Texts and Illustrations in Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, ms. Lat. VIII 22 (2760)
Humboldt Universität, Berlin, Deutschland
Submitted 13 Jan 2017
Accepted 31 Mar 2017
The article deals with the images of constellations depicted in the manuscript Lat. VIII 22 (2760) of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice, produced probably in an Anglo-Norman milieu in the last quarter of the 12th century. After a short introduction on the manuscript and the texts it contains, the paper focuses on the illustrations of the Carolingian star catalogue known as De signis caeli, examining their different iconographic traditions as attested in the surviving copies. While the images in the main recension of the star catalogue clearly derive from a late antique archetype (probably the same that was used also for the so-called Aratus Latinus), the Venetian copy belongs to a group of manuscripts with a very different set of illustrations. The author proposes that this second recension is a Carolingian creation, invented between the late 8th and the early 9th century through contamination with the iconographic tradition of Germanicus’ Aratea. In this group of manuscripts, the original late antique set of illustrations was replaced by a new one, in order to give the star catalogue more consistency and to obtain a more effective tool for the study of the constellations.
Mediaeval astronomy. Aratus. Aratean tradition. Constellations.