SCARCE GERMAN ASTROLOGY
Munich, Adam Berg, 1589.
FIRST and ONLY EDITION. 4to. ff. 8. Gothic letter. Woodcut of a man holding an almanac with his family. First and last a bit dusty, minor repair to margins and gutter of a couple of ll., small tear with no loss to gutter of third and outer margin of last, second gathering lightly browned with faint dampstaining. A very good copy in C19 floral paper over pasteboards.
A remarkably clean copy of this German astrological almanac—a rare survival of C16 ephemera. A former Lutheran preacher, Lorenz Albrecht (1540-1606) was the author of German and Latin religious works and re-converted to the Catholic faith in 1567. ‘Evangelisch Prognosticon’ testifies to his disillusionment with the Protestant Reformation—‘the Gospel of Luther’—and his intent to oppose this heresy through the popular genre of the almanac, imitating Johannes Nas’s ‘Practica Practicarum’. As usual in astrological almanacs, it discusses planets, constellations, zodiacal signs and the seasons and their influx on humans with references to ancient authorities like Pliny and Manilius; but the tone is grim and planets are seen as harbingers of vices. The ominous statement by which the seat of the devil is at the centre of the earth and heresy is at the centre of the universe shows how Albrecht’s almanac presented the influence of the cosmos as something that Catholics should resist through will and spiritual exercise so as not to succumb to the Protestant heresy.
Only Concordia Seminary Library copy recorded in the US.
USTC 349262; VD16 A1594. Not in Cantamessa or Houzeau-Lancaster. R.B. Barnes, Astrology and Reformation (Oxford, 2016).