[ASTRONOMICAL MANUSCRIPT]. Disputationes de corpore naturali in particulari. [Southern France?, ca. 1630-1650].
Manuscript on paper, 4o (189 x 134 mm). 146 leaves, [114 2-1212], 1/3-12/9 foliated by the scribe 1-11  12-35 37 39 41-133 [134-142 in a later hand, the gaps in the foliation due to numbering of plates]. 1/14, 6/6-6/12, and 12/10-12/12 are blank. Later (18th-century) title on 1/1v, calligraphic title with grotesque ornamental letters (1/2r), text in seven chapters or Quaestiones (1/3r-12/9v), chapters 2 and 4 with separate half-titles. Written in a small neat cursive hand, with semi-calligraphic or flourished headings, flourished or grotesque initials, and a few tailpiece flourishes. COPIOUSLY ILLUSTRATED WITH 63 FINE PEN-AND-INK DRAWINGS OF ASTRONOMICAL FIGURES AND DIAGRAMS, of which 21 on 20 inserted leaves (not included in the collation, 2 inserted leaves in quire 11 with full-page blank stubs), of these 15 full-page and 4 large and folding, the 3rd folding leaf containing a drawing of an astrolabe with central hole and pasted-on onlay (possibly lacking a volvelle), and 41 illustrations in the text, including 2 full-page and one (on fol. 66r) unfinished, plus one small loose drawing of a sun-dial inserted after fol. 58. (Short tears at gutters of the folding plates, astrolabe plate slightly soiled and with small tears to onlay, occasional faint showthrough of ink, a few drawings with later pencil infill.) Paper mostly unwatermarked, a few of the inserted leaves with bell watermark with name I. Garnier: cf. Briquet II, 4152, southern France 1630-1660. Contemporary calf, sides with single fillet border and central gilt wreath enclosing the gilt letter "P" on front and "C" on back cover, spine in compartments with gilt fillets at bands (rubbed, some scrapes).
A DETAILED ILLUSTRATED SCIENTIFIC TREATISE ON ASTRONOMY, HOROLOGY, AND ASTROLOGY, written either during Galileo's lifetime or during the decade or two after his death (1632), and discussing and comparing the astronomical theories of Ptolemy, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Fracastoro, Kepler and Clavius. The seven chapters are titled: "De mundo," "De natura coelorum," "De numero, situ et ordine coelorum," "De motu coelorum," "De stellis fixis et errantibus," "De arcanis syderum," and "De planetis in particulari"; each contains several sections, methodically presented as propositions and logical proofs. Chapter 4 includes a long section on horology, chapter 6 is devoted to astrology, and the final chapter includes discussions of sunspots and solar and lunar eclipses. The finely executed illustrations, apparently the work of the scribe, include six diagrams of the solar system according to the astronomical systems studied (and one of the traditional Christian heavenly spheres), several diagrams of eclipses, a drawing of the surface of the moon with its craters, drawings of the sun and stars, a telescope (in the drawing of Saturn), an astrolabe, astrological charts and tables, and four drawings of sun-dials, including a cruciform dial of the type used by the Jesuit missionaries.
The anonymous author, presumably the P. C. whose initials appear on the binding, was probably a priest or monk and possibly a Jesuit. Fol. 30v contains a reference to "Pater Scheiner," the Jesuit astronomer Christoph Scheiner, who discovered sunspots in 1611 and was accused by Galileo, in his 1613 letters on sunspots (Istoria e dimostrazione intorno alle macchie solari), of having unfairly claimed priority for the discovery. (A possible candidate for authorship, though a bit late, is the Italian Jesuit Paulo Casati [1634-1707], whose published works include several treatises on physics and mathematics but no works on astronomy. Given the delicate nature of the discussion of cosmographical systems at this period one may conjecture that he would have preferred to leave unpublished a work on the subject.) Whatever his identity, the scientifically well-informed author carefully omits any mention of the heretical Galileo, confining his discussion and illustrations to the systems of the aforementioned astronomers, and implying his own preference for the compromise position set forth by Brahe, who described a universe containing the immobile earth at its center with the sun revolving around it and the other planets revolving around the sun. SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ASTRONOMICAL MANUSCRIPTS OF THIS QUALITY APPEAR RARELY ON THE MARKET.