The standard handbook on geomancy, a divination system with Arabian origins, including a 12th-century translation of a work by the Arab Alfakini, published here for the first time

Fludd, Robert / Henri de Pisis / Alfakini. Fasciculus geomanticus, in quo varia variorum opera geomantica continentur.

"Verona" [= Frankfurt am Main], 1687.

647, (1) pp. 197, (1) pp. With title-page printed in red and black, 5 (of 6) large folding letterpress tables, 1 double-page engraved folding plate with 2 engraved illustrations, and some woodcut illustrations and numerous letterpress geomantic figures in text. With (2): Tabulae geomanticae, seu liber singularis de tribus ultimis ex antiquo manuscripto de anno MDXXXV. Iam primo luci datus, annexis duabus tabellis huic studio mirè inservientibus, caeteroquin utilibus & jucundis. Frankfurt am Main, Johann David Zunner, 1693. With 2 letterpress folding tables following text, and nearly 200 pages of letterpress tables with geomantic figures. 2 works in 1 volume, bound in reverse order. 8vo. Contemporary vellum.


First edition of a collection of three texts on geomancy, a divination system with Arabian origins. Geomancy comes from the Ancient Greek "geômanteía", a translation of the Arabic term "'ilm al-raml", the "science of the sand". It includes texts by the English physician and astrologer Robert Fludd (1574-1637), the French physician Henri de Pisis and the Arab Alfakini. It is preceded by its separately published supplement Tabulae geomanticae, together forming "the standard printed Latin source for the rules of geomantic practice [...] a handbook and compendium not since rivalled for clarity and completeness" (Skinner).

Fludd's treatise "De Animae intellectualis Scientia seu geomantia" was first published in his magnum opus "Utriusque Cosmi maioris salicet et minoris metaphysica" (1617-19), and appeared slightly altered in the present work. "Fludd [...] tried to present [geomancy] as a science of intellectual soul in which intellectual rays emanated from the mind to mundane affairs and then returned to the center with tidings of the future [...] He discusses how the geomancer should so dispose himself that the intentions of his mind are clearly emitted [...] Fludd's treatise is immediately followed by a longer geomancy by H. de Pisis [first published in 1638]. The work is divided into three parts devoted respectively to the theory, practice and questions taken from previous authors. The theory is largely astrological. Instead of jotting down four rows of dots at random, a wheel with sixteen projections is spun or whirled in order to obtain one of the sixteen geomantic figures. Fludd is cited more than once, also Arabic authors like Geber and Aomar" (Thorndike). The last treatise contains the geomantic questions of the Arab Alfakini, son of Abizarch, based on a manuscript from 1535 and published here for the first time. The manuscript was a Latin translation by Plato of Tivoli (fl. first half of the 12th century), known for his translations of Arabic texts. A supplement to this last text, containing almost 200 pages of tables, is bound first. It opens with a series of 25 numbered questions, the answers to these questions can be found in the tables of the matching geomantic figure.

With a crude drawing of a head on pastedown. Lacking one letterpress folding table in the main work. Browned throughout, as usual, some occasional smudges, a few tears along the folds of the folding tables, and some wormholes in the first two leaves, resulting in a small hole in the gutter of the title-page, otherwise internally still good. Binding soiled and with crudely restored spine.

VD 17, 7:692678X & 39:120436C. Caillet 4035. Thorndike VIII, 481f. S. Skinner, Terrestrial Astrology: Divination by Geomancy (1980).

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