Henricus Cornelius AGRIPPASplendidae nobilitatis viri, & armatae militiae equitis aurati, ac utriusque iuris doctoris sacrae Caesareae maiestatis à consiliis, & archiuis indiciarii, Henrici Cornelii Agrippae ab Nettesheym, DE INCERTITUDINE & VANITATE SCIENTIARUM & ARTIUM atq excellentia verbi dei declamatio. Capita tractandorum totius operis, sequens indicabit pagella. Nihil scire felicissima vita.
No place (Cologne ?), Anno 1531, mense Januario.
Small 8vo, old dark brown calf, blind fillet around sides, spine gilt with 5 raised bands, red morocco lettering piece, red edges. 208 unnumbered leaves (including the title). 3 fine decorated capital letters. A few annotations and underlining by a contemporary hand ; the leaves are numbered by the same hand.
Fine early unexpurgated edition of this controversial text first published by Grapheus in Antwerp the year before.
Four editions published in 1531 are recorded by Coumont, two of them with this title : the Paris edition, published in February, and the present edition published in January.
Agrippa from Nettesheim, a cabalistic philosopher, was one of the most colourful figures of the 16th century. He studied ancient languages, medicine, and philosophy. His contemporaries called him ‘Hermes Trismegistus’, because he had commented upon Trismegistes’s works when he was professor at Turin in 1515. At some point Agrippa was physician to the mother of the French King, Louise de Savoy, and in 1528 he was appointed historian to Charles V by Margaret of Austria, governess of the Netherlands. In the present work Agrippa criticizes the arts and sciences, including arithmetic, geometry, optics and perspective, medicine, chirurgy, pharmacy, anatomy, astronomy, agriculture, economy, cookery, etc., but also the occult sciences, the Cabala, alchemy, etc.
The work was translated into all modern languagues and many times reprinted throughout the sixteenth century and beyond. All early editions are sought after.
A very good copy.
Ref. Brunet, Manuel du libraire, I, 113 (first edition) / Coumont, Demonology and Witchcraft, A15.18 / Laporte, Bibliographie clérico-galante, 401 (other edition) / Prost, Corneille Agrippa, sa vie et ses oeuvres, pp. 527-529 / This edition not Adams, Caillet, Dorbon, Ferguson, Rosenthal