Prognostication manual : in Latin, English, and Anglo-Norman
- Prognostication manual : in Latin, English, and Anglo-Norman
A manual of prognostication by means of astrology, astronomy, physiognomy, phlebotomy, meteorology, geomancy, and dice-casting, among other methods. Probably made for the use of a learned astrologer, this manuscript contains several works in the vernacular, including the only known complete copy of "You þat has castin iii sisses here..." (fol. 84v-87), a Middle English poem on divination by dice-casting (see Braekman and Ives).
- Former owner:
- Woodward, Thomas, active 17th century
- Former owner:
- H.P. Kraus (Firm)
Manuscripts, Latin (Medieval and modern)--England
Manuscripts, English (Middle)--England
Boston Public Library
Rare Books Department
- Collection (local):
Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts (Collection of Distinction)
Fortune-telling by dice--England--Poetry--Early works to 1800
Astrology--Early works to 1800
Phlebotomy--England--Early works to 1800
Meteorology--England--Early works to 1800
Geomancy--England--Early works to 1800
- 227 leaves : paper, ill. ; 212 x 145 (approximately 150-170 x 90-100) mm
No known copyright restrictions.
No known restrictions on use.
- Place of origin:
- Table of Contents:
1. i-i v: Treatise on wine: "Vinum bonum dat nutrimentum corpora..." [possibly incomplete]
2. fol. 1-17: Treatise on palm-reading (chiromancy), titled "Chiromantia" by a 17th-century hand [the same hand has added section titles throughout the manuscript]: "Fuerunt aliquando philosophi viri perfecti sunt ..."
3. fol. 17v: "Astrologia naturales," rules for finding one's ruling planet.
4. fol.18-18v: Nativities according to the planets: "Secundum arabes qui nascuntur ..."
5. fol. 18v-22: [De fructibus planetarum]: "Cupientibus habere fructum planetarum" (TK 360A)
6. fol. 22v-23: Treatise on bloodletting, including a diagram of a naked man with several veins indicated: "Vena in frontes ..."
7. fol. 23v: [De diebus aegyptiacis]: "Hic comemeranter dies agipcii ... / In principio mensis ianuarii ..." (TK 712H.01)
8. fol. 24-25: Notes on the zodiacal signs: "Notandum quod duodecim signa zodiaci [...]"
9. fol. 25-32v: "De planetis"; "Gloriosus et sublimis deus [...]" (TK 587M)
10. fol. 33-33v: A modus vivendi (Arnaldus de Villanova?): "Mense martii dulce rennius (?) bibe aguinem coctum ..." (TK 868J)
11. fol. 34-38: "Tractatus de urines"; "De urinis breviter tractaturi sumus ..." [may end imperfectly; according to Kraus, there are six leaves lacking after fol. 38, although there are in fact no leaves missing] [n.b. the Kraus catalogue uses folio numbers that include the excised leaves, even though the numbers do not then correspond with the foliation of the manuscript; the Kraus folio numbers are given below in brackets]
12. fol. 38v-39 [44v-45]: Medical recipes (in French): "Pur le buche puiande stante e male"; "Pro pilis"; and "Pro facie."
13. fol. 39v [45v]: Table (inverted) showing the sign and degree of the moon.
[Lacking 36 leaves after fol. 39]
14. fol. 40 : End of a treatise on the Ars Notoria, with a diagram of the Tetragrammaton (According to Kraus, this is the Sigillum Salamonis, forbidden by the Church and probably excised for that reason): " ... pertinent ad opus per fatum. Explicit cenobii [?] salomonis."
15. fol. 40v-42v [76v-78v]: "Astronomia" (a treatise on judicial astrology, quoting extensively from Alcabitius, Liber isagogicus): "Sciendum est quod in celo est quidam circulus qui vocatur zodiacus ..."
16. fol. 43-44 [79-80]: Treatise on phlebotomy: "Flebotomia vel minutia alia fit per metathosim ..." (TK 875H?)
17. fol. 44-44v [80-80v]: A composite work on judicial astrology: "Nota quod luna habet 4 quadras ..."
18. fol. 44v-45 [80v-81]: The influence of the planets at the hour of birth: "Notandum est quod principatus plaetarum in conception humana ..."
19. fol. 45 : [Hildebert of Lavardin (attr.), Carmen medicum]: "Consceptum semen conceptum sex primis ..."
20. fol. 45-46v [81-82v]: A treatise of nativities according to the planets: "Natus sub Saturno multe perfidie est et malicie ..."
21. fol. 46v-47 [82v-83]: Extract from Messahala's Epistola, ch. III, with a round astrological diagram: "Dicut Mesahalas maximus astrologus in sua epistola cap. 3 ..."
22. fol. 47v-48 [83v-84]: First and fifth chapters from another work of Messahala, "De ratione celi et stellarum et qualiter operantur in mundo"; "Deus altissimus facit terram ..."
23: fol. 48v [84v]: Table of the 28 mansions of the moon with their corresponding zodiacal signs, degrees and Arabic names.
24: fol. 49-54 [85-90]: Nativities according to the zodiacal signs: "Natus in signo Arietis ..."
25: fol. 54-58 [90-94]: A portion of the beginning of the Flores Astrologiae of Albumasar, with three charts (that on fol. 57 originally with a central volvelle, now lacking): "Dicit albumasar oportet primo ..."
26. fol. 58v [94v]: Blank.
[Six leaves lacking after fol. 58]
27. fol. 59-59v [101-101v]: "Gaude Felix Anna" and other hymns to various saints.
28. fol. 60-64 [102-106]: Psalms to be repeated for deliverance from various afflictions.
29. fol. 64v-66v [106v-108v]: Prognostications: "Multum enim prodest scire ..."
30. fol. 66v-67v [108v-109v]: Descriptions of each of the 12 zodiacal houses, with diagram: "Viso de signis considerare oportet de 12 dominus ..."
31. fol. 67v-70 [109v-112]: The dignities of the planets: "Sequitur de dignitatibus planetarum per signa duodecim ..." [with three rotary diagrams and a table]
32. fol. 70v-73 [112v-115v]: A treatise on the meanings of the 7 planets and the head and tail of the dragon in the 12 zodiacal houses, purporting to be by Ptolemy, but apparently the work of one Berdradus (?): "Incipit liber ptholomei de significationibus 7 planetarum/ Saturnus cum fuerit in ascendente ..." (TK 1381H)
33. fol. 73v [115v]: Descriptions of the good and bad houses of the zodiac.
34. fol. 73v-74: [115v-116]: Extracts said to be from a book of Zael on the planetary significances: "Incipiunt significationes planetarum per signa secundum zael/ Saturnus cum ..."
35. fol. 74-75 [116-117]: A treatise on planetary conjunctions: "Coniunctio est quando duo planete ..." (TK 248I)
36. fol. 75 : Beginning of a work known as De planetis: "Luminaria firmamenti sunt ..." (TK 833N)
37. fol. 75v-76v [117v-118v]: "Physiognomia"(a work on physiognomy, giving prognostications according to the form of the head, color of the hair, eyes, etc.): "Caput rotundum in eminenciore parte ..."
38. fol. 77 : List of Egyptian days, nearly identical to that on fol. 23v: "Hic commemorate dies aegypciaci ... / In principio mensis ianuarii ..."
39. fol. 77v-79 [119v-120]: Rules and diagrams for prognostication, with a set of verses known as Sphaera Pythagorae on fol. 79: "Collige per numerum..." (TK 234C)
40. fol. 79v-80v [120v (sic.)]: Weather prognostications according to the day of the week on which January 1 falls: "Si festum circumcisionis cadat super diem dominici ..."
41. fol. 80v-81 [120v-122]: Advice in English concerning medicines and food appropriate for a given month: "In þe moneth of iannevir qwre wyin ..."
42. fol. 81v-82 [122v-123]: Treatise on the Sphere of Pythagoras: "In nomine domini amen. Incipit libellus docens qualiter ..."
43. fol. 82v [123v]: Monthly prognostications based on the incidence of thunder.
44. fol. 83v-84 [124v-125]: Methods of detecting theft by means of various charms: "Fac suspectos respicare oculum ..."
45. fol. 84v-87 [125v-128]: Poem on divination by casting of dice, 56 quatrains in Middle English: "You þat has castin iii sisses here/ sal have þi desire þat sam yhere / Hald þe stabil and wari you noght / For you sal have þi dissir þat is in þi thoght ..." (see Braekman and Ives) (Index of Middle English English Verse 3694.3)
46. fol. 87-88v [128-129v]: "De herbis," describing the virtues and properties of 16 herbs: "Herba prima apud caldeos yiyas moricheol, apud nos elitropia vel ..."
47. fol. 89 : Blank.
48. fol. 89v [130v]: Originally blank, brief lists of attributes of weekdays and zodiacal signs, in English (added 16th century): "Sondy ware þu to of frute a consell ..."
49. fol. 90 : Originally blank, 16th-century addition of a request for prayers, in English.
50. fol. 90v-98v [131v-139v]: [De nativitatibus]: "Martius fortuna hominis / Qui natus fuerit in signo arietis habet supercilia ..."
51. fol. 99 : Blank.
52. fol. 99v-100 [140v-141]: Treatise on prosoposcopy, or physiognomy: "Oculus glaucusia utroque ..."
53. fol. 100 : Interpretation of dreams: "Si vis exponere expositionem sompniorum ..."
54. fol. 100v-103 [141v-144]: Answers to questions on 20 different topics of inquiry (listed on fol. 100v), according to the seven planets: "Sol / Prope est ut gaudeas et mutes ..."
55. fol. 103v [144v]: Notes on the geomantic significance of the 12 zodiacal houses, with reference to the planets (with geomantic figures): "Aries est domus martis ..."
56. fol. 104-106 [145-147]: A treatise on the planets and their influence, titled De planetis et eorum virtute: "Sciendum ergo quod si quis nascatur ..."
57. fol. 106-129v [148 (sic)-170v]: Almanac, with tables: "Almanach perpetuum translatum de arabico in latinum annis christi 1391 ... / Incipit almanach perpetuum ad inveniendum vera loca planetarum in signis ..."
58. fol. 130-131 [171-172]: "Geomantia" (prognostication by casting stones), a list of the 16 geomantic figures followed by different combinations of geomantic figures.
59. fol. 131-131v [172-172v]: The 12 zodiacal houses.
60. fol. 131v-132 [172v-173]: Definitions of terms used in geomancy.
61. fol. 132-133 [173-174]: A list of 14 zodiacal houses and their significance: "Prima domus est in angulis orientalibus ..."
62. fol. 133v-134 [174v-175]: Interpetations of the 16 geomantic figures as regards physiognomy: "Statura media pulcer ..."
63. fol. 134v-135 [175v-176]: The previous interpretations translated into French: "Si vous volez savoir condiciouns de home ..."
64. fol. 135-145 [176-186]: Treatise on astrological geomancy, probably the Modus iudicandi questions geomantie by Petrus de Abano: "Desiderantibus verum et certum ..." (TK 254E)
65. fol. 145 : Recipes, in Latin.
66. fol. 145v-175 [186v-213]: Treatise on geomancy, in multiple chapters: "Et si aspica ..."
67. fol. 175-175v [213-213v]: Geomantic significances of the planetary exaltations.
68. fol. 175v-177v [213v-215v]: Definitions of geomantic terms: "Occupacio est quando signum querentis ..."
69. fol. 177v-178v [215v-216v]: Explanations of the 16 geomantic figures: "Prima figura dicitur inter quae est bona ..."
70. fol. 178v-181v [216v-219v]: Methods of geomantic inquiry.
71. fol. 181v-189 [219v-227]: Continuation of previous text, in French.
72. fol. 189-197 [227-235]: Index of the 16 geomantic figures, in French: "Cest figure assembler tout manner de gayn ..."
73. fol. 197v [235v]: Scutiform diagram displaying the 16 geomantic figures.
74. fol. 198-200v [236-238v]: Index of geomantic figures.
75. fol. 201-207 [239-245]: Method of obtaining answers to 32 different questions by means of continuous references to correspondent tables of spices, mountains, stones, rivers, trees, fish, birds, herbs, fruits, flowers, cities, beasts and countries, under the last of which the answers are discovered.
76. fol. 207v-223 [245v-261]: Tables for finding answers to 28 different questions, by reference, according to the number of remaining points obtained by geomantic procedure, first to a polanet, then to a day of the moon, and finally to one of 28 verses arranged under the arabic names of 28 "judges." Probably from Bernardus Silvester.
77. fol. 223v-230 [261v-268]: Another set of tables for finding answers to 36 different questions.
78. fol. 230v [268v]: Miscellaneous notes on geomancy and astrology.
Bibliographic record created by BPL staff based on description by Dr. Lisa Fagin Davis.
Origin: Written in England in the late 14th or early 15th century.
- Notes (ownership):
Provenance: 15th-century arms inside front cover, argent on a bend azure three crescents (poss. the Rider family of Yorkshire); 17th-century signature of Thomas Wodword, fol. 39; sold Kraus cat. 22 (1942), no. 21.
- Notes (acquisition):
Immediate source of acquisition: Purchased from H.P. Kraus in 1944.
- Notes (citation):
Bond, W.H. Supplement to the Census of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, 210
- Notes (object):
Secundo folio: Fuerunt ...
Collation: Paper (two stocks: French, similar to Briquet 13906, ca. 1394; similar to Briquet 15858, Paris 1392), fol. 227 ; 1¹⁴⁺¹ (the detached first leaf is laid-in at the front) 2¹⁶ 3¹⁴⁻⁵ (5 leaves wanting after fol. 39), (lacking a quire of 24, for a total of 36 leaves lacking after fol. 39: 5 from quire 3, a quire of 24, and 7 from the beginning of quire 4), 4¹⁸(-7 leaves) 5¹⁴⁻⁶ (wanting 6 leaves after fol. 58) 6¹⁸±¹ (fol. 76 is a tipped-in singleton) 7¹⁴⁻² (two leaves cancelled after fol. 89) 8¹²⁺² (fol. 102 and 103 tipped-in singletons) 8-13¹⁶ 14¹⁶⁻¹ (possibly one leaf cancelled after fol. 217) 15¹²⁺¹ (fol. 230 tipped-in singleton) ; quires 1-3 signed in arabic numerals in the center of the upper margin of the first recto. 17th-century brown ink arabic foliation, added after losses, upper right corner of each recto, skips first (detached) leaf and several numbers, and so reaches 230 instead of 227, those numbers used here for reference.
Layout: 1 or 2 columns, varies between approximately 20-30 lines. Bounding and writings lines, when present, in drypoint.
Script: Written in English gothic cursive in multiple hands in brown ink with occasional red rubrics. Fol. 1-40 by a single scribe.
Decoration: Phlebotomy diagram, fol. 23v; round astrological/astronomical charts and diagrams on fol. 47, 57, 68v, 69v and 70; pasteboard volvelle mounted inside front cover.
Binding: Deteriorated early/contemporary deerskin(?) over wooden boards, sewn on four split bands, paper pastedowns, decorative green and red endbands. Housed in a gray clamshell box. The detached leaf -- until recently laid-in at the back of the volume and described as such by Kraus -- shows clear signs of having been originally the first leaf of the codex, as it bears an offprint and wear made by the volvelle inside the front cover; however, it does not appear to have been part of the first quire, since: 1) that quire is complete; 2) the detached leaf has no quire signature (as does the current first leaf); and 3) the detached leaf has no foliation (as does the current first leaf). The detached leaf has more elaborate decoration than does the current first leaf, further suggesting that it may have originally been the opening leaf of the manuscript; if so, it was likely a tipped-in singleton/flyleaf with the stub protruding after the first quire, between fol. 14 and 15.
- Notes (bibliography):
Bibliography: W.L. Braekman, "Fortune-Telling by the Casting of Dice: a Middle English Poem and Its Background," Studia Neophilologica 52 (1980): 15; S.A. Ive, "An Unpublished Piece of Medieval English Folklore," H. P. Kraus, Rare Books: Notes on the History of Old Books and Manuscripts 1 (1942): no. 21; L. Thorndike and P. Kibre. A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin (Cambridge, Mass.: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1963) (abbreviated to TK in contents notes)
- Notes (language):
Language: Latin, English, and Anglo-Norman.
- Call #:
RARE BKS MS q Med.100
MS 1527 (no longer used)