Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Fludd's Profusely Illustrated Masterwork

    Robert Fludd. Utriusque Cosmi Maioris scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica. Physica Atque Technica Historia In duo Volumina secundum Cosmi differentiam divisa. Tomus Primus: De Macrocosmi Historia in duos tractatus divisa. [bound with:] Tractatus Secundus. De Naturæ Simia seu Technica macrocosmi historia, in partes undecim divisa. Oppenheim and Frankfurt: Johann Theodore de Bry, Hieronymus Galler (Volume One) and Kaspar Rotel (Volume Two), 1617-1624. First edition of part one, second edition of part two. Folio. ¹1 A4 [A1 signed ***], B-2B4,2C8; A-3G4,3H2, 3I-5H3 (lacks A2, A3, B1-B4, and 4 plates with no signature marks, all these lacking leaves supplied in facsimile). [2],206, [10]; 788, [12] pages. Modern Cambridge binding with gilt spine and gilt title on black label. Two engraved title pages, approximately 268 text plates (sixty-fourlarge) by Matthias Merian. One (of six) folding plates. The lacking plates are supplied in facsimile. Part one lacks pages 3-6 and 9-16 (all prelim leaves, supplied in facsimile). Part two lacks four plates (pages 409-413), and they are all supplied in facsimile. Marginal damp staining and some browning, some minor worming, few letters of text affected at front, else only outer margins. Very good overall. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Please visit for an extended description of this lot.

    More Information:

    "Fludd has been characterized as 'a philosopher, physician, anatomist, physicist, chemist, mathematician and mechanician,' and credited with 'a rare gift of observation in the exact sciences.' But he still thought it possible and advisable to combine with this science and medicine not only a cloak of religion but also much of the occult science that had come down from the past: magic and cabala, astrology and alchemy, physiognomy and chiromancy, geometry and weather signs. Natural, preternatural, supernatural, and things contrary to nature, were all closely related and even confused by him. Magic was science, and nature a mystery." Thorndike.

    "The first of Fludd's philosophical works to appear was the account of the macrocosm and the microcosm, entitled Utriusque cosmi ... historia. It consists in two massive folios which are copiously illustrated with remarkable mystical emblems representing relationships between man, the cosmos, and the godhead. It is very likely that Fludd himself was the draughtsman of these illustrations with their recurrent geometrical motifs of concentric circles, triangles, pyramids, hemispheres, blazing suns, and the interplay of areas of dark and light. The significance of the emblems is revealed in accompanying texts, which bring together quotations from the Bible and hermetic lore. In these volumes Fludd expresses both his adherence to a Judaeo-Christian interpretation of world history based on the text of the Bible and his hostility to the learning of the universities in the form of Aristotelian natural philosophy and Galenic medicine. Fludd's originality lay in his revival of the fifteenth-century neoplatonism of Ficino and Pico and their sources in the corpus hermeticum, and his uniting of these with an alchemical account of the creation based on a literal reading of the book of Genesis. The major explanatory mechanism of the workings and order of the world is the parallel between macrocosm and microcosm. Man is revealed to be the 'ape of nature,' imitating and completing her work through the exercise of geometry, music, memory, astrology, physiognomy, chiromancy, and the mechanical arts, including cosmography, painting, and the art of warfare; all of these are in some sense founded on number. Fludd's metaphysics postulates a complex and all-embracing correspondence between the world of spirits and the physical world; this entailed opposition to Copernicanism. For Fludd the sun, source of heat, light, and spirit, goes round the earth and vivifies it, just as the Holy Spirit vivifies man." [Oxford DNB].

    Though the first title page is unchanged and has 1617 as the printing date, it has been widely accepted that the first volume was reissued with some corrections to accompany the stated 'second edition' of volume two.

    VD17 1:045409G  & VD17 1:649914H (title page variant with figures on architectural surround at top).Craven,Fludd, p243-4. Shaaber 163. BL 17th German F549. Krivatsy 4144. Caillet 4042. Duveen 222. Neu 1453.  Osler 2621-22. Partington II,325. Casanetense 478. Gardner Astrologica 412. Gardner, Rosicruciana,217-218. Graesse, Magica,113. Young 115. Smith & De Morgan 614.Wellcome 2324. WŸthrich II, 66. Mellon 83.Ferguson I, 283. Houzeau/Lancaster I, 2925 & 2966. Neville I,458.Cantamessa I,1538. Occult, Science, Medicine,Technology, Geomancy. Music. Military. Architecture. Rosicrucian. Alchemy. Chemistry. Illustrated. Weather. Cosmology. Magic. Neo-Platonism. Memory. Mathematics. Art. Astronomy. Astrology.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,276

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Aug 5, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 December 9 - 10 Books Signature Auction.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The resulting auction of my property overwhelmed me. I want to thank Tom Slater and the Heritage team for a very satisfactory experience and profitable result with my historical consignment.
    Henry L.,
    Lexington, KY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search