FALKENER, Michael.


FALKENER, Michael. Introductorium astronomiae Cracoviense.

Krakow, [Jan Haller?], 1507.


4to. 16 unnumbered ll. Gothic letter. Woodcut coat of arms of Krakow (early hand-colouring) to title, woodcut zodiac diagram to A3r, celestial diagram to B1r, horoscope diagram to B2v, astrological tables, very slight browning, the odd very minor light water stain to outer blank margin. A very good, clean copy in red modern crushed morocco, decorated in blind, early ms numbers and underlining to B6r.

Second recorded copy of the second edition (all extremely scarce) of this important astrological treatise printed in Krakow. Michael Falkener (c1450-1534) was an astronomer and astrologer from Wroclaw, who taught at the Krakow Academy. His classes in logic and astronomy were fundamental for the theories of his most famous student, Nicolaus Copernicus. In the 1490s, Falkener produced some of the earliest and best almanacs and prognostications in Poland. ‘Introductorium’ begins with the characteristics of the Zodiac signs, specifying which body part or European city (especially Polish ones) each sign presides over. There follows a section on the nature, character and properties of the planets, with several astrological tables. ‘Particularly interesting is the part in which Falkener deals with the aspects of the planets, as he uses references both to the fate of the subjects and their nature (behaviour). Also interesting are the attribution of the meanings of the transits of the Moon into different zodiac signs, rarely present in astrological tracts’ (Cantamessa). The second part provides theoretical sections on topics typically found in almanacs and prognostications: the calculation of the best days for phlebotomy and bloodletting (according to the patient’s weight, overall health, etc.), the administration of medicaments, the planting of trees and crops, and meteorology (thunder, wind and rain). Attractively printed, important and very scarce.

Only Harvard copy recorded in the US. Cantamessa 5078; Estreicher, Bib. Polska, p.168 (1506 ed.); Houzeau-Lancaster I/2, 13013. This ed. not in USTC (all others, except that of 1513, recorded as ‘lost book’).
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