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Planetary volvelle for Mercury, Germany, 1574-1575

A volvelle is a series of movable discs used to calculate the position and phases of the planets or the rising and setting of the Sun. This volvelle is used to calculate the position of Mercury in the period 1575-1580. Astrology was important for some medical traditions such as Paracelsian medicine. It was believed that the planets could influence the body and the humours. It was also believed that the positioning of the planets could determine the most opportune time for treatment.

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    Glossary: volvelle

    Use for any of various reckoning devices consisting of movable discs surmounted by or carrying other graduated or figured circles for calculating, for example, phases of the moon, the time of the rising or setting sun, or the times of the tides; usually made of paper, cardboard, or vellum and often found preprinted in or attached to manuscripts or books of the 13th to the 16th century.

    Glossary: astrology

    The study of the stars, moon, and planets, interpreted as having an affect on everyday life.