You are browsing the archive for astrology.

Cosmography Manuscript (12th Century)

Adam Green - July 25, 2018 in astrology, astronomy, cosmography, diagrams

Wonderful series of medieval cosmographic diagrams and schemas sourced from a late 12th-century English manuscript.

The Sky: A Film Lesson in “Nature Study” (1928)

Adam Green - May 24, 2018 in astrology, astronomy, moon, planets, sky, sun

Short educational film on what can be seen in the night sky through a telescope, including a look at constellations, the mountains of the moon, the planets, and the sun.

The Sky: A Film Lesson in “Nature Study” (1928)

Adam Green - May 24, 2018 in astrology, astronomy, moon, planets, sky, sun

Short educational film on what can be seen in the night sky through a telescope, including a look at constellations, the mountains of the moon, the planets, and the sun.

Aratea: Making Pictures with Words in the 9th Century

Adam Green - March 14, 2017 in aratea, astrology, astronomy, calligram, constellations, pictures made of words, pictures with words, stars, zodiac

Some of the earliest examples of calligrams found in a 9th-century astronomical manuscript on the constellations.

Aratea: Making Pictures with Words in the 9th Century

Adam Green - March 14, 2017 in aratea, astrology, astronomy, calligram, constellations, pictures made of words, pictures with words, stars, zodiac

Some of the earliest examples of calligrams found in a 9th-century astronomical manuscript on the constellations.

A Mongolian Manual of Astrology and Divination

Michael J. North - February 3, 2015 in astrology, astronomy, buddhism, Curator's Choice, Featured, mongolia, Public Domain

Michael J. North, Head of Rare Books and Early Manuscripts in NLM's History of Medicine Division, takes a look at one the highlights of the Library's Turning the Pages project, a Mongolian manuscript concerned with interpreting the heavens.

Medical Imagery of the 15th Century

Adam Green - March 13, 2013 in anatomy, astrology, collections, Images, Images-15th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-People, Images-Science, medicine, medieval, zodiac, zodiac man

The following images are all taken from Tradition und Naturbeobachtung in den Illustrationen Medizinischer Handschriften und Frühdrucke vornehmlich des 15. Jahrhunderts (1907) by Karl Sudhoff – a book on the topic of medical illustrations in manuscripts and early printed books (primarily) of the 15th century. Included amongst the depictions are a few of the Zodiac Man (or homo signorum), a common figure in late medieval depictions of the body who had every part of his body linked with an astrological sign. See the book to learn from where each image has been sourced by Sudhoff, and if you speak German, to learn more about them. (The book is housed at the Internet Archive, contributed by the University of Toronto). DONATE NOW TO SAVE THE PUBLIC DOMAIN REVIEW! With our initial funding now come to an end, we need your support to help us continue our mission – to promote the public domain as an indispensable public good, and to curate and showcase the most interesting out-of-copyright works on the web. SIGN UP TO THE NEWSLETTER Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the [...]

The Hyginus Star Atlas (1482)

Adam Green - September 12, 2012 in astrology, astronomy, hyginus, Images, Images-15th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-Maps, maps, non-article, star atlas

Hyginus’ Poeticon Astronomicon is a star atlas and book of stories whose text is attributed to “Hyginus”, though the true authorship is disputed. During the Renaissance, the work was attributed to the Roman historian Gaius Julius Hyginus who lived during the 1st century BC, however, the fact that the book lists most of the constellations north of the ecliptic in the same order as Ptolemy’s Almagest (written in the 2nd century AD) has led many to believe that the text was created by a more recent Hyginus. The text describes 47 of the 48 Ptolemaic constellations, centering primarily on the Greek and Roman mythology surrounding the constellations, though there is some discussion of the relative positions of stars. The first known printing was in 1475, attributed to “Ferrara”, though it was not formally published until 1482, by Erhard Ratdolt in Venice, Italy. This edition carried the full title Clarissimi uiri Hyginii Poeticon astronomicon opus utilissimum. Ratdolt commissioned a series of woodcuts depicting the constellations to accompany Hyginus’ text. As with many other star atlases that would follow it, the positions of various stars are indicated overlaid on the image of each constellation.. however, the relative positions of the stars in the woodcuts bear little resemblance to the descriptions given by Hyginus in the text or the actual positions of the stars in the sky. As a result of the inaccuracy of the depicted star positions and the fact that the constellations are not shown with any context, the Poeticon astronomicon is not particularly useful as a guide to the night sky. The illustrations commissioned by Ratdolt did, however, serve as a template for future sky atlas renderings of the constellation figures. (Wikipedia)

(All images taken from The United States Naval Observatory’s Naval Oceanography Portal).









































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The Hyginus Star Atlas (1482)

Adam Green - September 12, 2012 in astrology, astronomy, hyginus, Images, Images-15th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-Maps, maps, non-article, star atlas

Hyginus’ Poeticon Astronomicon is a star atlas and book of stories whose text is attributed to “Hyginus”, though the true authorship is disputed. During the Renaissance, the work was attributed to the Roman historian Gaius Julius Hyginus who lived during the 1st century BC, however, the fact that the book lists most of the constellations north of the ecliptic in the same order as Ptolemy’s Almagest (written in the 2nd century AD) has led many to believe that the text was created by a more recent Hyginus. The text describes 47 of the 48 Ptolemaic constellations, centering primarily on the Greek and Roman mythology surrounding the constellations, though there is some discussion of the relative positions of stars. The first known printing was in 1475, attributed to “Ferrara”, though it was not formally published until 1482, by Erhard Ratdolt in Venice, Italy. This edition carried the full title Clarissimi uiri Hyginii Poeticon astronomicon opus utilissimum. Ratdolt commissioned a series of woodcuts depicting the constellations to accompany Hyginus’ text. As with many other star atlases that would follow it, the positions of various stars are indicated overlaid on the image of each constellation.. however, the relative positions of the stars in the woodcuts bear little resemblance to the descriptions given by Hyginus in the text or the actual positions of the stars in the sky. As a result of the inaccuracy of the depicted star positions and the fact that the constellations are not shown with any context, the Poeticon astronomicon is not particularly useful as a guide to the night sky. The illustrations commissioned by Ratdolt did, however, serve as a template for future sky atlas renderings of the constellation figures. (Wikipedia)

(All images taken from The United States Naval Observatory’s Naval Oceanography Portal).









































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The Celestial Atlas of Flamsteed (1795)

Adam Green - July 5, 2012 in astrology, astronomy, celestial map, Images, Images-18th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-Maps, Images-Science, John Flamsteed, non-article, star map

John Flamsteed (1646-1719) was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. He catalogued over 3000 stars and was responsible for several of the earliest recorded sightings of the planet Uranus, which he mistook for a star and catalogued as ’34 Tauri’. In 1729, ten years after his death, a star atlas based on observations he made, the Atlas Coelestis, was published by his widow, assisted by Joseph Crosthwait and Abraham Sharp. The changes in the positions of stars (the original observations were made in the 1690s), led to an update made in the 1770s by the French engineer Nicolas Fortin, supervised by the astronomers Le Monnier and Messier from the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris. The new version, called Atlas Fortin-Flamsteed, was a third of the size of the original and also had artistic retouching to some illustrations (mostly Andromeda, Virgo and Aquarius). The names of the constellations are in French (not in Latin) and included some nebulae discovered after the death of Flamsteed. The images below are from an updated version published in 1795, titled Atlas Céleste de Flamstéed, produced by Mechain and Lalande, with new constellations and many more nebulae. (Wikipedia)

(All images via the The United States Naval Observatory’s website Naval Oceanography Portal).


































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