Gillis-Hogan (2016 Congress)

Samuel Gillis–Hogan
(University of Saskatechewan)

“Stars in the Hand:
The Infusion of Astrology in Chiromancy”

Abstract of Paper
Presented at the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, 2016)

Session on
“Magic on the Page:  Transmission and Representation of Magic”
Sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
and the Societas Magica

Organized by László Sándor Chardonnens
2016 Congress Program and 2016 Congress Program

[Published on 27 April 2016, with an update]

Based on the crude and simplistic nature of the earliest manuscript as well as other circumstantial evidence, Charles Burnett has suggested that Chiromancy derived from popular traditions and was taken up by learned writers starting in the 12th century (“The Earliest Chiromancy in the West,” 191). By the later middle ages chiromancy had become a complex learned system. As a result, the study of this art gives us the unusual opportunity to examine the development of learned divinatory method.

One aspect of this development is the infusion of astrology. This paper will explore this aspect of chiromancy’s history through a survey of British manuscripts from the twelfth-century Eadwine Psalter to the fifteenth century.



Charles S. F. Burnett, “The Earliest Chiromancy in the West,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 50 (1987): 189–195,
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One thought on “Gillis-Hogan (2016 Congress)

  1. Mildred Budny says:

    The 2016 Congress Report illustrates the discussion following the papers of this Session.