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Recopilación de textos astronómicos

A compendium of astronomy from the XIII century

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Lat. cot. 44
Staatsbibliothek Preuß. Kulturbesitz, Berlin (Germany)

Illuminated manuscript on parchment, France/Flanders, XIII century, 12 folios, 11 x 15.5 cm, leather binding. Velvet box, Spanish commentary.

Millennium Liber - Madrid (Spain)
Stacks Image 722
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The Codex
Textos Astronomicos, facsimile edition

The manuscript of the Berlin National Library, catalogued as "Codice di testi astronomico-astrologici, Francia (?)" is a compendium of classical astronomy and astrology, believed to have been compiled and illustrated during the second half of the 14th century in France or in Flanders by an unknown author, who was most certainly well-versed in the subject of science as well as in its popular use in that era. The lack of a bibliographical or antique reference means that it is hard to establish the exact source of the manuscript. As far as its positioning in the National Library is concerned, however, it is believed to have belonged to Prince Frederick William of Prussia and to have lived through all the German historical landmarks starting from the Peace Treaty of Westphalia leading up to the reunification of Germany, finally reaching its current Berlin resting place in 1997.

The astronomical manuscript of Berlin is composed of 12 folios, that correspond to 24 pages, forming a six-folio booklet in a 11cm by 15.5cm format. The writing is Gothic script. The parchments represent 43 coloured drawings showing the quadrant for determining celestial orientation, the signs of the zodiac and astrological houses, the hours and days of the week with an almanac, the names of the Ptolomaic stars and constellations, tables of the months with an indication of celestial and atmospherical phenomenons and, lastly, an astrolabe.

Fine Art Facsimile Edition
Textos Astronomicos, a detail

The facsimile edition is printed on pergameneous paper, intentionally aged and stiffened. Each page has been trimmed to respect the outlines of the original and has been hand-sewn. The binding is in red leather with an astrological symbol stamped in gold upon it. The print-run is 995 copies each one individually numbered and with a notary certificate of authenticity. The edition and commentary volume (in Spanish, edited by Jurgen Hamel, astronomy historian) are housed in a velvet-lined case.