PRIMUM MOBILE - Placidus de Titus + Cooper, 1st 1814 - ASTROLOGY, DIVINATION
PRIMUM MOBILE, WITH THESES TO THE THEORY, AND CANONS FOR PRACTICE; WHEREIN IS DEMONSTRATED, FROM ASTRONOMICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES, THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF CELESTIAL INFLUX UPON THE MENTAL FACULTIES AND CORPOREAL AFFECTIONS OF MAN; CONTAINING THE MOST RATIONAL AND BEST APPROVED MODES OF DIRECTION, BOTH IN ZODIAC AND MUNDO: EXEMPLIFIED IN THIRTY REMARKABLE NATIVITIES OF THE MOST EMINENT MEN IN EUROPE, ACCORDING TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE AUTHOR, LAID DOWN IN HIS "CELESTIAL PHILOSOPHY."
Book Details + Condition: Davis and Dickson (London, UK). First Edition thus, 1814. Hardcover. 462 pages. Extremely scarce. Beautifully rebound with three-quarters leather binding and marbled covers. Volume originally written by 17th-century Perugian monk and astronomer Placidus de Titus, and "translated" here in a first edition by mathematics teacher John Cooper, on the subjects of astronomy and astrology. Cooper has also added 30 natal charts of the "most eminent men in Europe." Illustrated with diagrams and charts throughout. A solid and clean copy of an extremely scarce work, with firm binding; light wear to boards; interior is clean and free of markings. Please read below about the fantastical, curious tale of this rare work's genesis.
From Astrolearn.com [https://www.astrolearn.com/astrology-articles/primummobileintrigue/]: An [anonymous] J.B. claims himself to have been the actual translator of ‘Tabulae Primi Mobilis’, whose translation was hand-copied from him (with his permission, for private use only) by a Benjamin Bishop. Manoah Sibly [younger brother of the famous Ebenezer Sibl(e)y], J.B. claims, then sent a friend of his round to borrow the hand-copy from Benjamin Bishop, and this friend of M. Sibly in turn copied the copy, and gave it to M. Sibly to publish. This is clearly why when John Cooper published his own revision of the Sibly-published translation in 1814 under the changed title of ‘Primum Mobile’ he drew allusion to the bizarre chain of events surrounding the original printing of the aforesaid in 1789. I’ve previously observed that Cooper’s translation is almost a word-for-word copy of what I had believed to be Sibly’s but which clearly was in fact the work for the most part of the anonymous J. B.. Cooper himself took false credit for the translation in 1814 just as Sibly apparently did before him in 1789. However, one of Cooper’s claims is supported by the letter of the true translator in ‘The Astrologer’s Magazine’ in 1793…
Anyone reading the introduction by Cooper to his 1814 publication of ‘Primum Mobile’ should be left in no doubt that Cooper is falsely claiming credit for the translation itself, when on close inspection by comparison with Sibly’s transcription of [the anonymous] J.B.’s translation it is apparent that the two are almost identical. It appears from J.B.’s letter that he himself had purchased the copy of the Latin original of the Tabulae Primi Mobilis whose provenance he traces through various notables including Sir Edmund Halley. The final question remaining to me here is whether or not J.B. himself was the translator of his own translation. He states at one point early in the letter to the Astrologer’s Magazine that the translation in his possession was one that he had ’caused to be done from the Latin’. Unless this was a manner of speaking for politeness’s sake so as not to appear overly boastful, is J.B. not implying here that he had commissioned another translator to prepare his translation privately for him? Whatever the case may be, J.B. is in no doubts that he owned the rights to the translation, and is clearly incensed with Manoah Sibly for having published a third-hand manuscript copy of it without his permission.