Saturday, 10 February 2018

Planetary Characters in Agrippa

The importance of these particular characters is so great because they became very popular after the book`s publication, becoming a source for magical manuscripts, talismans and paraphernalia well until the present day. 

They are also the first set of characters I`ve seen in my early teens, when I had no Internet connection or access to books, photocopied by a gracious lady from a treatise of Dom Pernety and sent to me from another city by mail (you know, regular envelope, handwritten letter), whereupon I fell in love with mysterious characters and magical things.  

A lengthy introduction to Agrippa`s work would be pointless here. First edition of the first book appears in 1531, second edition in 1533 then republished copiously. I`ve selected four Latin editions, one English and one French from all the editions available online. 

The origin of these characters is quite obvious, as Joseph Peterson  found: the work on chiromancy of Batholomeus della Rocca (Cocles) Chyromantie ac phisionomie anastasis (Bononie 1504). I posted an articles on these characters HERE

Can we be sure that`s where they were taken from? Think we can be pretty sure. Here`s what Heinrich himself writes about these in Chapter XXXIII

Whence very few of those things became known to us, which the ancient Philosophers, & Chyromancers [chiromancers] attained to, partly by reason, and partly by experience, and there be many things yet ly hid in the treasury of nature. We shall here in this place note some few Seals,and Characters of the Planets, such as the ancient Chyromancers [chiromancers] knew in the hands of men. These doth Julian call sacred, and divine letters, seeing that by them, according to the holy Scripture is the life of men writ in their hands. And there are in all Nations, and Languages alwaies the same, and like to them, and permanent; to which were added, and found out afterwards many more, as by the ancient, so by latter Chyromancers [chiromancers]. And they that would know them must have recourse to their Volumes. It is sufficient here to shew from whence the Characters of Nature have their originall, and in what things they are to be enquired after.

A possible source is also Johann Hartlieb`s Die Kunst Ciromantia (The Art of Chiromancy) but that shows no strings of characters like Cocles, although it`s littered with mystical letters (lame pun intended). 

I`ll need more time to investigate who this Julian is, I`m sure his an older author on chiromancy who could provide some context. I have not studied Cocles` text and I cannot tell what sources he used. 

The six sets I`ve isolated are by no means the only ones, because I have not had access to all of the editions of the work, but I think it`s fair to say that judging from these more readily available editions we can build a probable model of how they were copied, miss copied and how they evolved. 

The abbreviations used to refer to the editions are O(cculta) P(hilosophia) followed by a chronological (where possible) order.

One of the works, OP3, in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, is miss labeled as being a 1531 edition, but the date is highly unlikely. The place is Lugdunum (Lyon), and the printers are the Bering Brothers (Beringos Fratres). 

Also, it goes without saying that they appear in more than the cited edition. The edition used is just the one employed for the extraction of the graphical work, it`s not necessarily the only edition employing the said set of characters, nor the first occurance. 

OP1: 1531 Paris Edition (Latin)
OP2:  1533 Koln Edition (Latin, also Here)
OP3: 1531 Lyons Edition (Latin) False date, much later., Bering Bros.
OP4: 1551 Latin Edition, Sine loco, probably Venice, Curtius Navo
OP5: 1651 London Edition (English)




Characters of Saturn

OP1

OP2

OP3

OP4

OP5


OP6

Notes:
-besides OP1 and OP6, all series have Character 2 as an incomplete swastika. In OP1 and OP6 this sign is an equal cross. 
-Cocles also has this shape, not the cross. The most similar would be BC2.




Characters of Jupiter

OP1

OP2

OP3

OP4

OP5


OP6

Notes:
-The characters of Jupiter are the most jumbled, mixed, reversed and re-reversed series. Perhaps because of their number. 
-Besides being mirrored from the ones in Cocles, OP3 and OP5 are flipped 180 degrees.
-In BC1 and BC2, characters 9 and 10 seem linked, but disjoined by a flaw in the die. In all of the above series, the analogue seals are separate and even marked with a serif, besides OP4 (characters 10-11)
-In BC1 and BC2, character 3, the one resembling the most known glyph of Jupiter, has two horizontal strikes. In none of the OP series this feature is kept. 
-OP2 and OP4 are dependent one upon the other.
-OP3 and OP5 are dependent one upon the other.
-OP1 and OP6 are dependent one upon the other. 




Characters of Mars

OP1

OP2

OP3

OP4

OP5



OP6

Notes:
-The Characters vary very little. The most different is OP1, where Character 2 is not ended in a 4-shape, but in a E-shape. Judging from the position of the curl, the source is BC2, not BC1. 




Characters of the Sun

OP1

OP2

OP3

OP4

OP5


OP6

Notes:
-All similar in arrangement, except OP1 and OP6.
-In BC2, characters 2 and three are almost joined. In all OP sets, this joined character is the seventh. 





Characters of Venus

OP1

OP2

OP3

OP4



OP5


OP6


Notes: 
-All series are similar and seem derived from BC2, where character 1 (the B shape) is articulated,  unlike BC1, yet none of the OP sigils keep the dot in the first character. 
-In OP1, this very sign, character 4, is mirrored, to be a B.
-OP2 and OP4 are similar in the T ending.
-Character 2 is similar throughout, except OP3, having an incomplete, left-slanting top. 




Characters of Mercury

OP1

OP2

OP3

OP4

OP5


OP6

Notes:
- All series are similar, except OP1. In OP1, character 2 is squarish, not curved and character 7 is the most strikingly different.
-In BC1 and BC2, character 6 is closely placed to 7, or rather character 6 is made up of two signs. In all OP versions, the analogue character appears joined together, as character 2. 




Characters of the Moon

OP1

OP2

OP3

OP4

OP5


OP6

Notes:
-OP6 is printed over, characters F4 (quire number) and CHA are visible. I have not cleaned them, for evidence.
-In both BC1 and BC2, characters 1 and two are separate. Only in the OP series we find them joined in one character, and the dissimilarity is striking, because the lines are jagged, not curved. 
-From the curl of the BC2 character no.4, we can assume this was the source of the OP series.
-From the shape of character 3, the families are OP1-OP2-OP6-OP6, with the others showing divergences. 



Conclusions:

1. The source of the seals in the Occulta Philosophia is not the 1504 edition of Cocles, but one of the other two, either the 1517 or the 1523. 

2. OP6, the French edition, is most probably based upon OP1, the first edition of Paris, which seems quite likely.

3. OP3 and OP5 seem to be connected. Although we do not know the year of the Lyonnaise edition, I would assume that it was the source of the illustration for the English translation. 

4. OP4 is based on OP2. The Venetian 1551 edition would quite probably use the Koln 1533 one as a source. 

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