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Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Seton Lloyd

Ancient settlement around the upper reaches of the Büyük Monderes (Meander River), near Çivril in Turkey, that flourished during the Bronze Age (c. 3500–1200 bc) and was briefly reoccupied in the Early Christian period. The imposing ruin mound, with twin summits, was excavated (1954–9) by the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara under Seton Lloyd.

These excavations revealed 40 successive levels of occupation with modest building remains. At the earliest levels, the pottery can be dated to a late phase of the Chalcolithic period (c. 3500 bc), though metal objects (including silver) already appear in small quantities. Comparable finds from other sites in the same area combine with the Beycesultan material to produce a schematic chronological sequence for the whole of south-western Anatolia. The architectural and artistic material shows the evolution of a culture that was possibly the direct forebear of the Iron Age civilization in western Anatolia. In the 2nd millennium ...

Article

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

Article

Mendes  

Robert S. Bianchi

[now Tall al-Rub‛a and Tall Timay; Tell el-Rub‛a and Tell Timay]

Egyptian city in the Nile Delta, which flourished from at least the Old Kingdom (2575–c. 2150 bc) to the Christian era (c. ad 800). The site, which was first excavated by François Mariette in 1860, consists of two contiguous mounds. To the north is Tall al-Rub‛a, the site of the capital of Egypt in the 29th Dynasty (399–380 bc), and to the south Tall Timay (Gr. Thmuis), the site of an ancient settlement, which superseded that of Tall al-Rub‛a during the Roman period (30 bcad 395). The principal deity of Mendes was Banebdjed, usually represented as a ram or a ram-headed man. Numerous stone sarcophagi of the sacred ram abound in the north-western part of Tall al-Rub‛a. Banebdjed, Hatmehyt the dolphin-goddess (worshipped at Mendes in Predynastic times) and their child, Harpocrates, formed a group of deities known as the Mendesian triad....