Charles Burnett discusses two divinatory texts, on chiromancy
and onomancy, part of the original text and perhaps the earliest surviving ones of their kind in the West.
The author's observation that the relatively few works on moral philosophy mostly go back to Greek originals, as opposed to works in the pseudo-sciences, many of which come from Arabic, seems to be valid, although his characterization of subjects such as alchemy, astrology, physiognomy, and chiromancy
as "so central to medieval Muslim culture" could be questioned.
270, 'Here we would do well to remember that Picasso had recently spent several weeks cooped up with a man who was a part-time fortune-teller; and that this fortune teller had taught him the rudiments of astrology, chiromancy
and the Tarot.'
Several sections of the work are of particular interest: Le Baillif's lengthy dedication to Louis de Rohan, in which he delivers a scathing attack on the ignorance and envy of the Galenic physicians, his discussion of magic and its relation to medicine, and his brief Latin treatise on chiromancy
. As indicated above, the bulk of the book consists of the aphorisms in Latin and French.
But Balbiani sees the work of the twenty-three-year-old Della Porta as both plan for the 1589 Magia and foundation of the lifelong investigation which produced seventeen other volumes on physiognomy, cryptography, mnemonics, botany, chiromancy
, astronomy, hydraulics, optics, ballistics, alchemy, mathematics.