'An Innocent Arab Proposing the Destiny of the Universe' The First Edition, Burned upon Publication

Allaeus, Franciscus. Astrologiae Nova Methodus. Francisci Allaei, Arabis Christiani.

[Rennes, Julian Herbert], 1654[-1655].

Folio [32.5 x 22 cm]. (4), 12 pp; 62 pp, (2); 25 pp, (1), plus terminal blank. With 3 volvelles in first section, composed of 11 parts; and 7 volvelles in the second section, composed of 16 parts. Bound in contemporary velum with manuscript title on spine. Binding a little soiled, occasional light soiling or staining to margins, but overall a very pleasant copy with all volvelles intact. Early manuscript additions to printed predictions of the 'forbidden' volvelles on pp. 42-62 of the second section. 19th century ex-libris of the Baron du Taya on pastedown, with his manuscript notes on flyleaf and ownership inscription dated 1832 - "livre rare & très curieux".

Very rare first edition, with all revolving discs or 'volvelles' complete and intact, of this remarkable treatise offering predictions for the destiny of European nations as well as the Islamic World into the 20th century. This first edition is sought-after because most copies were burned by the hangman at Nantes and Rennes shortly after publication; very few copies are thought to have survived. The treatise was deemed offensive due to the predictions of 5 volvelles in the second section, which offer horoscopes for Islam, Christianity, France, Spain, and England. The 'Figura Sectae Mahometanae' on p. 53 dares to give a horoscope of the Prophet Mohammed and a list of significant events in the history of Islam. This is followed by manuscript predictions for events from 1649 onwards - including the suggestion that a quarter of the world will be Islamic by 1703. The horoscope of Christianity also includes dire manuscript predictions on a paper insert up to 1999: "The stars which illuminate the Earth will be extinguished / there will only be one Shepherd, and one Flock". Finally, the predictions for the fate of England caused a serious diplomatic dispute, resulting in the English ambassador demanding the book be suppressed; these included 'great terror' in 1666 (frighteningly accurate!) and further calamity throughout the 18th century, ending with the wiping out of the English nation in 1884. Subsequent editions of the Astrologiae Nova Methodus were forced to omit the 7 pages and 5 volvelles found here. The authorship of the present work remains a mystery. It is attributed on the title-page to a certain Francisco Allaeio, 'Christian Arab', but this is probably a pseudonym for Yves de Paris, a Capuchin monk known for his anti-establishment views. The third section of the work offers a religious justification for the relevance of astrological prediction, in which the author defends himself as "an innocent Arab proposing the destiny of the universe" (p. 5).

Houzeau/Lancaster 5217 ("excessively rare … this work was burned due to the predictions it contains. The first edition is the only complete one, the two further editions were expurgated"). Caillet III, 11557 ("the first edition, extremely rare, was burnt in Nantes or Rennes by the censorship officials"). Thorndike VIII, 310-312.