he Bibliotheca Valenciana contains translations of three of Jerónimo Cortez’s great works: the Non Plus Ultra Do Lunario, the Physiognomy and Various Secrets of Nature, and the Treatise of the Animals, presented and compiled for the first time into one English language volume.
Coming out of the Spanish 17th century, little is known about Cortez himself, though his impact on the newly created and emergent Iberian middle classes broke with the centuries-old academic establishment previously monopolised by the wealthy, educated nobility and of course by the priests who served the masses. By offering the historically underprivileged knowledge of the stars, the land, and of their own bodies, Cortez’s books quickly placed themselves in a revolutionary cultural crossroads from where they would influence local folklore, folk magic, and the grimoires of later centuries, such as the literary continuum of the Iberian Books of St. Cyprian. Today Cortez’s works not only have value as historical documents, but also as a powerful, rich and broad bridge offering access to the way our ancestors thought about and acted upon the world in which they lived, no longer in the role of passive victims of destiny, but as active directors of their reality.
The Lunario is an early almanac, full of astrological and astronomical information, prognostications of the weather, descriptions of the various winds, information on bloodlettings, and includes remedies for a variety of conditions such as windy inflammation, gout, cataracts, and mange.