Cornelius Gemma's De Natvr' Divinis Characterismis was a widely read illustrated work on prodigies and other marvels of nature, including observations and illustrations of monsters, comets, and mineralogical specimens. This first edition includes three woodcut star charts, several depictions of contellations and related astronomical phenomena. This edition is bound in early Flemish cat's paw calf, raised bands on spine, tooled with floral motifs, and title label pasted on.
The work develops, according to L. Thorndike, “a cosmocritical art which was to scrutinize not only the occult virtues and causes of bodies and singular affections, but also the critical mutations of things which occur in the triple world, and more especially was to forecast from these events which are divinely proffered contrary to the usual run of nature, such as prodigies, monsters and dreams. Gemma felt that he was the first to develop this particular field, although he recognized that his treatise belonged in the same general category as that of Fracostoro on the sympathy and antipathy of things, that of Fernael on the hidden causes of things, that of Levinus Lemnius on occult miracles of nature, that of Pomponazzi on incantations, and that of Peucer on divination.” Thorndike L., A history of magic and experimental science. Vol. VI. pp. 406-7.
Gemma, Cornelius (1575-1578). De naturae divinis characterismis; seu raris & admirandis spectaculis, causis, indiciis, proprietatibus rerum in partibus singulis universi, Libri II, 1575.