LINDHOUT, Heinrich.


Speculum astrologiae.

Frankfurt, apud Wolffg. Richterum, 1608.


Small 4to. pp. (xvi) 191 (i) + 5 folding plates. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, 3 folding plates with astronomical diagrams and 2 astrological tables, woodcut vignettes with personifications of planets, tables and horoscope diagrams, decorated initials and ornaments. T-p a little browned and dusty, first gathering yellowed, small water stain at foot of A3-4 and water stain to lower outer blank corner of N3-4, tiny worm trails to few blank margins, clean marginal tear to T2. A good copy in English polished calf c.1700, rebacked, remounted spine with morocco label (small loss), corners worn, small loss at head and foot of spine. C19 autograph ‘Fred Hockley’ to ffep, ms. book price (?) at t-p foot, C18 astrological notes to final blanks.

This copy belonged to Frederick Hockley (1809-85), occultist, Freemason and Rosicrucian. He owned one of the richest and largest collection of occult books, many transcribed by himself from obscure documents in European libraries. It was sold after his death by George Redway, with a catalogue we have not been able to consult. In 1853, he established the Croydon Circle, the first spiritualist organisation in London. He carried out extensive experiments on techniques of spirit communication, including crystallomancy.

A good copy, of fascinating provenance, of the scarce third edition of this important work in defence of judicial astrology—‘excellent treatise of pure astrology’ (Cantamessa). Born in Brussels, Henricus Lindhout (1572-1620) was student at Leiden before practising as a physician. His most renowned work is ‘Introductio in Physicam Iudiciariam’ (Hamburg, 1597, see Bib. Belgica I-II, 456), reprinted in 1598 and, in the third edition, as ‘Speculum Astrologiae’. Lindhout begins by contextualising judicial astrology within theology and natural philosophy, to show how it is intimately connected with, and cannot go counter to, God’s plan. He discusses the microcosm and macrocosm, the principles of creation and three causes of human actions. He engages directly with detractors (ancient and Arabic philosophers) of planetary influence on the microcosm, with an explanation of theoretical and practical astrology, the nature of fixed and movable stars (handsomely represented in a large, finely-produced folding diagram), planetary motions, virtues and influence (portrayed as humans according to the traditional iconography, flanked by their ‘houses’), and the principles of judicial astrology for devising horoscopes. A large table details the division of the microcosm according to judicial astrology, and the basic information required for horoscopes—e.g., the subject’s religion, descent, children, continence/incontinence, physical appearance, medical conditions and ailments, time of death, etc. The second half is entirely devoted to ‘judicia astrologica’. ‘Interesting are his observations on the horoscopes provided in the text, one of which (on p.133) is certainly the author’s, which confirms he was born in 1572’ (Cantamessa 4597). The remainder form an interesting mixture of ‘greats’: Alexander, Henry of Navarre, the astrologers and occultists Pico della Mirandola, Cornelius Agrippa and Henricus Rantzovius, and Cicero, plus a couple unspecified. These are accompanied by half a dozen pages of detailed mathematical calculation. The later annotator of this copy was a skilled astrologer who elaborated on the horoscope of Alexander the Great.

Only Harvard copy recorded in the US.

Cantamessa 4597; Dorbon 2708: ‘très rare’; Thorndike VI, p.141; Bib. Belgica I-II, 456 (1597 and 1618 eds); Houzeau-Lancaster 4979.


Print This Item Print This Item

FABER, Johannes, ORSINI, Fulvio. [with] CAMERARIUS, Johann Rudolph. [with] PIGNORIA, Lorenzo.


FABER, Johannes, ORSINI, Fulvio. In imagines illustrium ex Fulvii Ursini bibliotheca.

Antwerp, ex Officina Plantiniana, 1606. [with]

CAMERARIUS, Johann Rudolph. Horarvm natalivm centvria I. et II.

Frankfurt, Sumptibus Egenolphi Emmelii, 1610. [and]

PIGNORIA, Lorenzo. Characteres Aegyptii.

Frankfurt, Typis Matthiae Beckeri, impensis […] Theodori de Bry, 1608.


4to. 3 works in 1 vol. pp. (viii) 88 (viii), last blank; 134 unnumbered ll., )(⁴ A-Z⁴ 2A-2I⁴ 2K²; pp. (viii) 43 (i), 1 plate, (viii), 5 plates, 5 folding plates. Roman letter, little Italic or Greek. I: engraved printer’s device to t-p, large woodcut device to verso of last leaf; II: small woodcut printer’s device to t-p, 200 half-page horoscope diagrams; III: engraved printer’s device to t-p, small text woodcuts and engravings and 5 full-page engraved plates with ancient seals and figures, 5 engraved folding plates with portions of the Mensa Isiaca; woodcut initials and ornaments. I: slight browning, t-p a little dusty, light water stain to outer blank margin of first two gatherings, light damp stain to last three leaves; II: somewhat oxidised (poor paper) and a bit waterstained; III: preliminary gathering loose, minor toning, light water stain to lower outer blank corner of K-M 4 touching first plate. Very acceptable copies in contemporary vellum, traces of ties, titles inked to spine, illegible private stamp to ffep, purchase note by Du Bouchet 1622 to third t-p, leaf with extensive C18 annotations in Latin and French glued to rear pastedown.

Three fascinating works on Egyptian and classical antiquities, and horoscopes. The most enticing and handsomely illustrated is the third, ‘Characteres Aegyptii’, by the Paduan antiquary and collector Lorenzo Pignoria (1571-1631). It is the second edition, after the first of 1605, of a study of the ‘Mensa Isiaca’—an elaborately decorated tablet of bronze, enamel and silver acquired by Cardinal Bembo after the sack of Rome of 1527 and later by the Gonzaga in Mantua. Though now believed to be of 1 st -century Roman, not Egyptian, origin, it soon began to inspire the study of the hieroglyphs and ancient Egyptian cults; Valeriano too mentioned it in his ‘Hieroglyphica’ and Athanasius Kircher would write on it in 1652. Pignoria’s work, the first scholarly study, ‘has been considered by subsequent scholars as the most valuable, both for the author’s purpose [not to interpret the tablet allegorically but using ancient sources] and for its historical information’ (Leospo, ‘Mensa Isiaca’, 2). The sources include Greek epigraphic inscriptions, ancient amulets and seals, many beautifully illustrated; portions of the tablet are also superbly reproduced in the final folding tables. Copies are recorded (and were probably bound) with a variable number of plates, from 5 up to 16. With 10, this copy collates as Stanford and Oxford. Pignoria was ‘willing to hazard an interpretation of the table’s symbols, but his identifications of individual figures were explicitly tentative, and he did not attempt to explain how they related to one another semantically’ (Stolzenberg, ‘Oegyptian’, 46). The second work is the second, enlarged edition of the German physician Johann Rudolph Camerarius’s (b.1588) attack against false astrologers. It illustrates the principles of the ‘true science’ of astrology through 200 horoscope diagrams identifying the celestial birth coordinates of (mainly German) royal, aristocratic and political figures as well as unknown people who had been his patients and even his own family members. Interesting is the case of two twins who died shortly after birth, in 1606, due to epilepsy. Originally published in 1598, the first is a catalogue of the superb collection of 151 antiquities amassed by the Roman antiquary and linguist Fulvio Orsini (1529-1600). This edition was often accompanied by, (though not here), a second work with 151 plates by Théodore Galle portraying items from the collection.

I: BL STC Dutch C17 G8; Brunet V, 1019 (ed. with plates only); Lipperheide II, 147 (mentioned).
II: Virginia and Oklahoma copies only recorded in the US.
BL STC Ger. C17 C156; Houzeau-Lancaster 5047 (mentioned); Cantamessa 1355 (1607 ed.); Wellcome I, 1230 (1607 ed.).
III: Brunet, IV, 652; BL STC Ger. C17 P659. Not in Lipperheide. E. Leospo, La Mensa Isiaca di Torino (Leiden, 1978); D. Stolzenberg, Egyptian Oedipus (Chicago, 2013).


Print This Item Print This Item

PONTANO, Giovanni


De rebus coelestibus libri XIIII.

Florence, per hæredes Philippi Iuntæ, 1520.


8vo. ff. 336 [326] (vi). Italic letter, occasional Roman. Woodcut Giunta device to verso of P7 and last leaf. T-p little soiled and thumbed, intermittent faint water stain to lower margins, washed ms. note to lower blank margin of a2, minor marginal spots and marks. A remarkably clean, well-margined copy in C16 Italian morocco, double blind ruled to a panel design, raised bands, spine single blind ruled in four compartments, each cross-hatched in blind, joints rubbed, paper labels to spine. Pictorial bookplate c.1900 of the Masonic Supreme Council of 33 to front pastedown, later bibliographic annotation to fep, C17/C18 ex-libris of Antonius Niccoli, Petrus Merighi and Hiacyntus Martinus to t-p, also ‘N. 452’ and stamped monogram A.N., modern bookplate of Arthur Armory Houghton Jr. to rear pastedown.  

Handsome clean copy of the second edition of this most influential astrological work. Giovanni Pontano (or Giovanni Gioviano, 1426-1503) was a poet, humanist and diplomat who, after studying at Perugia, moved to Naples. There he became an influential figure at the Accademia Antoniana (later Pontaniana) and the court of Aragon; he has been celebrated as the intellectual who introduced the Renaissance to Naples. His work spanned philosophy, natural science, astrology and poetry, and in 1512 his ‘opera omnia’ in six parts—of which ‘De rebus coelestibus’ was the sixth—was published by the Giunti in Florence. This is the second Giunti edition of the collected works and the fourth of ‘De rebus’ as a separate work. Written in the course of twenty years, it was begun in 1475 just after Pico della Mirandola published his attack on judicial astrology. Pontanus sought to distance himself from the latter to pursue instead a kind of astrology which could benefit man, so that, through this knowledge, ‘astrologers could assess the nature of human beings, hence their inclinations and eventually the ultimate unfolding of their lives’ (Cantamessa III, 6256). Presenting a cosmos based on Ptolemaic doctrines, the first section is a study of the nature, ‘houses’, qualities and ‘fines’ (degrees) which govern the interactions between planets and signs; this is mandatory knowledge for the real astronomer who should seek to identify the complexities of human nature. The second part analyses the ‘mapping’ of the age and life of man onto the celestial system and changes in the qualities of planets according to their position. Parts three to eight focus on the effects of planetary interactions on individuals born under specific conjunctures. The last few sections are mostly devoted to medical conditions (e.g., sterility, skin illnesses, limping, epilepsy, kidney stones, baldness, nervous and mental issues). Despite his attempt to detach himself from judicial astrology, following the credo of Neo-Platonists like Pico and their scepticism against astral causation, Pontano remained greatly attracted to astrology and alchemy as appears from his ‘Letter on the Philosophical Fire’. He was in time celebrated as a protagonist of the hermetic scene in Naples—hence the intriguing Masonic provenance of this copy, from the library of the Supreme Council 33, one of two main governing bodies of the Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the USA.  

BM STC It., p. 533; Brunet IV, 808: ‘Peu commune’; Caillet III, 8830: ‘belle édition’; Riccardi I/2, 303-4; Houzeau-Lancaster I/1, 2335; Catamessa III, 6256; Ann. Giunti, I, n.141.


Print This Item Print This Item



Flores astrologiae.

Venice, Johannes Baptista Sessa, [about 1503]


4to. 20 unnumbered ll., a-e4. Large Gothic letter. Printer’s woodcut device to t-p and last, 79 ¼-page or smaller woodcuts of astrological diagrams, zodiac and personified planets, decorated initials. Marginal foxing in places. A very good, well-margined copy in early vellum, recased, label of Helmut N. Friedländer to front pastedown.

Very good, wide-margined copy of the third edition of this important and handsomely illustrated astrological work. Albumasar (or Abū Maʻshar, 787-886) was a Persian philosopher and astrologer at the Abbasid court in Baghdad. His reputation in the Islamic world grew thanks to his introductory manuals for astrologers like ‘Kitāb al-nukat’, first translated into Latin in the C12 and first printed as ‘Flores astrologiae’ in Venice and Augsburg in 1488. Albumasar’s eclectic theories were influenced by Aristotelianism as understood not through translations from the Greek but through the mediation of the Sabei of Harran (Bezza I, 96), an obscure religious sect inspired by Judaism and Hermeticism. Addressing the reader with a very informal ‘you’, ‘Flores astrologiae’ teaches how to calculate the horoscope of a year, month or day starting from the position of the sun, moon and planets at the beginning of the timespan under scrutiny. The influence of each planet in different zodiac signs is explained at length, whether they might bring prosperity or paucity, war or peace, plague, earthquakes or floods. Albumasar also lists the fixed stars to be used to calculate horoscopes of people and events. The handsome woodcuts functioned as learning aids; for instance, the zodiac signs are repeated to remark on combinations of signs and planets. In medieval Europe, whether in ms. or print, his influential works were considered eminent instances of the judicial astronomy condemned by the Church (Cantamessa I, 142). A remarkably fresh witness to the fundamental importance of astrology in the culture of medieval and early modern Europe.

ISTC ia00358000; Catamessa I, 142; Caillet I, 155; Wellcome I, 152 (1488 ed.); Durling 20; Houzeau-Lancaster I/1, 3819. Not in Osler or Duveen.


Print This Item Print This Item


De cognoscendis, et medendis morbis ex corporum coelestium positione Libri IIII …… Cum argumentis et expositionibus Ioannis Paulli Gallucii Saloensis.

Venice, Damiano Zenaro, 1584.


FIRST and ONLY EDITION thus. 4to, ff. (12), 228. Roman and Italic letter. Large printer’s woodcut device on title-page, foliated and historiated initials, decorative head- and tail- pieces; several horoscope charts and half page astrological diagrams; 7 volvelles, 1 between G4 and H1, 3 mounted on verso of G4 and 3 loose. Very light browning in places, the odd spot, small marginal burn hole to ll. 28-29. A very good, crisp, well-margined copy in contemporary limp vellum, yapp edges, remains of ties; re-cased. Contemporary Latin annotations in a few places, “Hasfurt” inked by early hand on upper edge.

An important collection of works on astrological medicine united in this edition for the first time by the Italian scholar Giovanni Paolo Gallucci (1538-1621), including: the treatise in 4 books by Johann Virdung (ca.1465-ca.1535), published in 1532; the “Iatromathematica” attributed to Hermes Trismegistus; the “Prognostica” by Imbrasius of Ephesus (pseudo Galen); and “De triplici vita” in 3 books (“De vita sana”, “De vita longa”, “De vita coelitus comparanda”), with an early treatise on the plague (“Epidemiarum antidotus”), both by the Florentine philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1422-1499), and the “Introductio ad astrologiam” by Gallucci himself.

Gallucci was a translator and cartographer. After completing his education in Padua, he moved to Venice. His interests ranged from astronomy to medicine and literature. He was one of the founders of the second Venetian Academy and wrote several works on astronomy, such as the important star atlas “Theatrum mundi, et temporis” (1588). Virdung was an influential physician and astrologer from Hasfurt. He studied in Leipzig and Krakow where he attended the lectures of Albertus de Brudzewo and Johannes von Glogau. In 1492 Virdung moved to Heidelberg where taught medicine, mathematics and astronomy and entered the service of the Electoral Palatine court, producing yearly prognostications regarding the ruling planets, the interpretation of eclipses and natural disasters, as well as social events (Joachimite prophecies). Virdung’s bibliography includes at least 80 astrological works in German and Latin.

After a dedicatory letter by Gallucci to the Bishop of Mantua, Sisto Vicedomini, explaining the relationship between disease and the influence of the stars over human bodies, the volume opens with Virdung’s 4 books, each introduced by a short summary. Book 1 focuses on the basics of astrology (zodiac, stars, planets and other celestial bodies, such as the Moon), according to principles by Galen, Ptolemy (Opus Quadripartitum) and Cardan. Book 2 and 3 concern the classification of diseases and their remedies (drugs’ ingredients; laxative and phlebotomy; bandages, embrocation and balms to relieve pain; poultice for the head and the stomach, infusions). They particularly deal with the definition of vomit and faeces as movements of the body to expel poison and humours, as well as with the issue of the periods of major danger for the health, for instance the moon phases. Book 4 discusses symptoms and features of the body which reveal specific diseases depending on the position of the stars, such as face appearance and the colour of urine. There follows the “Iatromathematica”, supposedly by the Egyptian philosopher Hermes Trismegistus, a treatise in Latin translation which refers to medical astrology as a discipline subordinating clinical observation and therapeutic praxis to the scrutiny of the stars; the “Prognostica” or “De decubitu” in 13 chapters, an anonymous work on prognosis bringing together materials from the Galenic “Crises”, as well as from the iatromathematical tradition. The second part of the volume contains Ficino’s “De triplice vita”, preceded by Gallucci’s address to the reader. One of Ficino’s later works, inspired by Galen, Plato and the Arab “Picatrix”, and divided into three parts: “De vita sana”, dedicated to Lorenzo the Magnificent, aiming at helping scholars achieve a healthy life through suitable diet and habits; “De vita longa”, dedicated to the noble Florentine Filippo Valori, on eternal happiness, providing similar advice to the elderly; “De vita coelitus comparanda”, prescribing gold and gems (talismans) as powerful health remedies. Last, a short astrological treatise by Gallucci dealing with celestial phenomena and related calculations, zodiac and planets, connection between stars and Fortune, and their influences on the bodies.

BM STC, It., 729; Cantamessa, II, 4745 (“Opera di significativa importanza, edita con grande cura e scritta con ogni possibile chiarezza”); Houzeau-Lancaster, I, 5860. Dürling, 4631; Wellcome, I, 3077. Not in Adams. Not in Brunet or Graesse.


Print This Item Print This Item

TORNAMIRA, Francisco Vicente de


Chronographia, y repertorio de los tiempos.

Pamplona, Tomás Porralis, 1585.


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.


Print This Item Print This Item

LEOPOLD of Austria


Compilatio … de astrorum scientia decem continentis tractatus.

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


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”


Print This Item Print This Item

GALLUCCI, Giovanni Paolo


Theatrum mundi, et temporis.

Venice, Giovanni Battista Somasco, 1588.


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.


Print This Item Print This Item

STÖFFLER, Johannes and PITATI, Pietro

Ephemeridum reliquiae … superadditae novis.

Tübingen, Ulrich Morhard, 1548.


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.


Print This Item Print This Item


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


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.


Print This Item Print This Item