The Planets

After a discussion of the various winds and their names and locations, the manuscript contains another diagram showing the planetary orbits as they were thought to operate. This information comes from Bede’s De zodiaco circulo and De natura rerum. Again, the Earth is at the center, the fixed zodiac in the outermost circle, and each concentric circle between contains a planet, Luna (the Moon), Mercury, Venus, Sol (the Sun), Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Colors used on this page include green for the Earth, red for the outermost circle, yellow for the planets, and black for most of the text. Notably, the name of the zodiacal constellation Libra is written in red, and the bottom diagram shows Luna, Sol, and Saturnus in red; Mercury and Vesper in green; and Lucifer and Phaethon in black. In the margin on the left side, notes in red and black describe the perceived cycles of the planets.

Folio 2v of W. 73 at the Walters Art Museum.

In Ancient Greek astronomy, the five planets whose orbits were more peculiar than the predictable paths of the Sun and Moon were given names of Greek deities – such as Phosphorus and Noctiferus – and some of these correspondences are shown in the bottom diagram (using their Roman equivalents). The two deities – brothers Lucifer and Vesper – are the children of Astraeus and Aurora. See the diagram below.

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