Hiro Hirai deposited “Images, Talismans and Medicine in Gaffarel” in: Jacques Gaffarel between Magic and Science (Rome: Serra, 2014), 73-84. on Humanities Commons 4 years ago
In 1629, a strange treatise, entitled “Curiositez inouyes,” or, “Unheard-of Curiosities,” was published in Paris. Its author was Jacques Gaffarel, a French orientalist and a friend of atomist Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655). This work of over six hundred pages in octavo was devoted to the astrology, horoscope and talismans of the Orientals, that is, the “Eastern” Peoples. Originally written in French, it was more widely diffused after being translated into English in 1650 and into Latin in 1676. Its success lasted at least until the early eighteenth century, the dawn of the era of the Enlightenment. In this article I will focus on the second part of his treatise, which is the longest section and which establishes the theoretical foundation of Gaffarel’s science of figures and images. Through this analysis I wish to explore his ideas on the power of images to operate and their eventual relationship with the medical current of his time.