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Astrology

Approximately 2000 B.C., Babylonian astrologers believed that the Sun, Moon, and the five planets known at that time (Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, and Venus) possessed distinct powers. Mars, for example, appeared to be red and was associated with aggression and war. Astrology was inherited by the Greeks from Babylonians around the 4th century B.C.Through the studies of Plato, Aristotle, and others, astrology came to be regarded as a science. It was embraced by the Romans and the Arabs.
The zodiac (which is derived from the Greek word meaning "circle of animals") is believed to have developed in ancient Egypt and later adopted by the Babylonians. Early astrologers knew it took 12 lunar cycles (i.e., months) for the sun to return to its original position. They then identified 12 constellations that they observed were linked to the progression of the seasons and assigned them names of certain animals and persons (in Babylonia, for example, the rainy season was found to occur when the Sun was in a particular constellation which was then named Aquarius, or water bearer).
Each of these four groups is inscribed in its own quadrant, or group of "houses," on a circle. The division of the 12 houses is based on Earth's daily rotation and relates to such circumstances as relationships, finances, travel, etc. The division of the 12 signs of the zodiac is based on the earth's year-long rotation around the Sun and relates to character traits and areas of life.
Zodiac man; volvelle from BL Eg 2572, ff. 50v-51
536 Media in collectionpage 1 of 6

Zodiac man; volvelle from BL Eg 2572, ff. 50v-51

On the left, a drawing of zodiac man, with parts of the body linked to their governing zodiac symbols with labels and numerals. On the right is a volvelle, with movable pointer, with depictions of the signs of ... more

Bloodletting zodiac man from BL Harley 3719, ff. 158v-159

Miniature of a bloodletting man with one foot in a bleeding pan and a spindle in his hand, with English captions. Image taken from ff. 158v-159 of Miscellany with various astronomical, calendrical, medical, and... more

Table and Zodiac man from BL Sloane 2465, ff. 9v-10

Table and Zodiac man, in the calendar. Image taken from ff. 9v-10 of Calendar. Written in Latin.

Volvelle from BL Sloane 4100, recto

Volvelle Image taken from recto of Volvelle. Written in English.

Zodiac man from BL Sloane 2465, f. 10

Miniature of Zodiac man. Image taken from f. 10 of Calendar. Written in Latin.

Zodiac man from BL Arundel 251, f. 46

Drawing of a Zodiac man, at the beginning of the Numerus et Ordo signorum. Image taken from f. 46 of Medical miscellany. Written in Latin and German.

Zodiac Man from BL Eg 848, f. 21

Miniature of a Zodiac man, with signs of the Zodiac signs marked on his body. Image taken from f. 21 of Medical miscellany, including an astronomical calendar. Written in English.

Volvelle from BL Harley 13, f. 5

Text page with volvelle. Image taken from f. 5 of Miscellaneous scientific treatises. Written in Latin.

Volvelle from BL Harley 13, f. 5

Text page with volvelle. Image taken from f. 5 of Miscellaneous scientific treatises. Written in Latin.

Zodiac man from BL Sloane 965, f. 2

Drawing of a Zodiac man. Image taken from f. 2 of Medical miscellany, including a lunary (ff. 6v-7); anonymous text on humours, elements, and urines, a calendar (ff. 11-21v); Guy of Chauliac's Anatomy; a treati... more

Diagram with the symbols of the zodiac from BL Harley 2332, f. 17v

Circular diagram with the symbols of the zodiac. Image taken from f. 17v of Almanac with an astrological miscellany. Written in Latin.

Zodiac Man from BL Harley 2332, f. 18

Tinted drawing of Zodiac Man. Image taken from f. 18 of Almanac with an astrological miscellany. Written in Latin.

Zodiac man from BL Royal 17 A XVI, f. 21

Tinted drawing of Zodiac man. Image taken from f. 21 of Agricultural almanac containing an astronomical calendar (1420), miscellaneous tables, mnemonic verses and charms. Written in Latin and English.

Zodiac man from BL Sloane 433, f. 99

Drawing of Zodiac man, with the signs marked. Image taken from f. 99 of Medical miscellany. Written in English, Latin.

Cosmological diagram from BL YT 31, f. 45

Diagram showing distances within the sublunar sphere, with angels turning the handles of the poles, by which it is turned, in Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviari d'Amour. Image taken from f. 45 of Breviari d'... more

Double course of the moon and central path of the sun from BL Royal 12 F X, f. 20v

Detail of a diagram of the double course of the moon and the central path of the sun. Image taken from f. 20v of Dragmaticon philosophiae, imperfect at the beginning and the end (index Dramaticon). Written in Latin.

Diagram of the Zodiac from BL YT 31, f. 48v

Wheel-shaped diagram of the twelve signs of the zodiac, with legends describing when the sun enters each, in Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviari d'Amour. Image taken from f. 48v of Breviari d'Amor (Catalan pr... more

Diagram of the zodiac from BL Royal 12 F X, f. 11

Detail of a diagram of the zodiac. Image taken from f. 11 of Dragmaticon philosophiae, imperfect at the beginning and the end (index Dramaticon). Written in Latin.

Motions of Saturn from BL Royal 12 F X, f. 14v

Detail of a diagram of the motions of Saturn. Image taken from f. 14v of Dragmaticon philosophiae, imperfect at the beginning and the end (index Dramaticon). Written in Latin.

Diagram of the zodiac from BL Royal 12 F X, f. 22v

Detail of a diagram of the zodiac. Image taken from f. 22v of Dragmaticon philosophiae, imperfect at the beginning and the end (index Dramaticon). Written in Latin.

Circular diagram from BL Royal 12 F X, f. 9v

Detail of a circular diagram illustrating principles of natural philosophy. Image taken from f. 9v of Dragmaticon philosophiae, imperfect at the beginning and the end (index Dramaticon). Written in Latin.

Primary qualities and elements from BL Royal 12 F X, f. 2

Detail of diagram of primary qualities and elements based on Aristotelian and Platonic theories. Image taken from f. 2 of Dragmaticon philosophiae, imperfect at the beginning and the end (index Dramaticon). Wri... more

Circular diagrams from BL Royal 12 F X, f. 14

Detail of circular diagrams illustrating principles of natural philosophy. Image taken from f. 14 of Dragmaticon philosophiae, imperfect at the beginning and the end (index Dramaticon). Written in Latin.

Sun, Mercury, and Venus from BL Royal 12 F X, f. 15

Detail of a diagram of the sun with Mercury and Venus. Image taken from f. 15 of Dragmaticon philosophiae, imperfect at the beginning and the end (index Dramaticon). Written in Latin.

Zodiac man from BL Harley 5311, f. F, i.e. 5

Miniature of Zodiac man. Image taken from f. F, i.e. 5 of Physician's folding almanac, including Somer's 'Calendar' (ff. B-E, i.e. 9-6), diagrams of solar and lunar eclipses from 1398 to 1462 (ff. G-I, i.e. 4-2... more

Zodiac man from BL Harley 5401, f. 39

Drawing of Zodiac man. Image taken from f. 39 of Liber medicinarum. Written in Latin.

Diagram of the Zodiac from BL YT 31, f. 48v

Detail of the signs Aquarius, Capricorn, and Sagittarius, from a wheel-shaped diagram of the twelve signs of the zodiac, with legends describing when the sun enters each, in Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviar... more

Diagram of the Zodiac from BL YT 31, f. 48v

Detail of the signs Leo, Cancer, and Gemini, from a wheel-shaped diagram of the twelve signs of the zodiac, with legends describing when the sun enters each, in Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviari d'Amour. Im... more

Diagram of the Zodiac from BL YT 31, f. 48v

Detail of the signs Scorpio, Libra, and Virgo, from a wheel-shaped diagram of the twelve signs of the zodiac, with legends describing when the sun enters each, iin Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviari d'Amour.... more

Diagram of the Zodiac from BL YT 31, f. 48v

Detail of a wheel-shaped diagram of the twelve signs of the zodiac, with legends describing when the sun enters each, in Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviari d'Amour. Image taken from f. 48v of Breviari d'Amor... more

Diagram of the Zodiac from BL YT 31, f. 48v

Detail of the signs Taurus, Aries, and Pisces, from a wheel-shaped diagram of the twelve signs of the zodiac, with legends describing when the sun enters each, in Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviari d'Amour. ... more

Diagram of the Zodiac from BL YT 31, f. 48v

Wheel-shaped diagram of the twelve signs of the zodiac, with legends describing when the sun enters each, in Matfré Ermengau of Béziers's Breviari d'Amour. Image taken from f. 48v of Breviari d'Amor (Catalan pr... more

Volvelle from BL Harley 941, f. 29v

Volvelle for calculating Easter, other movable feasts, Sunday letters, the Golden Number and the leap year, with a figure (a woman?) in the centre. Image taken from f. 29v of A literary and scientific miscellan... more

Zodiac man from BL Sloane 442, f. 36

Drawing of a man with zodiac signs marked. Image taken from f. 36 of Medical miscellany, including the English version of Gibertus Anglicus's Compendium medicinae; a regimen for diet and bloodletting (ff. 61v-6... more

Volvelle from BL Sloane 702, ff. 21v-22

A volvelle, a device with a moveable disc rotating with a fixed matrix, with a pointing moveable index of the sun (here painted yellow to represent the sun) which could be set at the sign and degree of the zod... more

Zodiac man from BL Sloane 2250, f. 12

Miniature of a zodiac man, with the signs of the zodiac illustrated on the body parts under their rulership. Image taken from f. 12 of Physician's folding calendar, including the calendar of John Somer (ff. 3-1... more

Volvelle from BL Sloane 405, f. 4

A volvelle, a device with moveable discs rotating with a fixed matrix, the pointing moveable index of which could be set at the sign and degree of the zodiac for a particular day in order to predict the best ti... more

Volvelle from BL Eg 848, f. 22

Volvelle with three moving parts representing the zodiac, the sun, and the moon, and showing their relative positions and the moon's phases, and astronomical diagram. Image taken from f. 22 of Medical miscellan... more

Zodiac man from BL Sloane 563, ff. 62v-63

Zodiac man and coloured initials. Image taken from ff. 62v-63 of Speculum Phlebotomae (ff. 1-2); Liber medicinarum (ff. 1-100); Fistula in Ano (ff. 63-121v). Written in English.

The zodiac cycle from BL Add 11639, f. 516v

Full-page miniature of the plan of nine spheres according to the Ptolemaic system. Outermost circle: the Hebrew names of the zodiac signs, the second circle: names of Hebrew months corresponding to the zodiac s... more

Zodiac man from BL Sloane 134, f. 26

Drawing of Zodiac man. Image taken from f. 26 of Medical miscellany, including John of Gaddesden's Rosa Anglica (ff. 48-169), and a phlebotomy. Written in Latin and English.

Tree of Love from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 11v

Miiniature of the Tree of Love. Image taken from f. 11v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Angel from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 29v

Detail of a miniature of an angel conveying the prayer of a supplicant to God, holding a scroll inscribed with the words 'Pater noster'. Image taken from f. 29v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (... more

Spheres of elements and planets from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 50

Miniature of a diagram of the spheres of the elements and planets, supported by four angels. Image taken from f. 50 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Universe from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 34v

Detail of a miniature of a diagram of the universe. Image taken from f. 34v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Temptation by tournament from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 204v

Detail of a miniature of knights fighting during a temptation by tournament. Image taken from f. 204v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Devil carrying off a lover's soul from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 204v

Detail of a miniature of a devil carrying off the soul of a dying lover. Image taken from f. 204v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Dancing from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 204v

Detail of a miniature of demons tempting people with dancing. Image taken from f. 204v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Worship of a lady from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 204v

Detail of a miniature of a demon tempting a man through the worship of a lady. Image taken from f. 204v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Diagram of eclipses from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 40v

Diagram of eclipses with the sun, moon, and earth. Image taken from f. 40v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

The Last Judgement from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 125v

Miniature of the Last Judgement. Image taken from f. 125v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Fall of the rebel angels from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 33

Miniatures of the fall of the rebel angels; the Prince of Devils sending out his ministers, and a temptation by lechery. Image taken from f. 33 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Venus from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 41v

Detail of a miniature of Venus with a mirror, swimming. Image taken from f. 41v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Mercury from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 41v

Detail of a miniature of Mercury, with winged feet, a flail and a cock. Image taken from f. 41v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

The Sun crowned from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 41

Detail of a miniature of the sun crowned, with a horn, riding on four horses. Image taken from f. 41 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Temptations of lovers from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 204

Miniatures of the temptations of lovers by pomp, banquets, and tournaments. Image taken from f. 204 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Prince of Devils from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 33

Detail of a miniature of the Prince of Devils sending out his ministers. Image taken from f. 33 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Fall of the rebel angels from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 33

Detail of a miniature of the fall of the rebel angels. Image taken from f. 33 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Temptation by lechery from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 33

Detail of a miniature of a temptation by lechery. Image taken from f. 33 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Venus and Mercury from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 41v

Miniature of Venus with a mirror, swimming; miniature of Mercury, with winged feet, a flail and a cock. Image taken from f. 41v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Diagram of the seasons from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 54v

Detail of a miniature of a diagram of the seasons. Image taken from f. 54v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Mocking of Christ, Denial of Peter, Christ before Pilate from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 174

Three miniatures of the mocking of Christ, of the denial of Peter, and of Christ before Pilate. Image taken from f. 174 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Temptation of Christ from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 164

Detail of a miniature of the second Temptation of Christ. Image taken from f. 164 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Devil carrying off a lover's soul from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 204v

Detail of a miniature of a devil carrying off the soul of a dying lover. Image taken from f. 204v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Zodiac wheel from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 37

Detail of a miniature of a zodiac wheel. Image taken from f. 37 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Circular diagram from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 37v

Detail of a circular diagram. Image taken from f. 37v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Spheres of elements and planets from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 50

Detail of a miniature of a diagram of the spheres of the elements and planets, supported by four angels. Image taken from f. 50 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Three men from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 122

Detail of a miniature of three men standing in flames, in one of the ten pains of hell. Image taken from f. 122 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Virgin and Child from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 89

Detail of a miniature of the Virgin and Child between two angels with censers. Image taken from f. 89 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Four scenes of Hell from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 185v

Four miniatures with scenes of Hell. Image taken from f. 185v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Zodiac wheel from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 37

Miniature of a zodiac wheel. Image taken from f. 37 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Tree of Love from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 11v

Miiniature of the Tree of Love. Image taken from f. 11v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Universe from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 34v

Miniature of a diagram of the universe. Image taken from f. 34v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Matfres from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 7

Miniature of Matfres instructing four crowned lovers and troubadours. Image taken from f. 7 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

God blessing Abraham from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 96

Miniature of God blessing Abraham's posterity. Image taken from f. 96 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Temptations of lovers from BL Royal 19 C I, ff. 203v-204

Miniatures of the temptations of lovers by pomp, banquets, and tournaments. Image taken from ff. 203v-204 of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Diagram of the earth from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 48v

Diagram of the dimensions of the earth. Image taken from f. 48v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

Seven Virtues from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 245v

Miniature of the Seven Virtues crowned, with sceptres, and below, the Seven Vices. Image taken from f. 245v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).

The Last Judgement from BL Royal 19 C I, f. 125v

Detail of a miniature of the Last Judgement. Image taken from f. 125v of Breviari d'Amor. Written in French (Occitan) (Provencal).