Astrology commissioned by Alfonso the Wise: the healing effects of stones and gems in luminous miniatures

Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise

Spain — 1253

Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise

Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise

Spain — 1253

  1. King Alfonso X of Castile (1221–1284) earned his epithet ‘the Wise’ because of his enthusiasm for the arts and sciences

  2. His treatise addresses the magical and medical effects of gems and stones in connection with astrology

  3. Originating ca. 1253, it contains luminous miniatures, historiated initials, and astrological tables

Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise

Alternative Titles:
  • Primer Lapidario del Rey Alfonso X El Sabio
  • Lapidarium von König Alfons des Weisen
Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise – ms. H. I. 15 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

King Alfonso X of Castile earned his epithet ‘the Wise’ because of his enthusiasm for the arts and sciences. A special testimonial to his fame as a scholar can be found in the manuscript from 1253 known as the Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise. This treatise by the King is concerned with the magical and medical importance and effect of gems and other stones in connection with astrology. The gorgeous manuscript in El Escorial presents this work adorned with exuberant splendor!

Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise

Zodiac signs, constellations, heavenly bodies and their movements: the science of astrology was an ambitiously practiced field of research. Theories both new and forgotten were thought out and investigated with respect to ancient authors before they were finally recorded in precious manuscripts. The connection with minerology was a particular area of this work with astrological phenomena. In the so-called lapidaries – scientific treatises on this theme – the importance and effect of stones and gems and their relationship to astrology was recorded.

The Learned King as Author

Even King Alfonso the Wise occupied himself with this field of research lying between astrology and the natural sciences. The Castilian King Alfonso X (1221–1284) earned his epithet because of his fame as a scholar. He was an enthusiastic scholar and poet, who came into contact with numerous new fields of knowledge through the Moors in particular. Alfonso X not only founded a school for translators in Toledo and was a patron of art and science, but was also himself the author of a few papers and books. As a result, his thematic areas ranged from history, cosmology, and philosophy to astronomy and mathematics.

A Gorgeous Manuscript between Art and Science

The manuscript with the Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise originated in 1253. Having said this, the impressive parchment manuscript amazes not only with of its substantial scholarly content, but also with its exceptionally beautiful artistic design. The exuberant illumination consists of luminously colorful miniatures, which visualize the theories in gorgeously ornamental depictions, e.g. with astrological tables. Additionally, artful historiated initials can be found with gorgeous scenic depictions, and at the beginning of the manuscript, there is a miniature of its presentation to the King.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Primer Lapidario del Rey Alfonso X El Sabio
Lapidarium von König Alfons des Weisen
Size / Format
94 pages / 40.2 x 29.1 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
1253
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
638 full-coloured miniatures and initial letters
Artist / School

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise“

Lapidario de Alfonso X el Sabio
Lapidary by Alfonso X the Wise – ms. H. I. 15 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
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Lapidario de Alfonso X el Sabio

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Edilan – Madrid, 1982
Binding
Leather
Commentary
1 volume (256 pages) by Jose Luis Amorós Portolés and Ana Domínguez Rodríguez
Language: Spanish
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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