Star Lore Art

Aberystwyth Folios

11th Century

In 4 AD, Roman general and poet Germanicus wrote a Latin version of the Phenomena, an an introduction to the constellations written by Greek poet Aratus in the third century BC.

Germanicus' treatise became the base of some of the oldest illuminated copies of astronomical text. Most famous one of all of these copies is the Leiden Aratea, created in the region of Lorraine in 816.

There have been a number of other copies preserved. The one presented here was probably produced in Limoges during the early years of the 11th century.

It contains several celestial maps and an incomplete text of the Germanicus Aratea with illustrations of the constellations in sepia ink with color washes and the stars marked.

The manuscript is now kept at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

The copies presented here were all taken from the public domain at Wikimedia.

A detailed description of all folios can be found at The Saxl Project.

We also included a print published by fineartamerica.com, only titled "13th century medieval constellations."

It is not part of the Aberystwyth Folios, but displays striking similarities.

Folio 4r - Two Hemispheres Folio 5r - Winter Hemisphere 13th-century manuscript from fineartamerica.com

Folio 13r
Draco, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor
Folio 13v
Hercules
Folio 14v
Serpentius (Ophiuchus) and Scorpius
Folio 15r
Bo÷tes
Folio 16r
Virgo
Folio 17r
Gemini and Cancer
Folio 17v
Leo
Folio 18v
Taurus
Folio 19r
Cepheus
Folio 19v
Andromeda
Folio 19v
Cassiopeia
Folio 20r
Pegasus
Folio 20v
Aries
Folio 21r
Hydra, Crater, Corvus, Canis Minor
Folio 21v
Five Planets

Some of the drawings are very similar to those of the Leiden Aratea, but it should be noted that contrary to the earlier Leiden Aratea, some of the constellation figures in the Aberystwyth collection are depicted back to front, as they would appear on a celestial globe. Aries in Leiden Aratea Aries in Aberystwyth Folios

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