Saturn symbolised, 1489.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 23cm x 32cm

Saturn symbolised, 1489.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Woodcut incorporating symbolic elements, each with a different mythical or astrological meaning that would have been easily understood by fifteenth century readers. Here, a personification of the planet Saturn holds a scythe. Illustration from ' astrorum scientia' (Compilation of knowledge of stars) by Leopoldus, Duke of Austria, published in Augsburg in 1489. Leopoldus was an Austrian astronomer who lived in the middle or second half of the thirteenth century. The 'Compilatio' was a collection of Latin translations from Arabic astronomical works and was divided into ten books. It is one of the earliest astronomical treatises in a common language and is embellished with numerous woodcuts of horoscopes, constellations and planets.

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