Created at the behest of King Alfonso the Wise of Castile: the world of stars and gemstones

Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario

Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario

Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario

  1. King Alfonso X the Wise of Castile (1221–84) was a leading researcher in the field of astronomy and astrology

  2. Alfonso's treaty on the stars is accompanied by another examining 360 different types of stones

  3. This 16th century transmission of the 13th century original is adorned with 46 gorgeous zodiac symbols

Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario

Alternative Titles:
  • Tratado de Sphaera y Lapidario
  • Traktat über die Welt
Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario – MS 1197 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario – MS 1197 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

Observing the stars and the firmament has fascinated man from the beginning. As a celestial domain, the heavens seemed to hide secrets that were considered to be solvable. This task was prescribed to the science of astrology, which was in its heyday in the Middle Ages. The Castilian King Alfonso the Wise was one of the leading researchers on the subject and recorded his finding in an important 13th century treatise. This was reproduced over the following centuries, as was demonstrated in the gorgeous 16th century Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario.

Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario

This significant manuscript from the Spanish National Library in Madrid is a splendid testimonial from the epoch of scholarship in 13th century Spain under the rule of King Alfonso the Wise. The Castilian king himself is considered to be the author of both of the treatises collected, which weave together the themes of astrology and mythology: the Libro de la Sphaera and the Libro del Lapidario. Aside from the exciting content of the text, the high-quality illustrations are a striking component of this historical treasure!

The Learned Monarch

King Alfonso X of Castile (1221–1284) is famous to this day by his epithet The Wise. This glorious designation, by which his contemporaries already knew him, comes from his enthusiasm for scholarship and the arts. Alfonso the Wise was not only an exceptional patron of these disciplines, having founded a famous translation school in Toledo inter alia, but he was also personally active in the most varied scholarly and artistic subjects. As a poet and man of letters, he is equally celebrated as an author of scholarly works, the fields of astronomy and astrology among others.

Fixed Stars and Stones

The manuscript of this so-called Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario deals with this exciting field of research. The text contained therein comes from the circle of the Castilian King Alfonso X the Wise and were even attributed to the King himself. It consists of two treatises on astrology and the properties of stones: of sphaera and lapidario. The Libro de las Figuras de las Estrellas Fijas del Octavo Cielo or Libro de la Sphaera studies the 48 constellations of the fixed stars from the eight Ptolemaic spheres. The lapidario book in turn is a mineralogical treatise with studies of 360 stones subdivided into twelve chapters, also according to the Ptolemaic system.

Applaudable Book Decoration

What’s more, these significant texts are gorgeously illustrated with 46 depictions of zodiac signs in the 16th century Castilian manuscript from the Spanish National Library in Madrid. Thus, the Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario is not only historically significant and informative, but is also particularly attractive in its design. The illustrated depictions in both astrological texts are extremely ornamental and colorful. The interesting connection between mythology and astrology, as it was still quite common in the 13th century, is particularly well expressed here. The Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario is considered to be one of the last manuscripts to present this connection before the theme was approached in an increasingly scientific way.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Tratado de Sphaera y Lapidario
Traktat über die Welt

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario“

Tratado de Sphaera y Lapidario
Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario – MS 1197 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Treaty of Sphaera and Lapidario – MS 1197 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
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Tratado de Sphaera y Lapidario

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
BiblioGemma – Barcelona
Limited Edition
995 copies
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: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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