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The Lot or Part of Fortune - Astrodienst

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Articles by Robert Hand

The Lot or Part of Fortune


by Robert Hand

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Copyright 1996 by Robert Hand (info@robhand.com)

Posted in the Newsgroup alt.astrology in February and March 1996.

Author's Introduction
What I am going to do here is something similar to what I have been doing on Prodigy.
I am going to be talking about the discoveries and lore of ancient and medieval
astrology. The main difference between these postings and those on Prodigy is that
these will be a bit more technical. I know that not everyone on Alt.Astrology is an
expert but actually you don't need to be much of an expert to understand the old
astrology. Those who could justifiably be called "experts" in modern astrology actually
have to learn as much as the beginners. The concepts are quite simple, but become
complicated in the putting together. But this should not be a surprise. This is just as
true of modern astrology. Anyhow here is my first note.

The Lot or Part of Fortune

Part 1
Most astrologers have encountered the Part (or Lot as the Greeks called it) of Fortune,
but have little idea of what to do with it. The modern literature on the subject is of little
help tending to make it an extremely abstract symbol, something "karmic." To
complicate things further, it is now clear that for approximately 50% of all people the
Part of Fortune is usually computed incorrectly, namely those persons born at night
between sunset and sunrise. I'll come back to that in a moment. The Part of Fortune is
computed in the following manner:
Day Births: Fortune = Ascendant + Moon - Sun
Night Births: Fortune = Ascendant + Sun - Moon
These formulae should be interpreted as in this way: compute the longitudes of the
Ascendant, Moon and Sun as measured from 0 degrees of Aries. This is done
according to the table below.

Add 0
Add 30
Add 60
Add 90
Add 120
Add 150

. Libra
. Scorpio
. Sagittarius
. Capricorn
. Aquarius
. Pisces

Add 180
Add 210
Add 240
Add 270
Add 300
Add 330

Let's say someone has an Ascendant of 20 Virgo, a Moon of 4 Aries, and a Sun at 17
Aquarius. An Ascendant of 20 Virgo means a Descendant of 20 Pisces. Since the Sun
is between the Ascendant and the Descendant, this is a night birth so we use the night
birth formula.

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The Lot or Part of Fortune - Astrodienst

Ascendant 20 Virgo + 150 = 170

Sun 17 Aquarius + 300 = 317
Moon 4 Aries + 0 = 4

08/08/15 21:51

Alle Horoskope im berbli

Fortune = 170 + 317 - 4 = 483.

This is more than 360 so we subtract 360 from the total. 483 - 360 = 123. The Part of
Fortune is 3 Leo.
If the Sun were at 9 Cancer with this Ascendant and Moon, the chart would be a day
birth so we would use the Day formula.
Ascendant 20 Virgo + 150 = 170
Moon 4 Aries + 0 = 4
Sun 9 Cancer + 90 = 99
Fortune = 170 + 4 - 99 = 75.
This is less than 360 so we don't need to do anything more. This gives us a Part of
Fortune of 15 Gemini.
The reason why most people who are born at night have been given the wrong Part of
Fortune is that most of the modern authorities have used the day formula for night
births! This is because one ancient authority, Ptolemy, seemed to advocate doing all
charts with the day formula. We are now fairly certain from our new translation of
Ptolemy and his ancient commentators that he did not intend this. Most other ancient
sources advocated using the day formula for day births and the night formulas for night
and so did the medieval astrologers. And these people knew what to do with the Part
of Fortune.
Let me conclude this note by giving a very brief description of what the Part of Fortune
is. The Part of Fortune is used to describe the basic way in which the individual is
physically connected with the surrounding world. It is one of the significators of the
body and health, and it is the primary significator of prosperity, and also career as it
relates to prosperity. But the method of using it will come as a bit of a surprise. This is
one of the most important discoveries that Project Hindsight has made. In my next note
I'll go into that.

The Lot or Part of Fortune

Part 2
In the first installment of this series of notes I described the method for computing the
Part of Fortune and said a bit about what it meant, that it was the key to understanding
the native's prosperity and career. In this installment I will go further into its symbolism
and say more about its proper use according to the Greeks.
As I have said, the Part of Fortune is a primary indicator of prosperity, but it is more
than that. It is created out of the longitudes of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant, and
therefore is composed out of the three of the most important places in the chart (only
the Midheaven outside of these three is as important) and as a result becomes as
important as they are. In modern astrology there is a tendency to regard the Part of
Fortune as a minor point in the chart, but this was not the case with ancient astrology.
In ancient astrology the Ascendant is the primary indicator of the physical body and
health. The Moon is also a very important secondary indicator about the body. But
there is a difference between them. The Ascendant was considered to be the body at
its most physical, material level. The Moon was the living aspect of the body, in fact
soul, but soul incarnated in a physical body. The Part of Fortune, being composed of
both of these along with the Sun, is also an indicator of the living, physical body and its
relationships with the physical and social world in which the native lives. Its capacity to
signify prosperity comes from this. If the Part of Fortune is in good condition, the
relationship between the native and the physical and social world in which he or she

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lives is one that supports the native and enables the native to live well. If the Part of
Fortune is in poor condition, the native has a harder time living in relationship with the
world that supports the native. The same can also be said about the relationships of
the Part of Fortune and health.
However, in the case of both significations one must keep in mind that no one
indication in the chart, not even the Part of Fortune, can be taken by itself as a total
indicator of any area of life. For health one must also look at the Ascendant, its ruler,
the Moon and its ruler. Also the sixth and eighth houses as indicators of illness and
death respectively have strong indications for health. For material prosperity one
should also look at the second house, the tenth house, and their rulers.
That said, however, the Part of Fortune is well placed when there are benefics or
dignified planets in the same sign with it (the fact that "sign" is referred to here is very
important as will be seen later on), or these same kinds of planets aspect the Part of
Fortune. [Note: if the terms "benefic" and "dignified" are strange to you, they will be
explained at the end of this article.] Also it was said to help the Part of Fortune if it was
in a sign that was ruled by benefics, and any point in a chart is helped by being in a
sign ruled by a dignified planet.
The Part of Fortune is not so well placed if it is in a sign with malefics, especially if the
malefics are debilitated. Squares, oppositions, and conjunctions with malefics are also
not considered to be very good. As a modern astrologer I would have to say that such
indications do not mean poverty or bad health so much as they mean that the native
will have to work harder or has a narrower range of possible routes to success. But
given those two considerations, the results can still be very positive.
As my concluding comment in this installment, let me say that the Part of Fortune is
not merely a point like the planets or the nodes. It is the start of a house system. The
sign of the Part of Fortune is the first house of the Fortuna system, and the first house
of the Fortuna system extends from 0 degrees to 30 degrees of the sign in which the
Part is located. And each of the other houses of the Fortuna system also extend from 0
degrees to 30 degrees of their respective signs. In the next installment I will describe
what the ancients said should be done with these houses.
Terms Used:
A planet which easily produces results which would be generally considered favorable
or "good." Whether these results really are good for the native will only become clear
over time. Certainly benefics produce a desired result more easily in most situations
than malefics (see next entry). The natural benefics are Venus, Jupiter, the Sun by
trine or sextile aspects, and any planet that is well aspected and dignified (see note).
A planet which does not easily produce results which would be considered "good".
Generally speaking malefics are not so much "bad" as it is that they require more
thought, more consciousness, and more skill at managing life than the benefics require
in most cases. In fact the two main malefics, Mars and Saturn, are necessary for
building character and strength. But either of these handled without consciousness
leads to less than fortunate results. The natural malefics are Mars, Saturn and the Sun
by conjunction only.
General Comment about Both Benefics and Malefics
Ultimately whether a planet is a malefic or a benefic depends upon a number of
factors. Planets that are naturally one or the other can be converted into their opposite
by other circumstances in the chart. One cannot assume that Venus and Jupiter will
always produce good results, and that Saturn and Mars will always produce bad
results. This is a old classification and must be taken somewhat freely. In the end I like

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Ptolemy's definition of the terms best. According to Ptolemy, a benefic is a planet

whose natural influence leads to moderation and balance. A malefic is a planet whose
natural influence leads to extremes and imbalance.
Dignified and Debilitated
Planets may be dignified (made stronger) and debilitated (weakened) in a variety of
ways. In this article I mainly refer to dignity and debility by signs. Planets are dignified
when they are in signs in which they rule or are exalted. They are debilitated when
they are in signs opposite these. Any regular beginning text of astrology will list these
signs. There are other dignities and debilities as well. See Lee Lehman, Essential
Dignities, Whitford Press.

The Lot or Part of Fortune

Part 3
If the Part of Fortune is a first house marker, our natural tendency as modern Western
astrologers is make the degree of the Part the cusp of the first house and to set up
equal houses from the Part using the Part as an Ascendant. However, from the
material we have found so far in Project Hindsight what the ancient astrologers actually
did was a bit different. And what they did was characteristic of house division in all of
the oldest texts including, we now know, Ptolemy himself. As I have already
mentioned, the houses of the Fortuna system were measured from 0 degrees to 30
degrees of the sign that the Part of Fortune was in. This practice, which has been
dubbed whole-sign house division, was not only used with the Part of Fortune, but also
with the Ascendant itself! The entire modern problem of house division did not exist for
the ancients. They did not see the signs as separate from the houses. The houses
were simply roles that the signs took on depending upon their relation to some point
that marked one of the signs as being the first house or place ("place" is the proper
translation of the word that the ancients used for house as we use the word). That
marking point was called in Greek, horoskopos.
If that word sounds familiar, it should. It is the basis of the word 'horoscope', and its
literal meaning is "hour marker," not "watcher of the hour" as often stated in the texts.
The hour marker was any point that had the ability to mark a sign as a first house or
place for some purpose. In modern astrology we have sun-sign astrology, a technique
not widely respected by professional astrologers. Yet in sun-sign astrology we see an
ancient practice used (simple-mindedly to be sure) in a modern context. In sun-sign
astrology the Sun is a horoskopos in exactly the ancient manner; it marks the sign of
the Sun as a first house or place. All other signs become houses or places with respect
to the sign of the Sun. The only problem with modern sun-sign astrology is that the
solar horoskopos was supposed to be used to describe a native's father, not the native,
and then only if the native was born in the daytime.
The ancients in the West used the Ascendant and the Part of Fortune as the major
hour markers. The ancients of the East in India used the Ascendant and the Moon is
the primary hour markers. What is interesting here is that the Part of Fortune is a part
associated with the Moon! Apparently these practices are related.
The following is a quotation from Paulus Alexandrinus a 4th century author:
"And Fortune signifies everything that concerns the body, and what one does through
the course of life. It becomes indicative of possessions, reputation and privilege."
And Vettius Valens who lived at about the same time as Ptolemy wrote the following:
". . . the Lot itself will possess the power of the Horoskopos, that of life; the tenth
zoidion [sign] from this, the power of the Midheaven, that of reputation; the 7th, the
power of the Descendant; the 4th, of the subterraneous zoidion, and the remaining
places will possess the power of the 12 regions."


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In another place he wrote "We have also found the 11th place [sign counted as a
house] from Fortune to be an acquisitive place, a bestower of belongings and goods,
and especially when benefics are upon it or are testifying [aspecting]."
These statements are holding up in practice. I have found that the sign of the Part of
Fortune and its ruler give very good information on profession as it relates to making
money along with the tenth house (counted in the usual manner from the Ascendant).
The tenth sign from the sign of the Part of Fortune is also very good for helping to
describe the actual social role that the occupation serves. The eleventh sign from the
Part has a special role in determining both how well and by what means one earns
money. Astrologers who actually earn money from doing astrology have been seen to
have Mercury in the sign of the Part of Fortune, or the eleventh sign from the Part of
Fortune, or ruling either of these. Mercury is the ancient ruler of astrology before
Uranus was discovered. And I would have to say that it still works! The ancient writers
also said that the Part of Fortune and the houses derived from it had to with the body,
health, and actions that are done spontaneously or on an emotional basis.
Another interesting Fortuna house is the seventh. While it may have something to do
with relationships, its primary symbolism seems to derive from its being the opposition
to the Part itself, and the effect is stronger if a point in the seventh Fortuna place is
closer to the exact opposition to the Part of Fortune. One of the oldest significations of
the seventh house was death because the Sun set there and its light was
extinguished. The Fortuna seventh of course is not a sunset point, but since the Part of
Fortune has something to do with the body, the opposition to the Part seems to have
something to with illness and physical problems.
Much more work needs to be on the Part of Fortune, and this can only be considered a
taste. However, we are not done with parts yet. There are many other parts as well,
and many of these also serve as hour markers. We will take up some of these in the
next installment.
A final note: all the passages used in this text are from the Project Hindsight
translations of the ancient Greek texts unless otherwise noted.

The Lot or Part of Fortune

Part 4
We now come to some of the other lots. As of this writing we have found over two
dozen lots which come from Egyptian sources. This should dispel once and for all the
notion that lots are Arabic. Most of them in fact are from a book called the Panaretos
which was attributed to Hermes Tresmegistes. He is no doubt a legendary figure with
no historical basis, but anything attributed to him before the Middle Ages can be safely
ascribed to Hellenistic Egyptian sources or earlier. The Lot of Fortune was attributed to
the also legendary Nechepso and Petosiris, a legendary pharaoh and his priest.
First of all several lots were assigned to the planets. Of these the Lot of Fortune, as I
have mentioned, was assigned to the Moon, the Lot of Spirit to the Sun. The Lot of
Spirit is the second most important of the lots. Its formula is very simple. It is the same
as the Lot of Fortune, but with the Sun and Moon positions in the formula reversed.
Thus the formula for the Lot of Spirit by day is the same as the Lot of Fortune by night,
and vice versa. The following formulas should make this clear.
Lot of Fortune
Day Births: Fortune = Ascendant + Moon - Sun
Night Births: Fortune = Ascendant + Sun - Moon
Lot of Spirit
Day Births: Spirit = Ascendant + Sun - Moon
Night Births: Spirit = Ascendant + Moon - Sun


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People who have been born at night and have been using the Lot of Fortune as
computed by most software and computer services have actually been using the Lot of
Spirit! The Lot of Spirit is a point which has strong psychological and spiritual
overtones, unlike the very physical-plane based Lot of Fortune. The Lot of Spirit has to
do with the nature of the will, what you intend (as opposed to what merely happens to
you), and also has much to do with career, but apparently more your career as a
statement that you make about what you are in the world. It also has to do with illness,
like the Lot of Fortune, but it would seem that with the Lot of Spirit we are talking about
the spiritual bases of illness as opposed to the physical bases. Unlike the Lot of
Fortune, the Lot of Spirit does not often seem to have been use as a first house
marker. Paulus Alexandrinus says the following about the Lot of Spirit. "Spirit happens
to be lord of soul, temper, mindfulness, and every power; and sometimes it also
cooperates in the determination concerning what one does." This is about all we can
say about the Lot of Spirit at this point.
The other planets also have lots most of which are partly composed out of the Lots of
Fortune and Spirit.
In the following PF = Lot of Fortune, PS = Lot of Spirit
Mercury, Lot of Necessity
Day: Lot = Asc. + PF - Me
Night: Lot = Asc. + Me - PF
"Necessity signifies constraints, submissions, struggles, and wars, and makes
enmities, hatreds, condemnations, all the other restrictive things befalling men as a
result of their birth." -- Paulus Alexandrinus
Venus, Lot of Eros
Day Lot = Asc. + Ve - PS
Night Lot = Asc. + PS - Ve
"Eros signifies the appetites and the voluntative desires. It becomes a contributing
cause of friendship and mutual favor."-- Paulus Alexandrinus
Mars, Lot of Courage
Day Lot = Asc. + PF - Ma
Night Lot = Asc. + Ma - PF
"Courage becomes a contributing cause of boldness, treachery, might, and every
villainy." -- Paulus Alexandrinus
Jupiter, Lot of Victory
Day Lot = Asc. + Ju - PS
Night Lot = Asc. + PS - JU
"Victory becomes a contributing cause of trust, good expectation, contest, and every
association; but sometimes it contributes to penalties and rewards." -- Paulus
Saturn, Lot of Nemesis
Day Lot = Asc. + PF - Sa
Night Lot = Asc. + Sa - PF
"Nemesis becomes a contributing cause of subterranean fates and of everything which
is ice-cold, of demonstration, impotence, exile, destruction, grief, and quality of death."
-- Paulus Alexandrinus
These quotes from Paulus are about all we know about these lots. None of these
appear to have been used as house markers.


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The next group of lots are related to family issues:

Lot of the Father
Day Lot = Asc. + Sa - Su
Night Lot = Asc. + Su - Sa
If Saturn is within 17 degrees of the Sun use this formula according to the Greek
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Ju - Ma
When Saturn is within 17 degrees of the Sun, Arabic sources used a different formula.
Day Lot = Asc. + Ju - Su
Night Lot = Asc. + Su - Ju
I don't know what happens if both Jupiter and Saturn are within 17 degrees of the Sun,
but otherwise I prefer the Arabic formula when Saturn is close to the Sun.
Lot of the Mother
Day Lot = Asc. + Mo - Ve
Night Lot = Asc. + Ve - Mo
Lot of Siblings
Day Lot = Asc. + Ju - Sa
Night Lot = Asc. + Sa - Ju
Not all sources reverse the formula for Siblings at night, and I am inclined to agree with
those sources that do not. I suggest that one start with the day formula used for both
day and night charts. This may seem inconsistent of me but there is a principle
underlying my position. In any case only experiment will tell.
Lot of Children
Day Lot = Asc. + Sa - Ju
Night Lot = Asc. + Ju - Sa
Notice that this is the reverse of the Lot of Siblings. Here again some sources do not
reverse the formula at night, and here again I agree tentatively with those that do not.
Obviously persons born in the daytime have no problem here, but persons born at
night will have to experiment. This lot is for both male and female children.
In the next installment I will give some more of these lots and some instruction on how
they were supposed to be used.

The Lot or Part of Fortune

Part 5
In addition to the general lot of children, Vettius Valens gives two other lots that pertain
to children, a lot of sons, i.e., male children, and a lot of daughters. These are as
Lot of Sons
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Me - Ju
Lot of Daughters
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Ve - Ju
Vettius Valens makes the following statement about both these and the Lot of Children
mentioned in the previous installment.
"When, then, they are afflicted by Kronos [Saturn] and Ares [Mars], they are the
causes of childlessness or the destruction of children, but when they are assisted by

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Zeus [Jupiter], they are the causes of fruitfulness."

Now we come to a group of lots that pertain to marriage, or more precisely malefemale relationships. It is not clear from the Greek material how these are to be
differentiated, but we do have some assistance from the Arabic material. First here
they are:
Parts of Marriage
Lot of Marriage, Men [Hermetic]
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Ve - Sa
Lot of Marriage, Women [Hermetic]
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Sa - Ve
Lot of Marriage, Men [Valens]
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Ve - Su
Lot of Marriage, Women [Valens]
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Ma - Mo
Lot of Marriage, General
Day Lot = Asc. + Ve - Ju
Night Lot = Asc. + Ju - Ve
In Al-Biruni, an Arab era astrologer, the two lots attributed to Hermes are simply
referred to as lots of marriage. But the other two lots, the one for men and the one for
women, are given additional designations. The lot for the marriage of men using the
Venus - Sun arc is called "Trickery and Deception of Men toward Women," and
"Intercourse of Men." The lot for women that uses the Mars - Moon arc is called
"Misconduct of Women," "Trickery and Deceit of Men by Women," "Intercourse of
Women, " and "Unchastity of Women." Disregarding for a moment the obvious sexism
in these designations, it is quite clear that the marital lots of Valens are not as
specifically connected to marriage, but are more connected to sexual relationships in
general. But the Hermetic lots, both of which contain Saturn, seem to have more of a
connection specifically to legally sanctioned marriage. At this very early stage in my
research this principle seems to be holding up, that the Hermetic lots relate to legal
marriage, and the lots of Valens relate to male-female sexual relationships in general.
This leaves the general lot of marriage given by Valens that uses the arc from Jupiter
to Venus and vice versa. It have little experience with this one thus far, but it too would
seem to be connected to general relations between the sexes rather than specifically
legal marriage. However, since Jupiter has a strong connection with the law, we cannot
rule out this lot also as referring to legal marriage.
In addition to these lots, there are other special purpose lots that are mentioned in the
Greek literature. We do not have a clear notion of what all of these may be for, but they
are all interesting.
The first of these is the Lot of Basis. As the name suggests, it would seem to be
something fundamental. It appears to be a way of combining the lots of Fortune and
Spirit and making something that combines their signification. The formula is as
Lot of Basis
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + PF - Sp
or Lot = Asc. + Sp - PF
Here however it is not day or night that determines the order of the formula. Instead we
use whichever is the shorter arc. IF PF - Sp is more than 180 degrees, we use Sp - PF,


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and vice versa. Its position is always below the horizon or exactly on the Ascendant or
Descendant because the Sp to PF arc can never be more than 180 degrees. This may
have something to do with its signification because it is always below the earth like a
foundation. Also as with Fortuna and Spirit, New Moons and Full Moons have special
significance with this lot. At the New Moon all three lots are conjunct the Ascendant,
and at the Full Moon, they are all conjunct the Descendant.
Lot of Debt
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Sa - Me
This is a lot that does not look as if it would function as a first house indicator. The lore
on this lot is not abundant, but the logic of lots would indicate that whatever house it
would fall into could be a source of financial losses or debt.
Lot of Theft
Day Lot = Sa - Ma - Me
Night Lot = Sa - Me - Ma
Also a lot that does not function as a first house indicator. This is one of the few lots
that does not contain the Ascendant as a component. As such it resembles the kinds
of formulas that one finds in the modern Hamburg School of Alfred Witte.
Lot of Treachery
Day Lot = Asc. + Ma - Su
Night Lot = Asc. + Su - Ma
We have little data on this lot. It is from Vettius Valens.
Lot of Exaltation
Day Lot = Asc. + 19 Ar - Su
Night Lot = Asc. + 3 Ta - Mo
This lot is made out of the Sun and Moon and their exaltation degrees. This is one of
the few instances in which the exaltation degrees (as opposed to their signs) are used.
It is connected to the births of eminent and famous people.
Lot of Being in a Foreign Land
Day or Night Lot = Asc. + Ma - Sa
Lot of Accusation
Day Lot = Asc. + Ma - Sa
Night Lot = Asc. + Sa - Ma
These last two are almost the same. The Lot of Being in a Foreign Land does not
switch at night, and the Lot of Accusation does. The structure of the Lot of Being in a
Foreign Land clearly tells us that we are not talking about vacation travel here. It is
more like a Lot of Exile. The Lot of Accusation indicates the house through which the
native is "likely to experience failure, dangers, or downfalls." [Valens] In later astrology
this lot became the Lot of Inseparable Illness, i.e., incurable illness, and also the Lot of
Police, which accords well with the idea of the Lot of Accusation. I have little
experience with the lot as an indicator of illness, but it does seem to indicate areas of
life where someone may be accused of something, either falsely or truthfully.
Lot of the Destroyer
Day Lot = Asc. + Mo - Ru
Night Lot = Asc. + Ru - Mo
In the above formula 'Ru' stands for the ruler of the Ascendant. This is a point that
relates to death. We have little systematic information of its use except that it seems to
relate to the manner of death. I would urge astrologers not to be careless in the use of


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this lot.
Robert Hand 2/16/96 - 3/20/96
Robert Hand has been doing translations of ancient and medieval astrology texts since
1993 with Project Hindsight and that effort has published over 2000 pages of translations
and commentary. If anyone is interested in further information on Project Hindsight, they
have a web page at Project Hindsight.

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