The Medieval cosmos, 1489.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 23cm x 32cm

The Medieval cosmos, 1489.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Woodcut showing the medieval view of the universe as a set of spheres set one inside another. On the outer edge are the constellations, with the fixed stars inside. The planets and the Sun each occupy a celestial sphere in the following order: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon. Here, each are represented by their symbols. The Earth is at the centre surrounded by clouds. Illustration from ' astrorum scientia' (Compilation of knowledge of stars) by Leopoldus, Duke of Austria, published in Augsburg in 1489. The 'Compilatio' was a collection of Latin translations from Arabic astronomical works and is one of the earliest astronomical treatises in a common language.

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