Colored pen and ink drawings of stars, planets, and mythical figures: a masterpiece of the French Gothic in the tradition of the astronomical *Aratea* codex

Astronomical Texts

France — 11th or 12th century

Astronomical Texts

Astronomical Texts

France — 11th or 12th century

  1. This 14th century astronomical compendium is a Gothic specimen in the tradition of Aratus of Soloi (ca. 315-240 BC)

  2. Scientifically correct depictions of the planets and stars appear alongside artful zodiac symbols

  3. 43 brightly-colored pen drawings of planets, stars, and zodiac signs illustrate the manuscript

Astronomical Texts

Alternative Titles:
  • Textos Astronómicos
  • Recopilación de textos astronómicos
  • Astronomische Texte
  • Textes astronomique
  • Testi di Astronomia
Astronomical Texts – Ms. Lat. Cot. 44 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The manuscript at hand is a compendium of various astronomical treatises, tables, and illustrations, the work of an unknown 14th century author. The manuscript, which is housed today in the State Library of Berlin, was probably made in France. The gorgeous illustrations – 43 colored drawings in all – with pictures of the stars and other astronomical Phenomena, demonstrate the great skill with which the manuscript was made. Thus, the astronomical text offers a marvelous glimpse of this science, which has continuously delighted both scholars and laymen since antiquity!

Astronomical Texts

The manuscript at hand is a compendium of various astronomical treatises, tables, and illustrations, the work of an unknown 14th century author. The manuscript, which is housed today in the State Library of Berlin, was probably made in France. The gorgeous illustrations – 43 colored drawings in all – with pictures of the stars and other astronomical phenomena, demonstrate the great skill with which the manuscript was made. Astronomical Texts offers a marvelous glimpse of this science, which has continuously delighted both scholars and laymen since antiquity!

An Enthralled Astronomer

The codex known as Lat. Cot. 44 in the State Library in Berlin consists of 24 pages in a handy format of 15.5 x 11 cm. This manuscript with the title Planetarum et Asteriscorum Coeli figurae et Virtutes Astronomicae is a compendium of astronomical texts along with visual décor. This treatise, a 14th century French manuscript, delights with its sound knowledge, which indicates a well-educated author. The unknown writer of the Astronomical Texts of the State Library of Berlin was probably a man who was well-versed in the knowledge of astronomy and astrology as well as the practical application thereof.

Magnificent Artistic Furnishings

43 drawings of planets, stars, and zodiac signs illustrate the manuscript. The marvelous, brightly-colored pen drawings present star signs and symbols, mythical figures, but also depictions that arose from the time. Mysterious tables and diagrams round out the manuscript, e.g. the twelve zodiac signs and their corresponding effects. The text itself is an astronomical treaty that unites various astronomical texts into a compendium. Descriptions of the star signs of the Ptolemaic celestial charts and a description of the celestial and meteorological phenomena in the course of the twelve months of a year are also contained therein along with an astrolabe.

The Famous Aratea

The Astronomical Texts of the State Library in Berlin is influenced by the Aratea, as was nearly every other astronomical treatise of the time. This treatise about celestial phenomena is based on the ancient text Phainomena by Aratus of Soloi, which was translated, among others, into Latin by Cicero and Germanicus. The Leiden Aratea is a codex from the early 9th century, in which – like in the manuscript at hand – such constellations are presented in gorgeous miniatures.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Textos Astronómicos
Recopilación de textos astronómicos
Astronomische Texte
Textes astronomique
Testi di Astronomia
Size / Format
24 pages / 15.5 x 11.0 cm
Origin
France
Date
11th or 12th century
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
43 drawings representing the planets, stars and constellations

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Astronomical Texts“

Textos Astronómicos
Astronomical Texts – Ms. Lat. Cot. 44 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
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Textos Astronómicos

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Millennium Liber – Madrid, 2007
Limited Edition
995
Binding
Leather over wooden boards
Commentary
1 volume
Language: Spanish
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