Other French Chiromancies and Chiromancers

In addition to the writings of Taisnier, two other French chiromancies are known from the sixteenth century, from the hand of Du Moulin and J Geber, published in Paris in 1556 and 1557 respectively.  Both of these works are treatises which consider chiromancy in conjunction with physiognomy. Gettings suggests that the work by Antoine Du Moulin is actually a translation of John Indagine's text into French, which is plausible since this also was first done in 1556.

By the seventeenth century, chiromantic texts are becoming increasingly popular in France and we find that many more works on the subject are being written from all quarters and in all parts of France. A work by the French author Taxil on physiognomy, chiromancy and metoposcopy came out in 1614 and a further French chiromancy, only known to us now in manuscript form and kept in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, is to be found in a work written by a certain Maurice Froger in 1622. Froger was a physician from Montpelier and the chiromancy was included in a larger work on physiognomy. Other sections included were writings on metoposcopy and the interpretation of dreams.

We can see in these writings the continuing trend of associating chiromancy with physiognomy. Moreover, an early seventeenth century text by one G Raguseius shows the continuing importance of astrology in the study of chiromancy. His 'Epistolarum Mathematicarum sev de Diviniatiore' was published at Paris in 1620. This was a Latin work encompassing such diverse subjects as geomancy, cabala and magic, as well as chiromancy, astrology and physiognomy. The chiromancy occupies a small chapter in the middle of the book and Raguseius makes much of the discussion about the location of the planets in the hand, as disputed by Tibertus and Cardan on the one side and Cocles, Tricasso, Taisnier and Indagine on the other.

Though he spent much of his life in Italy and is remembered chiefly for his writings on metoposcopy and physiognomy, Filippo Finella also wrote a short chiromancy in his Latin physiognomical work 'De Planetaria Naturali Phisionomia' published at Naples in 1649. The chapter on the hand covers some sixteen pages and includes a discussion of astrological rulerships of the mounts and fingers as well as discussing various line formations such as the triangle and the quadrangle. Finella also wrote a short treatise on divination from the different markings that can be found on the nails in his 'De Quartor Signis apparet in unguibus Manuum'.

A work on chiromancy was also included in the writings of the French physician Jean Freyus (d.1631), who was one-time physician to the queen mother of France. His work 'Omnis Homo item Physiognomia, Chiromantia, Oneiromantia ad Philosophorum et Medicorum Mentem' was printed at Paris in 1630.

Le Sieur de Peruchio wrote a treatise on chiromancy in a work entitled 'La Chiromance, la Physiognomie et la Geomance', published in Paris in 1663. All three subjects were studied from the point of view of their relation to astrology, especially the chiromancy, which otherwise shows the usual preoccupations with the lineal marks of wounds, death, imprisonment, sex, prostitution and riches. Gettings suggests this work is a translation of the chiromancy of Patritio Tricasso, though it cannot have been the first translation of the Italian since at least one extant French version of his work dates from 1522. However, since the style and content of Peruchio's chiromancy is very similar to that of Jean Belot, and shows an equal interest in the manifestation of the signs of the zodiac in the hand and the meaning of 'sacred letters' as formed by the lines, we might more readily suppose a more direct influence from his fellow countryman. Illustration from Peruchio's 'La Chiromancie, la Physiognomie et la Geomance'

Other French works from this period include the astrological chiromancy of Ronphile (or Rampalle, since Ronphile justs signs himself as the translator) 'La Chiromancie Naturelle' published at Lyon in 1653 and De L'Ancre included a short treatise on chiromancy in his 'L'Incredulite et Mescreances' of 1662. 'La Chiromancie Royale et Nouvelle' by Adrien Sicler, published at Lyon in 1666 attempts to present a new and more organic approach to the study of the lines of the hands, arguing that different lines should be combined together to ascertain their meaning and significance. However, it seems he does not follow the advice of his own teaching as he soon reverts back to the usual methodology of looking for specific marks and line formations! Nevertheless, Sicler seems to have held some sway and influence in his time, for the book is dedicated to the Archbishop of Lyon and contains an approbation from a doctor of the Faculty of Paris.


Back to Top