Term used between the 15th and the 18th century to refer in a general way to the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. It was used to appeal to qualities and standards common, or thought to be common, to the art of that period. It was widely believed that such qualities should be revived, should inspire and (no less important) should control the productions of the modern artist. Progress in taste involved a return to the Antique. Such a vague index of excellence could not have survived for centuries had it not commanded general consent, and for this very reason it is fundamental to any understanding of European culture in this period. The Antique was indeed in many respects equivalent to the Classics—a category, quite as vague, that constituted the body of generally admired ancient Greek and Roman literature. These were also recommended as models, but for modern literature in the modern languages. Implicit in the pedagogic invocation of the Antique as a standard was the assumption that antique art was generally superior: it was not believed that all ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture were of the highest quality, but it was assumed that most of it was of high quality and worthy of special study. Moreover, within the four or more centuries of Greek and Roman civilization held up for special admiration, little development or variation was allowed for. This was certainly a false picture, but it is based on one important truth: patrons of high art of the Roman Empire and of the Hellenistic kingdoms seem to have acknowledged that certain models of excellence in art and architecture had been achieved that should be faithfully imitated and that could never be surpassed. It was indeed precisely because the concept of the superior ancient model was so powerful in antiquity that the Antique could reassume an equivalent role in the modern world....
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....