Venus 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, the blind Cupid rides on a chariot pulled by doves with the planet Venus personified as the goddess of love. Illustration from 'Compilatio...de 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 is one of the earliest astronomical treatises in a common language.