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The Aratus Beyond Observational Astronomy

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Carolingians were particularly fascinated, in terms of astronomy, by the personnified figurations of astronomical constellations, which were dreamlike and poetic and which served of a basis to mythical and mythological speculations. Such works were available with the Phaenomena of Aratus which we already mentioned in terms of its used to the service of observational astronomy

The Phaenomena were a didactic poem of Greek poet Aratos (315-245 B.C.) which was about 'phainomena,' or the 'celestial bodies. It based upon science as it was also ornated with myths and 'effect morsels' success of which was to last into the Modern Era Renaissance. A Latin edition had been written by Cicero, the famed writer, and by Germanicus Caesar (15 B.C.-19 A.D.) The so-called Aratus' Leyde manuscript was the Latin edition of Germanicus, with its illuminations. In the same views, the Carolingian renaissance also re-published Cicero's De astronomia, which was a astronomical treatise which was inspired by the Aratus and one of its copies (the one held by the British Museum, in London) featured in the lead 23 of the Aratus personnified constellations. Some were entirely painted as others had the personnage's body reserved blank for a commentary text. That way of writing text into a drawing came from the 'Carmina figurata,' a fancy of scholars by the end of Antiquity, like those of Optatianus Porphyrius, a court poet under Constantine the Great, which was brought back to fashion under the Carolingians. Of such a work, there is the well-known first portrait ever of a emperor, that of Emperor Louis the Pious, which belongs to that style and which is found with a work by Raban Maur

Website Manager: G. Guichard, site Learning and Knowledge In the Carolingian Times / Erudition et savoir à l'époque carolingienne, Page Editor: G. Guichard. last edited: 5/7/2015. contact us at
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