Thurneisser’s “Astrolabium”


The Archidoxa (1569), a collection of astrological ideas and predictions, is one of the most famous works of Leonhard Thurneisser (or Thurneysser, circa 1530−96), a scholar with broad scientific knowledge, whose involvement in alchemy brought denunciation from some fellow scientists. As an addition to Archidoxa, in 1575 Thurneisser published the Astrolabium. The astrolabe had revolving discs showing constellations and other features of the heavens that were meant to determine the course of the planets and their influences. In theory, it enabled the user to predict his fate or natural disasters. This book was used to create individual horoscopes with the aid of volvelles (wheel charts). The engraving of the work has been attributed to Peter Hille. Each leaf has a large horoscopic diagram as its central feature, surrounded by detailed and intricate decoration featuring the attributes and chemical equipment of Thurnneisser's principal enterprise, with two shields on either side at the head of the diagram featuring figures related to the planet involved—with this last exception all sheets are alike. The entire display is headed by boxed explanatory text. Each of the hand-colored plates in the work contains a different constellation and Des Menschen Cirkel und Lauff (Man's circle of life) with up to six wheel charts depicting the fixed stars and a Baum des Lebens (Tree of life).

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information



Title in Original Language



Type of Item


  1. Getty Research Institute, record for Dess Menschen Circkel und Lauff; Dess Saturni Circkel und Lauff; Dess Jupiters Circkel und Lauff; Dess Martis Circkel und Lauff; Der Sonnen Circkel und Lauff; Der Veneris Circkel und Lauff; Dess Mercurii Circkel und Lauff; Dess Mons Circkel und Lauff,

Last updated: July 8, 2015