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date: 10 August 2020

Astrological and astronomical manuscriptslocked

  • Kristen Lippincott

Extract

Manuscripts describing the layout of the heavens, as prescribed by Classical astronomical theory, and its perceived effect on terrestrial events. This article is concerned primarily with the Western tradition; for information on other manuscript traditions, see under the relevant geographical and cultural articles.

Astrological and astronomical configurations appear in several different types of manuscripts. The most common formula is that of the 12 zodiacal constellations in medieval and Renaissance calendars, where each zodiacal sign is used as the symbol for a particular month (see Calendar). The zodiacal signs are often paired with scenes depicting the related Labour of the Month, a tradition that may be traced back to Late Antiquity. Webster has argued that an early form appears in a Hellenistic frieze (Athens, Panagia Gorgoepikos), in which a row of standing figures representing the Greek months are interspersed at irregular intervals with zodiacal constellations. This kind of image must have been the impetus for such later manuscript illuminations as the zodiacal roundel in the ...

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