“One of the most widely read texts of the High Middle Ages or even the most-read”. 

659J. Aristotle (pseudo) Tr  Johannes Lorchner.  Rāzī, Muḥammad ibn Zakarīyā Abū Bakr al-; (864?-925?).

Das aller edlest und bewertest Regiment der gesundtheyt, Auch von allen verßorgen Künsten un[d] Königklichen Regimenten Aristotelis. Das er dem Großmechtigen König Alexandro zůgeschrieben hatt. Auß Arabischer Sprach durch Meister Philipsen, dem Bischoff Vonn Valentia, der Stadt Jerapolis, In das latein verwandelt, Nachmals auß dem latein in das Teütsch gebracht, Bey Doctor Johann Lorchner zů Spalt (So beyder Keyser Frydrichs un[d] Maximilians Loeblicher gedechtnuß Rath un[d] Mathematicus gewesen) nach seinem tod geschribe[n] gefunden zůauffenthaltung un[d] Fristung yn gesundtheit menschlichem lebenn zů gůtt, Durch Johann Besolt in Truck verordnet.

[The Place of publication not identified (but mmostlikely Augsburg by  H. Steiner], 1530.     

Price $12,500

 Quarto 20 x 15cm   The Signatures:are  A-M⁴ N². This is the First German edition translated by Johannes Lorchner and edited by Johann Besolt. With large woodcut title Of Aristotle offering Alexandder this book.  The , Title page has dense contemporary annotations, first and last few pages somewhat waterstained, large woodcut portrait of Alexander the Great on the back of the title page Woodcut on the  title and woodcut portrait by Jörg Breu, and 2 further woodcuts. Bound in Modern half vellum with label on spine (somewhat stained, slightly discolored in the margins). 

The Secretum Secretorum is :

“One of the most widely read texts of the High Middle Ages or even the most-read”.  

‘Abd ar-Raḥmān, Badawī (1987). La transmission de la philosophie grecque au monde arabe.” 

A picture containing text, book

Description automatically generated.jpegMany Medieval readers took the ascription to Aristotle as authentic and treated this work among Aristotle’s genuine works. Including Roger Bacon. And yet No Greek original exists, though there are claims in the Arabic treatise that it was translated from the Greek into Syriac and from Syriac into Arabic by a well-known 9th century translator, Yahya ibn al-Bitriq. It appears, however, that the treatise was actually composed originally in Arabic. 

The treatise referred to in Latin as the Secretum Secretorum  is like many examples of Medieval literature, the text is a rather fluid object and requires more than a bit of investigation to determine what it exactly is. 

 Much of this text takes the form of a pseudoepigraphical epistle supposedly from Aristotle to Alexander the Great during his campaigns in Persia.  The other parts of the text are much like the aphorisms and fragments of the humors is to probe all of Western medicine, starting with the ancient physicians Hippocrates and Galen, the Persian Hunayn ibn-Is’haq,.  

It is generally assumed that the text of origin, or the founding text was composed in Arabic.   The Arabic treatise, called “Kitab sirr al-asrar” discussing a wide range of topics, including statecraft, ethics, physiognomy, astrology, alchemy, magic, and medicine is preserved in two versions: a longer 10-book version and a shorter version of 7 or 8 books, the latter is preserved in about 50 copies.   The first Latin translation of a part of the work was made for the Portuguese queen c. 1120 by the converso John of Seville.  The second translation, this time of the whole work, was done at Antioch c. 1232 by the canon Philip of Tripoli for Bishop Guy of Tripoli. Some 13th-century editions include additional sections.

The First Latin translation was issued in 12th century based on a 10th century Arabic encyclopedic treatise called “Kitab sirr al-asrar” discussing a wide range of topics, including statecraft, ethics, physiognomy, astrology, alchemy, magic, and medicine. Translated from Latin perhaps that of Philip of Tripoli  into German by Johann Lorchner.  Edited by Besolt.   

As of present there are accepted forty genuine Aristotelian works known in Latin or vernacular versions during the Middle Ages. Add to this there there were more than a hundred other works attributed to the master at some time during the same centuries.  Which are now considered spurious. Of these the Secretum Secretorum. Exerted immense influence and  had the widest disemination from the tenth  and continued to extend influence medicine in to the seventeenth century.  

The first appearance of the work in a published edition of the Secretis Secretorum occurs in the 1501 edition prinred by Hector Bononiae 

The Secretum Secretorum, an enormous and enormously influential guidebook cum encyclopedia throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance-five hundred manuscripts of Latin versions alone survive -presents formidable challenges to prospective editors. In the present volume, a work of many years, Professor Manzalaoui undertakes to make available several previously unedited Middle English versions of the Secretum, plus a few later translations and the text of the precise French source of one of the fragmentary English renderings necessary guidance to the perplexed reader in his Introduction, which is divided into several sections. First, he describes the two main Arabic recensions, and explains that the Shorter (and older) Recension, a “Mirror for Princes” ostensibly written by Aristotle for Alexander the Great, was “turned into an encyclopedic manual by the addition of a layer of scientific and occult material” (pp. x-xi).  


VD16; A3627; Simon, A.L. Bib. bacchica,; II, 415; Index Aureliensis; 107.911; Riley, L. Aristotle texts and commentaries in Univ. of Pennsylvania Libraries,; 237