“…the trewest and most likely and manifest token of an ensueing dearth and barrenness is the evell and the bloody warres caused through ambition.

When he entered the patronage of Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton, John Florio published a pamphlet that very few scholars have mentioned and none ever analysed: Perpetual and Natural Prognostication of the Change of Weather.

The earliest edition of this work was licensed to both John Wolfe and Edward White in 1591. Defined “the most sensible of all the prognostications almanacks,”1 it is a collection of old sayings drawn from many sources, modern and classical writers, and gives the signs of rain, storms and wind, of fair weather, earthquakes, plenty, abundance, from the movement of animals, clouds, rainbow, eclipses, comets, many of which are common sayings even today. It is a sort of sixteenth-century version of the Farmer’s Almanac and claimed to draw upon the accumulated wisdom of Cato, Aristotle, Virgil, Plato, Agrippa, and “many others.”


In the Elizabethan period, short-term changes in climate had greater importance than medium to long-terms ones. It is not mere chance that most documented accounts of Early modern Europe contain observation about the weather rather than about the climate.

Professor of Early Modern Studies at Clermont Auvergne University, France, Sophie Chiari explains that:

“Most of Shakespeare’s contemporaries were essentially concerned by the immediate present because their lives depended upon it, leading them to assuage their fears by seeking to predict the weather and play down its possibly negative effects, thus following a long tradition dating back to antiquity – an attitude which Luther had firmly condemned (like all the traditional beliefs in calendar divination, prophecies and supernatural protections against bad weather) but which persisted well into the seventeenth century.”

Chiari, Sophie, Shakespeare’s representation of weather, The early modern “fated sky”, Edinburgh University Press, 2019.

Consequently, prophecies and auguries soon became all the rage and cheap publications like almanacs, which attracted a wide range of readers, began to flood the book market. John Florio was shrew enough to understand that this subject had high appeal among the English readers, and published this small but vivid and entertaining almanack which contains various tokens of foul, fair and calm weather, and it is not surprising that it was so successful that got a reprint in 1598.

John Florio had particular interest in prognostications and signs from the climate and weather. In Giardino di Ricreatione it is possible to find many proverbs about seasons. In Queen Anna’s New World of Words he wrote:

Ecnéphiaa kind of prodigious storme comming in Sommer with furious flashings, the firmament seeming to open and burne, as hapned when the Earle of Essex parted from London to goe for Ireland.

Thiphónea kind of prodigious storme or tempest comixt with flashes and lightnings of fire, the firmament seeming to open, some say it is a blazing star resembling fire, plated or twisted in maner of a wreath very grimme and hideous to looke on.

Florio, John, Queen Anna’s New World of Words, Or DICTIONARIE of the Italian and English tongues, Collected, and newly much augmented by Iohn Florio, Reader of the Italian vnto the Soueraigne Maiestie of ANNA, bCrowned Queene of EnglandScotlandFrance and Ireland, &c. And one of the Gentlemen of hir Royall Priuie Chamber. Whereunto are added certaine necessarie rules and short obseruations for the Italian tongue. LONDON, Printed by Melch. Bradwood, for Edw. Blount and William Barret. Anno 1611.

Florio regarded clima or ‘climate’ as ‘the dividing of heaven and earth, a clime,’ a definition echoed in Randle Cotgrave’s Dictionarie of French and English Tongues where climate is defined as ‘a division in the skie, or portion of the world, beweene South and North.’

[Image: A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues Randle Cotgrave (ca. 1569-1634?) London: Printed by Adam Islip, 1611 First edition PC2640 A2 C7 1611 oversize]


This work is important to understand Florio’s writing method and his approach toward the book market.

It is similar to another work he published the same year: Giardino di Ricreatione. Largely known as the greatest collection of Italian proverbs published in England at the time, Giardino is, in reality, a very fine collection of not just proverbs, but of witty sayings and quotes; a little encyclopaedia of the best fine sayings and witty comments which the author found most amusing. It is not a mere paremiological collection, but a linguistic notebook in which Florio collected phrases, thoughts, considerations, which struck him in his readings of Italian authors.

Finding some amusing sayings and thoughts that appealed to him, he proceeded to alter them, giving them rhythm or a rhyme, probably as a literary exercise. There are phrases, rhetorical questions, witty statements, august indignations, that give the tone and the colour to the collection, and show Florio’s creativity which confirms that he re-wrote most of them through a process of re-creation.

Perpetual, like Giardino, collects divers witty sayings and quotes in alphabetical order, translated from ancient Italian and Latin writers, this time concerning the topic of prognostications and weather.

Ornamental banner on the title page of Perpetual and Natural Prognostications of the change of weather. (1591)


In the title, the author also added: “Translated out of Italian,” which could suggest that there’s an original work in Italian, but Florio’s translating process was not a linear one. There is, in fact, no original work in Italian, which means that Florio didn’t have any original Italian work at hand, but drew from many Italian and Latin sources, which he translated and re-wrote for the English readers. This writing process follows closely another minor and less-known work written by the Anglo-Italian when he was employed as tutor and secretary at the French Embassy: A letter lately written from Rome (1585). Originally titled A Letter Lately Written from Rome, by an Italian Gentleman, to a Freende of His in Lyons in Fraunce, and signed I.F., it was written in 1585 when Florio began a pioneering job as translator of news from the world as novels.

Both Miss Yates 2 and Dr. Boklund 3 underlined that no Italian original of A Letter lately written from Rome exists, and concluded that the book was not really a translation, as the misleading title might suggests, but it was written or at least compiled by Florio himself.

This is also the case of Perpetual, in which Florio didn’t translate any Italian work, but drew from as many sources as possible, in different languages, translated and re-wrote them in English, “for the common good of all men.”

Another interesting note is the way Florio decided to sign this work: I.F. Until then, Florio had signed his works as either Giovanni Florio, Iohannes Florius, or John Florio. In 1591 he added the pen name “Resolute” and signed his Second Fruits as Resolute I.F. This work does not contain any indication of the author in the dedication or other pages; the author, therefore, didn’t want to be recognised.

However, today, most of Florio’s scholars attribute this pamphlet to him. 4

The fine sayings and mottos are divided in fifteen different chapters and subjects. Some examples are:

Some sayings from Chapter I, “Signes and tokens signifying raine“:

“The appearing of Rainbowe in any cleare and faire weather, is a token of raine presently to follow.”

“If the Rainbowe appeare toward the South it is a manifest token of great froze of water to be in the aire which doth predominate the southerne parts”

“The greater the rainbowe is, the greater froze of raine it doth signifie.”

“If cats do lick their forefeet and with them they wash their head it is a sign of rain”

“If oxen do lick themselves against the hair it is a token of rain to follow shortly after.”

A 20.

“If the skye be more full of stars then ordinary, it is a token of raine to follow shortly after.”

“If doves or pigeons come later home to their Dove houses in the evening then ordinary it is a token of raine.”

“If crownes or Ravens flie together in great number, and then they croake and flutter their winges, it will rayne shortly after.”


“Clouds appearing on the toppes of mountains or high places foretel great waters.”


Some sayings from Chapter II, “Signe of Storme and Winde“:

“If any small cloudes appeare in a faire and cleare weather, it is a sign of great winds to follow.”

“If a lampe or other light sparkle, it is a foretell of ensuing winds.”

“If there be any red signe in the sun or moone, wind will follow.”

“If any starres be seene to runne or fal in the sky like darts, leaving a taile, it is a signe of winds.”


Some sayings from Chapter III, “Signes and tokens of faire weather.”

“If any clouds in the aire be seene to decline downward, it is a signe of faire weather.”

“If sheepe or goats bee seene to ioine and couple together late or in an evening, iti s a token of fair weather.”

“If the Sunne rise or set cleare without any cloud, it is a token of fair weather.”

“The skye being red in an evening, foretels the next morning to bee fayre.”

If oxen be seen to lye upon the left side, it is a token of fair weather.

“The appearing of the white circle called halo about the moon in the form of a crowne, foretels faire weather to come.”

Some sayings from Chapter IV, “Signes of foul and stormy weather.”

“If asses shake their eares, it is a token of some foule weather to bee at hand.”

“If dogs lye upon their right side, it is a token of that foule and stormy weather will follow very shortly.”

“If the wolves do houle extraordinarily, or come into corne fieldes or meadowes it is a signe of foule weather.”

“When oxen lick their forefeet it is a manifest token of some foule weather to follow.”

“If the moon rise or appeare with two or three blem or black circles about it, it is an evident token of stormy weather.”

“The chirping of sparrowes in the morning, foretelleth foule weather.”

“The blustering noise of leaves and trees in winds, is a token of very foule weather.”

“If the sky be overcast with clouds, and that the sun do rise, and the beames thereof be seene to pierce through them, it is a token of foule weather.”

“If stares do flye together in any great number in the morning, and that afterward they returne back so, it is a signe of some foule and blustering weather to follow.”

“If in the beginning of winter small birds doe flocke together in the fields, it is a token of long foule weather.”

Some sayings from Chapter V, “Signes of heat and hote weather.”

“If ravens or Crownes bee seene to stand gaping towards the Sunne, it is a manifest signe of extreme heate to follow.”

“If small flyes, bites, or gnats do flye, flocke and play together in great heapes before sunneset, it is a token of hot weather.”

Some sayings from Chapter VI, “Signes of cold and frosty weather.”

“If the moone be blackish, and darke, and thicke, it signifies winter and very cold.”

“If in winter the clowdes bee white, it is a signe of long and extreame cold weather.”

Some sayings from Chapter VII, “Signes of snow.”

“If the aire of our Region be faint and warme, it is a sign of snowe to follow shortly.”

“If in Winter the cloudes be whitish it is a signe of snowe at hand.”

Some sayings from Chapter VIII, “Signes of Ise and Frost.”

“If starres do sparckle in Winter, it is a token of a hard frost.”

“If old men or any other being troubled with the gout, the quartane ague, or have any aches in their bones, and that in cold weather they bee troubled or feele any alteration in them, it is a signe of ensuing frost.”

Some sayings from Chapter X, “Signes of stormes and tempests.”

“If plumtrees be fertile and forward, it is a token of storms and tempests.”

“If any comets or blasing starres appeare, it is a signe of tempest.”

“The sweating of men’s feet is a sign of chaunge of weather in the north, or of great cloudes and storms.”

“If in summer time the cloudes bee pale and white, it is an evident token of furious, storme, and tempestuous weather.”

“If the winde blowe hard in the South, and presently chaunge to teh North, it is a token of a very great tempest, namely upon the Seas.”

Some sayings from Chapter XI, “Signes of Lightining.”

“Lightining is a part of the air moved and stirred up with the force of the fiery and shining spheare.”

“If starres be seene to move and fall in great numbers, it is a signe that will lighten very shortlye after.”


Some sayings from Chapter XII, “Signes of thunderbolts or claps.”

“If the fire be seene to sparckle extraordinarily, and the coles to raise and make the ashes swell, it is a signe of saine thunderbolt.”

Some sayings from Chapter XIII, “Signes of thunder.”

“Thunder is a violent sounde, and motion of it selfe, running with his owne force in the air.”

“If the rainbowe appeare in the West, it is a token of thunder.”

“If fire send foorth many sparckling sparkes, it is a signe of thunder.”

Some sayings from Chapter XIV, “Signes of earthquakes.”

“If any Region or Countrey shall be obscured and darkened by the shadow or darekenesse of any eclipsed planet, it is great likelyhoode that some Earthquake will follow, and much the more if the shadow or darkenesse be the greater.”

“If any cloud bee seene red and fiery, and to pierce the aire in the forme of a piller, it is a manifest token of some earthquake.”

Some sayings from Chapter XV, “Of Comets or blazing starres.”

“A comet is a foresigne of Earthquakes, of warres, of alteration of kingdomes and great states, of the fal and death of great men and Princes, and also of beasts of hot and moist complexions, of plague and famine, and especially it threatens those Princes and greate Men which are subicate to the climate where the Comet appeareth.”

What time soever a comet doeth appear it is very dangerous a whole year after.

“A comet is no starre, but is created by a hot and drie exhalation and is an evident token of a corrupted ayre. and therefore comets are as it were forerunners of destruction and corruption of earthly things and signifie great tempests and stormy winds to follow.” – I.F. Ciiii

And the book ends with this truism, which everyone must agree with:

“The trewest and most likely and manifest token of an ensueing dearth and barrenness is the evell and the bloody warres caused through ambition of unsatiate and greedye Tyrantes, by their instruments, the licentious, mercilesse, and covetous souldiers, who neither regarding succedying wante, nor any Christianlike motion, kill and laughly wast all sorts of Cattles, spoile, and fondly consume what Comesoever they can lay handes upon, never regarding to keepe anye seede for a newe peare, subverting houses, burning Townes, appressing or imprisoning all sortes of persons, of what sexe soever, to the great heartes greefe and undooing of all men.”


The book also contains the page “To the gentle reader”, unsigned, which can be read below:

Know curteous Reader that even as the earth doth not produce in all places alyke, so the heaven is not of one selfe same force & operation in every place, thou must therfore ever referre the iudgement of all these advertisements, & of the constitution of the air only to the horizon, where these foresaid signes shall appeare. Then are the signes most certain when many of them doe concur together in one: But if thou wilt live free from all troubles and wordlye cares, arme thy selfe with an undanted courage never to feare death, which will bee very easie for thee to do, if with a lively and constant faith thou shalt embrace Christ Iesus our Lord, & unfainedly love thy neighbor as thy selfe.


The book ends with a list of authors John Florio consulted for his work. This new list of sources contains many authors not mentioned by Florio in his later works. However, he does not mention them all, but gives a brief and short list of the most cited by adding, in the end, “And many others.” Despite the small work, Florio had consulted as a wide range of authors as possible.  The breadth of his sources is exceptional; they span diverse eras, countries, and genres.

This list of authors must be added to the list of 340 books he owned in his library and cited in his testament.

The names of the Authors from which these signes are collected, besides the experience that hath beene made of them by many ancient & late shepheards, and other men.

  • Albategni
  • Alexander Aphrodis
  • Antonius Mizaldus
  • Aratus
  • Aristotle
  • Avicenna
  • Becia Angelus Saxus
  • Claudius Tolomeus
  • Cornelius Agrippa
  • Cornelius Celsus
  • Columella
  • Galenus
  • Gulielmus Grat
  • Hesiodus
  • Hipocrates
  • Ioachimus Camerarius
  • Macrobius
  • Manilius
  • Marcus Cato
  • Mesue
  • Ovidius
  • Plato
  • Plinius
  • Proclus
  • Rasin
  • Temistro
  • Theofastem
  • Varro
  • Virgilius

I procceded to do a research of the authors mentioned by Florio, which can be read below, to have an exact comprehension of the sources he used. I want to point out that Florio gave only the names of the authors and not the works he consulted. Some of the books Florio conlsuted are easy to guess, since the author mentioned published only one work. In other cases, I suggest the most likely books and version he might have consulted and owned.

Al-Battānī (other names include AlbategniusAlbategni and Albatenius) was an Arab astronomer, astrologer and mathematician. He is considered an important astronomer and mathematician of the Islamic Golden Age. The book owned by John Florio was most likely De motu stellarum, the Latin translation of Kitāb al-zīğ al-ṣābiʾ (in Arabic: كتاب الزيج ﺍﻟصابیء).‎

Alexander of Aphrodisias  was a Peripatetic philosopher and the most celebrated of the Ancient Greek commentators on the writings of Aristotle. It is possible Florio owned his De Fato and De Anima which were printed  in Venice (1534).

Antoninus Mizaldus was a French astronomer and doctor. Florio probably read De Mundi Sphaera sive Cosmographia or Meteorologia siue perspicua declaratio rerum quae in aëre fiunt.

Aratus – Greek dramatic poet. The only existent works of the Greek poet Aratus of Soli are two poems written in hexamaters: Phenomena et Prognostica translated in Latin in 1570, the most likely edition John Florio owned. The Phaenomena imitates a prose work on astronomy by Aratus contemporary Eudoxus of Cnidus, while the Diosemeia discusses weather prognostication drawing chiefly from Theophrastus. The edition owned by Florio was based upon the early Latin translations of Cicero, Avienus, and Germanicus Caesar.

Aristotle – philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. John Florio must have owned On the Heavens (Greek: Περὶ οὐρανοῦ, Latin: De Caelo), Aristotle’s chief work on cosmology and astronomy which remained a profound influence on later astronomical thinking until the early modern period.

Ibn Sina and often known in the West as Avicenna was a Persian polymath who is regarded as one of the most significant physicians, astronomers, thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age. It is possible that, of this author, John Florio consulted Qānūn, translated into Latin as Canon medicinæ by Gerardo da Sabbioneta.

Becia Angelus Saxus – After printing in Venice from 1481 to 1484, Giacomo Britannico returned to his native city of Brescia, where he and his brother Angelo began issuing books in association in 1485, practically monopolizing the trade in that city. It is possible Florio consulted the book Compendium theologicae veritatis.

Claudius Ptolemy – was a mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, geographer and astrologer. It is possible Florio consulted Ptolemy’s Geographia,  and his astrological treatise, a work in four parts, is known by the Greek term Tetrabiblos, or the Latin equivalent Quadripartitum in the edition of Girolamo Cardano, 1554, Lyon.

Cornelius Agrippa, On the Uncertainty and Vanity of the Arts and Sciences.

Cornelius Agrippa –  German polymath, physician, legal scholar, soldier, theologian, and occult writer. It is possible John Florio consulted  treatise on magic and occult arts, De occulta philosophia libri tres (Three Books on Occult Philosophy), written in 1510, but then reworked, substantially enlarged, and finally published in 1533, and a rigorous refutation of all products of human reasonDe incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum et artium atque excellentia verbi Dei declamatio invectiva (On the Uncertainty and Vanity of the Arts and Sciences: An Invective Declamation).  Agrippa’s Vanitie was a primary text among the intellectuals of the time. Not only is its influence manifest in works by several of them, such as Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Nashe, but the book and its author are mentioned by name. Moreover, Agrippa’s book, and his intellectual philosophy, played a foundational role in the works of Francis Bacon, the principal advocate of experimentation as a means to investigate reality. Bacon compared conducting experiments to a theatrical performance in front of an audience.

Cornelius Celsus – Roman encyclopaedist, known for his extant medical work, De Medicina, which is the work Florio read and consulted for this work. (Edition: Venezia, Aldo Manuzio (eredi), Andrea Torresano, 1528.)

Columella – Franciscar friar and Italian agronomer. His work, De re rustica, can be considered the first treatise on agronomy and the most important one until the Renaissance.

Four bodily humour theory by Claudius Galenus.

Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus, often Anglicized as Galen and sometimes known as Galen of Pergamon was a physician, surgeon and philosopher in the Roman Empire, regarded as the supreme authority on medicine. Among the many works he published, John Florio could have consulted his De curandi ratione, or De naturalibus facultatibus or De arte medica.  Galen used the theory of humours to explain individual differences in character. The four primary humours, chole (bile), melanchole (black bile). sanguis (blood) and flegma (phlegm), were understood in terms of a general cosmological theory in which fire, earth, air and water were the four basic elements of all things.

Gulielmus GratGratarolo Guglielmo,  Italian doctor and alchemist. In 1562 Guglielmo Gratarolo’s The Castle of Memory was published in English, translated from the Italian. This is the most likely work John Florio owned and consulted. [Guglielmo Gratarolo, trans. William Fulwood, The castel of memorie wherein is conteyned the restoring, augmenting, and conseruing of the memorye and remembraunce, with the safest remedies, and best preceptes therevnto in any wise apperteyning: made by Gulielmus Gratarolus Bergomatis Doctor of Artes and Phisike. Englished by Willyam Fulvvod. The contentes whereof appeare in the page next folovvynge, London: Roawland Hall, 1562)]

The Five Ages of Men

Hesiodus, or Hesiod – A famous Greek poet who celebrates in his verses the kingdoms of Gods and men. John Florio most certainly owned and consulted The Works and Days,  a poem of over 800 lines which revolves around two general truths: labour is the universal lot of Man, but he who is willing to work will get by. This work lays out the five Ages of Man, as well as containing advice and wisdom, prescribing a life of honest labour and attacking idleness and unjust judges (like those who decided in favour of Perses) as well as the practice of usury.

Hipocrates, or Hippocrates – ancient Greek physician who lived during Greece’s Classical period and is traditionally regarded as the father of medicine. John Florio most certainly owned and consulted Prognosticon, or Book of Prognosis, which focuses on ways of predicting the likely development of a medical condition. For Hippocrates and for the medical school founded by him, prognosis was the natural result of diagnosis, which looked at the signs and symptoms of a condition.

Ioachimus Camerarius – [Junior] German physician, botanist and naturalist. Camerarius was fascinated by the symbolic, mythic, poetic and historic resonances of plants, by what they signified of or to humankind or could be read as encoding. In 1590, this fascination resulted in his Symbolorum et emblematum ex re herbaria, devoted to allegorical images accompanied by mottos, verses and explanatory text. In 1586, he had brought similar ingenuity to the title page of Kreutterbuch, his expanded, German edition of Mattioli’s commentaries. Reflecting Camerarius’ taxonomic discrimination, esoteric symbolism, scientific and religious beliefs, one of his most recently acquired and prized plants, and thus his identity, its design disproves an assumption made by some historians of Renaissance publishing: that title pages were the publisher’s concern and had little, if anything, to do with the author.

Symbolorum et emblematum ex re herbaria – Joachimus Camerarius. The crow in borrowed feathers, emblem from Iohachim Camerarius, symbolorum & emblematum […] centuria tertia.

Macrobius – Ambrose Theodosius Macrobius was a 5th-century Roman writer, grammarian and civil servant. He also studied astronomy and supported the geocentric theory. Macrobius’s most influential book and one of the most widely cited books of the Middle Ages was a commentary on the book Dream of Scipio narrated by Cicero at the end of his Republic. This is the most likely work John Florio owned and consluted.

Marcus Manilius – was a Roman poet, astrologer, and author of a poem in five books called Astronomica, in which make their first appearance the astrological systems of houses, linking human affairs with the circuit of the zodiac. This is the book John Florio consulted.

Marcus CatoMarcus Porcius Cato, byname Cato The Censor, or Cato The Elder, was a Roman statesman, orator, and the first Latin prose writer of importance. John Florio could have consulted his Disticha Catonis (“Cato’s Sayings”), also known as Dicta Catonis, a four-book collection of sentences and proverbs, or Liber de agri cultura, the oldest Latin work that has come down to us in its entirety. The text is a manual of agricultural technique, divided into 162 chapters, each of which is dedicated to a specific theme.

Yuhanna ibn Masawaih, also written Ibn MasawaihMasawaiyh, and in Latin Janus Damascenus, or Mesue, was a Persian or Assyrian Nestorian Christian physician. He became director of a hospital in Baghdad, and was personal physician to four caliphs. He composed medical treatises on a number of topics: De consolatione medicinarum is a possible book John Florio consulted.

Publius Ovidius Naso, known simply as Ovid, was a Roman poet, among the leading exponents of Latin literature and elegiac poetry. The Metamorphoses, Ovid’s most ambitious and well-known work, consists of a 15-book catalogue written in dactylic hexameter about transformations in Greek and Roman mythology set within a loose mytho-historical framework. This is, most certainly, a book John Florio owned, as well as Amores, Fasti, Ars Amatoria and Tristia.

Plato is, by any reckoning, one of the most dazzling writers in the Western literary tradition and one of the most penetrating, wide-ranging, and influential authors in the history of philosophy. It is possible John Florio owned his Symposium and The Republic.

Caius Plinius Secundus, known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman writer, naturalist, natural philosopher, military commander and provincial governor. The Naturalis historia is a research of encyclopedic character on natural phenomena, and this is the work that most certainly Florio consulted.

Proclus Lycius was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, one of the last major classical philosophers.  The majority of Proclus’s works are commentaries on dialogues of Plato: AlcibiadesCratylusParmenidesRepublicTimaeus. These are the most likely works Florio owned and consulted.

Rasin – No author exist with this name. There is, however, one Razi (Latin Rhazes) or also  named Rasis, a Persian polymath, physician, alchemist, philosopher, and important figure in the history of medicine. He also wrote on logic, astronomy and grammar. He published a great number of works. Florio might have consulted his works on Alchemy, as well as his books on philosophy and medicine.

Temistro – This include a typo or either a misprint. Temistio was an ancient Greek philosopher, teacher and high official of the Roman Empire, who published several commentaries on Aristotle’s works; these are the most likely works John Florio refers to in his list.

Theofastem -The name is uncertain, there are two options. Theophrastus,  successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school, or Theofasso, student of Aristotle. Theophrastus published works On Moral Characters, On Sense Perception, and On Stones, as well as fragments on Physics and Metaphysics. Florio probably consulted Theophrastus’s Historia Plantarum, one of the most important books of natural history written in ancient times.  Historia Plantarum was first translated into Latin by Theodorus Gaza; the translation was published in 1483. Theophrastus also wrote In The Characters, introducing the sketch of the characters, which became the core of the Character as a genre. It included 30 fonts. The second option is Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, Swiss physician, alchemist and astrologer. He urged doctors to use empirical methods of observation and experimentation; in short, the process we now call “the scientific method.” Paracelsus also promoted the use of distillates of herbs and other chemicals as medicines for treatment, earning him the title: “Father of Pharmacology.”

Varro – Marcus Terentius Varro was a Roman scholar, grammarian, soldier and agronomist. Varro’s works are probably 74, divided into 620 volumes, although Varro himself, at the age of 77, reported having written 490 books. Of this enormous production has come (almost intact) only one work, the De re rustica, while the De lingua Latina have come only 6 books out of 25. De Re Rustica is the most likely work Florio owned and consulted.

Virgilius – Publius Virgil Maron, known simply as Virgil or Vergil, was a Roman poet, author of three of the most famous works of Latin literature: the Bucolics, the Georgics and the Aeneid. The latter is, without any doubt, a book Florio owned, but nevertheless, it is highly probable he also owned the others as well. The enormous prestige of Virgil in the Middle Ages and Renaissance is well known, and, without any doubt, John Florio must have read all his works.


J.F. for Edward White | Title: PERPETVALL | AND NATVRAL PROG-|NOSTICATIONS OF THE | change of weather. | Gathered out of diuers ancient & late | Writers, ad placed in order for | the common good of all men. | Newly translated out of Italian into | English, by I.F. | LONDON, | Printed for Edward White, and are | to be sold at his shop at the little | North dore of Paules. | 1598.

“PERPETUAL AND NATURAL PROGNOSTICATION OF THE CHANGE OF WEATHER”: JOHN FLORIO’S ANONYMOUS WORK by Marianna Iannaccone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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  1. Bosanquet, Eustance, F., English printed almanacks and prognostications; a bibliograpnical history to the year 1600, London Printed for the Bibliographical Society at the Chiswick Press, 1917, p. 82
  2. Yates, Frances Amelia, John Florio, The life of an Italian in Shakespeare’s England, Cambridge University Press, 1932.
  3. Boklund, Gunnar, The Sources of the white devil, Haskell House, A.-B, Lundequistska Bokhandeln, 1952.
  4. Mentioned in Massai, Sonia, John Wolfe and the Impact of Exemplary Go-Betweens on Early Modern Print Culture, in Renaissance Go-Betweens: Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe, ed. Andreas Höfele and Werner Von Koppenfels, Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 2005; Chiari, Sophie, Shakespeare’s Representation of Weather, Climate and Environment: The Early Modern “Fated Sky”, Edinburgh Univerity Press, 2019; Wyatt, Michael, John Florio and the Circulation of Italian Culture, in The Routledge Research Companion to Anglo-Italian Renaissance Literature, edited by Michele Marrapodi, London; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.
Giovanni Florio, known as John Florio, is recognised as the most important humanist in Renaissance's England.

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