Publisher Information: Venice: Octavianus Scotus, 1519.
Ptolemy (c. 100 – c. 170). Quadriparti Ptolo. Que in hoc volumine continentur hec sunt: Liber quadripartite Ptolomei . . . Folio. , 140ff. Woodcut initials and text diagrams. Venice: Heirs of Octavianus Scotus, 1519. 310 x 216 mm. Old quarter vellum, boards, rebacked, corners worn, covers a bit scuffed. Library stamp erased from first leaf, last few leaves browned and with faint dampstaining in lower margins, occasional foxing but very good.
Second edition of Hieronymus Salius’s edition of Ptolemy’s Quadripartitium, first printed in Venice in 1493. Quadripartitum, or “four books,” is the Latin name traditionally given to the treatise on astrology that Ptolemy composed in the second half of the second century CE, after completing his treatise on astronomy known as the Almagest. “In the Tetrabiblos [the Greek name for the Quadripartitum] the art of astrology receives sanction and exposition from perhaps the ablest mathematician and closest scientific observer of the day or at least from one who seemed so to succeeding generations. Hence from that time astrology was able to take shelter from any criticism under the aegis of his authority” (Thorndyke, p. 110).
The first book of the Quadripartitum contains a defense of astrology and a discussion of technical concepts; the second deals with astrological influences on Earth, including astrological geography and weather prediction; and the third and fourth books discuss astrological influences on individuals. The Salius edition of Ptolemy’s work includes eleven other tracts on astrology by Hermes Trismegistus, al-Battani, Rhazes, Zahel and Messahala. Thorndyke discusses the Quadripartitum at length in Vol. I of his History of Magic and Experimental Science, ending by stressing the work’s influence on later writers. Stillwell, The Awakening Interest in Science During the First Century of Printing, no. 96. Thorndyke, History of Magic and Experimental Science, pp. 110-116.Book Id: 45939