding of the original. The two translations here are all included in the new PH translations series The Astrological Record of the Early Sages (TARES).
ANTIOCHUS SUMMARY 6. That the stars are said to provide testimony (epimartureō) to each other whenever they chance to be tetragonals or trigonals or diametricals or hexagonals of each other, and [he says] at intervals of how many [images] each of the said figures is assumed (schēmatizō). And that the figure (schēma) conforming to a trigon (kata trigōnon) is sympathetic and helpful even if one of the stars is destructive, for it causes less harm; the tetragonal figure is the opposite even if one of the stars is benefic; the figure conforming to a diameter is adversative, and worse if a malefic is present; the hexagonal figure is feebler than the other figures. The aforesaid figures are brought to completion (apoteleō) in two different ways, either by image simply or by portion; wherefore, while the stars are assuming a trigonal figure in relation to each other (trigōnizontes allēlous) according to their images, they frequently do not assume a trigonal figure according to their portions, and similarly in the case of the other figures.
PORPHYRY 8. They call the figure-assumptions (schēmatismos) of the stars in relation to each other testimonies (epimarturia) There are these figures (schēma): a trigonal figure is that at intervals of five images, whenever there are three images between the pairs of images; a tetragonal one is that at intervals of four, whenever there are two between them; a diametrical one is in the seventh, whenever there are five intermediate images; a hexagonal one is that at an interval of three, whenever there is one intermediate image. And the assumption of a trigonal figure is sympathetic and helpful; and even if a destructive star is present, it is less harmful. That of a tetragonal figure is harsh and discordant and capable of giving pain if a destructive star is present. That of a diametrical figure is adversative, but worse if a malefic is present. That of a hexagonal figure is feebler. But one must see whether the stars are able to complete the figures by portion (ei kata moiran echousi teleia/telein ta schēmata) and not merely by image. The assumption of a trigonal figure is at an interval of 120 portions, that of a tetragonal figure at an interval of 90 portions, that of a hexagonal one at an interval of 60 portions, and that of a diametrical one at an interval of 180 portions. For, stars frequently stand configured (eisin eschēmatismenos) according to image but not further/longer (ouketi) according to portion.
A casual reading of these texts might lead one to suppose that what is being contrasted are configurations based on images alone and configurations that are geometrically exact to the portion. If that were true, it would mean that only planets in geometrically exact configurations could stand in a testimony relation. But that would make the word frequently in the last sentence of ANTIOCHUS 6 and PORPHYRY 8 questionable, because planets are for the most part not in perfect configurations. Such a restrictive interpretation would also be inconsistent with the usage of other Hellenistic astrologers.
But again, Porphyry’s last sentence evidently offers a clarification of what it means for planets to complete their figures “merely by image”. The word ouketi in this sentence could be taken in two ways: “no longer” or “no further”. I think it quite likely that both meanings are intended. The implication is that two astronomical scenarios are to be excluded from the testimony relation being defined here: 1) when the two planets have already been in an exact geometrical figure and are now separating from it; 2) when the two planets are converging toward an exact geometrical figure but do not succeed in forming it before one of them moves to the next image.
By excluding these two possibilities, we are left with a single scenario. The kind of testimony relation addressed in this definition is characterized by the situation in which two planets are moving toward an exact geometrical figure and succeed in forming it before one of the planets crosses over into a new image.
It is because a careful consideration of the overall argument in this passage demands such an interpretation — and, I might add, by paying due attention to the tenses of the participles that are used in the two versions — that I felt justified in making a small textual emendation to the Porphyry version of this definition (emending teleia to telein), one that also serves to bring it into closer agreement with the version in the ANTIOCHUS SUMMARY. However, this emendation is not fully necessary in order for the Porphyry version to have the meaning I have suggested.
Early in the days of Project Hindsight, we all believed that the Hellenistic astrologers were using “sign-based aspects”. From the remains of the lost Antiochus original, I now know that aspect proper is a figure within a three-portion range (or “orb”). If anyone has every attempted to make sense of “sign-based aspects” in reading a Hellenistic chart, he or she would probably agree to me that such a notion introduces too many planetary configurations and completely muddies up any attempt to interpret. The testimony concept narrows the range of viable configurations based on images to a smaller number.
I will later explain what I believe to be the difference between the aspect and testimony concepts.