Astronomical Anthology (Almagest, etc.)
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Attesting to the central role of Jewish astronomers in medieval Spain, this volume begins with a treatise on the calendar compiled in 1361 by Jacob ben David ben Yom Tov for Pedro IV of Aragon. It also contains four astrological treatises by the twelfth-century philosopher Abraham Ibn Ezra, including discussions of Indian, Persian, and Babylonian astronomy, and a Hebrew translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest with this remarkable constellation map in ink and gouache. Later folios bear illuminated polychrome constellation images and intricately ornamented tables.
Fewer than thirty-five astronomical maps are known to survive from the Middle Ages, and this example, which shows the northern and southern celestial hemispheres and may have been copied from a globe, offers an especially rare glimpse into medieval Jewish celestial cartography. As Elly Dekker has observed (Illustrating the Phaenomena 458-61), the depictions of certain constellations (e.g. Aquila upside down and standing on Sagitta) and the presence of the Coma Berenices asterism above Leo resemble Islamic maps, while the human figures are drawn in Western European styles.