Manuscript compendium of astrological treatises.

[Valencia, first half of the seventeenth century].

Manuscript on paper, in Spanish, 8vo (c. 155 x 110 mm), ff. [3], 148, 176–304, [7] (ff. 149–175 excised, ff. 268 and 272 comprising foldout diagrams); neatly written in dark brown ink in one main hand, but with two others in evidence; astrological symbols, several tables and diagrams; some marginal worm tracks (many repaired with tape), occasional light foxing, chips to edges of first and last few leaves; overall very good in contemporary vellum, covers tooled in gilt to a panel design, centrepiece with stork, spine gilt in compartments; a few small holes to spine, covers rubbed and slightly marked.


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A remarkable manuscript compendium of astrological texts produced in Valencia in eastern Spain in the first half of the seventeenth century, written largely in a very elegant italic hand and illustrated with several tables, horoscopes, and diagrams: an exceptional witness to the state of astrological theory and practice in Habsburg Spain.

The volume opens with an introductory work (‘Breve tratado del usso de las ephemerides’) covering the polar circles, the zodiac, the planets, the fixed stars, horoscopes and charts, and astrological houses, ending with a short section on propitious times for marriages. A horoscope diagram to f. 19v is dated August 1613.

Three works by notable European astrologers and astronomers follow. Firstly, a tract drawn from the work of the Italian writer Giovanni Antonio Magini (1555–1617), providing instructions and numerous examples on finding the position of the planets and fixed stars, as well as on ascension, opposition, and declination. Secondly, a collection of horoscopes, arranged by planet and direction, derived from the work of the German scholar David Origanus (1558–1628). Two very different examples for Jupiter in the ascendent will serve to give a flavour: ‘direction of the horoscope to the body of Jupiter denotes one born in full health and strength who will be happy and friendly and who will grow up with an abundance of wealth and honour’; ‘direction of the horoscope to the opposition or square of Jupiter signifies inequalities in the body, and also brings hatred and enmities, particularly in relation to marriage, education, and religion’. Thirdly comes an anonymous and apparently unpublished Spanish translation of the Iugements astronomiques sur les nativités by the French physician and astrologer Auger Ferrier (1513–1588), which had first appeared in 1550. This includes instructions on foretelling someone’s character, wealth, family, health, death, friends and enemies, in addition to discussion of the significance of planets and star signs, aspects, and houses; it features several terms derived from Arabic, such as hyleg, alcocodem, algebutar, and firdaria. OCLC finds only one other seventeenth-century manuscript Spanish translation of Ferrier’s work, at the Biblioteca Nacional de España.

The remainder of the volume comprises an extensive collection of horoscopes arranged under headings such as ‘deafness’, ‘headaches’, ‘impotence’, ‘riches’, ‘children’, and ‘imprisonment’, and then by planets and zodiac signs; two short practical treatises on the use of celestial globes and astrolabes; an essay on sundials (‘Tratado de reloxes’), arranged in 29 propositions and illustrated with 23 diagrams, two of which fold out; and a set of very neatly presented tables headed ‘Tablas de los domicilios celestes alos 39 grados dela latitud de Valencia’. The interesting notes to the preliminary and final leaves, in a small cursive hand, include the association of the signs of the zodiac with various Spanish towns and cities, and tables of degrees and minutes.

Various notes and tables. ff. [ir–iir].
‘Breve tratado del usso de las ephemerides, para la agricultura, navegacion, mudaciones de ayres y enfermedades’. ff. 1r–28r.
‘Tratado como se hazen las directiones de Magino’. ff. 29r–38r.
‘Tratado de las direcciones en particular de David Origano’. ff. 39r–59v.
‘Juicios astronomicos sobre las natividades. Por Auger Ferrer medico natural de Tolosa. Traducido de frances en castellano’. ff. 61r–148v.
‘Observaciones astrologicas enel juhicio de los nacimientos’. ff. 176–229v.
‘Proposiciones del globo celeste’. ff. 230r–234r.
‘Propositiones del uso del astrolabio’. ff. 236r–242r.
‘Tratado de reloxes’. ff. 244r–292v.
‘Tablas de los domicilios celestes alos 39 grados dela latitud de Valencia’. ff. 293r–304v.
‘Catalogo de los strellos mas ilustres que se allan en cada uno de los signos’. ff. [305r–v].
‘Tabla de los tratados que contiene este libro’. ff. [307r–309r].
‘Conpendio de diviciones’. ff. [309v–311v].

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