Basel, J. Hervagius, 1533. Folio. Beautiful manuscript-binding, made of large double manuscript leaf from the 13th century (?), double-columned in red and black/ brown ink. Initials and remains of larger red and blue illumination. The block has been professionally restored, renewing the vellum-cords and preserving the old covers. (16),244,143,(89) pp. Last page with woodcut printer's device. Some woodcuts in the text and fine wood-cut initials throughout. Some annotations in old hand on title-page and some contemporary annotations in margins, mainly on the first ab. 25 leaves. Fine and in general clean, probably due partly to some gentle washing during the restoration stage.
Scarce and early edition (first issued in Venice 1497 and by Aldus 1499) of the author's famous "Mathesis" (forming the first part of the present edition). It has been called "the most comprehensive handbook of astrology to come down to us from antiquity" (Franz Boll).
"Compiled as a handy guide for practioneers of the art, it best represents popular traditions of the previous four centuries (before ca. 350) and bears little resemblance to Ptolemy's quasi-scientific manual of astrology, the Quadripartitum...Firmicus' citations include the legendary Hermes, Orpheus, Abrahem, Petosiris, Nechepso, and Aesculapius". (DSB).
Firmicius' work is called the Mathesis, and is a large work in eight books, written in Latin for Roman audience (middle 4th Century). It draws on many of the earliest Hellenistic sources and writings of the Hermetic tradition, and preserves much material not found elsewhere. From a practical astrological perspective, it is the largest single source of delineation text, treating of planets in houses, aspects, applications and separations of the Moon, decennials etc.
Brunet II:1270. - Houzeau & Lancaster: 761. - Wellcome: 2308 (listing only the later edition from the same printer 1551).