Epitomia Chyromantico

A fifth Italian chiromancer of this period was Patritio Tricasso of Cerasasi (b.1491). Tricasso lived in Padua during the early part of the sixteenth century and was a firm disciple of Cocles, producing a revised version of Cocles' 'Anastasis', printed in Venice in 1525. Whilst acknowledging his indebtedness to Cocles where it was due, he was also critical of Cocles, especially for being too violent in his invective against earlier chiromancers.

His own'Epitomia Chyromantico' was translated into French and published in Paris in 1546 and follows the usual format of outlining the astrological principles necessary for interpreting the hand followed by an extensive consideration of the meaning of specific marks and signs in the hand. The ninety-five pages of the French edition of the book contain fifty odd drawings of hands with all manner of strange marks and lineations, along with lists of 'this mark means this' type explanations. This not only includes the significance of the location of such signs as stars, crosses and circles, but also covers the meaning of various letters to be found in the hand! Needless to say, some of the interpretations are also equally bizarre. For example, the presence of the letter G on the mount beneath the little finger shows a man who loves young girls!

As with other texts from this period, there is also a detailed consideration of the markings that can be found within the lines as well. However, differences in the interpretation of these markings are obvious; Tricasso finds that an island located at the beginning of the Mensal line is an indication of incest rather than venereal disease, as Corvus had informed us. However, Tricasso does agree with Corvus as to the astrological rulerships of the different parts of the hand; the fingers are labelled Mercury, Sun, Saturn and Jupite, and Venus has dominion over the ball of the thumb. In common with most other authors, the Moon rules the hypothenar area of the hand whilst Mars is allocated to the middle of the palm, in the area demarcated by the three lines that form the Great Triangle.

Tricasso wrote at least four works of his own during the 1530's, including works on geomancy and the interpretation of dreams and he became widely read throughout Europe. By the middle of the sixteenth century, a pattern is beginning to emerge and a more or less standardised approach to the hand is being adopted. But if Italy is where astrological chiromancy had its germination, is was to be in France that it was to have its flowering.

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