Astronomical Images : Personification of Astronomy

Johannes Sacrobosco

Astronomical Images

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Very little is known about Johannes Sacrobosco except that he was probably British, taught astronomy at Paris University, and died there in the second quarter of the thirteenth century. <i>Sphaera mundi</i>, his major work, was an extraordinarily popular astronomical textbook for several generations. Manuscripts of it circulated through all the main European centres of learning. It was first published in 1472 in Ferrara, and went through dozens of editions up to the mid-seventeenth century. This edition of Sacrobosco's <i>Sphaera mundi</i> was printed with Georg Peuerbach's <i>Theoricae novae planetarum</i> and Johannes Regiomontanus's <i>Disputationes contra Cremonensia deliramenta.</i> It is illustrated throughout with woodcuts, some of which were coloured. This figure shows a personification of Astronomy, seated on a throne and holding an astrolabe in her right hand and an armillary sphere in her left. She gestures towards a naked female figure, Urania, the muse of the heavens (<i>Urania musa caelestis</i>) and on the other side of the throne, Ptolemy, prince of the astronomers (<i>Ptolemaeus princeps astronomorum</i>) is seated, reading a book which includes circular figures. In the foreground are plants, rabbits and deer, and at the top, the Sun, the Moon and the stars are depicted.</p>


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