In Otto von Guericke's Experimenta Nova (1672) he says (in reference to experiments showing how a feather floats above and sometimes is reattracted to a globe of sulphur):

  1. Filum lineum, si acumini ligni acuminati, inque mensâ vel scamno firmati inhærescere facias, atque filum ulnâ longius demittas, ita quidem, ut infra ibi aliud quid, spatio pollicarir emotius, attingere possit, (Quoties scil. globus excitatus, summitati hujus ligni admoveatur) inferius fili cum iuxta apposito, conjungi: Quo ad oculos demonstrandum, hanc virtutem in filo lineo usque ad partes infimas se extendisse, dum hoc, aut attrahit aut seipsum alligat.

Source. (Emphasis mine.)

I believe emotius is the comparison form of ēmōtus (ppl from ēmōvēre), and since ulna is nearby, I thought pollicarir might be related to pollex (thumb), but I couldn't find another usage. What does this part of the paragraph mean?

1 Answer 1


I believe pollicarir to be a typographical error, as spatio pollicari (from pollicaris) would mean "by a thumbsbreadth." This exact collocation isn't classical, as far as I can tell, but seems quite in keeping with the several versions found in Pliny: pollicari crassitudine, pollicari latitudine, pollicari amplitudine.

As for emotius, that could be another error, as emotus by itself is intelligible, or maybe even remotius (?), but I do think it's possible that a neo-Latin writer might treat emotus as an adjective from which a comparative could be formed.

  • 3
    To summarise your answer - spatio pollicarir emotius makes no sense, moving the “r” to just after the space makes spatio pollicari remotius which makes perfect sense. Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 7:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.