The premodern sciences explored in this historiographical enterprise include complexional physiology, physiognomics (physiognomy, chiromancy
, metoposcopy), astrology, and, to a lesser degree, alchemy.
The grandest chiromancy
of scenery ever achieved by an artist is Albrecht Altdorfer's Battle of Alexander the Great against the Persian King Darius at Issus (Munich, Alte Pinakothek) which he painted in 1529 for Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria.
My favorite is Rule IX: "All books and writings dealing with geomancy, hydromancy, areomancy, pyromancy, oneiromancy, chiromancy
, necromancy, or with sortilege, mixing of poisons, augury, auspices, sorcery, and magic arts are absolutely repudiated.
Especially the use of "practices and speculations" of alchemy, astrology or chiromancy
in the constitution of the symbology underlying Maria de Franca's story, the purpose of which is to give it cosmic reverberations.
The author's observation that the relatively few works on moral philosophy mostly go back to Greek originals, as opposed to works in the pseudo-sciences, many of which come from Arabic, seems to be valid, although his characterization of subjects such as alchemy, astrology, physiognomy, and chiromancy
as "so central to medieval Muslim culture" could be questioned.