TORNAMIRA, Francisco Vicente de

SPANISH INTERPRETATION OF THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE

Chronographia, y repertorio de los tiempos.

Pamplona, Tomás Porralis, 1585.

£5,250

FIRST EDITION. 4to., pp. (8), 560, (8). Roman letter; printer’s device on title and final verso, foliated initials, first historiated ‘A’ with charming Dance Macabre, numerous large astronomical woodcut illustrations, tables and diagrams, original correction slip pasted at foot of p. 60; browned in places. A good copy in eighteenth-century half vellum stained to resemble calf, spine gilt in compartments, marbled boards and endpapers, all edges blue; early ‘SE’ ink stamp at foot of title.

Rare first edition of a wide-ranging astronomical, cosmographical and historical book, one of the first of its kind to be directly written in Spanish. Little is known of the life of Francisco Vicente de Tornamira (1534 – 1597), born in Tudela, Navarre. Chronographia was the most influential work of this prominent Spanish astronomer, illustrating in 162 chapters the creation of the universe, the various branches of philosophy, the movement of planets, the constellations and the Zodiac, the universal chronology realm by realm, a series of calendars, almanacs and weather forecasts. All the subjects were elucidated further with a large number of illustrations, including, most notably, a traditional depiction of the Armillary Sphere and other globes, the Astronomical Man and the Roman gods on their chariots representing the planets named after them.

A fervent supporter of Ptolemaic vision of the universe against the heliocentric theory, Tornamira comes up with convoluted explanations to bridge the gap between mathematical calculation and the traditional model of planetary movement. A most interesting part is devoted to the solar calendar and the recent reform introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, discussing the exact days of the year in which Lent, Corpus Domini and Easter should be celebrated. Tornamira expanded on this topic in his subsequent work, the Spanish translation of the new Gregorian calendar (1591).

“On p. 40 there is a reference to the Magellan circumnavigation; on p. 497 a list of the midsummer’s days of the New World; on p. 538-539 locations of New World cities.” Alden 585/67.

Rare outside Spain. Only one recorded copy in the US (New York Public Library).

Not in Brunet. BM STC Sp., 204; Adams, T 803; Graesse, VII, 174; Houzeau & Lancaster 2763; Palau 334501. Cantamessa III 8057.

L2100

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LEOPOLD of Austria

ASTRONOMY AS THE BASICS OF ASTROLOGY, AND A MEDIEVAL UNDERSTANDING OF METEOROLOGY

Compilatio … de astrorum scientia decem continentis tractatus.

Venice, per Melchiorem Sessam & Petrum de Rauanis socios, 1520.

£4,500

4to. 94 unnumbered leaves. A-L⁸ M⁶. Gothic letter. One large historiated initial, many fine white on black floriated initials, woodcut of astronomer with celestial sphere on title page, Messsa’s woodcut cat device beneath, numerous woodcut astronomical diagrams and illustrations in text, including two sets of zodiacs, one based on that of the editions of Hyginus, the sphera mundi, celestial figures of the sun, moon, Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter etc. driving various chariots, many repeated, astrological tables of predictions. Light age yellowing, A2 and 7 a little creased and soiled at edges, expertly repaired, closed tear restored in I1, the odd marginal thumb mark or spot. A very good, well margined copy, crisp and clean, in modern olive morocco, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with raised bands, double blind ruled in compartments, inner dentelles richly gilt. 

Beautifully printed and finely illustrated second edition of this important and influential astronomy, by the 13th-century astronomer, Leopold of Austria, first printed by Ratdolt, in 1489. Primarily a work of astrology based on the writings of Albumasar, the sixth book concerns meteorology both from a theoretical and a practical point of view, and includes folkloric methods of weather prediction and general descriptions of winds, thunder etc.

Although virtually nothing is known of the author, the work was influential in the late Middle Ages, being cited by the great astronomer, Pierre d’Ailly, and admired by Regiomontanus, who proposed to edit it. This edition retains the dedication to Udalricus de Frundsberg, bishop of Trient, by Erhard Ratdolt, printer of the first. In the introduction Leopold states that he cannot take credit for the work as there was more than one author and he was just a ‘fidelis illorum observator et diligens compilator.’ He states his goal is to describe the motion of the stars, and to focus particularly on describing their effect. He describes astronomy as a necessary starting point and foundation for the study of astrology.

The Compilatio is divided into ten treatises: the first and second on the spheres and their motion. There is a dissertation on the comets at the end of the fifth book, beginning with a short discussion of Aristotle’s theories, which recounts the opinion of John of Damascus (676 – c. 749), who asserts, in his ‘De Fide Orthodoxa,’ that these celestial bodies announce the death of a King, and that they do not belong to the stars created in the beginning, but are formed and dissolved by God’s will. He then gives a list of the nine comets and their latin names, ending with the meanings derived from their presence in each Zodiacal sign. These are a transcription of Albumasar’s ‘De magnis Conjunctionibus.’ A very good copy of this beautifully illustrated and rare edition.

BM STC It. C16th (assigning it to Pencio) p.375. Adams L-516. Sander 3948. Essling 2081. Caillet 6636 (first edition only). Honeyman V 1989. Cantamessa II 4422. “Imponente e importante trattato in 10 libri”. Houzeau-Lancaster 4702 “fort rare”

L2159

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GALLUCCI, Giovanni Paolo

PRINCEPS EDITION OF SIXTEENTH CENTURY CELESTIAL ATLAS

Theatrum mundi, et temporis.

Venice, Giovanni Battista Somasco, 1588.

£9,500

FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp. (16), 478, plus additional leaf after Mmiv and final folded table, final gathering misbound; decorated initials and tail-pieces, printer’s device on title; 144 astronomical illustrations, of which 31 (out of 51) with volvelles, very few skilfully restored with possible integrations from another exemplar; light foxing and little stains to margins in places. A good copy in contemporary vellum, early title inked to spine; couple of minor stains to front, spine chipped at tail; eighteenth-century Italian ms filling verso of title and other blank portions of text; early ink stamp of private library with crowned monogram ‘EME’ on title and verso of last leaf.

First issue of the princeps of this beautifully illustrated book, commonly regarded as the most charming celestial atlas of the sixteenth century. This copy also retains the additional folded table ‘Canon sexagenarius’ at the end. Giovanni Paolo Gallucci (1538 – c. 1621) was a well-known private teacher to the Venetian nobility and founding member of the Second Venetian Academy. For all his life, Gallucci engaged greatly with the Venetian printing industry: he edited a collection of astronomical medical essays including writings of Marsilio Ficino, published many works on astronomical and time-measurement equipment and translated into Italian Peckham’s essay on perspective, Dürer’s treatises on body symmetry and Acosta’s history of the New World. His most successful work, however, was certainly the Theatrum Mundi, a vast survey on terrestrial and celestial physics. It provides almost 150 maps for measurements, each accompanied by a Biblical quotation.

The work is dedicated to pope Sixtus (1585-1590), who had just banned all astrological literature since 1586. Although Gallucci could not resist to touch on some astrological implications of constellations, he questioned their alleged influence over human health and fate and pioneeringly tried to draw up a pure astronomical treatise. In his numerous diagrams and maps, Gallucci combined a coordinate system with a trapezoidal system of projection for an accurate determination of the star and zodiacal positions. Alongside the extraordinarily ingenious volvelle illustrations forming the first four books of Theatrum Mundi, there are depictions of Hell and its circles as inner portions of the Earth, the New World hemisphere and the wind rose, as well as calculators for tides and daytime at every longitude and latitude. Book 5 presents 48 maps of the Ptolemaic constellations and the related mythological illustrations. The star positions were taken from Copernicus’s catalogue.

‘Somasco printed blocks for division into small squares of woodcut ornament (a few with grotesque faces) to be pasted on the verso of the leaf over the string by which the separate pieces were attached. He left space for these squares in setting the text. On the verso of leaf Ooo4 are instructions to the bookseller, printed first in Latin and repeated in Italian. They state that the four leaves of separate illustrations were not to be bound in the book but should be cut apart and the pieces attached to the appropriate illustration [with silk thread] … the illustration on leaf Qir had six different version of one part; the one to be attached depended on the place in which the book was to be used.’ Mortimer, Italian Sixteenth Century Books, I, p. 298.

Rare. Only three copies recorded in the US (two in Harvard, one in Rochester).

BM STC It., 288; Adams, G 168; Graesse, III, 19; Mortimer It., 206; Riccardi, I, 568 (‘Raro … molto importante’); Cantamessa, 1682; Houzeau-Lancaster, 2725 (‘Rare’); Thorndike, VI, 158-159; Alden, 588/33.

L1975

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STÖFFLER, Johannes and PITATI, Pietro


Ephemeridum reliquiae … superadditae novis.

Tübingen, Ulrich Morhard, 1548.

£4,850

4to, ff. [4], 78, [182]. Roman letter, little italic; historiated initials, xylographic portrait of the author aged 79 on *ivv; fine astronomical maps throughout and detailed tables comprising more than half of volume; occasional light damp stain in upper margins, small repair to f. 48 affecting 4 numerals; margins of ff. 44 and 45 folded as slightly larger. A very good copy in 1/2 calf, marbled boards, about 1900; title gilt on spine; contemporary marginalia in neat humanist hand, occasionally referring to Stöffler’s Kalendarium.

An expanded and beautiful edition of the almanac by Johannes Stöffler. As with all books of this kind, it had a wide circulation, but complete copies are rare and sought after. The volume provides the positions of stars at regular intervals of date and time, through detailed tables of value. It includes five introductive treatises on astronomic rules and phenomena, along with the celestial calculations from 1551 up to 1555, all by Pietro Pitati. Stöffler (1452-1531) was a German mathematician, astronomer and priest. He invented some astronomical instruments and taught at the University of Tübingen. Embracing the timespan 1499-1551, his celestial calculations continued those by Regiomontanus (1436-1476) and exerted a paramount influence over contemporary astronomical and astrological knowledge. The sixteenth-century Italian scholar Pietro Pitati was a professor of astronomy in Verona. The book is dedicated to the city bishop and prominent cardinal Gian Matteo Giberti. Pitati’s ephemerides published in Venice in 1542 are regarded as the earliest Italian publication of this genre. He kept publishing his calculation up to the year 1562. In his Compendium super annua solaris (1560), he put forward for the first time the idea of omitting the Julian leap day in three out of four centennial years, so to keep the calendar in line with the solar year. Rare.

Adams, S 1896; Houzeau & Lancaster, 14471. Not in BM STC It., Brunet, Graesse, Ricciardi or Honeyman.

L1860

LATIN

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SCEVOLINI, Domenico

Discorso nel quale con le auttorita’(sic) cosi de’ Gentili, come de’ Catolici si dimostra l’Astrologia Giudiciaria esser verissima e utilissima.

Venice, Giordano Ziletti, 1565

£1,450

FIRST EDITION. 4to. ff. 30 (numbered 3-29, last blank), Roman and Italic letter, t-p slightly foxed to upper and outer margins, printer’s device, three woodcut initials, first large, a couple of headpieces. Very light age yellowing, one gathering a bit foxed, paper ex-libris of ‘Domenico Cesconi’, bookdealer in Verona in 1838 on outer upper corner of front pastedown, ms bibliographical reference. A good copy, generally clean in C19th marbled paper over boards, ms shelf marks at head of spine.

First and only edition of this rare work on “astrologia giudiciaria” or judicial astrology, discussing the question of the influence of the stars on the fate of man and earthly events. The work is introduced by a preface of the unkown ‘Giulio Fl.’ explaining that a friend of Ziletti, after a discussion in the publisher’s bookshop, gave him this ‘Discourse’, which Scevolini had written before his death. It is also the only published work of the author. In this work “by the authority alike of Gentiles and Catholics it is shown that judicial astrology is most true and most useful, condemning those who abuse it and impose necessity on human actions… Scevolini contends that good astrologers do not subject mind and will to the stars… [though they do the body] [He] is not interested in declaring true the astrology of any particular writer or pratictioner but in defending the art and science of astrology at large. Scotus, Henry of Ghent, Alexander of Hales, Durand, Albertus Magnus and many other schoolmen in their volumes of theology confirm the dominion of the stars and heavens over us. But Scevolini is content to rest his case on the judgment of St. Thomas Aquinas alone. He remarks that Francesco da Ferrara had interpreted the ‘Contra gentiles’ of Aquinas against Pico della Mirandola.” (Thorndike VI pp. 124-125).

Scevolini Domenico, mathematician of XVI century was one of the last and most thoughtful proponents of judicial astrology in Italy before the suppression of the art by the index and the inquisition.

Censimento CNC 41109. BM STC It. p. 617. Riccardi I S 432. Houzeau & Lancaster I 4893. Thorndike VI pp. 124-26. Cantamessa II 4069. Rosenthal 3525.

L378

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PARTLICIUS Simeon, von Spitzberg


Prognosticon divinum et verum. Das ist: Wahre und klare Prohezeiung, wie es noch der in Welt werde zugehen.

Alkmaar, heirs of Jacob Meister, 1635

£1,750

FIRST EDITION(?) 4to., 12 unnumbered ll, A-C4 , Gothic letter, woodcut vignette on t.p. of fire breathing dragon and figures in landscape, woodcut ornament. General paper browning (poor quality paper), a good, otherwise clean and well margined copy in modern boards.

An extremely rare prognostication based on Scripture various Christian authors, probably in its first edition. There were two issues in that year and no precedence has been ascribed, if indeed there is one. Astronomer and physician Simeon Partlitz or Partlicius (1588-1640) was an exile from Bohemia and a millenarist influenced by the Calvinist theology of Alsted and by Rosicrucianism. His prognostication is divided into three sections where he collects excerpts first from the Old and New Testament, then from the works of Martin Luther and other Lutheran theologians, and finally from earlier Christian scholars. All portend violent renewal for the world and for Germany, and an unpleasant reversal for Rome. He then attaches a ‘Confutation’ which expresses his anger that various astronomical and astrological works had been published under his name, without his knowledge, consent, or, implicitly, any chance of his being paid for them. He counsels against avarice, states that God will punish these wrong-doers, and notes that he doesn’t even have the time to write anything of that sort, busy as he is with his medical practice. The final four pages of the pamphlet comprise a poem in German criticising the immorality of the rich and emphasising the futility of all wealth gathering, unless accompanied by moral repentance. VD 17 lists only four entries for printing in Alkmaar, Northern Holland, all of the present title, two in 1635, and two in 1637. One of the entries queries whether the imprint is fictitious. The paper is in fact typically German of the period.

Not in BMC Ger C17. Cantamessa VIII 5867, locating copies only at Berlin, Halle and Göttingen. Worldcat adds none.

L1283a

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HOWARD, Henry, Earl of Northampton

A LEARNED ATTACK ON JUDICIAL ASTROLOGY

A defensative against the poyson of supposed prophecies.

London, W. Jaggard, 1620.

£3,250

Folio in 4s. ff. (viii), 151 (i). Roman and italic letter. Title page slightly shaved at f-e, title within white interlaced strap work border on a black crible background (Mckerrow and Ferguson 249). Decorative headpieces, historiated and floreated initials throughout in two sizes. Slight water staining to first two gatherings. Inner leaves slightly spotted. An interesting and attractive copy in contemporary speckled calf, covers with blind ruled outer borders. Spine in seven compartments, remains of paper label. Upper joint cracked at head.

Reputedly the most learned man of his time and a skilled architect and generous benefactor, Northampton (1540-1614), took an active part in political business at court, often out of favour. He was twice arrested for heresy and treasonable correspondence with the Scottish Queen. After his release he retired to St. Albans where he spent a year writing “A defensative”. This work is a learned attack on judicial astrology, dedicated to Walsingham and perhaps suggested by the astrological exploits of Richard Harvey, writer of “An astrological discourse upon the the great and notable conjunction of two superior planets, 1583”. Soon after its publication the book was accused of “seeming heresies and treason” and Howard was sent to the Fleet for several months.

This edition printed six years after his death is described on the title page as newly revised and is divided into thirty six chapters. Northampton dispels the authority of dreams, oracles, revelations, invocations of spirits “or any other kind of pretended knowledge whatsoever, which have been causes of great disorder in the common wealth, especially among the simple and unlearned people”. He has little time for astrology, the zodiac, planetary powers or fortune telling, one wonders what he would make of our modern day infatuation with all things new-age. Northampton was known as a wit and counted amongst his friends, Bacon, who recorded some of his remarks in his “Apophegms”, and George Chapman who inscribed a sonnet to him which was printed before his translation of Homer in 1614.

STC 13859. Lowndes IV 1703. Not in Pforzheimer, Caillet or Grolier.

SN2493

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LEOPOLDUS of Austria

AN INCUNABLE ANALYSIS OF CELESTIAL BODIES

Compilatio de astrorum scientia.

Augsburg, Erhard Ratdolt, 9 January 1489.

£15,000

FIRST EDITION. 4to. 110 unnumbered leaves. a–n⁸, o⁶, (lacking blank o6). Roman letter. Entirely rubricated including white on black floriated woodcut initials, many woodcuts, including full page “sphaera mundi,” two printed in red and black, illustrating signs of the zodiac, classical deities, celestial spheres, astrological charts, heading on N1 verso corrected in contemporary hand, list of titles, crossed out on first leaf, in later hand. Title page backed, small worm trail restored in blank margins of first three leaves, minor waterstain in lower blank margin, the odd spot or mark. A very good copy, crisp and clean in later calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, re-backed, spine partially remounted, corners restored.

First and only incunable edition of this important and influential astronomy treatise by the 13th century astronomer, Leopold of Austria, beautifully illustrated with a fine set of woodcuts. Ratdolt, who was even more widely renowned as a polymath and astronomer than as a printer, also published the astronomical works of Albumasar and Hyginus. His woodcuts for those projects are among the earliest known printed figures of constellations, and the same blocks were employed for this edition of Leopoldus in Ratdolt’s Augsburg workshop. Two of the astronomical diagrams are printed in red and black, a technique pioneered by Ratdolt.

Primarily a work of astrology based on the writings of Albumasar, the sixth book concerns meteorology both from theoretical and practical points of view, and includes folkloric methods of weather prediction as well as general descriptions of winds, thunder, and other natural elements. Although virtually nothing is known of the author, the work was influential in the late Middle Ages, being cited by the great astronomer, Pierre d’Ailly, and admired by Regiomontanus, who proposed to edit it. Ratdolt dedicated this edition to Udalricus de Frundsberg, bishop of Trient. In the introduction, Leopold states that he cannot take credit for the work as there was more than one author, and that he is just a “fidelis illorum observator et diligens compilator.” His stated goal is to describe the motions of the stars, with a particular focus on their effect on the universe. He describes Astronomy as the foundation of and a necessary starting point in the study of astrology.

The Compilatio is divided into ten treatises: the first and second are on spheres and their motion. There is a dissertation on the nine comets at the end of the fifth book, beginning with a short discussion of Aristotleʼs theories, which recounts the opinion of John of Damascus (676 ‑ c. 749), who asserts in his “De Fide Orthodoxa” that these celestial bodies announce the death of the King, and that they do not belong to the stars created in the beginning, but are formed and dissolved by God’s will. He then gives a list of the nine comets and their Latin names, ending with the meanings derived from their presence in each Zodiacal sign. The volume includes a transcription of Albumasarʼs “De magnis Conjunctionibus.” A very good copy of this beautifully illustrated and rare first edition, one of the earliest books effectively illustrated with scientific diagrams.

BMC II 382. Goff L185. GW M17974. Hain 10042. Caillet 6636. “Incunable de toute rarité” Brunet III, 1033. “Edition rare.” Honeyman V 1989. Cantamessa II 4422. “Imponente e importante trattato in 10 libri.” Houzeau‑Lancaster 4702 “fort rare.”

L1745

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PONTANO, Giovanni Gioviano

Centum Ptolemaei sententiae. Eiusdem de reb. coeslestibus. Liber etiam de luna imperfectus

Venice, in aedibus Aldi et Andreae soceri, 1519

£2,950

Large 8vo. ff. 301 (xix). Italic letter, some Roman and Greek. Large Aldine anchor device to verso of final leaf. Contemporary ms inscriptions and verse to t-p, contemp. ms. marginal scholia to some leaves. Marginal damp-staining throughout, more extensive on final leaves, slightly affecting text in places. Otherwise a good, clean copy in fine contemp. gilt- and blind-tooled brown Roman morocco, panelled sides with multiple fillets and roll-tooled borders, decorated with leaf, arabesque and comet tools, diamond panel at center of sides, spine blind-ruled in compartments, gauffred edges with lace-work pattern, a.e.g., small repair to head and foot of spine, some corners restored, gilt a bit faded, generally very well preserved.

First Aldine edition of the astrological writings of Johannes Jovianus Pontanus (Giovanni Gioviano Pontano, 1429-1503), humanist, diplomat, scholar and poet who became the driving force behind the Neapolitan Academy and its official leader after 1471, as well as Naples’ Secretary of State. His was considered by contemporaries as good as, or superior to, his Classical models. Pontanus’ career provides an excellent illustration of the power and prestige which might be attained by men of letters in fifteenth-century Italy.

The present volume consists of Pontanos’ scientific (or proto-scientific and astrological) works: a translation and commentary on the Centum Ptolemaei sententiae, and other, briefer treatises, including De luna and De rebus coelestibus.

The pseudo-Ptolemaic Centum Sententiae, or Centiloquy, is a collection of astrological aphorisms, once thought to have been the work of Claudius Ptolemaeus – from whose work it differs in many key respects. Seventeenth-century English scholars such as Joseph Moxon and William Lilly noted that some ascribed it to the mythical Hermes Trismegistus. More recent speculation has centred around the figure of Abu Ja’far Ahmad ibn Yusuf Ibn Daya (d. c.941), who wrote extensive glosses to the work, and translated it into Hebrew and Latin. While some of the sententiae demonstrate typical astrological vagueness (III: a person skilled in a particular field will have been born under the relevant star; VI, XI: the day and time for a particular activity should be chosen carefully, with reference to one’s horoscope), others are extremely specific (XX: ‘Do not pierce not with iron that part of the body which may be governed by the sign occupied by the Moon’; XXII: ‘Do not either put on or lay aside any garment for the first time, when the Moon is located in Leo’). Pontanus’ commentary is notable for its concern with proving the superiority of astrology over much contemporary ‘science’, and for the socio-psychological rather than theological nature of its speculations. It was immensely influential in contemporary and later astrological and prophetic writing: Nostradamus quotes with approval his first proposition ‘Soli numine divino afflati praesagiunt & spiritu prophetico particularia’ (‘Only those inspired by the divine godhead can prophesy, and only those inspired by the spirit of prophecy can prophesy detailed events’).

BM STC It. p. 542 & 533; Adams P-2215; Brunet IV, 808; Houzeau-Lancaster I, 3644; Ransom 164; Renouard 87:7; Riccardi 303, Cantamessa II 3556 1.

L593

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NOSTRADAMUS

CELESTIAL WARNING SIGNS IN VERSE

Les Propheties.

Lyon, Pierre Rigaud, n.d. (1604).

£2,750

8vo. Two parts in one, pp. 125 (iii): 78 (ii), with both blanks. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on both titles, floriated woodcut initials and woodcut headpieces. Light age browning (poor quality paper), minor marginal water-staining in places. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum.

Charming popular edition of the prophecies of Nostradamus, printed by Pierre Rigaud, a deliberate copy of the earliest editions, printed at Lyon by the same family, here without date. Later editions by Rigaud were printed with false earlier dates; it is one of the earliest editions of the first revival of interest in Nostradamus, in the early C17th. The first part contains the famous dedication to his son, and the second his dedication to Henry II.

The work was originally published in three parts, the first containing 353 poems. The second part was printed in 1557 and added 289 further prophecies; the third and final part of 300 new poems was printed in 1558, posthumously, as part of the ‘works’ published by Pierre Rigaud Sr. These poems, or rhymed quatrains, were grouped into nine sets of 100 and one of 42, called “Centuries.” Nostradamus claimed each prediction was based upon his astrological reading of particular events, though it is evident that a great deal of the work is copied from earlier Latin authors such as Livy, Plutarch, and other classical historians, and many are taken directly from Richard Roussat’s ‘Livre de l’estat et mutations des temps’ (1549 – 1550). The ‘Mirabilis Liber’ of 1522, which contained a wide range of prophecies by such authors as Pseudo-Methodius, the Tiburtine Sibyl, Joachim of Fiore, Savonarola, and others, was also a well used source.

His considerable initial success was based on the fact that he was one of the first to re-paraphrase these prophecies in French. Further material was gleaned from the ‘De honesta disciplina’ of 1504 by Petrus Crinitus, which included extracts from Michael Psellos’ ‘De daemonibus,’ and the ‘De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum,’ a book on Chaldean and Assyrian magic by Iamblichus, a fourth-century Neo-Platonist. Most of the quatrains deal with disasters, such as plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, and battles—all undated and based on foreshadowings by the ‘Mirabilis Liber.’

The work was remarkably popular and has been reprinted over two hundred times since its first appearance. Popular modern interpretations of the quatrains have shown them to predict the French Revolution, Napoleon, Hitler, the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and even the death of Princess Diana and the events of 9/11. An important contemporary theme was the fear of an impending invasion of Europe by Muslim forces, headed by the expected Antichrist, directly reflecting the Ottoman invasions of the Balkans. The work was published within the context of a general fear of an imminent apocalypse. A rare and charming popular edition.

Not in BM STC Fr. C16th. Merland “Répertoire des livres imprimés en France au XVIIe siècle.” Lyon VI, p. 215, Pierre I Rigaud, 49. Caillet 8068. Not in Cantamessa.

L1702

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