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Ptolemaeus

Arabus et Latinus

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Work B.15

Pseudo-Ptolemy
Liber de impressionibus imaginum, anullorum et sigillorum secundum facies duodecim signorum zodiaci

Text

‘(St Petersburg, BAN, Q. 537) Incipit liber Ptolemaei de impressionibus imaginum annulorum sigillorum secundum facies duodecim signorum zodiaci. Incipiamus tractare de compositione et impressione sigillorum annulorum quae possunt fieri Sole existente in quolibet signo secundum gradus et facies singulas… Cum Sol est in Ariete quid faciendum? (120v) Aries est signum foemininum, igneum — vel ex argento vel mastice. Et sunt qui dicant tam aufferre et mitigare crudelitatem. Et est operatio eius in magicis experimentis et effectibus valde mirabilis. Finis libri Ptolemaei de sigillis et impressionibus imaginum secundum solum in duodecim signis.’

Content

A text of astral magic, dealing with the making of talismans according to the position of the Sun in the twelve signs and various astrological configurations.

Origin

Unknown. The present version has the distinctive incipit ‘Incipiamus tractare de compositione et impressione sigillorum…’. The text is related to the Liber imaginum signorum attributed to Hermes and Enoch (on which see P. Lucentini, V. Perrone Compagni, I testi e i codici di Ermete nel Medioevo, Florence, 2001, 52-53 (no. 18); N. Weill-Parot, Les «images astrologiques» au Moyen Age et à la Renaissance. Spéculations intellectuelles et pratiques magiques (XIIe-XVe siècles), Paris, 2002, 477-496; N. Weill-Parot, ‘Antonio da Montolmo et la magie hermétique’, in Hermetism from Late Antiquity to Humanism. La tradizione ermetica dal mondo tardo-antico all’umanesimo (Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi, Napoli, 20-24 novembre 2001), eds P. Lucentini, I. Parri, V. Perrone Compagni, Turnhout, 2003, 545-568: 548-549 and 553). An apparently very close version, with similar incipit and explicit, is attributed to Arnold of Villanova in MS Boncompagni 506, s. XIV, f. 78r-81r: ‘Incipit liber faciendi sigilla sive impressiones secundum Arnaldum de Villanova. Incipiamus cum Dei auxilio de hiis tractare que fieri possunt Sole existente — et mirabiliter eficax in efectu. Deo gratias. Expliciunt modi faciendi sigilla’ (on this MS, whose present location is unknown, see E. Narducci, Catalogo di manoscritti ora posseduti da D. Baldassarre Boncompagni, Roma, 1892, 292-293) and is anonymous in the following MSS: Naples, BN, VIII C 45, s. XV, f. 105v-111r; Prague, NKCR, adlig. 14.H.208 (2764), s. XVI, f. 1r-3r; Vienna, ÖNB, 5311, s. XIV, f. 137va-138va; Zwickau, Ratsschulbibl., I.XII.2, s. XV, f. 9v-13r. The text is quoted in Trithemius’s Antipalus maleficiorum (1508), I.3, no. 65: ‘Item est liber Ptholemaei de componendis imaginibus, annulis atque sigillis duodecim signorum, qui sic incipit: Incipiamus tractare de compositione’ (ed. J.-P. Boudet, Entre science et nigromance. Astrologie, divination et magie dans l’Occident médiéval (XIIe-XVe siècle), Paris, 2006, 551).

Bibl.

C. Burnett, ‘The Conte de Sarzana Magical Manuscript’, in C. Burnett, Magic and Divination in the Middle Ages. Texts and Techniques in the Islamic and Christian Worlds, Aldershot, 1996, IX, 3; J.-P. Boudet, ‘The Transmission of Arabic Magic in Europe (Middle Ages – Renaissance)’, Micrologus 27 (2020), 143-165: 152 n. 30.

Ed.

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MSS