|HISTORY OF THE TAROT||FARNESE RESOURCES||ARATEA RESOURCES|
13th April 2005
AND THE ARATEA
to me is astounding about the Church
of Light Minor Arcana - Minor Constellations attributions, is that they have a
history, from Aratus to the present day, of 2,000 years. One feels a
certain humility contemplating this fact, and
I think this historical scale
leaves arguments about the origins of the Tarot in the 15th century in the pale,
so to speak. As previously
mentioned, the study of the myths and traditions behind this cluster of 36 Minor
Arcana, was published by C.C.Zain in his book Spiritual Astrology. But this is
only the tip of the iceberg, and my own researches over
40 years has has led to an accumulation of data on these 36 imaginal
archetypes. The Aratea tradition continues from the Greek, Roman though to the
Carolingian, the Middle Ages, and on through into later Star Maps as late as the
18th century . . . much of this material can be traced via google searches,
where and of the names of the Minor Constellations churns up a good crop.
But of course it is too Seznec, that we turn, again and again:
"The first family is found for the most part in the illustrated manuscripts deriving from Aratus, called Aratea in Cicero's translation; their prototypes were in all probability established in the last centuries of the Roman Empire. 3 Aratus, as we have seen, 4 described the constellations as a mythographer rather than an astronomer, and his poem is as rich in visual themes as in scientific data. In short, it offered ideal subject matter for a picture book, and such is, in fact, the character of the manuscripts traceable to this source.
The Carolingian copies of the Aratea-examples are the Leidensis Voss. lat. 79, Harley 647, and Vindobonensis 387, or even Reginenses 309 and 123, cod. 188 of the Bibliotheque de Boulogne-sur-Mer (fig. 56), and cod. 7 of the Stiftshibliothek of Gottweig (fig. 57), which dale from ihe tenth or eleventh century 5 - have surprises in store for the art historian, and sometimes occasion him real emotion. For, contrary to all expectation, these copies succeed in recapturing the antique model with surprising fidelity. In some of them, the classical style is maintained with such purity that an enlargement of certain small figures irresistibly recalls the frescoes of Pompeii (fig. 54). On the other hand, the relative positions and sizes of the stars whose arrangement is supposed to be indicated by the mythological figure, are often incorrect; but in this regard also the copies show respect for the model, even where precision is subordinated to aesthetic considerations. Had not the stars which formed the original basis of the figures already disappeared from certain Roman prototypes?"
Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods, p.151
note 3 on p151 Seznec contines:
"They were imitated, in fact, as we shall see, from the earliest periods of Byzantine and Arabian art. It will be recalled that the Farnese Globe, the figures on which correspond exactly with the Aratus' descriptions, is a Roman copy of a Greek original."
Farnese Globe, then - would seem to
be a good place to start, and to gather images of it . . .
The illustrattions which appeared during the reign of Charlemaigne (768 - 814) have been published in various books on the History of Carolingian Painting - .and illustrated more or less completely by Renee Katzenstein and Emilie Savage-Smith in their researches.
DISCOVERY OF THE LOST STAR CATALOG OF HIPPARCHUS ON THE FARNESE ATLAS
ARATEA Ms. Voss. Lat. Q. 79 A FACSIMILE WITH SOME PICTURES
Aratea di Cicerone, Manoscritto miniato su pergamena, Italia IX-X Secolo
Aratea - Himmelsbilder aus der Leidener Handschrift
PERSEUS FROM THE ARATEA
ILLUMINATED MSS IN THE BRITISH LIBRARY Harley 2506
|Description:||Illustration of the constellations, with the stars picked out as red dots.|
|Dates:||last quarter of the 10th century|
|Attribution:||The Master of Ramsey, an Anglo-Saxon artist working in Fleury|
Harley 2506 f.39v Sagittarius; f.39 Capricorn; f.38v Aquarius f.36v Pisces